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The top 10 LGBTQ + friendly cities

The top 10 LGBTQ + friendly cities

Recently, my husband and I embarked on our house search. We finally decided that we needed at least

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Recently, my husband and I embarked on our house search. We finally decided that we needed at least one two-bedroom house that was somewhat updated, had enough land for our dog and close enough to a city (my husband is an urban person, I am not). We got a number of houses we liked, but one we especially loved was on an old apple orchard, about 25 minutes from a small town. We were addicted – the kitchen was beautiful, and the grounds were more than we thought we would ever get.

Then we went to look at it. There was nothing wrong with the house or the land, but we quickly realized it was the location that was not going to work. It was pretty clear from the moment we arrived in town that this area was not entirely LGBTQ + friendly. With hateful rhetoric on many of the political signs along the street, we knew this small town in Maine could not be for us, just as much as we loved the house itself.

This is an all too common experience for LGBTQ + couples. That’s why I want to share with you some of the most LGBTQ + friendly towns in the US that are not only home to many LGBTQ + businesses, but also offer a wealth of resources.

And before you say anything, yes, I left out the obvious one – San Francisco – in favor of some more money-friendly cities.

CityBest for
Hallowell, MEArt opportunities
Austin, TXSmall Business Owners
Pittsburgh, PAAffordability
Columbus, OHLarge community
Kansas City, MOEntrepreneurs
Ogunquit, METheater events
Northampton, MACollege students
Tucson, AZEarly retirees
Miami, FLBeach lovers
New Orleans, LANightlife

Hallowell, ME

Top 10 LGBTQ-Friendly Cities for Millennials - Hallowell, ME

  • LGBTQ + population: 2.1% of the population.
  • Local resources: LGBT Justice Fund, Equality Maine, MaineTransNet.

I’ll be honest, I live right next to Hallowell and spend a considerable amount of time there, but that’s exactly why I know it’s one of the most inclusive towns in Maine. With a population of just under 3,000, their city center features a variety of art galleries, bars (one of which hosts a drag night each month), and coffee shops along the river.

Personally, I know of a handful of businesses owned by LGBTQ + people in Hallowell, so this town is definitely LGBTQ + business friendly. And if you’re an artist of any kind, whether it’s a musician, painter, writer, etc. is, you will get a job in Hallowell. From art galleries to a vibrant local music scene, there’s something for everyone.

Finally, if you are looking for a relatively low-cost-of-living area, Hallowell offers both homes and rental properties that are affordable. My husband and I actually looked at a few homes in Hallowell that were well below the $ 200,000 range.

Austin, TX

Top 10 LGBTQ-Friendly Cities for Millennials - Austin, TX

  • LGBTQ + population: 5.3% of the population.
  • Local resources: Atticus Circle, Equality Texas, Out Youth, The Q.

Many people do not think Texas is that LGBTQ + friendly, but Austin is actually one of the highest rated LGBTQ + communities in the country.

In Austin, you’ll see tons of bumper stickers and signs with the slogan “keep Austin weird” – and in many ways that’s exactly what Austin is. With an eclectic array of bars, restaurants and galleries, you will find everything you can think of here.

Although Austin has a higher cost of living, the higher average salary makes up for it somewhat. Plus, Austin is currently growing significantly, so it’s perfect for small business owners.

Pittsburgh, PA

Top 10 LGBTQ-Friendly Cities for Millennials - Pittsburg, PA

  • LGBTQ + population: ~ 3%.
  • Local resources: PGH Equality Center, Dreams of Hope.

Pittsburgh has the smallest population of LGBTQ + people on this list, but it is also one of the most affordable. Many homes in Pittsburgh are priced at $ 300,000 or less – which is very low since Pittsburgh is a big city.

If you like a funky scene, Pittsburgh has a lot to offer. The Ace Hotel is just one example of a business that employs many LGBTQ + people and they offer a variety of opportunities for LGBTQ + and non-LGBTQ + people.

Columbus, OH

Top 10 LGBTQ Friendly Cities for Millennials - Columbus, OH

  • LGBTQ + population: 6.7% of the population.
  • Local resources: Stonewall Columbus, Equality Ohio.

Columbus has one of the highest LGBTQ + populations in the U.S. after San Francisco and New York, so if you’re looking for a great LGBTQ + community with some amazing resources, Columbus might be the perfect match for you.

With dozens of pubs, restaurants and retail locations owned and operated by those in the LGBTQ + community, you will find a vibrant scene in the streets of Columbus.

And while Ohio does not have a lot of protections for LGBTQ + people, Columbus (along with five other cities) has achieved a perfect score on the equality scale that ranks livability for LGBTQ + individuals and families.

Kansas City, MO

Top 10 LGBTQ-Friendly Cities for Millennials - Kansas City, KS

  • LGBTQ + population: 6.7% of the population.
  • Local resources: Kansas City Passages, EQUAL, LGBTQIA Center for Inclusion, PROMO.

Like Columbus, it may come as a surprise that Missouri is home to many LGBTQ + families. While their travel page says all bars and restaurants are open and acceptable, Kansas City also has many gay bars.

And while it may not make everyone’s list of top destinations, it’s actually a surprising hub for gay and lesbian travelers, making it perfect for anyone in the tourism industry.

Kansas City is growing, albeit slowly, so it’s a perfect place for young entrepreneurs to get started.

Ogunquit, ME

Top 10 LGBTQ-Friendly Cities for Millennials - Ogunquit, ME

  • LGBTQ + population: Ogunquit is a very small town, so exact numbers are difficult to determine.
  • Local resources: Equality Maine, Ogunquit Playhouse, MaineTransNet.

I include another town in Maine here (not because I’m biased or anything), but because this town is known throughout Maine as one of the most supportive, gay-friendly towns. If you’re looking for a small town, Ogunquit is it! With a population of just under 900 people, you probably know your neighbors.

If you’ve ever wanted to be part of a theater community, Ogunquit is the place to be. The Ogunquit Playhouse is where many of my LGBTQ + friends are either interned or currently working. And the Playhouse often has a number of well-known actors joining the productions (Clay Aiken performed a few years back, and I’ve never seen tickets sell faster).

It is important to note that Ogunquit has a fairly high cost of living. It’s a coastal town, so you’ll often see houses over the $ 500,000 range. But, hey, that’s the price you pay for being so close to lobster huts.

Northampton, MA

Top 10 LGBTQ Friendly Cities for Millennials - Northampton, MA

  • LGBTQ + population: There are no exact numbers, but Northampton has one of the highest per capita LGBTQ + populations in the US according to several studies.
  • Local resources: The Stonewall Project, LGBT Care Center at Cooley Dickinson Hospital, Smith College.

I went to college near Northampton, and it’s well known that it’s an LGBTQ + hub – even the crossroads are rainbow painted! There are countless LGBTQ + businesses, and Smith College is home to dozens of LGBTQ + clubs and organizations.

At university, Northampton was often seen as a place where LGBTQ + people could be open about who they were in public. In fact, Northampton has one of the largest Pride celebrations in Massachusetts (besides Boston, of course).

Tucson, AZ

Top 10 LGBTQ-Friendly Cities for Millennials - Tucson, AZ

  • LGBTQ + population: No data reported on the actual number.
  • Local resources: Eon Youth, Equality Arizona, Living Out Loud AZ.

Tucson is also named one of the most LGBTQ + friendly cities in the US It’s easy to see why – they are home to the University of Arizona’s Institute for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Studies, which is the first university of his kind is. . If you are interested in a career in LGBTQ + law, you will feel at home at the University of Arizona.

And while that may not be on the minds of Millennials and Gen Z yet, Tucson is one of the ultimate retirement destinations for LGBTQ + people. So, if you are ready to retire early, there is a lot that Tuscon can offer.

Miami, FL

Top 10 LGBTQ-Friendly Cities for Millennials - Miami, FL

  • LGBTQ + population: 4.5% of the population.
  • Local resources: LGBT Visitor Center, Pridelines, Equality Florida, The Alliance for GLBTQ Youth.

Beach lovers will of course thrive in Miami, but what I was pleasantly surprised to find is that Miami is not only a gay travel destination, but is also called “America’s Gay Riviera”.

If you are in the tourism industry or want to get into it, Miami is a must. They are one of the only cities in the country that has a visitor center dedicated exclusively to LGBTQ + travelers. The Miami Dade Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce also claims a unique Pink Flamingo certification for businesses, given to cities that guarantee a welcoming space for LGBTQ + travelers. And like many of the cities on this list, if you’re an artist, Miami has a thriving art scene.

New Orleans, LA

Top 10 LGBTQ-Friendly Cities for Millennials - New Orleans, LA

  • LGBTQ + population: 5.1% of the population.
  • Local resources: LGBT Community Center, BreakOUT !, SAGE New Orleans.

New Orleans also has one of the highest LGBTQ + populations in the country, with 5.1% of the population. This is due to their nightlife, which offers more than a dozen gay bars, and these are many LGBTQ + themed parades (besides their Pride parade).

If you are looking for warm weather, a low cost of living, and you are not afraid of some intimidating weather, New Orleans is perfect. The French Quarter is probably where you’ll want to move to if you really want to be entrenched in the LGBTQ + community. And if you love old homes, New Orleans is even more perfect.

How I came up with this list

I used a few different methods to come up with this list. First, I did not want to focus on the “ordinary” locations that often make these lists. Everyone knows that San Francisco and New York have thriving LGBTQ + communities – but they also have very high price tags. Not every city I have included on this list has a very low cost of living, but everyone has a much lower cost of living than New York and San Francisco.

In addition, I also used the following to create this list:

Personal experience

I was fortunate to live in many LGBTQ + friendly areas, so I have personal experience with a handful of these cities.

I also have LGBTQ + friends who live across the country, and I also took their personal experience into account.

Size of the LGBTQ + community

Of course, I wanted to consider the size of the LGBTQ + community in each of these cities, as it is always helpful to have a supportive community. Many of these cities are in the top 10 of LGBTQ + friendly cities, and they all offer an abundance of resources and support spaces for LGBTQ + people.

I also wanted to make sure I had a mix of big cities and small towns on this list, as not everyone enjoys big cities (I’m not a city person at all!).

Articles from trusted sources

In addition to my personal experience and word of mouth, I have also used a number of trusted sources, including The New York Times, CNBC, Business Insider, and each city’s LGBTQ + resource page.


The LGBTQ + community has become more and more accepted in the US, but not every city is as welcoming as you might hope. That’s why I wanted to take the time to create this list of some of the best cities for LGBTQ + people to live, grow and work.

Of course, this is not a complete list. So, what I would recommend before moving to any city or town is to do a quick Google search and see if the town has a government page with LGBTQ + resources. And if possible, hop in the car and drive straight into town you will be able to quickly tell who lives in the community and get a sense of whether it’s LGBTQ – friendly enough for you.

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