Bargain hunters, part 2

Posted on 01 Mar 2007 at 5:46pm
By Andrew Collins Contributing Travel Writer

Singles wanting an inexpensive getaway should try one of these options



Montreal is a great, gay-friendly destination. (Photo by Tourisme-Montreal)

We’ve compiled a list of inexpensive destinations for singles looking for romance and more.

Austin, Texas

What could be cheaper that a three-hour road trip? Austin folks like to say that they live in the “un-Texas” Texas, a land of green rolling hills, beautiful lakes and rivers and a progressive populace with an urbane alternative arts and music scene.

As Austin has boomed in recent years, its costs have risen, but it’s still a good value, especially when it comes to dining out Austin has scads of superb restaurants. The bar scene is compact and the crowds friendly, and the presence of the University of Texas adds a youthful edge. There’s also Hippie Hollow, a free and friendly spot to cruise and make new friends especially during Memorial Day weekend’s First Splash.

Portland, Ore.

Like Austin, funky Portland has received an influx of newcomers, but it’s still scaled-down and user-friendly with much of the culture, attitude and excitement of Seattle and San Francisco at a fraction of the price.

This midsize metropolis sits on the Willamette River, and foodies recognize it as one of America’s great gourmet bargains. Fans of historic hotels and inns appreciate the reasonable rates offered at several excellent properties within walking distance of the gay bars along Stark Street. The feminist scene here is one of America’s most pronounced, making this a potentially excellent vacation spot if you’re a single lesbian hoping to find a like-minded soul.

Montreal, Quebec

For American travelers, Canada is less of a bargain than it was five years ago. Still, Montreal can be a steal, with numerous gay-friendly hotels and inns charging as little as $50 or $60 per night.

This fun-loving city is a great destination for bar-hoppers the singles scene is frisky and sexy, and sultry gay saunas dot the landscape, appealing to guys of all ages and tastes. The city also has dozens of affordable cafes and coffeehouses, many of them in the hip Gay Village.

Chicago, Ill.

Vibrant and friendly low-attitude bars and clubs and a slew of cheap but delicious dining destinations entice impecunious gay travelers. Chicago has lovely beaches in addition to the lakeshore parks, and budget-friendly neighborhoods like Wicker Park, Bucktown and Andersonville add to the lure of the city.

You’ll find a handful of small, reasonably priced motels, hotels and inns to the north, in or near the city’s gay-popular Lakeview neighborhood. The glorious skyline is free to admire. To see even more, the Chicago Transit Authority visitor passes provide unlimited CTA transportation for one to five days, allowing you to save your dollars for more meaningful expenses.

Sacramento, Calif.

California’s underrated capital is a dark-horse candidate as one of the nation’s top gay singles destinations, but keep an open mind about it. Although within a two-hour drive of much pricier San Francisco and Lake Tahoe, here you can easily find rooms for under $100. It claims a vibrant (if inconspicuous) gay community that is remarkably friendly and diverse in age it’s an easy place to meet locals. Accommodations range from the gay-owned and upscale Inn at Parkside and Hartley House Inn to a slew of cheap, comfortable chain motels.

Andrew Collins

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 2, 2007

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