Let’s Explore Denver

The mile high city is a mix of urban jungle and the best outdoor activities just steps from the cities stellar skyline. If you are looking for a travel destination in the United States, Denver should be on the top of your list. Great to explore all year long, each season brings with it different activities that will appeal to every traveler.

Sights to See:

There are many sights to be seen in Denver. One of the most popular and deservedly so is the Denver Zoo. The zoo is spread out over 82 acres in Denver’s City Park and houses over 613 species of animals. Popular with tourists are the giraffes, elephants and penguins. The zoo also houses a quite extensive snake, lizard and fish exhibit.

 

The Denver Botanic Gardens is open all year long and is another must see while visiting. The indoor tropical display is a sight to be seen and contains hundreds of plants and flowers from the tropics. The outdoor gardens feature one of the largest collections of cold weather plants in North America.

Don’t miss out on these other sights: Denver Art Museum, History Colorado Center, Denver Museum of Nature & Science and the Byers-Evans House.

Tasty Spots to Eat:

Want to try 6 restaurants in an afternoon? The Taste of Denver Food Tour takes you on a culinary 3-hour journey as you walk the streets of downtown. Stop by the restaurants and taste their best dishes as well as learn the history of the city and the influence of the food over the years. Favorites of the tour include, Wynkoop Brewery, Blue Agave and Zo Ma Ma.

Other restaurants you will want to visit include: Snooze, Hedge Row, Tag and Il Posto.

Adventure Time:

Get out and explore nature in the Mile High City. Use Amtrak’s Winter Park Express train to get out of the city and on to the mountain. Take a day trip to Winter Park Resort and try your hand at skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing or even ski biking. What is ski biking you may ask? It’s an amazing mix of bike riding but replace the wheels of the bike with ski blades. Speed down the mountain on the ski bike and enjoy the views on the way.

Get out in nature in the middle of the city. Commons Park is a city park within walking distance of Union Station. This expansive park includes a walkway along the South Platte River, grass area for sports and picnic areas. A great way to enjoy a sunny afternoon and a picnic in the heart of the city.

Party the Night Away:

The city is full of LGBT nightlife options with several located on a stretch of Colfax Ave. The popular X Bar and Charlie’s are within walking distance of each other. Ride share services like, Lyft are easy to access in the city and a great way to club hop.  For that big dance club feel, make sure to check out Tracks. Their themed parties are amazing and will have you dancing till the wee hours. Compound Basix, Boystown and Wrangler are all worth a visit as well.

Take a Rest:

One of the premier hotels in the city is The Crawford Hotel housed in the historic Union Station. The Crawford effortlessly combines the historic elements of Union Station’s past with the smart luxury guests crave today. Walk out of your room and into the lobby full of restaurants, coffee shop and bar. You can spend an afternoon just exploring what is called “Denver’s Living Room” lobby.

Now what are you waiting for? Book your trip to Denver now and get to enjoying all that the Mile High City has to explore. For more tips on Denver and a video of my adventure visit the VIDEOS section of this website.

 

#AbOUTtheGlobe is written by J.Son; a Vegas based travel columnist and event producer. Follow him on Instagram @NakedBoyNews or Twitter @GayTravelGuy

Make A Dream Vacation a Reality!

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The year is just getting started and there is a lot of time to explore and plan an amazing vacation. So many people want a dream vacation and get distraught when they find out their dream destination is extremely expensive. The price tag of some destinations put many people out of exploring them. This month I delve into helping you make a dream vacation become a reality.

First, select a type of vacation instead of a certain destination. Many people get stuck on a certain destination. They will search for airfare and hotels and then get discouraged by price. Instead, I recommend thinking about your dream destination and envision what type of vacation you want. Do you want to go to a beach, explore the mountains, or visit a major city? Is your destination national or international? Once you have type of destination figured out, then you can start to see what exact destinations fit your budget.

Say you want to go on a beach getaway… start your search by looking for beaches that are within driving distance to you. If the beach is too far, or you don’t want to drive, it’s time to start looking for airfare. One of the best resources on the Internet is SkyScanner.com, where you can search airfare by timeframe and by location. Think of locations that fit your vacation type. Input the destination in the site’s search, the region or country you want to visit, and then select a time frame (you can be as specific as date or week or month.) The website is easy to use and will help you get the most cost effective airline tickets.

Now that you have the airfare, it’s time to select a place to stay on your dream vacation. Traditional hotels can be expensive depending on the destination. So it’s a good idea to do a hotel search and see if they fit within your budget. Take a look to see if an all-inclusive resort is available. You can save a good amount by booking an all-inclusive and eating on property. Websites like AirBNB.com and VRBO.com are great as well.

Quick Tips:

Street food – almost every destination has street food. Don’t be afraid to ask the locals and try some of the recommendations. Street food is usually cheap and tasty.

Day adventures – search your destination on Viator.com and explore the day adventures available. Most destinations have many options at great prices.

Now that you have more tips to make your dream vacation a reality, enjoy it and make sure to tweet me some your vacation photos. If you have any questions I did not address above, let me know. I’m always here to help you travel #AbOUTtheGlobe! Tweet me at @GayTravelGuy

SoCal – Battle of the Theme Parks

Southern California is jam packed with amusement parks: Disneyland, California Adventure, Six Flags, and Universal. Which park is best for you? Let’s take a look at the thrills, the frills and the fun…

Are you a thrill seeker?

Are you the one that is looking for that rollercoaster rush? The feeling of soaring high above the clouds, plunging fast towards the ground and looping round and round? Then, Six Flags Magic Mountain is most likely the park for you, as it is the park in Southern California with the most coasters. The thrills start with Twisted Colossus, the world’s longest, and most innovative hybrid coaster. It’s wood, it’s steel, with dips, turns, flips and loops. Just when you finish one track, you switch to the other and do it all over again! This is one of the best coasters you’ll ever experience, and you’ll leave wanting more. The park also includes: Full Throttle- the world’s tallest loop on a coaster; Riddler’s Revenge- a stand up coaster with loops, corkscrews and drops; Superman- racing to speeds of 100mph in 7 seconds; and many others. You are sure to get a rush from this park, and will want to keep riding again and again.

See where the movies are made!

Universal Studios Hollywood is an amazing mix of theme park and movie studio. Get up close and see how and where the movies are made. The studio lot tour is amazing, bringing you on the lot where such hits as The Voice, Apollo 13, Jaws, Grease LIVE!, and many more where filmed. The tour also includes filmmaker Peter Jackson’s heart-pounding King Kong 360 3D, the world’s largest 3D experience. The park is known for rides that put you in the center of your favorite films with Minions Mayhem, Transformers 3D, Simpsons the Ride and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter all taking center stage.

DCALooking for a bit of nostalgia?

The happiest place on Earth and the place filled with nostalgia is of course Disneyland. This is not the most adventurous theme park, but if you are looking for your favorite childhood characters, and that warm and fuzzy feeling; this is the park for you. There are of course some thrills along the way at Disney, especially at California Adventure. You will want to take a ride on the Screamin’ rollercoaster and the recently redone Tower of Terror, that is now the Guardians of the Galaxy ride. Two of the biggest hits at the Disney complex are the Fantasmic show and World of Color. Guests rush to grab up tickets for prime viewing spots as soon as the parks open in the morning, and the shows aren’t until late in the evening.  So make a plan of action in advance if you want to get a good view.

After exploring the 3 parks, my favorite experience overall may surprise you. Six Flags Magic Mountain wins hands down. The park gives you more bang for you buck. You will get more thrills and frills and still have cash to go home with. Universal Studios Hollywood is a close second, while the admission to the park is more expensive, it packs a punch for that value. Now I may get some hate mail for this… While I like Disney’s California Adventure, I find Disneyland to be over rated. While it’s full of nostalgia, they pack the guests in so much, that in my opinion, you can’t really enjoy it. I say go to Disneyland once to say you did it. When going back to California for another trip, enjoy the other theme park options.

Quick break down and review by park:

The Money Factor:

Universal: $$

Six Flags: $

Disney: $$$

 

The Thrill Factor:

Universal: **

Six Flags: ***

Disney: *

 

Overall Appeal:

Universal: ***

Six Flags: ***

Disney: **

 

 

#AbOUTtheGlobe is written by J.Son; a Vegas based travel columnist and event producer. Follow him on Instagram @NakedBoyNews or Twitter @GayTravelGuy

3 Valentine’s Getaways for Singles!

February will be here in no time and that means the month of love is coming. Tired of hearing your best friend talk about their plans with their boyfriend? Are you single and ready to escape to a place great for spending the weekend alone or with fellow singles? Here are four great get-a-way spots to get lucky this Valentine’s Day. End your night at the recommended nightclub for the hottest locals to mingle with this Valentine’s Day.
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

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Beautiful weather, with even more beautiful beaches and the hottest guys, Puerto Vallarta is a great place for singles to mingle. Book your stay at the boutique hotel, Villa Mercedes in Old Town, just steps the famous Playa Los Muertos. The hotel offers nightly happy hour and a relaxing pool. Grab a cocktail from a sexy beach boy at Blue Chairs beach and let your eyes do the wandering. Don’t be shy here; many locals and tourists come here to meet new friends. Be adventurous and take to the skies with a ride on a parasail right from the beach to get the best views of the bay. Enjoy a walk through old town and stop for dinner at Pancho’s Tacos to try the best pastor tacos in Mexico. Partake in the nightlife fun at the best spots to meet other singles. Mr. Flamingo, Pakos and CCs are the hot spots in PV gay nightlife. You are sure to meet a sexy guy to take your mind off Valentine’s Day.

Syracuse, NY

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You may be thinking; why should I go to Upstate NY? Why not? The city has many winter activities to keep you busy and have an amazing experience. The newly renovated and restored Marriott Downtown (formerly Hotel Syracuse) is rich in history and well appointed for your stay. Take a self-guided walking tour through the city, with its picturesque views that will remind you of a Dickens’ holiday story. Make sure to stop at OHA History Museum, Everson Art Museum and Erie Canal Museum to get a great feel for the city’s history and culture. Book a daytrip to Toggenburg Ski Resort, a short 30-minute drive from the hotel to try your hand at skiing or snowboarding. Their highly trained instructors can give you lessons if needed and you’ll be on the slopes in no time. Enjoy dinner at the award winning Dinosaur BBQ, the tastiest brisket you will find in the north and arguably the whole USA. After dinner walk to the end of the block and you’ll find Syracuse’s gay nightclub Trexx, with buy one get one well drinks on weekends. When Syracuse University is in session you are sure to find sexy college guys getting frisky on the dance floor. Syracuse has lots to offer you as a single tourist or if you are going with a friend, don’t be afraid to think outside the box.

Las Vegas, NV
Oasis Pool West Face of the PyramidTake a gamble and try your luck in Vegas. The city of sin is definitely a place for singles
to have fun. Stay the weekend at the LGBT friendly Luxor hotel and ask for one of the tower rooms, recently renovated with comfy beds to relax in how you choose. Grab a ticket to one of the hottest shows in the world including Cher, Celine, Elton or JLo and you’re sure to meet another sexy single in the crowd. Enjoy and explore the different food options in Vegas. The city is home to so many restaurants you could never try them all, but try. Viva Las Arepas offers a taste of Venezuela on the Vegas Strip. A must try is the chicken and cheese arepa, the beef empanada and enjoy the Parchita (passion fruit) juice. After dinner cross the street and try the homemade Luv-Its Frozen Custard, the tastiest ice cream you’ve ever had, it won’t disappoint. Head out for a night on the town at the new Flair Nightclub or check out the local favorite Piranha Nightclub. Both venues have sexy go-go dancers, great DJs and sexy guys to mingle with. Wake up the next morning after dancing and head to the Spa at Luxor. Enjoy a nice soak in the hot tub and get a relaxing massage to end your weekend right.

San Francisco

Welcome to one of the worlds best cities for LGBT travelers. San Francisco, California.

The city by the bay has lots to see from museums to parks to bridges and more. Here are my top choices for things to see.

Adventures By The Bay:

Calling all thrill seekers: Climb aboard RocketBoat for the ultimate high speed adventure on the San Francisco Bay! Get blown away as you hold on for the most exhilarating ride of your life. Your daredevil captain will entertain you with wild twists and turns as RocketBoat bolts down to the Bay Bridge and beyond. Stunning views and a classic Rock ‘n’ Roll soundtrack add to the 30-minutes of fun — it’s never the same ride twice! RocketBoat runs seasonally, May through October. Click here for more info.

Want to experience a more relaxed cruise on the bay? Go on board one of the Hornblower Dinner cruises to experience a bridge to bridge romantic cruise. Hornblower offers many different cruise options. The 4 course dinner cruise is the best bet, delicious main course options include; salmon, chicken and lamb. On board entertainment includes a live 2 piece band and DJ dancing after dinner. Upper deck of the boat provides for incredible views of both the Bay Bridge and Golden Gate Bridge. You can’t go wrong with a Hornblower dinner cruise.

 

 

 

Party by the Bay: You must experience the nightlife in The Castro. You won’t find the large, high ceiling discos you see in other major cities, but SF has a fun row of clubs and bars to delight any traveler. If you want to enjoy sexy gogos you must visit The Cafe (You’ll also get to see the Drag Race girls here too). Great drinks and great prices you need to head over to Toad Hall, famous for their 2 for 1 happy hours (the bartenders are sexy too!) Other main stays in the Castro are Mix SF, Q Bar, Midnight Sun and Lookout.

Top Eats in SF
Calling all foodies. SF is full of tasty bites and over the top cuisine from seafood to burgers to the best steaks around. There are so many amazing restaurants to try in SF here are my top three. You may not think of Hard Rock Café as a top spot for culinary delight but their SF location is different. Under the lead of Executive Chef Jason Yerbick they have revamped the menu and added dishes unique to SF. You must try his take on clam chowder and the mouth-watering Ahi tuna burger. You won’t be disappointed.

If you’ve heard of clam chowder in a bread bowl, you probably have heard the name Boudin. Their clam chowder restaurants are all over SF. In Fisherman’s Wharf, they have a flagship store and Boudin Bistro. The menu has so much more to offer to get your mouth watering. The best ceviche you’ll ever have, and crab cakes that will leave you wanting more.

osso-sf-1017-750Are you looking for a fine dining experience while on vacation? Osso Steak House is the place to go in SF to be wowed! The service from the moment you walk in the door is superb. The staff is extremely knowledgeable and will be able to match the perfect wine, appetizer and steak to your tastes and take you on a culinary journey through the courses. Their signature steak, the Osso filet; served medium rare is best steak you’ll ever taste. This is on the higher end of the price spectrum but is worth every dollar. Treat yourself, you’ll be happy.

Other restaurants to check out include: Franciscan Crab, Squat & Gobble and Hunan House.

Explore Chinatown:

 

Where to Rest Your Head

The city is full of hotels, as a tourist is can be hard to select the perfect one for your needs. Are you looking for a hotel high above one of the cities hilltops, with great views and surrounded by history? You should check out the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins atop Nob Hill, with its luxurious accommodations, classic character and historic charm. The staff will take care of every need you can possibly desire from the moment they open the grand doorway for you upon arrival. The hotel offers different packages to make your stay event better. The Leisure Escape package will get you access to the exclusive Nob Hill Club where you can enjoy breakfast, cocktail hour and more extras. This package also includes 2 cocktails at Top of the Mark and a late check out time (2:00pm). The hotel is walking distance to Osso Steakhouse and Grace Cathedral (this LGBT inclusive church is a must visit).

Lets Get Adventurous!

Never be afraid to go on an adventure! Here are 4 of my favorite places to explore!

Bootleg Canyon, NV

Head out to this desert canyon about a 30 minute drive from Las Vegas. In Bootleg Canyon you will find some of the world’s best off road bike trails, hiking trails and zip lines. Book a tour with Flightlinez BC and set off on a hiking and Zip line adventure with views and thrills you’ll definitely remember. The tour includes hiking trails with breathtaking views of the Vegas valley in the distance and the canyon terrain. Four zip lines will have you zooming at speeds up to 60 mph and over a mile and a half of zip lines. Don’t forget to apply your sunscreen, drink plenty of water and keep your eyes open.   http://www.flightlinezbootleg.com

about-0517-8Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Wild Trek Tours takes you on a single or double ATV from the romantic zone in downtown Puerto Vallarta up through the mountains surrounding the town. Climb the side of the mountain in your ATV and take in the incredible views, while winding your way through the jungle until you reach a camp site. Here you’ll enjoy an authentic Mexican carne asada lunch with tequila tasting. There’s also a small waterfall and cliff diving spot where your tour guides will you guide you as you take a leap off the edge into the majestic waterfall. Hop back on your ATV and go back down the mountain into town and see more sites before returning to the tour headquarters. Take time to enjoy something other than the beach in Mexico.  http://es.wildtreksadventures.com

about-0517-9Niagara Falls, NY & Canada

Take time to visit one of the wonders of the world, Niagara Falls. There are great things to do on both the US and Canadian sides of the falls. Start on the US side with a journey down into the falls at the Cave of the Winds. Put on your rain coat and slip on your water shoes as you’ll be walking right up to one of the falls and having the water pour down over your head for a big rush of adrenaline. On the Canadian side the new zip line attraction lets you wiz past the side of the falls and get intense views as you fly by. Height, speed, adventure and a World Wonder all in one. You can’t ask for more fun!   http://wildplay.com/niagarafalls/

image3Zipaquirá, Colombia

Zipaquirá is a small city about 30 miles from Bogota, Colombia. This city is well known for its Catedral de Sal (Salt Cathedral), an amazing engineering accomplishment 220 yards deep into the ground in an old salt mine. You don’t have to be catholic or religious to enjoy this adventure. Yes, it is a cathedral and probably not a place you think a gay travel guy would go. But it is truly life changing and spiritual place. The grandeur of the caves, hallowed out salt mines and artwork carved into the walls is breathtaking. I recommend planning a vacation to Bogota and making this one of your day trips. You can thank me later for this recommendation. And when you head back into the city after your tour, you can “Sin it up” at the popular Theatron disco, one of the world’s largest nightlife complexes.

(This column first appeared in GED Magazine: CLICK HERE for more #AbOUTtheGlobe in GED.)

Xtreme: Vegas

Here’s an older but goodie video of Xtreme things to do in Las Vegas. The video is from 2010 but you can still do everything in the video except walk on top of the Luxor Pyramid (Yes I really did, watch.)

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico is a “gay Mecca,” you must visit at least once in your life. The sun, the beach, the boys and the booze all make for an amazing time!

Adventure in Vallarta: Take a day trip by boat to Isla Marietas. The bluest water and most amazing snorkeling, paddle boarding and kayaking. (The tours to Isla Marietas are sometimes postponed due to the season, so plan ahead to see if tours are operating.)

Food Tip: Vista Grill, the best views in the city with the freshest seafood and tastiest local treats.

Nightlife: CC Slaughters and Paco’s Ranch are the 2 dance gay clubs in Vallarta. Paco’s is the place to take in the best club drag shows. CC’s is a later crowd and more circuit scene. Both are a blast and just steps from one another. If you want to be a little naughty you can visit Wet Dreams and Anthropology. These both have naked dancers and private lap dance rooms. Let your mind do the rest. Ha!!!

Great Views in NYC

Great Views: 2 places to get the best views of the cities. Top of the Rock, with amazing views of Central Park and the best place to get a photo with the Empire State Building in the background. Empire State is also an amazing view of the city with two observation decks, the first on the 86th floor and an additional on the 102nd floor.

Heading to the ATL?

Heading to the ATL? The 404? Here are my Top things to do in Atlanta. For the best views of the city take a ride on the SkyView located near Centennial Olympics Park. After taking in the best views in town you will be near my other fave things to do. All of these are in walking distance of each other. The Georgia Aquarium will delight the kid in all of us, with many awesome under the sea creatures. (TIP: Buy tickets online prior to arrival, they will be cheaper.) CNN (TIP: Pay the few extra dollars for the VIP tour, it’s worth it, and when I went it included a photo package. Ask about it.) and The World of Coca-Cola are two must do’s in the city. Both offer an insider look into two iconic ATL brands.