Out in Las Vegas: Shopping

Author: , April 30th, 2014

LinQ

There are so many “malls” in Las Vegas, especially if you count all the ones at the casinos. For the purposes of this blog, we’re going to discount most of those, as they tend to have the same stores (Prada, Tiffany, Michel Kors, etc), most of which offer really expensive fashion at really high prices.

Here are our favorite shopping spots along the strip, several of them new.

crystals-04CRYSTALS
http://www.crystalsatcitycenter.com

Crystal is the small mall that is sandwiched between the Cosmopolitan and the Aria casinos in City Center, the last really big development along the strip. We like Crystal mostly for the art:

crystals-01

First and foremost, the “Treehouse” (below) – an amazing three-story wooden structure that houses about half of the Mastro restaurant on the second floor. Stretching from the ground level, it’s kind of a tree-mushroom-hookah pipe structure, but none of those descriptions really do it justice. Suffice it to say you will be wowed when you first see it. More on Mastro in our Vegas dining post later.

Crystals Treehouse

Glacia” – sort of a fountains-as-popsicles art. These columns are cooled to minus 6 degrees, and then water flows over to freeze them into giant white, well, pop sickles. Then they melt, and the whole thing repeats. You’ll be forgiven if you think they are giant styrofoam columns the first time you see them.

Crystals Halo“Halo” – think of this as whirlpool art. A number of clear plastic columns house whirlpools of varying strengths and sizes that ebb and flow before your eyes.

Starbucks – the giant nest sculptures that surround this open-air Starbucks in the middle of the center make this one of the coolest Starbucks we’ve ever seen.

Light Trees – these trees on the second level put us in mind of the giant tree of life from Avatar. You’ll want to reach up and entwine your arm with the glowing light strands.

The shops here are fairly standard, but this mall, with its great art and interesting open spaces is well worth a visit.

LinQTHE LINQ
http://www.thelinq.com

Sandwiched between the new Quad Casino (formerly the Imperial) and the Flamingo, this center is one long pedestrian boulevard. It’s filled with some great little boutique shops like Koto and the overpriced but fabulous Kitson, where you can find some cool knick-knacks – Koto in particular had some really cool cords for your iPad or iPhone.

Linq - KotoSome of this stuff can be very expensive. We found a grey zip-up sweatshirt with rainbow bands at Kitson that we really liked – then we checked the price tag – $165. For a sweatshirt. Yikes.

There are also a number of restaurants and bars along this new shopping avenue – we’ll talk about Flour and Barley, the pizza place we tried on our last night, later in our restaurants post.

linq-02The LinQ also has its own concierge, and they will help you with just about anything, for free. They made us reservations at a restaurant in a different part of the strip and got us set up with a Total Rewards card – which came with free passes to see Diva, Frank Marino’s drag show at the Quad. Which we had just bought tickets for ten minutes before. Sigh.

The LinQ is also where you’ll find one of Vegas’s most amazing new attractions, the High Roller, billed as the highest observation wheel in the world. More on that in our Things to Do post.

There’s a gorgeous fountain in the heart of the LinQ center that is the perfect place to meet friends or just hang out. We loved the LinQ – it had great shopping, a relaxed atmosphere and some fantastic dining and views.

fashion-showFASHION SHOW
http://www.thefashionshow.com

if you’re looking for a selection of “regular” stores, check out the Fashion Show mall, at the north end of the strip across from the Wynn Hotel. Unlike most of the shopping malls in the casinos, this mall is filled with stores that sell everyday things – close stores, apartment store Macy’s, Apple Store, and ABC store for Hawaiian treats, and many other things.

We get tired of walking through some of the malls of the casinos, beautiful as they are, because they’re all the same things – Donna Karan, Tiffany, and Michael Kors – all things clothing, fashion, and, most of all, expensive.

Fashion Show also boasts not one, but two Starbucks, perfect for a little refreshment on a hot day. And are some great restaurants here that won’t break your budget. If you left something at home – a piece of clothing, cosmetics, toiletries, or whatever, you can probably find it here, for a lot less than you’ll pay on the strip.

Miracle Mile ShopsMIRACLE MILE SHOPS – PLANET HOLLYWOOD
http://www.miraclemileshopslv.com

Formerly the Aladdin, the mall here still has a few of its moroccan touches – you can see them in the “building roofs” that line the tops of several sections of the mall.

Miracle Mile ShopsBut otherwise it’s all new. This is one of the few places in the heart of the strip where you can also find everyday stores – there’s even a Walgreens at the front corner of the casino.

Plus there’s a fairly cool rainfall feature in the mall – check out the regular thunderstorms that rumble through.

RETRO VEGAS

Although we didn’t make it into downtown this trip, the Center folks told us about a great furniture and retro store that’s also gay-owned. It’s called Retro Vegas and it’s on Main Street. Stop by of you have the chance.

Visit the Purple Roofs Las Vegas, Nevada Page – Lodging, Travel Agents, Tour Operators, Events, News, and More

Buff Manchester Brings Trans Pride to Town in July

Author: , April 30th, 2014

Buff ManchesterBUFF 2014 is on Fri 11th – Sun 13th July 2014, coinciding with Sparkle Manchester: The National Transgender Celebration 2014.

Here’s what’s happening at BUFF 2014:

Fri 11th: BUFF Trans* Masculine Pride. BUFF will be at Eden Bar, in Manchester’s LGBT Village. From 8:30pm, they will have trans*masculine artists and performers kicking off the evening to get you in the mood for a night of fun, chatting, dancing, music, and overall trans* pride awesomeness!

via Gay Web Source | Northwestern England Gay Travel Resources | Other Gay Travel Events

Copenhagen This Summer

Author: , April 30th, 2014

Little Mermaid, Copenhagen, DenmarkCopenhagen is gearing up to host the 59th annual Eurovision Song Contest from May 5 – 10, but that’s not the only honor bestowed upon the Danish capital this year. The renowned environmentally friendly city has also been named European Green Capital for 2014 by the European Environment Commission. Here’s why that matters to visitors.

A Greener Eurovision

This year, Copenhagen’s green aspirations will play a major role in its hosting of the Eurovision Song Contest. The city claims that all aspects of the event production will be carried out in an eco-friendly way, from food and beverages provision, to transportation.

The city has constructed new bicycle paths connecting the Eurovision Island (the area surrounding Refshaleoen, an abandoned shipyard) to the city center, making it as easy as possible for visitors to join in with local bicycle culture and choose an eco-friendly (and cheap) mode of transport.

By Karen Gardiner Dion – Shermans Travel | Denmark Gay Travel Resources

Featured Gay Friendly Accommodations: Adam and Steve Travel

Author: , April 29th, 2014

Adam & Steve TravelPeriodically we’ll feature one of our properties here to let our readers know about some great gay friendly places to stay.

Adam and Steve travel, alias Giacomo & Francesco travel. First, we travel to the trips in person, then we plan them carefully, write them up, and guide small groups (gay and why not, straight) to various destinations of interest in Italy and Spain. We love what we do and have doing so since 10 years compiling some magic trips!

See the Adam and Steve Travel Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

Gay Friendly Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals in Italy

Space Coast Pride Coming to Florida in May

Author: , April 29th, 2014

Space Coast PrideWe are proud to announce that the 7th annual Space Coast Pride will be held on Sunday, May 25, 2014 at Wickham Pavilion, 3701 N Wickham Road, Melbourne, FL 32935.

Space Coast Pride started in 2007 as a small picnic and has grown to become one of the most respected pride events in Florida. It has drawn people from all over the state and across the country, as well as overseas.

By Kelly Riker – Seasons of Pride | Florida’s Space Coast Gay Travel Resources | Other Gay Travel Events

New Orleans for Newbies

Author: , April 29th, 2014

New Orleans - Bourbon StreetVisiting New Orleans for the first time? Prioritize your agenda – lots of play, a good amount of eating and maybe a little sleep. From girlfriends exploring, bachelorette and bachelor parties, to couples wandering hand-in-hand looking for amour en Vieux Carre, the French Quarter is alive at all hours of the day or night.

Experienced Nola travelers pace themselves but it’s newbies get overwhelmed and enjoy some things a little too much (like Bourbon street after midnight) and completely miss the magic of other things (like beignets at Cafe du Monde). If you’re planning a trip to the Big Easy, pull up a chair and learn how to strategize your Nola travel time like a pro.

How to Play in the French Quarter

It’s no secret how Nawlins, also known as Mardi Gras City got its name – lavish celebrations, wee-hour partying and drunken rowdiness is just another day (or night) in this city. Bourbon Street captures more than its fair share of attention, but there’s so much more this city has to offer – historically, culturally and architecturally.

By Julia Rosien – Go Girlfriend | Louisiana Gay Travel Resources

The shOUT Film Festival is All Over New South Wales in May

Author: , April 29th, 2014

shOUT! Film Festival

When Newcastle’s own LGBTI film festival returns this weekend for a third year of on-screen adventures, it’s bringing many more cities and towns along for the ride.

Kicking off next week, the shOUT Film Festival has expanded to include Canberra, Western Sydney, Coffs Harbour and the Gold Coast whilst still staying firmly put in its home town of Newcastle, NSW.

The festival started in Newcastle in 2012 as a way of raising awareness for the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO, on 17 May each year).

By Matt Akersten – Same Same | New South Wales Gay Travel Resources | Other Gay Travel Events

Out in Las Vegas: The Center

Author: , April 28th, 2014

Let’s start with something that’s both Vegas and really gay. A couple years ago, a local gay man named Robert L. Forbuss passed away, and left a pile of money to the Las Vegas LGBT Center to build a new facility. The group took over an old paint store and built a sparkling new center, one of the best we’ve ever visited, and it just opened about a month ago.

Las Vegas Gay Center - Sign

Las Vegas Gay Center - EntryAt the corner of Maryland and Clark, it’s just a few blocks from Fremont Street and downtown. As you walk in, you’ll notice the basketball court to the right. And inside, you’ll find a spacious, high-ceilinged, welcoming space.

Las Vegas Gay Center - Bronze CafeThe Center has an award-winning cafe that features vegan cuisine, but if you’re not a vegan, never fear – they have plenty of carnivore options too.

We tried the Green Goddess chicken salad sandwich – made with a basil-aioli mayonnaise, it was amazing. The chicken had a great flavor – a little savory and a little sweet, complimented with fresh greens and an even fresher roll of bread and a side salad.

Las Vegas Gay Center - Loving vs. VirginiaAnd the sweets! Our favorite – the Loving vs. Virginia – “the legal marriage of a chocolate chip cookie and a brownie” (pictured at the bottom of the photo on the right) – or so the adorable guy behind the counter informed us.

The Center functions as a community center for both LGBT groups and the straight community. Some 40 groups have regular meetings there, and there’s a youth drop-in center that opens every weekday at 3 PM for marginalized youth.

Las Vegas Gay Center - Youth CenterHector Esparza, the youth group co-ordinator, is justifiably proud of the work they do there to help kids stay in school, even if they are homeless, and put together a better life. Although they do not yet directly offer social services, they have links to many groups and agencies who do.

There are computers for visitor use (max 2 hours a day per person) – and although they don’t generally allow printing, they do make an exception for things like resumés for job seekers.

Las Vegas Gay Center - Lending LibraryThere’s also a large book library (lending is free) of predominantly LGBT books, and a DVD lending library too, filled with gay films. We even found a few while we were waiting to add to our Netflix queue. They also have a number of free local and national LGBT magazines and other resources.

The Center has partnered with a health clinic that offers free hiv and std testing – just around the corner at the back of the building.

The center regularly holds special events – next month, it’s the youth prom, with an expected 400 youth aged 13-24. They also hold periodic conferences. We’re encouraging them to add a weekly or monthly mixer for visitors coming to town – in the meantime, you can check their calendar here to see what events may be going on during your visit.

Las Vegas Gay Center - Gender Neutral BathroomThe bathroom here is also a nod to the center’s mission – it’s a mixed gender space, with separate walk-in water closets for each of its toilets. Nevada passed a law protecting transgender access to bathrooms in the state in ___, but the Center takes it a step further.

The Wynns (think Steve Wynn, casino owner) are major donors to the Center, and have a room named after them.

One half of the interior is set up with movable walls, and the rooms can be opened up into one large space for bigger events.

If you get the chance, come out to The center and check it out – it’s an amazing space, and they are doing great work for Las Vegas’s LGBT community there.

Visit the Purple Roofs Las Vegas, Nevada Page – Lodging, Travel Agents, Tour Operators, Events, News, and More

Featured Gay Friendly Accommodations: Rock River Cabin, South Newfane, Vermont

Author: , April 28th, 2014

Rock River Cabin - South Newfane, vermontPeriodically we’ll feature one of our properties here to let our readers know about some great gay friendly places to stay.

Custom Cabin by the River: Charming, cozy cabin on property of two artists. Light wood and white inside. Contemporary country charm. Breakfast provided on your first morning. Facilities for making simple meals. The Rock River wraps around the property, and for rock hounds, this is a piece of heaven.

See the Rock River Cabin Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

Gay Friendly Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals in Vermont

Don’t Expect Gay Tourism When You Deny Gay Rights

Author: , April 28th, 2014

Gay TravelAs more places pass laws that recognize lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people as equal citizens under the law, the LGBT community is spending where they are welcomed – and one of America’s favorite destinations – Great Britain – has seized the opportunity with a new ‘Love is GREAT’ campaign timed to coincide with the start of marriage equality laws in England and Wales.

The world’s largest global research initiative into the lives of LGBT people has just released new stats showing that most LGBT Americans now factor in the legal situation of their next vacation destination before booking their holiday.

This is leading to smarter politicians realising that betting against equality is not a good choice. Recently the Republican Party in Nevada took opposition to gay marriage off their official party agenda. That is smart politics – and smart business. With Las Vegas eyeing off the lesbian and gay tourism market already, having marriage equality will help cement that destination’s appeal to a larger number of potential tourists.

And it is not just those that want to marry that will preference the growing number of places whose LGBT citizens are starting to enjoy something approaching equal legal rights at home.

By Ian Johnson – Huffington Post