Philadelphia's gayest neighborhood is Center City, bordered on the east by the Delaware River and the beautiful Penn's Landing and seaport, and on the west by the Schuylkill River, Boathouse Row, and the Art Museum. This is also the main business district and where most visitors stay. Tree-filled Fairmount Park is here, as well as beautiful examples of brownstone, federalist, and colonial architecture. Center City encompasses an easily covered and unique walking tour of all the major historic sites from Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell to the world's largest lesbian and gay bookstore, Giovanni's Room (12th & Pine streets). Gay-owned shops and galleries can be found along the Pine Street antique row as well as on bustling South Street, where numerous cozy cafes and ethnic restaurants cater to serious coffee enthusiasts, music lovers and dedicated people watchers. Trendy clothing stores carry merchandise ranging from the outrageous to conservative chic. A daytime side-trip to the 9th Street Italian Market and a carriage ride down Chestnut Street provide a view of the city's historic past. Nightlife heats up on the Spruce Street strip.
You might want to try dining at some of Philadelphia’s gay restaurants. Judy’s at 627 S. Third St. is a dinner-only restaurant offering American classic food with an entrée price of 13 dollars. For lunch there is the Marmont on 222 Market Street—a trendy lunch spot for queer Philly. Philadelphia has also launched a tourism campaign welcoming LGBT folks to the city--click here for more information.
Getting there: Take the Dinky to Princeton Junction; don’t cross the train tracks and take the Northeast Corridor Line south to Trenton. From there you will need to change to the SEPTA R7 train and go to Market East Station in Philadelphia. Walk south on 11th Street until you reach Spruce St.—this intersection is in the heart of Philly’s "gayborhood."
New York City has the largest out gay population of any city worldwide—the possibilities are endless. Most people would agree that there are three distinct, but bordering gay neighborhoods in NYC. The oldest is Greenwich Village, or “the village”. The heart of this beautiful neighborhood of brownstone houses is Christopher Street. On this street is the Stonewall Inn where the Stonewall riots occurred in 1969, thus beginning the gay rights movement. If you would like to take a self-guided tour of this historic region, visit The LGBT Center for a written guide.
As Greenwich Village filled to the brim, the queer community began to move eastwards towards what is now the “East Village”. East Village has a reputation for providing a playground for those who have no qualms at breaking social norms. The heart of this lively neighborhood is the short street known as St. Mark’s Place. On this strip there are many interesting gay shops and restaurants—much like Christopher St., but with a different feel.
Chelsea, the third neighborhood, is a region to the north of Greenwich Village. It conveniently is located just south of Pennsylvania Station. The strip of Chelsea is 8th Avenue between 14th and 23rd streets. This strip contains more gay-owned businesses than anywhere else in the world. The streets of Chelsea are on a grid-structure and the neighborhood is generally said to have a colder feel than the two others. Along 8th, 9th, and 7th Avenues there are many interesting and affordable coffee houses and shops.
Getting There: Take the Dinky to Princeton Junction and from there cross the tracks to go towards NYC. Pennsylvania Station is the end of the line and from there (33rd and 8th). You can walk south into Chelsea and the Village, or take the A or C subway to 14th St., or the 1 or 2 train south to 14th St. or Christopher St.
If you want to get away from Princeton, but you don’t crave city life, you might want to visit New Hope. This small town is situated between Princeton and Philadelphia. Despite its size, it hosts a surprising lively gay community. With only four main streets (Main, Brodge, Ferry and Mechanic), New Hope is very pedestrian friendly. New Hope offers a wide variety of shopping, theatre, and dining opportunities. A number of stores carry LGBT-related goods. New Hope is also home to several gay clubs for those over 21, one of which hosts a monthly women's night. And each May, the city hosts New Hope Pride, a full weekend of events, entertainment, and community.
Getting There: The only easy way to get to New Hope is by car. Take Alexander Road towards Route 1. Take the Route 1 South onramp towards Trenton. Exit onto I-95 South towards Philadelphia. Follow I-95 to the Pennsylvania border (just a few miles) and take the New Hope exit. New Hope is right on the border, across the River from Lambertville, NJ.