Where Are LGBT Individuals Vacationing?

Want to know where some of the best places to live are for members of the LGBT community? One tip is to check out where they’re vacationing. While it’s not always true, some gay and lesbian real estate agents have found that cities with a growing LGBT tourism industry do tend to be much more open and welcoming. No one wants to vacation in a city where they’re going to be looked down on because of their sexual orientation. Some people get enough of that in their day-to-day lives—they don’t want to deal with it on vacation, too. So where are LGBT people spending their vacations in 2017? Here are some of the top spots.

Palm Springs

Where Are LGBT Individuals VacationingCalifornia is always a welcoming destination for LGBT people, so it should be a surprise that Palm Springs is on the list. What is interesting is that it’s the California city of choice this year, not San Francisco. There was a time when Palm Springs seemed played out – people were bored of it. Then the Coachella Music and Arts Festival moved in and brought the crowds back. What’s great for those looking to buy a house is that Palm Springs is just as welcoming as San Francisco or LA but is more affordable. It’s still fairly pricy, of course, but if you live on the outskirts of the city, you’ll find prices aren’t as bad.

Denver, Boulder, and Other Cities in Colorado

The entire state of Colorado has become very open and relaxed. In fact, few people realize that a county clerk in the state actually issued some marriage licenses to same-sex couples back in 1975! The state has become known for its laid back, live and let live attitude that prevails in most of the larger cities. It’s also seen in vacation towns such as Telluride and Aspen. Living in those areas may not be for everyone. The huge influx of visitors during the tourism season is a lot to handle. However, Denver, Boulder, Colorado Springs, and other locations may fit all of your needs.

Orlando

Orlando, Florida, is often on lists of the best LGBT areas to visit or live in. Last year, the city made headlines with the tragic shooting at the Pulse Nightclub. This mass shooting was the worst in the country’s history. Despite this, Orlando hasn’t lost its status as one of the best places for LGBT people to visit or live. In fact, the community became even stronger after the tragedy. Orlando offers a lot to its residents, and in some parts of the city, you’ll hardly ever see tourists.

The LGBT Life in Chicago

Life in Illinois can be very rewarding. The state has a very diverse population, and there are many cities here that are very welcoming to members of the LGBT community. Few people realize that Illinois is actually the sixth-most populous state in the country, which means a lot of people are packed into what is a fairly small area. While most of these people live in or around Chicago, there are some smaller suburbs and neighborhoods that might be a great fit for you. If you’re looking for a place to live in this state that ranks highly with the LGBT community, here are a few places to consider.

Boystown

The LGBT Life in ChicagoThe large metropolis of Chicago is to the Midwest what New York City and LA are to the coasts. You’ll find just about anything here, including many jobs and educational opportunities. You’ll also find Boystown, the oldest official gayborhood. Your gay or lesbian real estate agent can fill you in on the history of this unique area. If you want a gay community that is active year round, not just at pride time, you’ll find that here. There are a number of different activities held throughout the year. The population is quite diverse, too, but as the name would suggest, Boystown is more of a mecca for gay men than it is for lesbians.

Andersonville

For gay women, Andersonville is the lesbian answer to Boystown. It’s actually another neighborhood in Chicago, and it’s only a few miles from Boystown. This area was originally home to a large number of Swedish immigrants, and their influence remains in the architecture and food. The area is also home to a great bookstore and many other small businesses.

Evanston

The college town of Evanston is one of Chicago’s suburbs, so it’s not as densely populated. Here you’ll find Northwestern University, which means the population of the area tends to increase during the school year. The LGBT population, though, does remain fairly steady throughout the year. Evanston may be ideal for those who want to remain close to all the Chicago metro area has to offer but don’t want to live in the larger city.

Oak Park

Another smaller town to the west of Chicago, Oak Park is a quiet and friendly space. It’s known for its arts scene, and you’ll find a number of boutique galleries and other small businesses here. The population is fairly eclectic, so you’ll fit in, no matter what your lifestyle.

The Most LGBT Friendly Cities in Nebraska

Nebraska may not necessarily be considered one of the most exciting states, but it does have its charms. The state sits on the Great Plains and is home to a number of different Native American tribes. Nebraska is split into two areas: The Great Plains and the Dissected Till Plains. The Great Plains area covers the western part of Nebraska and is home to many ranches and agricultural centers. The eastern part of the state is classified as the Dissected Till Plains and is categorized by its rolling hills. The larger cities in the state, including Lincoln and Omaha, are located here.

If you’re moving to Nebraska, where might you want your gay or lesbian real estate agent to take you? There are a number of different cities that are welcoming to LGBT individuals and families. According to a recent census, there are almost 130,000 LGBT families in the state. That puts Nebraska as the 36th gayest state. While it’s in the lower half, some might find it surprising that Nebraska is ranked so highly. A survey of these households has determined the most LGBT friendly cities in the state.

Omaha

The Most LGBT Friendly Cities in NebraskaThe largest city in Nebraska, Omaha sits on the Missouri River. It’s the center of the Omaha-Council Bluffs metro area that includes the nearby city of Council Bluffs, Iowa. The greater Omaha area is home to more than 1.3 million people. There are plenty of gorgeous homes that have a nice view of the Missouri River, but those are the more expensive properties. The suburbs have a number of much more affordable homes.

Lincoln

The capital city of the state, Lincoln is the second-largest city and the anchor of the Lincoln Metro Area. It’s home to the University of Nebraska, which attracts a good number of students to the area. Because of this, there is a good sized LGBT community centered around the university area. As far as homes go, the city is a mixture of new developments and older, historic homes. The downtown area is primarily older houses, while the eastern and southern parts of Lincoln are more modern.

Valentine

While it’s a fairly small town, Valentine holds the record for the highest percentage of LGBT households. There are less than 3,000 people living in the town, but more than one percent of its citizens identify as LGBT. If you want that small town atmosphere, this is where to go. Of course, you will have to make a dive to one of the larger nearby cities for some necessities, but for some, it’s worth it.

Which Idaho Cities Are the Most Welcoming?

Idaho may not sound like a very appealing place for anyone to move to, but the state has much more to offer than just the potatoes it’s famous for. Idaho has acres of gorgeous landscape that practically glows under some of the best sunsets you’ll ever see. With great housing costs, a lot of outdoor activities, and some welcoming towns, you won’t find a better place for peace and quiet than Idaho. Of course, Idaho does have its pockets of conservative people, but many of the towns and cities here are pushing for equality and protection for all. Here are a few of these great places to live.

Boise

Which Idaho Cities Are the Most WelcomingThere’s no better place to start the discussion than with Boise, the capital of the state. It’s the most populous city in Idaho, too, with a little over 200,000 residents. Boise is also one of the two central cities of the Boise-Nampa metro area, so living there puts you at the center of everything Boise, Nampa, Meridian, and the other cities in the area have to offer.

Boise was named the 12th city on the Advocate’s “Queerest Cities in America” ranking, so you know it offers a lot to the LGBT community. You’ll find everything from the International Gay Rodeo Association to a huge pride celebration in Boise. The first gay bar in Idaho opened in the city in 1976, and since then, the LGBT community has only grown. In 2012, Boise passed anti-discrimination policies, making it one of the first cities in Idaho to do so.

Pocatello

Located in the southern part of the state, Pocatello is another very friendly town in Idaho. It’s much smaller than Boise, but it still ranks #2 on the list of Best Towns in Idaho for LGBT rights and freedoms. The town passed its own anti-discrimination laws right after Boise, and the majority of the town’s residents voted to keep those laws in place when they were challenged.

Lewiston

The third city on our list is Lewiston. It’s located in what’s called the state’s Banana Belt. This area’s unique geography guarantees that it’s fairly warm all year round, even while other parts of the state are freezing. This means it’s perfect for those who love doing activities outdoors. Golfing, sports, hiking, and many other activities are found year-round in Lewiston, plus the city is known for being a haven for LGBT individuals and families. The nearby town of Clarkston, Washington, is also known for having a great LGBT reputation.

Finding a Place to Live if You’re LGBT and Homeless

While many people have the goal of becoming a homeowner, it’s something that isn’t always easy for LGBT individuals. Many are uncertain about applying for a loan together and even for looking for homes due to discrimination. Even if they can’t prove it happened, some do feel as if their real estate agent or other person involved in the process discriminated against them. Even working with a gay or lesbian agent doesn’t always mean that the process will be smooth sailing.

But what about those young LGBT individuals whose dreams of living on their own, going to college, and being successful have been sabotaged by their own families? It’s very difficult for a young LGBT person to start planning for the future if they’ve been kicked out of their home and have no place to live.

Getting Help

Finding a Place to Live if You’re LGBT and HomelessFortunately, there’s help for these individuals. While some do find temporary housing in homeless shelters, some gay and lesbian centers have opened transitional housing facilities. The Los Angeles LGBT Center, for example, offers housing to those who are between the ages of 18 and 24.

This option and others like it are more than just a place to stay. While individuals do get a small room and meals, there’s much more to an LGBT center housing program. These programs don’t want people to simply get off the streets—they want to prepare those in need with the skills to move forward in life. This means LGBT youth will get help with finding and enrolling in college, getting a job, and much more. Financial education is also usually offered, so they can start learning how to save, invest, and prepare for the future. Some programs even help participates with finding housing once they’re ready to start their independent lives.

Finding a Center

While not every LGBT center offers housing, you’ll find that more and more are providing at least short-term rooms for those in need. Even centers that don’t have the space offer help to those in need. If you’ve been pushed out of your family and are not sure where to go, your first stop should be your local LGBT community center. They can provide you with information and suggestions. If you aren’t sure where your local center is or live in an area without one, you can also look at the National Coalition for the Homeless, which includes a section on LGBT homelessness and resources you can reach out to.

The Best Cities for LGBT Individuals in Texas

Texas may not be known as one of the most welcoming states to LGBT people, but like many places, you shouldn’t assume that every part of Texas is like that. The state actually has a number of great places to live. Many of the larger cities in Texas are very progressive, and you’re sure to find a place where you fit in if you do a little research. If you ask any gay or lesbian real estate agent about homes in these areas, you may be surprised at what you find.

Dallas

The Best Cities for LGBT Individuals in TexasAs one of the largest cities in the country, Dallas is home to an incredibly diverse population. In fact, the Oaklawn neighborhood was actually named the top gay district in the U.S. in 2014. Dallas is home to the largest LGBT population in the state, too. You’ll find the Cathedral of Hope, which has a huge LGBT congregation, here. If living in Dallas is a bit too much for you, there are plenty of welcoming suburbs, including Grapevine and Irving.

Austin

The capital of the state, Austin is another large city that has a good-sized LGBT population. Austin Pride Week is one of the largest pride festivals in the state. Austin is also home to a number of LGBT theater groups and writers. In fact, the city is considered to be Texas’s cultural and literature center.

Houston

The most populous city in the state, Houston is home to over two million people. It features many different colleges and artistic endeavors, making it a very attractive option for those looking to continue their education. The city has a growing LGBT community, too, with many gay bars, LGBT-owned businesses, and more. The My Gay Houston website serves to keep everyone informed about upcoming events and connect with others in the community.

San Antonio

The second-largest city in the state, San Antonio has around 1.5 million residents. It’s another very friendly and welcoming city, and many people travel to San Antonio every year for its huge week-long pride celebration. LGBT youth can participate in a scholarship program, too. The city’s river walk is a great place to hang out and enjoy live music and other types of entertainment.

Outside of these four cities, you can also consider locations such as Denton, Marfa, and San Marcos. They’re all welcoming places in the state. Texas is so large, there’s a place for everyone, so take your time and look at your options.

Living in Cape Coral

If you’re a member of the LGBT community, Cape Coral, Florida, may not be one of the places you’re thinking about moving to. That’s because Florida has a lot of great towns and cities that are LGBT-friendly and more high-profile than Cape Coral. Here are a few of the reasons why LGBT individuals and families might want to think about moving to this Florida location.

The Size

Living in Cape CoralCape Coral is a good-sized city that has been growing quite quickly. In 2010, the population was over 150,000. By 2015, it was nearing 200,000. If Miami or Tampa seems too large, but you don’t want to move outside of a metro area, Cape Coral may be right for you. It’s the main city of the Cape Coral-Fort Meyers Metro area, which is home to nearly 800,000 people. You’ll find all of the benefits of a large city here, but you may not feel quite as crowded, especially if you live in the suburbs.

The Location

Cape Coral is nicknamed the “Waterfront Wonderland” because it has more than 400 miles of waterways you can actually navigate a boat through. Most people think of Venice, Italy, when they think of a city with canals, but Cape Coral actually has more canals than Venice and every other city in the world. It’s gorgeous and unique. Some canals even extend into the Gulf of Mexico. There are a number of beaches nearby, too.

The Climate

Another great drawn to Cape Coral is its climate. The city has an average of 355 days of sunshine every year. In the summer, it’s quite warm and humid, but the winters are fairly dry and never get too cold. On average, temperatures get down into the 50s in December and January. If you hate the cold and don’t mind a little humidity, Cape Coral may be perfect for you.

What About LGBT Protections?

While Cape Coral may be a little slow in passing LGBT protections, it is catching up. In January of 2017, the city council unanimously passed an ordinance that added sexual orientation, gender expression, and gender identity to its protected classes for city employment. This actually puts Cape Coral ahead of the federal government, which has not yet passed such protections.

If you’re curious about moving to Cape Coral, you can contact a local gay or lesbian real estate agent to learn more about the market and about what live in the city is like.

Great Towns for LGBT Families in Iowa

Thinking about making the move to Iowa? The state is certainly a great place to live for some, but how is it for the LGBT community? The good news is that many cities in Iowa have passed a number of laws that protect LGBT citizens. If you’re looking to move to a city that has everything you’d want from a modern metro area, but isn’t as large or as crowded as cities in New York or California, Iowa may have what you’re looking for. Here are some of the best towns and cities in Iowa.

Iowa City

Great Towns for LGBT Families in IowaLet’s start with what is possibly the most LGBT-friendly city in the state. The HRC gave Iowa City a perfect 100 on its Municipal Equality Index. That means the city scored very highly in a number of different areas. Iowa City has also ranked highly on Forbes’ small metros for doing business list, claiming the number two spot in 2008. The home of the University of Iowa, many people see this small metro of 70,000-some people as a college town. It certainly is, but it’s also a great place to make your home.

Des Moines

The capital of Iowa is also its largest city, but with just a little over 200,000 people, some may not find it that large. While it didn’t score a 100 on the HRC index, it did earn an 85. Des Moines is also a very welcoming city, and it may be a better fit for those moving from larger cities. The downtown area is full of shopping, dining, and entertainment venues, including some LGBT-owned clubs and bars.

Mount Vernon

If, on the other hand, you want to live in a fairly small town, Mount Vernon may be exactly what you’re looking for. With only around 4,500 people living there, including the students at Cornell College, Mount Vernon is almost the textbook definition of the word “quaint.” But that doesn’t mean you’ll easily get bored there. Budget Travel Magazine actually named Mount Vernon as one of its Coolest Small Towns, mostly thanks to the activities that go on at Cornell College.

Davenport

With just under 100,000 people, Davenport itself is fairly small. However, it’s part of the Quad-Cities, four different cities so close together that they’re lumped into a metro area with more than 375,000 people. Housing is quote affordable here, and many people who move to Davenport elect to buy a home rather than rent.

The Best LGBT Places to Live in Vermont

Vermont is known as one of the most welcoming and liberal states in the U.S. That shouldn’t be surprising considering it’s represented by people such as Senator Bernie Sanders. The state was also the first to make same-sex marriage legal. If you love everything New England has to offer, Vermont is a great place to settle down. All the cities here are quite welcoming, but there are a few that are especially ideal for LGBT individuals and families.

Burlington

The Best LGBT Places to Live in VermontAs the largest city in Vermont, it’s no surprise that Burlington is home to many LGBT people. It’s often included on lists of the best cities in the U.S. to live for anyone, not just the LGBT community. The city has some great schools, museums, theaters, and more. It’s also the home of the Vermont Pride Center, which is considered one of the best LGBT centers in the area, in addition to advocacy groups such as Outright Vermont.

Manchester

Manchester is perfect for those who are looking for a smaller town that still has plenty to offer. It’s located between the Bromley and Stratton Mountains, so those who live here are surrounded by gorgeous scenery. Many people do visit Manchester during the skiing season, so expect there to be crowds during part of the year. During the off-season, though, Manchester is fairly quiet.

Montpelier

Montpelier is the capital of Vermont, although it’s still a fairly small city when compared to others in the area. Montpelier has some great restaurants, boutiques, and other shopping options. It’s also unique among the state capitals and most large cities in the U.S. in that there is no McDonalds or Walmart in the city. Your gay or lesbian real estate agent can show you some amazing historic homes in Montpelier that you’re sure to fall in love with.

Woodstock

Woodstock shouldn’t be confused with the music festival, which was not held in the town. However, Woodstock is still a very historical little town that’s full of art and culture. Everything about this town is picture-perfect thanks to the fact that it’s actually completely contained within the Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Park. Woodstock has a large writer and artist community, and the town holds a number of arts festivals every year. It’s a nice town if you’re seeking to get away from it all.

Stowe

Stowe is mainly known as a skiing destination. Like many other places on this list, it’s a smaller town known for its art galleries and picturesque setting. Many businesses here are quite welcoming, and you’ll find the residents of Stowe are friendly and outgoing.

These are just a few of the great places to live in Vermont. If you’re thinking of moving to the northeast, the state should certainly be on your list of potential new homes.

Great LGBT Retirement Locations

Are you ready to retire? Many people decide to move when they reach retirement age. Some need a change of environment for health reasons. Others may have always wanted to live in a certain city or state, but haven’t been able to move due to employment. Now that they’re retired, there may be very little holding them back.

If you’re a member of the LGBT community, you may want to retire to a place that’s much more welcoming and open. You may be ready to live somewhere with other like-minded people who won’t give you any trouble about being in a same-sex relationship. If you’ve entered your retirement years and are ready for a change, here are some of the best LGBT retirement locations separated out by the size of the city.

Large Cities

Great LGBT Retirement LocationsIf you love the big city life and have lived among a large population for most of your life, you may want to retire to one of these larger areas. They all have populations of at least 250,000. Living in a large city means you’ll have access to good public transportation networks, large hospitals, and more, all things that seniors may need.

Large cities to check out:

  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • Tampa, Florida
  • Phoenix, Arizona

Mid-Sized Cities

If you’re looking for some place that’s a little smaller but still good sized, you might want to consider a mid-sized city. These locations have at most 200,000 people. They still offer many of the great amenities that large cities have, but there’s not quite as much of a crush of people. You’ll find that these locations have average or low costs of living, something many retirees look for due to the fact that they are on a fixed budget. Here are some of the best mid-sized cities for LGBT retirees:

  • Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • Orlando, Florida
  • Petersburg, Florida
  • Enterprise, Nevada
  • Paradise, Nevada

Small Cities

Don’t like the city? There are a number of small towns and cities out there with no more than 100,000 people. Some of these small cities may be surprising, but they have much larger percentages of same-sex households than the mid-sized and large cities.

  • Wilton Manors, Florida.
  • Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
  • Oakland Park, Florida
  • Miami Shores, Florida
  • Avondale Estates, Georgia
  • Decatur, Georgia
  • North Druid Hills, Georgia

Of course, these cities aren’t the only great places for LGBT retirees. If you’re interested in moving to a welcoming retirement center, a gay or lesbian real estate agent may be able to help you.