Destination Deep-Dive 8 MINS READ

The 10 Best LGBTQ-Friendly Cities In The USA

The 10 Best LGBTQ-Friendly Cities In The USA

Destination Deep-Dive 8 MINS READ
Pride celebration.

From coast to coast and in between, the United States is filled with destinations that welcome and embrace the LGBTQ+ community. 

While large cities like New York and San Francisco are still the preferred destinations for same-sex couples, there’s a wide variety of accepting environments across the country, including atmospheric towns like Charleston and Providence.

We’ve rounded up the USA 10 destinations that are home to not only thriving gay communities but also a variety of events, pride celebrations, and cultural happenings for the  LGBTQ+ people. Have a look below and take your pick!

The Top 10 LGBTQ+ Friendly Cities In The United States

San Francisco, California

Castro district on July 21, 2011 in San Francisco, USA. Castro is one of the United States' first and best-known gay neighborhoods, and it is currently its largest.

Home to one of the largest and most prominent LGBTQ+ communities in all the United States, San Francisco is consistently ranked as the best city for gay travel in the country. 

The first city in the US to legalize gay marriage, and home to the first openly gay elected official, Harvey Milk, San Francisco is also known as the “gay capital of the world” and “the gay Mecca”, boasting a variety of pride events, stores, restaurants, bars, art galleries, and nightclubs that make the LGBTQ population feel at home.

From taking in the gay-friendly atmosphere in the iconic The Castro neighborhood to participating in the colorful The San Francisco Pride parade and walking the city’s Rainbow Honor Walk, there’s plenty to see and do in the city.

LGBTQ Friendly Places To Visit In San Francisco, California: Lion Dance Café, Pentacle Coffee, Twin Peaks Tavern, Third Culture Bakery, Haute Butch Clothing

LGBTQ Friendly Neighborhoods In San Francisco, California: The Castro, The Mission, North Beach

Find Places To Stay in San Fransico, California

Recommended Read: The Ultimate San Francisco Travel Guide, The 20 Best Restaurants In San Francisco, The 15 Most Instagrammable Places In San Francisco

New Orleans, Louisiana

Colorful rainbow flags in the French Quarter

Known for its soulful atmosphere that is fueled by tantalizing music venues, historic squares, and vibrant annual festivals, (we’re looking at you, Mardi Gras), New Orleans is actually is a surprising hub for the gay community.

Often regarded as one of the gayest cities in the United States, New Orleans boasts a wide variety of gay bars, especially around  French Quarter’s “Lavender Line”, and Bourbon Street, which are perfect for a fun night out.

Tolerant, and progressive New Orleans is a perfect gay-friendly destination for singles and couples who are seeking to experience one of the most tempting nightlife in the country.

LGBTQ Friendly Places To Visit In New Orleans, Louisiana:  Bourbon Pub Parade, Pythian Market, Faubourg Marigny Book Store, Oz Nightclub,

LGBTQ Friendly Neighborhoods In New Orleans, Louisiana: French Quarter

Find Places To Stay In New Orleans, Louisiana

New York City, New York

Greenwich Village's annual gay pride parade & festival commemorates the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots

In Brooklyn, neighborhoods like Park Slope, Windsor Terrace, East Williamsburg, Bushwick, and Bed-Stuy were found to be the among the most LGBT-friendly neighborhoods in the borough

Home to one of the largest LGBTQ populations in the world, New York is a true mecca for the queer community. The city houses around 756,000 LGBTQ+ residents, aside from having Anti-discrimination laws that include sexual orientation and gender identity and cover discrimination in many places, from work to public spaces.

One of the best cities for LGBTQ travelers, New York boasts a diverse collection of gay-friendly areas, like Greenwich Village, Chelsea, Brooklyn, and Queens, aside from a fun gay nightlife and many LGBTQ-owned bars and businesses.

Every year, the city draws jostling crowds of people that are dreaming of experience the bustling Pride Month, a series of vibrant pride events, including the world-famous New York City Pride parade, that inspire, educate, commemorate and celebrate the city’s diverse community.

LGBTQ Owned Places To Visit In New York City, New York:  Big Gat Ice Cream, Baz Bagels, Fonda Comida Mexicana, Julius Bar

LGBTQ Friendly Neighborhoods In New York: Chelsea, East Village, Hell’s Kitchen, East Williamsburg (Brooklyn), Bushwick (Brooklyn)

Find Places To Stay In New York City, New York

Austin, Texas

Austin, Texas  at night.

Proudly living up to its motto “Keep Austin Weird”, Austin is an up-and-coming LGBTQ-friendly city praised for its thriving art scene and dazzling wealth of attractions.

Whether you feel like trying the funky ice creams at the gay-owned Lick Ice Creams, explore the trendy art galleries in the East Austin neighborhood, or grab a drink at the lesbian-owned Cheer Up Charlies, the city has exactly what it takes to make you feel welcome.

LGBTQ Owned Places To Visit In Austin, Texas: Cheer Up Charlies, Crema Bakery, Lick Ice Creams, la Barbecue

LGBTQ Friendly Neighborhoods In Austin, Texas: East Austin, Clarksville, Downtown Austin

Find Places To Stay In Austin, Texas

West Hollywood, California

Hollywood Sign view from Gower Street , Los Angeles, California.

Known for its irresistible buzz and vibrancy, West Hollywood rewards gay and lesbian travelers with a welcoming atmosphere that’s steeped in a rich tradition of pride and acceptance. The city became the first majority-gay municipality in the country in 1984, and more than 40% of its population is LGBTQ residents.

Not by chance, West Hollywood is filled with a stellar concoction of hip restaurants, bars, and shopping that are welcoming towards the LGBTQ population. Not to mention the fact that all of West Hollywood’s hotels are LGBTQ-friendly!

Luxury and glamour set the tone in West Hollywood, making it the perfect destination for couples who are looking for a plush experience in California.

LGBTQ Friendly Places To Visit In West Hollywood, California: The Abbey Bar, Hamburger Mary’s for drag queen bingo nights, Fiesta Cantina

LGBTQ Friendly Neighborhoods In West Hollywood, California: The entire city is LGBTQ+ Friendly!

Find Places To Stay Near West Hollywood, California

Miami, Florida

Pride parade along Ocean Drive, South Beach, Miami.

Brimming with lush gardens, art-deco buildings, tempting shopping spots, and some of the best beaches in the United States, Miami is a bustling gay city that welcomes over a million LGBTQ+ travelers each year.

The South Beach neighborhood is a hub for South Florida’s LGBTQ life and culture, and it’s filled with gay-friendly businesses, from bars to restaurants and shops, aside from hosting the Miami Beach Pride every April.

Other gay-friendly areas worth exploring in Miami are Wynwood, and the adjacent Design District, which is famous for its thriving creative scene, and world-class dining.

If you have extra time, make sure to head over to For Lauderdale, where you’ll be spoilt for choice with beaches, a bustling gay nightlife in Wilton Manors, and one of the largest LGBTQ communities in the entire country.

LGBTQ Friendly Places To Visit In Miami, Florida: Rosie’s Bar & Grill, Wynwood Walls, Little Havana, R House Wynwood restaurant, Hôtel Gaythering,

LGBTQ Friendly Neighborhoods In Miami, Florida: South Beach, Coconut Grove

Find Places To Stay In Miami, Florida

Providence, Rhode Island

Providence, Rhode Island.

One of the oldest cities in the USA, Providence is home to a thriving gay scene. Located in Rhode Island, which is frequently referred to as one of the United States’ most LGBT-friendly states, the city combines an irresistible New England charm with must-visit historic attractions and a wide variety of attractions that are welcoming to the queer community. Not to mention that its Providence is also home to New England’s only two gay bathhouses: Club Body Center and Mega-Plex!

Curious fact: Providence was home to the first openly gay mayor of a US capital.

LGBTQ Friendly Places To Visit In Providence, Rhode Island: Tini Restaurant/Bar, Camille’s Restaurant, Mirabar, Rooftop at the ProvidenceG

LGBTQ Friendly Neighborhoods In Providence, Rhode Island: Downtown Providence, West End, Lower South Providence

Find Places To Stay In Rhode Island, USA

Kansas City, Missouri

View at Kansas City, Missouri, at dusk.

Travelers are surprised to find, in Kansas City, a vibrant community that makes the city one of the top LGBTQ destinations in the USA.

Deeply cosmopolitan and ever-endearing, Kansas city hosts LGBTQ-friendly annual celebrations, and cultural happenings, aside from being home to bars, restaurants, and nightclubs.

Plus, the city also houses the Kansas City Center for Inclusion, Inc, which is open seven days a week and serves all segments of the LGBTQ community in the city.

LGBTQ Friendly Places To Visit In Kansas City, Missouri: Howl at the Moon, Jazz, A Louisiana Kitchen, Mosaic Ultra Lounge, Shark Bar

LGBTQ Friendly Neighborhoods In Kansas City, Missouri: Brookside, Midtown, and Westport

Find Places To Stay In Kansas City, Missouri

Charleston, South Carolina

Shops line Broad street in the French Quarter. The French Quarter is within the original walled city of Charleston.

One of the oldest cities in South Carolina, Charleston also happens to be one of the most LGBT-friendly cities in the state. The city has an ever-evolving gay scene, and year after year, it keeps finding ways to support the local LGBTQ community with a variety of resources.

Regarded for its lovely cobblestone streets, and picture-perfect historic houses, South Carolina is one of The 10 Most Romantic Weekend Getaways In The U.S, and therefore a prime destination for gay couples who planning a honeymoon or simply a cozy trip together.

Gay-friendly activities on offer include lively festivals like the annual Charleston Pride celebration, trendy nightclubs such as Dudley’s on Ann, and lip-smacking restaurants like BLU.

LGBTQ Friendly Places To Visit In Charleston, South Carolina: Dudley’s on Ann, BLU, The Rooftop Bar at Vendue, Bin 152 wine bar

LGBTQ Friendly Neighborhoods In Charleston, South Carolina: Park Circle, and Riverland Terrace

Find Places To Stay In Charleston, South Carolina

Portland, Oregon

The crowd moves under the famous Portland Sign during the 2018 Pride Parade through the streets of downtown Portland.

The whirlwind of LGBTQ-friendly activities in Portland is so strikingly copious, that travelers won’t have trouble filling up their itinerary.

Queer community events held in the city include everything from film festivals, like the Portland Queer Film Festival, monthly gay skating sessions, and even flea markets supporting LGBT-owned businesses.

The first major city to elect an openly gay mayor (Sam Adams in 2008), Portland boasts a no shortage of LGBTQ-owned and queer-friendly bars and clubs, aside from award-winning drag show options.

LGBTQ Friendly Places To Visit In Portland, Oregon: Vault Cocktail Lounge, Escape Bar & Grill, Prism Fit Gym, Local Lounge

LGBTQ Friendly Neighborhoods In Portland, Oregon: Burnside Triangle

Find Places To Stay In Oregon, USA

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best places for LGBTQ+ people to live in the USA?

Some of the best cities for LGBTQ+ people to live in the USA are: San Francisco (California), Chicago (Ilinois), Palm Springs (California), Austin (Texas), Los Angeles (California), Miami (Florida), and Denver (Colorado).

What is the gayest state in the US?

Considered one of the most progressive states in the country, and home to worldwide known LGBTQ+ cities like San Francisco, California is the gayest state in the USA.

What is the gayest city in the world?

Tel Aviv, in Israel, was considered the #1 gay city in the world.

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