The Most Gay-Friendly Cities in the World
Exactly how far we’ve come as a people when it comes to accepting the LGBTQ community and lobbying for their rights is evident in how the most gay-friendly cities in the world treat them. While complete acceptance and equality is still a long war to win, these gay-friendly cities across the world are leading the rest of us into creating a world that’s welcoming and comfortable for everyone of all gender preferences.
But exactly what makes a city ‘gay-friendly’? Based on the data we have gathered for this list, gay-friendly cities are those that offer a welcoming environment for its gay residents and tourists alike. Factors like gay-friendly entertainment and social hubs, social acceptance, and lack of discrimination as well as legal protection have been counted in.
In coming up with this list, we have curated data from websites like The Lonely Planet, UCity Guide, and Wow Travel among others, assigning points for their rankings on the source websites.
Whether you’re a member of the LGBTQ looking for your next vacation destination, or searching for your next address, keep this list of the most gay-friendly cities in the world as possibilities.
10. Paris, France – 6 points
The French capital city is also the center of France’s LGBT movement with most French LGBT groups being headquartered in La Paris. Aside from its gay-friendly social life establishments like clubs, bars, and hotels, Paris is also home to the vibrant Le Marais, France’s most popular gayborhood. Oh and did we mention that Paris was the first to elect an openly gay Mayor? If that’s not accepting and gay-friendly, hardly anything else will be.
9. Los Angeles, USA– 7 points
It is impossible to imagine Hollywood and all its glory without the participation of the members of the LGBTQ community. Aside from the lively gay pride parade in West Hollywood, Los Angeles is also home to many gay communities and organizations. For tourists, Los Angeles is teeming with LGBT-friendly social circles – beaches, restaurants, nightclub scenes, etc.
8. Toronto, Canada – 8 points
The centerpiece of Toronto’s gay-friendliness is most likely ‘The Village’. The Village is its prime gayborhood right at the center of Toronto, at Church Wellesley, where LGBTQ members can enjoy the culture scene. There’s all sorts of galleries, theaters, and other business establishments that are gay-friendly and very lively. The Gay Pride activities is more than just a single celebration – gay pride here is celebrated in such vibrant events as Pride Week Celebrations, the Pride March, and the Dyke March to name a few. Don’t get us started on The Village’s own Halloween celeb.
7. Madrid, Spain – 9 points
When it comes to Madrid’s gay scene, the numbers can do the talking: Chueca, Madrid’s primary gayborhood, is a kilometer-long hub that has gay-friendly hotels, restaurants, clubs, and shop; Madrid has one of the biggest LGBT populations in all of Europe at over 500,000 estimate; and their gay pride parade brings in a crowd of 2 million strong participants from all over the world. Madrid also allows same-sex marriage, so it makes for a great wedding destination and a home for gays all the same.
6. Barcelona, Spain – 12 points
Barcelona, Spain is a top choice for both vacationing gays and those who are looking for a new address. In fact, many of its gay residents are from the more conservative parts of Spain and are looking for better policies on LGBTQ rights. In Barcelona, gays can enjoy the anti-homophobia protection law which can protect them from discrimination of all forms. It does not hurt, either, that Barcelona has endless choices for socializing and enjoyment – from gay-friendly beaches, to winter hangouts that are open for everybody, to the exemplary gayborhood called ‘Gayxample’ – home to countless gay-friendly establishments.
5. Palm Springs, USA – 14 points (tie)
Los Angeles is not the only city in California that makes it to our list of the most gay-friendly cities in the world. Palm Springs, just outside of LA, is also a favorite hub for the LGBTQ community. In 2013, Palm Springs bested all other cities in America as the most gay-friendly city thanks to the LGBTQ municipal laws, policies, and establishments that have helped grow its gay residents.
4. London, England – 14 points (tie)
Tied up with Palm Springs for the sixth spot on our list with 14 points is the city of London. Aside from having recently approved gay marriage, London’s gay friendliness is evident in its massive gay and lesbian population. In fact, London has the largest gay community in Europe and this is celebrated every year by its even more massive Gay Pride Parade. London also never runs short of fun and culture-centric activities and establishments to offer both its LGBTQ locals and tourists alike.
3. Amsterdam, the Netherlands – 21 points
It would not be Europe’s most liberal city if it were not openly gay-friendly, would it? Amsterdam is most likely one of the first, if not the first, cities in the world to decriminalize homosexuality and the Netherlands is also the very first country to allow same-sex marriage ages ahead of every other country. As early as the 1800s, gays flocked to the picturesque city of Amsterdam to exercise the freedom they could not have elsewhere in the planet. Amsterdam is the site of one of the world’s largest and most unique gay pride parades and is the home of the world’s first gay monument, the “HomoMonument” erected and inaugurated in 1987.
2. New York City, USA – 23 points
The Big Apple’s diversity does not just stop with the diversity in cultures; New York City is also one of the top gayborhoods in the world. After all, New York City is one of the birthplaces of the gay rights movement; and as such, NYC’s historical significance to the LGBTQ movement are remembered in landmarks like the Harvey Milk School, Christopher Street, and the Lesbian Herstory Archives. The neighborhoods, especially in West Village and Chelsea areas, are some of the most gay-friendly communities in America. But Broadway alone would have sufficed to have New York City included on the list of the world’s most gay-friendly.
1. San Francisco, USA and Berlin, Germany – 26 points
It is not at all surprising that San Francisco and Berlin both got the top spot on the list of the most gay-friendly cities in the world. After all, San Francisco is America’s gay capital and Berlin is the gay capital of Europe. That’s pretty hard to contest.
San Francisco’s LGBTQ community is one of the world’s largest, most active, and played one of the most important roles in the history of LGBT rights movements. The gay community makes up 15% of San Francisco’s population and the city is a top destination for gays and lesbians from across the world thanks to its multitude of social and nightlife offerings for the LGBTQ members.