If you’re LGBTQ+ and you’re looking for somewhere new to settle — either solo or with your partner — then you’re going to want to know that your potential new home city is LGBTQ+ friendly.
It makes sense — after all, you want to feel comfortable and happy wherever you live, as well as feeling involved and part of your local community. That’s why it’s so important to find the right city to live in.
In this article, we’ll be going through the best LGBT friendly cities to live in in the US and Canada, including the perks and general vibes of each. Read on to find out which LGBT friendly city in North America you should call home:
Related: LGBTQ Homeownership Statistics
San Francisco is a well-known LGBT haven in the US. In fact, according to Gallup, the San Francisco metropolitan area has the highest percentage of the adult population who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender of any of the top 50 US metropolitan areas.
San Francisco is even called the “gay capital of the world” and “the gay Mecca” because of its large LGBT community, vibrant culture, and open celebration of diversity. You’ve probably heard of the Castro District (probably the US’s original LGBTQ neighborhood) — a bright and bold neighborhood brimming with restaurants, bars, blubs, bookstores, rainbow crosswalks and sidewalk tributes to the LGBT community.
It’s also one of the most friendly and tolerant cities, with some of the strongest non-discrimination ordinances in place to ensure equality and fairness across jobs, services and benefits.
We’ve got to admit that San Fran is pretty easy on the eye too, with its eclectic mix of architecture, historic cable cars climbing steep rolling hills, and iconic landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge and Fisherman’s Wharf. Not to mention it’s got one of the most exciting food scenes in America.
Considered one of the most LGBT friendly nations in the world, it’s not surprising that one of Canada’s biggest and coolest cities has made it onto lists of the best LGBT destinations to move to.
Toronto is awesome — super friendly and welcoming to LBGT visitors, and very celebratory of its existing LGBT community. Toronto Pride is one of the largest in the world, with an estimated attendance of over one million people. Pretty cool.
Unlike many other cities, Toronto doesn’t just have one LGBT neighborhood either — it’s got two. The Gay Village is home to Canada’s largest gay community: full of cool cafes, queer theater, amazing restaurants and stores, and buzzing nightlife that caters to all tastes.
And then you’ve got Queer West: an alternative, edgy neighborhood that has gained a reputation as a funkier, more hipster scene. Here you’ll find plenty of queer-owned and queer-friendly establishments, trendy eateries and quirky art galleries that attract a mixed crowd.
If you’re thinking of making the move from the US to Canada (who would blame you, Canada’s awesome), then it’s easier than you think. Of course, you need to sort out the logistics of moving (this handy wikiHow article will give you a good overview). And once you’ve sorted out a visa and your type of residency, you can get on with finding a house (using a mortgage broker like Breezeful is a good start) and securing a job.
When you think “LGBT friendly,” the city of Austin in the politically conservative state of Texas might not be the first to spring to mind.
Hear us out, though — Austin is an awesome city for LGBT couples or singles to call home. It’s a wonderful, welcoming city with a big heart and a thriving LGBT community.
Austin doesn’t just have a great reputation for being friendly and sociable either; there’s plenty going on with an amazing live music scene and really fun food options (you have to check out the food trucks), as well as world-class museums.
While LGBT folks looking for somewhere to settle tend to choose cities to live in (which are generally safer and more tolerant than small towns which can be hostile), that doesn’t mean we don’t want green spaces and fresh air. Austin can provide that too: the city is home to more than 300 parks and more than 30 miles of urban trails, as well as the beautiful Lady Bird Lake on which people can kayak or paddle-board or enjoy river cruises.
Montreal is heralded by many as the cultural capital of Canada, and it’s clear to see why with its love of the arts, contemporary design, and festivals that celebrate jazz, world cinema, and comedy, as well as LGBT pride.
With a strong French influence, Montreal juxtaposes European and North American culture and creates a bustling hub of a city that anyone would be happy to live in.
The food scene is mouth-wateringly exciting too — it’s not just poutine, we promise! — with irresistible patisseries, fascinating food markets, and late-night hipster bars and restaurants providing endless eating possibilities.
Montreal is well-known for being incredibly diverse and include, enthusiastically embracing their LBGT community. The quirky and welcoming Gay Village (or Le Village gai), is one of the largest in North America has a friendly vibe and a lively scene for LGBT locals and visitors alike. In the summer months, Rue Sainte-Catherine, the main drag, is pedestrianized and adorned with pink and rainbow decorations. There are few things more pleasant on a balmy summer’s evening than visiting the cafe patios, street fairs, bar terraces, and outdoor art exhibits, and seeing where the night takes you.
If you’re looking for an LGBTQ+ friendly city in North America to call home, then you can’t go far wrong with the four above. Of course, there are many others that deserve a shout-out (hello New York, Tampa and New Orleans!), so you’ll have to get exploring and find the city you really love. It’s out there, waiting.