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Los Angeles, with its gorgeous beaches lined with palm trees swaying in the gentle sea breezes, its throngs of gay and lesbian bars, clubs, shops and restaurants, is not so much a great gay travel destination, as a gay paradise. So it’s little wonder that it has a rapidly expanding gay community amongst the city’s population of 17 million people.
If it was the silver screen that created Hollywood, and turned it into a byword for glitz and glamour, it is now governed by the value-system that it spawned. This is the ‘City of Angels’ after all, and with movie-stars competing with one another for attention on the Sunset Strip, and their gay counterparts doing likewise on Santa Monica Boulevard, physical beauty is high on the agenda.
From the pumped gym-goers to the gorgeous sun-kissed beach-loungers, L.A.’s image-obsession at times seems to know no bounds. And it doesn’t get much more image-obsessed than West Hollywood – WeHo to the initiated – where beautiful gay men and women come together to eat, drink, cruise and have a good time.
Los Angeles is a city that loves to eat out, and it goes without saying that gay Angelenos are obviously no exception. Many of the restaurants in West Hollywood, and to an even greater extent, on Santa Monica Boulevard, cater to a largely gay clientele.
There, a welter of top-class restaurants can furnish you with great food and even better opportunities for people-watching. In addition to its many gay and lesbian bars and clubs, Santa Monica Boulevard also has a vast array of gay-interest shops. Elsewhere in Hollywood, the LGBT Center on North Hudson Avenue is held to be the biggest gay and lesbian organization anywhere in the world.
If you fancy a little excursion, (and providing you don’t get caught in the traffic) an hour’s drive from central Los Angeles takes you to Long Beach where another energetic gay scene can be found. The ‘Broadway Corridor’, as it’s known to Long Beach residents, has a large number of gay-owned businesses, and is a great shopping destination, as well as having the usual array of bustling cafes, smart restaurants and bars.