Featured Gay Accommodations: Villa David, Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico

Author: , April 12th, 2015

Villa David

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

Villa David Bed & Breakfast is centrally located in Old Town PV, an authentic Mexican neighborhood within easy walking distance of all the finest attractions of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. The old world hacienda style mansion is built around a central courtyard in the area called “gringo gulch”. The house is on the hillside overlooking the beautiful Bay of Banderas and built in the open-air style to catch every mountain and bay breeze.

See the Villa David Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

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

Gay San Diego – Old Town

Author: , December 29th, 2014

Old Town - Apple Maps

Old Town San DiegoJust over the hill from Hillcrest, on the far side of the Mission Hills District and just north of the airport, Old Town San Diego exudes an unexpected charm – what could have been just another tourist trap filled with plastic doohickeys emblazoned with an Old Town Logo somehow instead manages to be a vibrant, colorful visit to San Diego’s Mexican roots.

Old Town San DiegoNestled against Mission Hills, Old Town is “The Birthplace of California”. Father Junipero Serra established the first California mission here in 1769, and a small community began to form around Father Serra’s Mission and Presidio in the 1820’s. By 1835, the town had become known as El Pueblo de San Diego, and in 1846 the American flag was first raised here. For more on the history, see the Old Town History Page.

There are a number of things to do here – we’ll cover them under several headings, starting with the History.

There are a lot of historical plaques scattered about Old Town, and of course there’s the wonderful Mexican Mission architecture that’s in evidence everywhere.

But there are also sites dedicated to historical preservation, including the Wells Fargo History Museum, once a hotel, saloon, and gaming palour, where you can take money out of a modern Wells Fargo ATM in front of a beautiful, restored historic Wells Fargo coach – a nice mix of the now and the then. There’s also a large painting of what the town looked like originally – a great visual aid to the imagination.

Old Town San DiegoThen there’s the Sherrif’s Museum, which has a great metal prison cell behind the building that will bring a smile to the more, um, leather-minded in our community – iamgine a night in this place!

Old Town San DiegoYou can also tour La Casa de Estudillo, a restored Hacienda with a large, enclosed garden. Though a bit sparse on details, this Hacienda offers free tours and a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the early San Diego residents, with rooms filled with period furniture and decor, and the ceilings (surprisingly) are gorgeous (see below).

The garden is a bit overgrown, but still beautiful, filled with natural, native vegetation and meandering paths.

Here’s another great site that features much more detail on the historic sites in Old Town: http://www.oldtownartfestival.com/history.html.

Old Town San DiegoNext, we’ll jump into the shopping, which is widespread and varied. Whe you first arrive, park in the large lot at Juan St. and Mason St. Walk down Mason a block to Calhoun, which runs through the heart of Old Town. Right here, you’ll find a cluster of infoor and outdoor vendors offering pottery, blankets, clothing, some lovely carved gourds, and yes, a few cheap trinkets too.

Old Town San DiegoFollow Calhoun west and you’ll quickly reach Fiesta del Reyes (http://www.fiestadereyes.com/), a beautifully restored Mexican villa built around a grassy central plaza that now hosts 19 shops, 3 restaurants, and a hotel.

Old Town San DiegoAs we first entered, we were greeted by a Mariachi, playing festive songs and giving us a big smile. Since it was fall, there was also a beautiful display of local Pumpkins at the entrance, perched upon hay bales and an old wooden cart to help get us into an Autumn frame of mind.

There are also artisans in historic garb scattered throughout the Plaza, including the woman we found sewing quilts under a red tiled porch. The whole place has an air of living history, and is filled with shady spots to stop on a warm afternoon and just watch all the things goung on around you.

old-town-san-diego-18The central Plaza is a green, grassy oasis, with many benches and a beautiful fountain. The plaza is also home to one of the four restaurants here, Casa de Reyes, with a wonderfully relaxing outdoor seating area, protected from sun and rain, and with views out on the Plaza.

Old Town San DiegoAlmost directly west of the Fiesta del Reyes (though you have to go around-about to get there from here) is the Bazaar del Mundo, (http://www.bazaardelmundo.com) another shopping area with a couple fantastic shops.

The Gallery featured some beautiful sculptures and works of art.

Old Town San DiegoArtes del Mexico was one of our favorites here – this two-story shop is just jam-packed with arts and crafts in so many amazing, technicolor-bright colors you hardly know where to look.

These included a virtual rainbow zoo of fantastically imagined and painted wooden animals and all nature of other wooden carvings, wall art, and other eye candy.

There’s also a macaw in a cage here just outside the store entrance, nature mimicing art? But be careful – he’s not finger-eating trained, despite his 46 years.

Old Town San DiegoAnother store here, Ariana, had some of the most beautiful, and again vibrant, textiles and clothing. And the Design Center, at the back of the Bazaar, featured wonderful southwestern arts and crafts, albeit a little more toned down from what we found in Artes del Mexico (below, right, and bottom row).

In need of a restroom? You’ll find public bathrooms here too in the courtyard between the main buildings. And you’ll also be greeted by random art as you turn each corner:

There are also four restaurants here – Casa Guadalajara, Casa de Pico, Casa de Bandini and Casa Sol y Mar. We had dinner this time at Casa Guadalajara after my aunt’s wedding – it’s on the northwestern edge of Old Town. The food was decent, and the ambiance was fantastic – if it’s available, sit out in the covered patio.

Casa Guadalajara Old Town San Diego

Old Town San DiegoFor lunch, we headed back down Calhoun Street, and stopped at Cafe Coyote y Cantina, (http://www.cafecoyoteoldtown.com), a cute Mexican cantina with covered outdoor seating on the street and a bunch of cute murals inside. The food was good and very affordable – we had the Chicken Fajitas, with tortilla soup and guacamole and chips, and the service was pretty good too. Be sure to go inside before you leave if you eat on the patio, to enjoy the coyote murals. As with many Mexican restaurants, the portions are generous, so come hungry.

Old Town San DiegoThere’s lots more to see here – including (we kid you not) Fred’s Mexican Cafe (http://www.fredsmexicancafe.com), which sits on eastern Calhoun street, amidst a bunch more shops and restaurants. You can also catch a watergun fight a little farther down the street between a posse of two-dimensional cowboys, and be sure to check out the beautiful mansions on the hills behind Old Town. There are also little gardens and surprises everywhere as you walk through Old Town.

Old Town San Diego is a great place to spend a day or an afternoon.

San Diego Gay Travel Resources

Gay San Diego – The Shopping

Author: , December 18th, 2014

We did a bit of shopping while we were in San Diego, including a mall, some LGBT sotres, and a really cool and funky place where you can find all kinds of unique stuff for your house. Here are our favorites:

Architectural SalvageArchitectural Salvage
Little Italy
Architectural Salvage is like Restoration Hardware on acid.

With salvaged gems (door knobs, whole doors, windows, and all sorts of other things) on display from around the world, you can find that perfect piece here to give your house a little needed funkiness.

It’s fun just to wander through the store and gape at all the bric-a-brac.

Filled with cool things for your house and for gifts, this home and lifestyle store has some furniture, but is mostly filled with lots of great, colorful knick-knacks. Well worth a look when you’re in Hillcrest.

Horton PlazaHorton Plaza
Right in the center of the downtown core is a great outdoor mall – Horton Plaza, a multi-level, outdoor mall.

Horton Plaza also provides free wheelchairs, perfect for folks who need a little assistance getting around this large, multi-level mall. This is a great mall to roam on a sunny day, filled with fanciful architecture and a great mix of shops. The mall is on the edge of the Gaslamp Quarter, a cute shopping, dining and entertainment district with many bars (mostly if not all straight/mainstream).

Hot Rod Garage SaleHot Rod Garage Sale
North Park
You gotta make an appointment to see this place (we know friends of the artist), but it’s a really cool stop for your San Diego trip. Brian bent is an internationally respected artist who specializes in cool urban funk. Give him a call and check out his iconic arty while you’re in town.

Hotel Del CoronadoHotel Del Coronado
Coronado Island
The Hotel Del is an iconic destination – the scene of the film Some Like it Hot.

It has a small shopping gallery, the hi-light of which, for us, was the toy store there.

I found the perfect Christmas gift for my mom – an adorable hedgehog (yes, she collects them).

Mankind is a little farther down the street – it’s basically an underwear place – if you want to look good in your skivvies (or at least as good as possible given your anatomy LOL…) check out Mankind.

If you’ve ever been to a Spencers. you’ll love Obelisk – it’s a gay version of the novelty shop. Headlined as a Men’s Clothing Store, you’ll also find gifts, cards and accessories, and huge bonus points for the neon Hillcrest sign in the middle of the store.

North Park
This is a really cool corner store up in North Park, the next neighborhood over from Hillcrest. Filled with really cool gift items, from candles to children’s books. And extra points for carrying Go the Fuck to Sleep.

Seaport VillageSeaport Village
Downtown Waterfront
This little center is an adorable collection of brick buildings and walkways along the waterfront, strewn with fountains and beautiful trees – fun to stroll through.

And check out the Headquarters next door, a former historic San Diego Police Headquarters complex, now restored and turned into an outdoor shopping center with a central plaza for events.

Torreon ImportersTorreon Importers Hillcrest
Torreon Importers has one of the best selections of framed mirrors we’ve ever seen under one roof. Stop in and see yourself reflected hundreds of times in this store – the perfect place for the closet narcissist.

Little Italy
This is a cool, funky little store with a serious asian influence on the edge of Little Italy – Japanese incense, decorations, mugs and lots of other cool, gifty stuff.

There are so many other great places to shop in San Diego – you might also want to check out Solana Beach along South Cedros Ave – it’s an artist colony with some amazing shops and restaurants which we visited on our last trip to San Diego – also check out our Old Town section there.

San Diego Gay Travel Resources

Old Town, San Diego

Author: , October 17th, 2013

Old Town San DiegoOld Town is a neighborhood of San Diego, California. It contains 230 acres and is bounded by Interstate 8 on the north, Interstate 5 on the west, Mission Hills on the east and Bankers Hill on the south. It is the oldest settled area in San Diego and is the site of the first European settlement in present-day California.

It contains Old Town San Diego State Historic Park and Presidio Park, both of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Step back in time to a colorful world of fun and entertainment in beautiful Historic Old Town San Diego, where the first Europeans settled. Around every corner more history awaits you. The finest in professional theatre, artisans, galleries and shops are within easy walking distance with free live entertainment, mariachis, dancers, period attire docents providing tours and more.

Old Town San DiegoOld Town San Diego is nestled in heart of San Diego, with more than 150 shops, award-winning restaurants, 17 museums, and historical sites just a short walk from the San Diego Trolley Transit Center and a short drive from most San Diego destinations.

The earliest indications of people living in San Diego date back 9,000 years. They called themselves Kumeyaay. When the Spaniards arrived, they used the word Diegueno to identify the Indians associated with the Mission. In 1542 explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo reported that the native indians, “were good natured and an attractive people.” With the arrival of the Spanish settlements in 1769, many Kumeyaay retreated to the hills.

San Diego welcomes Gay and Lesbian travelers with a vast array of activities, including six popular annual Pride festivities, and a vibrant gay and lesbian community. Visit once and get hooked on the sunshine and spirit of a city where people from all walks of life come together to meet, shop, dine and enjoy the area’s arts, culture and nightlife.

Hillcrest, home to San Diego’s gay and lesbian community, is an exciting uptown district that celebrates diversity year-round. Strolling along its main thoroughfares, University Avenue and the tree-lined Fifth Avenue, guests are eased by the community’s openness, hospitality and quaint neighborhood charm. Hillcrest celebrates San Diego’s hip and wild side with a mix of exotic bistros, eclectic coffee houses and cafes, urban-style boutiques, nightspots and so much more.

Western Inn & Suites - San DiegoThe Western Inn & Suites hotel in San Diego features the best in business and pleasure just steps from your room! Our reasonable rates make a trip to Old Town affordable for the whole family. And all guests can start their day with a continental breakfast, compliments of Western Inn. After a day of sightseeing and fun, relax in spacious accommodations at Western Inn. You can watch a movie or check your email using our complimentary high-speed Internet access, included with every room. If you’re on a tight schedule, convenient hotel amenities like our on-site car rental service and dry cleaning are great timesavers. All rooms are non-smoking and we are an offical member of The Green Hotels Association, doing our part to protect and preserve our planet.All our rooms are Non-Smoking. Western Inn & Suites is located at 3889 Arista Street in Old Town, San Diego. (619) 298-6888.

Click here for gay travel resources in San Diego.