The city has come a long way from its coal port city origins. Today, it's a charmingly cosmopolitan place to explore. Home to fascinating buildings like the Cardiff Bay Visitors Centre and the Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff offers upscale dining, art galleries, and shopping. The bay is also an excellent place to explore the Bristol Channel by birdwatching along the Wetland Reserve, walking along one of the many docks, or taking a cruise down the Channel.
Cardiff also knows how to party, throwing the UK's biggest gay event of all: Cardiff Mardi Gras. Forty thousand people come to this summer event each year to see an eclectic array of live music and events centered around the city's oldest landmark, Cardiff Castle. Nightlife tends to be young and intimate, largely dominated by students from Cardiff's four universities. And most of the gay pubs and clubs can be found on Charles Street or in nearby Bute Terrace.
Like the city itself, Cardiff’s gay scene is small and compact – but with something for everyone. The main venues are focused around Charles Street and Churchill Way in the city centre, all within walking distance of each other. An historic pub with a traditional glazed tile exterior, The Golden Cross is popular with a predominantly male, 30-something crowd – indulging its camp side with karaoke, cabaret and occasional strippers. Mary's is a luxury bar with a plush interior, cutting edge design and a great atmosphere allows you to just sit back, relax and watch the world go by on St Mary’s Street. Eagle is Cardiff’s small-but-tough men-only gay bar, with occasional theme nights and something to suit every fancy. Locker Room is Cardiff’s gay sauna, complete with steam room and a range of other facilities. WOW Bar appeals to a young, student crowd with DJs, live music, cabaret and drinks deals. Spread across two floors and a roof terrace, The Kings is a large, modern bar attracting a young gay/lesbian/mixed crowd – it’s the official pre-bar to gay dance club Pulse, which attracts a similar young, mixed crowd of party people and university students. For drag aficionados, Minsky’s Showbar is popular with hen nights, stag nights and birthday celebrations as well as cabaret-loving gays and lesbians.