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Summer 2007 | Top 5 hottest summer destinations

Summer 2007 | Top 5 hottest summer destinations

Some cities are truly at their best during the summer months. Make the most of the season and make plans to discover these sunny destinations.

Straddling the Mississippi and steeped in friendly allure, Minneapolis boasts 22 lakes, tax-free shopping, cutting-edge architecture, Tony Award-winning theater, and overflowing museums.

The “Queen City of the Plains,” as it was glamorously named in 1859, Denver is a clean, elegant city with 200 parks and ten times as many restaurants. Montréal is a city passionate about enjoying itself. The second largest French-speaking metropolitan area outside of Paris displays a sexy bilingual ease.

What would summer be without a trip to the tip of the Cape? Provincetown keeps its place in the hearts of boys and girls of summer. Lesbian magnet Portland, Oregon is our top hot city. This laidback, eco-driven Pacific Northwest hotspot wins top place for its slew of captivating neighborhoods. Graze with guppies in restaurant-saturated The Pearl and Northwest. Flirt with feministas in Alberta Arts District and Hawthorne. Hang with homo hipsters in Belmont and up-and-coming Mississippi.

1 Portland, Oregon
Hotbed
Up the glam at Hotel Deluxe (729 SW 15th Ave; 503-219-2094; www.hoteldeluxeportland.com; from $149). Classic Hollywood style prevails, rooms are generous and luxurious, and downstairs' dimly lit Driftwood Room is on hand for hip sips, tasty treats and all sorts of intrigue.

Hot plates
With to-die-for city views, succulent dishes, and herbs and chickens living on its roof, Rocket (1111 E. Burnside St.; 503-236-1110; www.rocketpdx.com; from $16) is the talk of the town.

Cool drinks
Lesbian master mixstress Lucy Brennan's 820 (820 N. Russell St.; 503-284-5518; www.mintand820.com) shakes things up next door to her equally inventive restaurant, Mint.

Cool down
Check with Out Kayaking (www.outkayaking.org) when they're next hitting the water and pick up paddles at Scappoose Bay Kayaking (57420 Old Portland Rd., Warren; 503-397-2161; www.scappoosebaykayaking.com).

Hot stuff
An irresistible horde of artisan chocolates beckons from gay-owned chocolate boutique Cacao (414 SW 13th Ave.; 503-241-0656; www.cacaodrinkchocolate.com). For other distinctive overtones, Sake One (820 Elm St.; Forest Grove; 800-550-7253; www.sakeone.com), 25 miles from downtown, concocts sumptuous coconut and lemongrass brews.

2Minneapolis, Minnesota
Hotbed
Design aficionados love the Frette linens, commanding views, and stark lushness at the Graves | 601 Hotel (601 First Ave N; 612/677-1600; www.graves601hotel.com; from $169).

Hot plates
Funky, lesbian-owned Café Barbette (1600 W. Lake St; 612/827-5710; www.barbette.com; $12-32), named after a 1930's cross-dressing tightrope walker, in bohemian Uptown, exudes a relaxed neighborhood vibe.

Cool drinks
A mixed, upscale crowd is primed for the minimalist vibe and funky beats at loft-style, gay-owned JetSet (115 N. 1st St; 612/339-3933; www.jetsetbar.com).

Cool down
For a refreshing day trip, Stillwater (www.ilovestillwater.com) rests only 30 minutes away on a picturesque stretch of the St. Croix River.

Hot stuff
Sample local coop-produced wines at Northern Vineyards (223 N. Main St., Stillwater; 651-430-1032; www.northernvineyards.com) before perusing Main Street's cavalcade of antique stores.

3Denver, Colorado
Hotbed
Hotel Monaco (1717 Champa St.; 800-990-1303; www.monaco-denver.com; from $159), located in two historic buildings, also houses the Renaissance Aveda Spa & Salon, Denver's most exotic spa service.

Hot plates
Kobe beef, buffalo steak and seafood star at award-winning 1515 Restaurant (1515 Market Street; 303-571-0011; www.1515restaurant.com; $10-11).

Cool drinks
Catch a Broncos game or kick up some dust during an IGRA Bust and Show night at "straight-friendly" Charlie's (900 E. Colfax Ave.; 303-839-8890; www.charliesdenver.com), a gay country-western and pop dance club.

Cool down
Clear Creek Rafting (Idaho Springs; 800-353-9901; www.clearcreekrafting.com) operates wild whitewater rafting trips, just 30 minutes from Denver .

Hot stuff
Find funky gifts and art at gay-adored Tennyson Gallery (4369 Stuart St.; 303-832-3274).

4Montreal, Quebec
Hotbed
Boutique beds at Hotel Le Germain (2025 Rue Mansfield; 514-849-2050, hotelgermain.com; from CDN$425) provide the city's chic-est sleeps.

Hot plates
Indulge in full French flavors at Toqué's top tables (900 Pl. Jean-Paul Riopelle; 514-419-2084; restaurant-toque.com; from CDN$32).

Cool drinks
An entire block of bars, bistros, dance spaces, and other such delights make up gargantuan gay playground, Le Drugstore (1366 Rue St. Catherine E.; 514-529-8999).

Cool down
Stock up on fine picnic fare from Olive + Gourmando (351 St. Paul W.; 514-350-1083; oliveetgourmando.com) in newly revitalized Old Montréal , and picnic on Mont Royal.

Hot stuff
Succumb to square-inches of perfection, showcased in glass cabinets, at Les Chocolats de Chloé (375 Rue Roy E.; 514-849-5550).

5Provincetown, Massachusetts
Hotbed
Fairbanks Inn (90 Bradford St.; 508-487-0386; www.fairbanksinn.com; $125-295) is a lovingly restored and maintained 1776 Captain's house, once home to a bank.

Hot plates
Devon's (401-1/2 Commercial St; 508-487-4773; www.devons.org; $19-31) is a romantic, urbane spot for breakfast or for dinner, in a tiny, whitewashed fish shack with water views.

Cool drinks
The Atlantic House (or A-House; 6 Masonic Place; 508-487-3821; www.ahouse.com) is undisputedly the grand dame of the gay scene in P'town . It's easy to imagine former patrons like Tennessee Williams and Eugene O'Neill boozing it up here.

Cool down
Cape Cod National Seashore's (www.nps.gov/caco) bicycle trails cover towering dunes, lovely green thickets of oak and scrub pine, and pristine beaches.

Hot stuff
Marine Specialties (235 Commercial St; 508-487-1730) is more than a marine-supply store. It carries cool lamps, candles, fun clothing, weird toys, and everything else imaginable.

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Christopher Harrity