Life is an adventure and a bucket list can be your guide. What experiences do you want to have before you “kick the bucket?”
The term “bucket list” has been around since the early aughts and was made famous by the film of the same name, starring Jack Nicolson and Morgan Freeman. Since then, it has become part of our aspirational lexicon.
There are no shortage of bucket list ideas out there but what about items for an LGBTQ+ version? We have 50 ideas for you to add to your bucket list, or go wild and make this list your own.
1. Attend Mardi Gras in Sydney, Australia. Sydney is one of the most LGBTQ+-friendly places on the planet and their annual Gay and Lesbian Mardis Gras is a must for anyone who likes to travel abroad.
2. Take an Olivia Cruise. Olivia started as a women’s music record label but has evolved into the premiere travel company for queer women and their friends. They offer trips all over the world.
3. Attend The Dinah. Few parties are as infamous as the Dinah Shore. Join thousands of queer women in the California desert for a weekend of music, dancing and more.
4. Go to Bear Week or Women’s Week in Provincetown. Provincetown is a destination for all LGBTQ+ folks, especially in the summer and fall months. Check out their event calendar to see what fits your style.
5. Visit Stonewall. In the fight for LGBTQ+ rights, the Stonewall Rebellion marks the turning point. Check out the square, grab a drink at the Stonewall Inn and plan a trip for when the Stonewall National Monument Visitor’s Center opens in 2024.
6. Make like Gentleman Jack and experience Shibden Hall. Considered the first modern lesbian, diarist Anne Lister once inhabited her beloved Shibdon Hall in West Yorkshire, England. The hall welcomes visitors and was featured in HBO’s “Gentleman Jack” series.
9. Visit the location of your favorite gay movie. Love “Carol?” Did you know it was filmed in Cincinnati, Ohio? See the world through Ellio’s eyes in the Lombardy region of Northern Italy.
10. Attend a queer icon’s concert. Madonna. Kylie Minogue. Cher. Beyoncé. There are so many divas and icons to celebrate live in concert.
11. Go to a gay rodeo. Saddle up and catch a gay rodeo in places like Sante Fe, NM or San Francisco. The International Gay Rodeo Association has a running list of official events here. You had us at cowboys.
12. Visit a lesbian bar. There are fewer than 30 lesbian bars left in the U.S. and they need support to keep their doors open. Find a bar close to you, or make it an adventure.
13. Support a queer film festival. Outfest, Newfest, Frameline, aGLIFF and many more independent and LGBTQ+-focused film festivals happen yearly. Supporting film fests supports queer film!
14. Check out a gayborhood. There are several gayborhoods in the country, like Northhalstead in Chicago or Saugatuck, Michigan. These areas are queer-centric, with lots of LGBTQ+-owned businesses and attractions.
15. Hit the beach at Fire Island. It’s hard to find a more iconic gay destination than Fire Island in New York. Only reachable by ferry, the queer enclave has been the spot of much history for the LGBTQ+ community over the last century.
16. Book a trip with a queer travel agency. Want to travel knowing everything has been vetted for your safety and enjoyment? Then book a queer trip with a queer travel agency. You may pay a little but with that investment comes experience and extensive knowledge of where to safely travel as an LGBTQ+ person.
17. Cheer for a WNBA or National Women’s Soccer League team in person. Nearly 100 Women’s World Cup players identify as LGBTQ+. For the WNBA, it’s around 35. Support women’s sports and queer folks at the same time.
18. Visit the GLBT Historical Society Museum. San Francisco’s Castro District museum has an incredible collection of LGBTQ+ history and artifacts.
19. Attend a drag show. Haven’t been to a drag show yet? Drag performers need our support now more than ever. Plus, you’ll have a blast.
20. Take a queer road trip. From New York’s West Village to California’s Palm Springs, there are so many excellent queer sites across the U.S. Stay in LGBTQ+-owned establishments along the way.
21. Experience queer culture in another country. The U.S. is far from the only place with rich LGBTQ+ culture. Head to Puerto Vallarta, Berlin, Sydney, Sao Paulo or one of many other queer-welcoming destinations.
22. Make LGBTQ+ friends. It may feel like a no-brainer but making queer and trans friends can greatly improve your social life and create long-lasting bonds to help get you through the tough times.
23. Read Lambda Literary Award-winning books. Lambda champions queer literary excellence and is an excellent resource for finding LGBTQ+ books and authors.
24. Take a queer class in person or online. Check out this list of classes you can take now!
25. Make queer art! Paint a mural and throw some clay. Your art is queer because you made it.
26. Run for local office. There are more LGBTQ+ people in office now than ever before, which helps make this country a more just and inclusive place. Your city council, school or library board could use someone like you.
27. Write a book of queer poetry, romance, memoir or anything. It doesn’t matter if it ever gets professionally published. You have something important to share.
28. Attend an LGBTQ+ conference. There are LGBTQ+ conferences for everything from faith to social justice to travel.
29. Cosplay at a queer convention. Is that Xena costume burning a hole in the back of your closet? Show your love for the Warrior Princess or your favorite queer character at a Comicon or fan convention.
30. Attend a queer event alone and introduce yourself to people. Going anywhere alone can feel intimidating but queer events are often created in a way to welcome newbies and solo attendees. Give it a shot!
31. Sing karaoke at a gay bar. Yes, sometimes karaoke night is full of talented folks, but you also won’t find a more welcoming (and forgiving) crowd to show off your Liza.
32. Complete a will. Yes, it’s scary to think about, but creating a will helps protect and provide for your loved ones, pets and friends after you pass.
33. Participate in a Pride parade. Not just attend: participate. Volunteer to walk with a group, help decorate a float, get a booth and share your wares.
34. Join an LGBTQ+ group. Did you know there are groups for gays who love to bowl and lesbians who bake? Follow your passion and then find a group that aligns with you!
35. Get set up on a date. Forget app dating for a minute. Don’t answer that Grindr notification for a second. Get set up by a friend/colleague/acquaintance and see where things take you.
36. Find an LGBTQ+ or LGBTQ+ friendly physician. Finding a doctor who gets you can be challenging, but your health is important and you deserve a physician who understands your unique needs as a queer or trans person. Ask around and check your local LGBTQ+ center for recommendations.
37. Plan a queer community for retirement. The Golden Girls had it right! Many LGBTQ+ people don’t have children or families to rely on as we age. Finding friends to invest in property or that you can tolerate as you reach your golden years will make for a much happier retirement.
38. Get that gay haircut. Get that mullet. Try that perm. Go platinum. Visit your local queer stylist or salon and get that haircut you’ve always thought about.
39. Take a queer fitness or yoga class. Whether you find one in your area or take it online, you will be welcome in hundreds of queer-centric fitness classes.
40. Join a queer community or intermural sports team. Team sports can be incredibly fulfilling and wonderful places to make new friends while crushing the competition.
41. Learn partner dancing. Seeing same-sex dance partners isn’t something most LGBTQ+ people grew up with, but many studios welcome couples to learn the Cha-cha, Tango and more.
42. Go on an LGBTQ+ hiking trip. Grab your boots and hit the trails with a group of LGBTQ+ folks who can encourage you along the way.
43. Run, walk or roll in a 5K for an LGBTQ+ charity. It doesn’t matter how you participate; just get out there. Raise some money and have a great experience at the same time.
44. Go to the GLAAD Awards. Mix and mingle among LGBTQ+ stars and allies while supporting positive representation in media. You could even bid on an auction prize.
45. Volunteer with an LGBTQ+ organization. Giving your time is a huge gift to the recipient and yourself.
46. Organize an LGBTQ+ charity event or fundraiser. Throw a party or virtual event and raise funds for your local LGBTQ+ center or favorite charity.
47. Start a scholarship program for LGBTQ+ youth. Want to invest your money in something important and valuable? Support a queer or trans student at your alma mater and make a lasting legacy.
48. Join an LGBTQ+ nonprofit board. Not only is being a board member a valuable experience, but it’s also impressive to put on your resume. Look into your local LGBTQ+ resources and see if you can dedicate your time. Here’s a list to get you started.
49. Donate personal items to an LGBTQ+ archive. One day, your pictures, writings and souvenirs will inspire someone else and capture this moment for future generations. There are archives in most states, often housed at universities or through community organizations.
50. Attend a protest. There are many opportunities for you to stand up for what you believe in and lend your voice to a movement. Remember, Pride is a protest.
As you’ve read through this curated list of 50 unforgettable experiences, the question isn’t just about what you want to do before you kick the bucket; it’s about embracing a well-lived life.
A bucket list isn’t just a checklist; it’s a testament to who you are and your determination to live on your own terms. As you’ve read through this curated list of 50 unforgettable experiences, the question isn’t just about what you want to do before you kick the bucket; it’s about embracing a life well lived.
As you create your ultimate queer bucket list, remember that your story is integral to the ever-evolving narrative of LGBTQ+ triumphs, struggles, and resilience.