22 Most LGBTQ+ Friendly Cities in the United States (Updated 2024)

As a masc presenting lesbian, I always want to travel to LGBTQ+ friendly destinations. Meanwhile, as someone who travels full-time, I’m lucky to have visited many US cities.

With that first-hand knowledge and experience, here are what I believe to be the most friendly LGBTQ+ cities in the United States.

1. San Francisco, California

San Francisco is one of the most quintessential gay cities in the United States. Popular things to see and do in the city include:

  • The Golden Gate Bridge
  • Alcatraz
  • Lombard Street

San Francisco also benefits from fantastic LGBTQ+ bars, clubs and annual events. For example, the Pride that takes place here in June dates back more than 50 years.

2. New York City, New York

New York City has an extensive history of LGBTQ+ advocacy and community. Famous LGBTQ+ historical sites in the city include:

  • Stonewall Inn
  • Christopher Park
  • NYC AIDS Memorial

Given New York City’s deep LGBTQ+ history, it’s no surprise it’s one of the most LGBTQ+ cities in the United States.

Chelsea is my favourite LGBTQ+ neighbourhood. Here, you’ll find several queer-owned coffee shops, restaurants, bars and clubs where you can dance the night away.

3. Palm Springs, California

Situated in the California desert, Palm Springs is the perfect gay getaway. The city has long been a great LGBTQ+ destination, with resorts and hotels catering specifically to the community.

While Palm Springs is a great place to relax, rejuvenate, and reflect. The city also benefits from many things to see and do. Some of my favourite things to do in Palm Springs include:

  • Palm Springs Aerial Tramway
  • Palm Springs Art Museum
  • Joshua Tree National Park

4. Miami, Florida

While the state of Florida has significantly limited LGBTQ+ rights in recent years, the city of Miami is still a beacon of hope for the community. I recently travelled to Miami with my wife and son Oliver and fell in love with the city.

The South Beach district in Miami Beach is the heart of the LGBTQ+ scene. The LGBTQ+ beach here is located between 11th and 12th streets. Meanwhile, dedicated gay hotels include:

  • Axel Beach Miami
  • Hôtel Gaythering

However, as an LGBTQ+ family, we stayed at Loews Miami Beach and had the most incredible time.

5. San Diego, California

San Diego is a great place to be gay. According to the 2010 census, more than 15% of San Diego residents identify as LGBTQ+. Unsurprisingly, you’ll find many LGBTQ+ friendly restaurants, bars and clubs here.

The majority of LGBTQ+ establishments in San Diego are in the Hillcrest neighbourhood. If you’re LGBTQ+, this is a fantastic place to stay when visiting the city.

6. Boston, Massachusetts

Boston has an incredible history, both from a US and an LGBTQ+ standpoint. Meanwhile, the state of Massachusetts was the first in the US to both:

  • Legalise same-sex marriage in 2004
  • Elect an openly gay representative in 1974

I recommend spending 2 – 3 days exploring Boston. Take a walking tour around the city, and check out the gay neighbourhoods of South End, Jones Hill, Savin Hill, and Melville Park.

7. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

It’s unlikely Philadelphia is the first city you think of when you think of LGBTQ+ friendly places in the United States. However, Philadelphia is becoming increasingly queer-friendly.

The best gay-friendly neighbourhood in Philadelphia is currently Washington Square West. Here, you’ll find some fantastic gay bars, clubs, restaurants and shops.

Philadelphia is also home to several LGBTQ+ events, including OutFest and Philly Pride. Plus, unlike cities such as New York and LA, Philadelphia is also relatively affordable, making it perfect for a long weekend away.

8. Washington DC

Washington DC is a fantastic LGBTQ+ friendly city, well worth visiting for a long weekend. The city is home to the only LGBTQ+ museum in America and is steeped in LGBTQ+ history.

In 2025, Washington DC is also going to be home to WorldPride. Taking place between May 23rd and June 8th, WorldPride DC will feature a vibrant and innovative slate of events and cultural programs.

9. Portland, Oregon

If you’re looking for an LGBTQ+ friendly city break, then don’t overlook Portland. The city has everything from mountains to beaches and happy hour bars to independent bookshops.

Portland has several queer-owned businesses, LGBTQ+ communities, and events. These include Portland Pride, which takes place in July every year. Meanwhile, Portland Tourism Board also has a comprehensive webpage for all things LGBTQ+ in the city.

10. Albuquerque, New Mexico

The largest city in New Mexico, Albuquerque, has become increasingly popular with LGBTQ+ tourists in recent years.

Albuquerque has numerous local LGBTQ+ owned businesses. Meanwhile, queer-friendly hotspots in the city include Effex Nightclub and Sidewinders.

One of the best times to visit Albuquerque is October, when the city hosts the incredible International Balloon Fiesta.

11. Seattle, Washington

According to a recent survey, 12.9% of residents in Seattle identify as LGBTQ+. This, unsurprisingly, makes the city of Seattle a great place to visit as a member of the LGBTQ+ community.

The Capitol Hill neighbourhood is the centre of gay life in Seattle, with queer-friendly businesses and nightlife. Seattle Pride dates back to the 1970s and takes place every June.

12. Austin, Texas

You might not think of a city in Texas to be the best place for someone who identifies as LGBTQ+. However, Austin is a progressive, liberal haven.

In 2023, Austin scored 100 on the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index. Meanwhile, the Visit Austin website has a comprehensive guide to visiting the city as an LGBTQ+ person.

13. Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Fort Lauderdale has long been known as Florida’s gay capital and plays a vital role in LGBTQ+ history in the United States.

A must-visit location in Fort Lauderdale is the Stonewall National Museum & Archives. This is, in my opinion, the LGBTQ+ Smithsonian.

Aside from this, the city of Fort Lauderdale boasts some of the best beaches in the United States. Making it the perfect place to kick back and relax.

14. Columbus, Ohio

While Ohio as a whole is typically seen as a state unfriendly towards the LGBTQ+ community. The city of Columbus is quite the opposite.

In 2018, 4.3% of the population of Columbus identified as LGBTQ+. As such, it’s no surprise that the city boasts more than 100 queer-owned businesses. When it comes to gay nightlife in Columbus, popular spots include:

  • Axis Nightclub
  • Union Cafe
  • District West

Meanwhile, Columbus is also home to the largest gay pride event in the Midwest.

15. Madison, Wisconsin

The city of Madison is often overlooked when it comes to city breaks in the United States. However, the LGBTQ+ population in Madison is thriving, which, combined with a vibrant culture, makes it a must-visit city.

That being said, LGBTQ+ support in Madison is nothing new. Instead, the city has a rich history of advocating for gay liberation dating to before the 1969 Stonewall Riots.

16. Rochester, New York

Rochester is the third-largest city in New York. Located on the cusp of New York’s Finger Lake region, Rochester is a perfect stop on a road trip along the East Coast or as a weekend break.

As a lesbian, Park Avenue is my favourite place to stay in Rochester. This is the city’s gay neighbourhood and, as such, is home to several fantastic gay bars and clubs. Park Avenue is also within walking distance of Rochester’s most popular sites and attractions, which include:

  • George Eastman Museum
  • Seneca Park Zoo
  • Rochester Museum and Science Center

17. Minneapolis, Minnesota

Minneapolis is an excellent choice for LGBTQ+ travellers looking for a long weekend away filled with history & culture.

The city of Minneapolis has a strong LGBTQ+ community and a fantastic Pride festival. In fact, the Twin Cities Pride was recently ranked among the top 10 Pride events in the US.

When it comes to where to stay in Minneapolis, I recommend Loring Park. This neighbourhood is known for its eclectic mix of brownstones, apartments and condos. It’s also home to Minneapolis’s largest and most diverse queer community.

18. New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans is a queer-friendly city filled with history, culture and, of course, jazz!

There’s no dedicated gay neighbourhood in New Orleans. However, most of the gay bars in the city are on or near Bourbon Street, the French Quarter’s world-renowned party spot.

When it comes to the best time to visit New Orleans, it has to be during Mardi Gras.

Mardi Gras celebrations begin on the “12th night” and end on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. It costs a lot more to visit New Orleans during Mardi Gras. However, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I highly recommend it.

19. Orlando, Florida

It’s no secret that LGBTQ+ rights in the state of Florida have been dramatically reduced in recent years. However, Orlando remains a fantastic place to visit as an LGBTQ+ person.

Orlando will always have a special place in my heart. It’s where I proposed to my wife and where we got married the following year. It’s also somewhere we love to visit as a family with our children, thanks to the likes of Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando.

There are no particular gay-friendly neighbourhoods in Orlando. Instead, the city as a whole is very accepting. In fact, I’ve never seen as many pride flags in any city as I did driving around Orlando.

20. Denver, Colorado

Denver, Colorado, consistently ranks as one of the gayest cities in America. This LGBTQ+ hotspot offers plenty of things to see and do, perfect for relaxation and adventure.

The city’s annual Pridefest is held in June and has one of the highest attendance rates of any pride event in the US.

When it comes to the best LGBTQ+ neighbourhoods in Denver, I recommend East Colfax Avenue or South Broadway. Both have many gay-friendly bars and clubs, most of which are open seven nights a week.

21. Nashville, Tennessee

Nashville, Tennesse, is not only the home of Country music but also a fantastic LGBTQ+ community.

The city of Nashville boasts a wide range of LGBTQ-owned businesses. However, the annual Pride festival stands out as the best time to visit the city. Nashville Pride takes place in June and has featured artists such as:

  • Lizzo
  • Salt N Pepa
  • Betty Who

22. Las Vegas, Nevada

The people of Las Vegas are very open-minded, so it’s no surprise that being LGBTQ+ is well accepted here.

Las Vegas has many gay events, such as pool parties, gay nights and the Las Vegas Pride. Meanwhile, gay bars and clubs in Vegas include:

  • Free Zone
  • The Garage
  • Flair Nightclub


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