LGBT History Walking Tours for Every City

LGBT History Month is coming up in the U.S. (October) and the weather is finally cooling down enough to walk around without becoming dehydrated. Chances are that there is a LGBT history walking tour you can take near you, either self-guided or narrated. If there isn't one, you can use Quist's free map to make your own from the queer historic points listed around the world! And I should note here before we dive in that none of these places paid me or asked me for their placement here.

Guided Tours By Tour Companies
San Francisco's most popular LGBT history walking tour is Cruisin' the Castro ($30). A fun alternative is Drag Me Along Tours ($20) led by Countess Lola Montez (out of commission for the moment due to injury).

Chicago is a underrecognized hub of LGBT history in terms of historic sites and LGBT history projects. Every summer Saturday there's a Sexual History of Chicago Tour for $15. No reservation needed, just show up to join. The Legacy Walk is a notable and unique area to stop by while you're there, but it is self-guided.

Of course New York City has it's own. There are many tour options through Oscar Wilde Tours, including the East Village, Greenwich Village and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Most tours are two hours and cost $30-60. Private tours start at $200. Oscar Wilde Tours also does special guided LGBT history tours in Europe. In 2015-2017 they have planned trips to London, Paris, Italy, Dublin and Greece.

Also in New York City, Rick Landman does a lower Manhattan tour ($300) and Big Onion does a Greenwich Village tour ($20).

Los Angeles also has a tour for you. Out and About Tours has options for walking tours and for bus tours. Gay LA Downtown Walking Tours are going for $22.50 per person right now.

There's a Miami tour that happens once per month for $25 by the Miami Design Preservation League.

New Orleans has three (!) options. Get all of the info from the LGBT Community Center of New Orleans.

Outside of the U.S. there are sure to be more that we couldn't find because of the language barrier, but we do know that in Europe LondonCopenhagen, Amsterdam, Barcelona and Berlin all do have LGBT history walking tours. Johannesburg also has a walking tour and a bus tour.

Many cities don't have ongoing tours regularly, but they do put them on for special occasions like Pride. We try to capture them all in our calendar of LGBT history events around the world.

Guided Tours by LGBT History Archives
Sporadically the Rainbow History Project in Washington, D.C. holds group walking tours of Capitol Hill and other neighborhoods, but you can also contact them to set up getting one yourself at a time that works for you.

Another archives that does tours is Centrum Schwule Geschichte Köln of Cologne, Germany. I was able to set up a free, private tour in English while I was there and highly recommend it.

Some archives also do very occasional (say one per year) walking tours of their city. Boston has one coming up on October 3, for example. Quist lists all of these on this global calendar.

Self-Guided Tours By App
The only worldwide app-based LGBT history map is in Quist. We added this feature in June 2015 and have almost 600 locations mapped on six continents. This one is why I can title this post "every city." :) Beyond LGBT/HIV historic sites and LGBT/HIV memorials/monuments, we also list museums and archives related to LGBT history.

In Brighton, you can use the Brighton Pink Plaques free app to guide yourself through the English streets by time (i.e. 19th century) or theme (i.e. pubs).

One of the first queer history apps I ever found was Queerstory, a free app that gives you a LGBT walking tour of 35 locations in Toronto. They also have a web version so you don't need a smartphone with apps to use it.

Self-Guided Tours By Other Media
There are so many to list, but here are a few to get you started. All of the United Kingdom has a LGBT history map online and so does the entire United States.

Whose Streets, Our Streets is a web-based mapping project for queer New York City heritage. It only has 14 markers and they are all in Manhattan, but it has potential.

There was a radio series in Australia of Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence narrating a historical walking tour of queer Sydney and Melbourne that you can still listen to online.

The Rainbow History Project in Washington, D.C. has great itineraries available at the link for you to print out or view on your mobile device for several neighborhoods.

Manchester in the U.K. has a series of rainbow mosaic plaques around the city as part of a LGBT Heritage Walk. Once in a while they hold a guided walk of them. Quist's post on LGBT history things to see in Manchester can also help you find your way around.

The Gay and Lesbian Archives of the Pacific Northwest has a webpage full of all of the places to see in Portland, OR.

There are also guides for Los Angeles and Charleston, SC.

Armchair Tourism
Whenever I travel for a conference or speaking gig, I go to as many LGBT historic sites as I can and document it all for you if it isn't somewhere you'll be able to go in person. So far I have photo albums and videos up for Northern England, Amsterdam, Tucson, San Francisco, Chicago and more. Just a couple of days ago I put the album from last week's trip to Mexico City.

It's all part of a series called Quistory in your Neighborhood that is ongoing. Subscribe to Quist's Facebook page and YouTube channel to find out when I put out new content related to LGBT history travel.


Did I miss any? Have you walked any of these?