Top 7 Most LGBT Friendly Cities in the US with the Best quality of life – 2024

Even today, homosexuality continues to be a topic of discussion in many parts of the United States. Many cities in the US label homosexuality a crime, and LGBT+ rights across the globe are being eroded. In 2022, state lawmakers introduced over 300 bills targeting LGBTQI+ rights, particularly impacting LGBTQI+ youth and transgender individuals. These discriminatory policies are associated with and contribute to an increase in extremist anti-LGBTQI+ rhetoric, disinformation, and violence.

Although there are places that are not yet open to LGBT communities a multitude of cities are overwhelmingly accepting of the LGBT community in the US, with the inclusion of pride parades, events, festivals, LGBT community centers, support groups, and considered safest cities too. To make your search for your next home that much easier, we have created a list of the top 7 most LGBT-friendly cities in the US.

Top 7 Most LGBT Friendly Cities in the US

Methodology

We based our ranking of the best LGBT-friendly cities in the USA with the best quality of life in 2024 on the following criteria plus the quality of life: safety, healthcare access, and the place with the most number of legal protections and policies.

Safety refers to the crime rates on the official website of different cities; healthcare access refers to consideration of the availability of gender-affirming care and mental health services in the area; and lastly, consider anti-discrimination policies, marriage equality laws, and adoption rights. To ensure accuracy, we calculated the average number of various crimes per 1000 people.

The “best quality of life” aspect is measured based on feedback from real people who have moved to this area in our database or real people from trusted online forums. More specifically, we look for positive feedback on job opportunities, quality of education, quality of healthcare, feeling of safety, public transportation, environment (cleanliness), as well as availability of recreational facilities and parks.

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Most LGBT Friendly Cities in the US

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1. New York City, NY

2. New York City, NY - Top 10 Most LGBT Friendly Cities in the US - 2022
  • Population: 8,337,897
  • Number of Offenses: 126,589
  • Crimes: 16 crimes per 1000 people

New York City stands out as one of the most LGBT-friendly cities in the US, boasting extensive pride readiness and a reported low crime rate of only 16 crimes per 1000 people. With initiatives such as the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Community Center, commonly known as The Center, and the NYC Commission on Human Rights enforcing the City Human Rights Law, the city actively educates and protects the rights of its LGBTQI+ community. In NYC, SAGE, founded in 1978, advocates for LGBTQ+ elders, promoting inclusivity and visibility nationally.

Moreover, initiatives like the NYC Unity Project demonstrate the city’s commitment to supporting and empowering LGBTQ youth, offering resources and programs to help them thrive despite the challenges they may face. Additionally, NYC Health + Hospitals lead the way in LGBTQ+ healthcare, with mandated training for staff and dedicated Pride Health Centers to meet the specific needs of LGBTQ+ patients, reflecting the city’s dedication to providing inclusive and affirming care for all members of the community. Four main areas for LGBTIQ+ nightlife in New York City include Hell’s Kitchen, Chelsea, West Village, and Brooklyn.

US Census (2022) & NYPD Crimes (2023)

New York City, New York

2. Northampton, MA

5. Northamptoon, MA - Top 10 Most LGBT Friendly Cities in the US - 2022
  • Population: 29,327
  • Number of Offenses: 1,174
  • Crimes: 40 crimes per 1000 people

Massachusetts, the first state to legalize same-sex marriage in 2004, is renowned for its LGBT-friendly environment, with Northampton emerging as a prime destination for LGBTQ+. The city’s diverse community, inclusive businesses, and vibrant arts scene have made it a welcoming spot for decades. Offering a range of LGBT-friendly places, events, and lodging options, Northampton provides a safe and comfortable environment. Northampton, MA, is safe, as it has only a reported 40 crimes per 1000 people.

Noho Pride hosts an annual celebration in May, featuring a lively parade followed by food and entertainment. Northampton also hosts various queer arts festivals throughout the year, including the booQfest literary event and the Out! Reel Film Series. Diva’s Nightclub is the go-to spot for nightlife, offering dance nights and drag shows.

In terms of healthcare, Transhealth Northampton provides tailored healthcare for the transgender community, while Cooley Dickinson Hospital, the sole Western Massachusetts facility recognized as a leader in LGBTQ healthcare equality for two consecutive years, achieves the highest score on the 2022 Healthcare Equality Index. These efforts enhance access to inclusive and supportive healthcare services for the local LGBT community.

US Census (2022) & Northampton Police Dept. (2022)

Northampton, Massachusetts

3. San Francisco, CA

1. San Francisco, CA - Top 10 Most LGBT Friendly Cities in the US - 2022
  • Population: 808,437
  • Number of Offenses: 50,529
  • Crimes: 63 crimes per 1000 people

San Francisco, California stands out as one of the most LGBT-friendly cities in the US with a reported crime of 63 crimes per 1000 people, earning the title of the Gay Capital of the World. Unlike other states, California openly embraces the LGBT community, offering high levels of equality and community support. The city boasts top-ranked pride readiness, exemplified by events like the 52nd Annual San Francisco LGBT Pride Parade, which drew over one million attendees in 2023. Notably, neighborhoods such as the Castro, SoMa, and the Mission are renowned as the top three best LGBT-friendly areas in San Francisco.

The San Francisco Community Health Center offers affordable medical, mental health, education, and community services, empowering individuals in safe and supportive spaces. Similarly, the SF LGBT Center supports LGBTQ entrepreneurs through business consulting, workshops, training, and funding referrals, fostering startup growth and local job creation.

US Census (2022) & SF Police Dept. (2023)

San Francisco, California

4. Austin, TX

7. Austin, TX - Top 10 Most LGBT Friendly Cities in the US - 2022
  • Population: 974,447
  • Number of Offenses: 81,185
  • Crimes: 83 crimes per 1000 people

As they say, “you don’t just move to Texas, it moves you”, and that quote could not be truer, making Austin, Texas one of the most LGBT friendly cities in the US. Austin is home to the Austin LGBT Chamber. Since 1997, the Chamber has been a supportive outlook for LGBT including businesses and organizations, not to mention the annual and monthly events they host for the community.

In Austin, Texas, programs like Out Youth and Central Texas LGBTQ+ support LGBTQ+ youth, while The Trevor Project offers nationwide crisis intervention. Hatch Youth in Houston empowers LGBTQ+ youth through social support and mentorship. In terms of healthcare, there are a lot of LGBTQ+ Friendly Primary Care Providers in the Austin Area. 

Austin’s LGBTQ+ place is diverse and widespread, offering something for everyone without confining to specific neighborhoods or districts. Unlike other cities with designated ‘gay districts,’ Austin’s LGBTQ+ community is integrated throughout the city, reflecting its inclusivity and diversity. In terms of safety, the reported crime is 83 crimes per 1000 people

US Census (2022) & FBI -TX (2019)

Austin, Texas

5. Portland, OR

6. Portland, OR - Top 10 Most LGBT Friendly Cities in the US - 2022
  • Population: 635,067
  • Number of Offenses: 63,790
  • Crimes: 100 crimes per 1000 people

Portland’s LGBT community can be found year-round at institutions, businesses, clubs and sports leagues, to name a few. In fact, Portland was the first major city to elect a gay mayor by the name of Sam Adams in 2008. Portland is known for its community support, a result of their extensive weekly and monthly support groups known as Aging With Pride, Queer Youth Group, Trans Guyz and LGBTQ Bipolar and Depression Support Alliance. 

When moving to Portland, Oregon, you’ll find a welcoming community, vibrant city life, and a range of activities for all ages, including joining the Portland chapter of PFLAG. The city’s LGBTQ+ scene boasts a Guinness World Record-holding drag queen, gay dance clubs, support groups, and many LGBTQ+ owned businesses. Portland’s LGBT community is concentrated in the Burnside Triangle area near West Burnside Street and Southwest Broadway Street, with reported crime rates of 100 crimes per 1000 people. Portland’s benefit coverage supports gender-affirming and culturally competent care for plan participants.

US Census (2022) & Portland Police Bureau (2023)

Portland, Oregon

6. Denver, CO

4. Denver, CO - Top 10 Most LGBT Friendly Cities in the US - 2022
  • Population: 713,252
  • Number of Offenses: 75,939
  • Crimes: 106 crimes per 1000 people

Denver, Colorado, is home to the ninth-highest-populated city of LGBT adults, making it one of the most LGBT-friendly cities in the US. One of the main centers in Denver includes The Center on Colfax, which offers writing groups, dancing groups, chair yoga, community groups for elderly LGBT members, open art studios, and more. Denver excels in all the criteria we are assessing, including equality, community support, affordability, health care access, and pride readiness.

According to Denver Crimes for the year 2023, there are 106 crimes per 1000 people. You can find the LGBT community settling in neighborhoods like Cherry Creek, Capitol Hill, and RiNo. Some amenities Denver offers are thriving restaurant scenes, sunny weather for a large portion of the year, PrideFest, expansive farms, rodeos, and nature lands like Cheesman Park and the Highlands.

Denver Health’s LGBTQ+ Health Services offers decentralized healthcare for LGBTQ+ individuals in Colorado, providing patient navigation for primary care and gender-affirming surgery. Services cover preventative screenings, chronic condition management, sexual health, HIV services, hormone replacement therapy, voice therapy, and behavioral health. Patient navigators support LGBTQ+ patients, connecting them with affirming medical providers.

US Census (2022) & Denver Crimes (2023)

Denver, Colorado

7. Fort Lauderdale, FL

3. Fort Lauderdale, FL - Top 10 Most LGBT Friendly Cities in the US - 2022
  • Population: 183,146
  • Number of Offenses: 20,360
  • Crimes: 111 crimes per 1000 people

With reported crimes of 111 crimes per 1000 people, it is no wonder Fort Lauderdale is one of the most LGBT friendly cities in the US. You can find diverse and welcoming support groups including AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Equality Florida, National LGBTQ Task Force and 26Health, to name a few. Alongside San Francisco, Fort Lauderdale ranks at number 1 in community support. 

Fort Lauderdale, known for its family-friendly environment and waterfront proximity, provides a safe and inclusive living space. Locals enjoy inclusive beaches like Sebastian Street Beach and vibrant nightlife with same-sex bars and spas along Las Olas Boulevard and Wilton Drive. The city hosts annual LGBT events and boasts over 100 gay-owned businesses, including bars, clubs, cafés, coffeehouses, and award-winning hotels and guesthouses. In terms of LGBTQ services, you may check Broward connections for multiple programs and their contact information. 

US Census (2022) & FBI -FL (2019)

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

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Conclusion

The LGBT community is rapidly growing, and it’s great that certain cities in America recognize and protect them. MovingWaldo has provided a list of the top 7 most LGBT friendly cities in the US to assist the community in making an effortless and clearer decision when choosing your next move, with high regard to community support and resources. 

Are you planning on moving to the US, soon? Check out the best long-distance moving companies in the US!

 

Last year’s ranking (2023) 

  1. San Francisco, CA
  2. New York City, NY
  3. Fort Lauderdale, FL
  4. Denver, CO
  5. Northampton, MA
  6. Portland, OR
  7. Austin, TX
  8. Chicago, IL
  9. Los Angeles, CA
  10. Palm Springs, CA

 

Our rankings are meticulously curated, considering safety, quality of life, healthcare access, and the place with the most number of legal protections and policies. It’s important to highlight that certain places may have changed from last year’s lists due to fluctuations in criteria used in our methodology. We encourage readers to weigh these rankings in light of their individual needs and preferences for a more informed decision-making process.

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Ann Nacario

The author

Meet Ann – our head writer with a knack for making moving and city living a breeze. From the many details of moving to picking the perfect moving company, she’s your guide. Ann has a friendly yet detailed approach to ensure your move goes off without a hitch. When she’s not writing about relocation, it will always be on her mind, but you’ll catch her spending time with her three furry friends.

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