Oakland Gay City Guide: Finding Your Place in this Beautiful Bay City

Situated on the east side of the San Francisco Bay which is the area with the largest LGBTQ community in America, Oakland is a beautiful, eclectic, and diverse city with a come as you are mentality. It is a city known for embracing original and creative people, and for celebrating the diversity that people of all kinds can bring to a community. Its inclusive feel and free spirit, combined with all that it offers to see and enjoy would make it a great place in which to find your next home. 

A Bit of Oakland History

The area that is present-day Oakland was initially inhabited by Costanoan Indians, prior to the time that the Spanish began colonizing the area in the 1800s. Eventually, after it became part of the state of California, it was a prime gold rush spot in the mid to late 1800s, before being established as one of the hubs of the Transcontinental Railroad, and an important harbor for national commerce. These two things together caused Oakland to experience rapid growth in both population and industry. Since that time, Oakland has continued to grow, and as it has done so, it has become an increasingly diverse and multi-faceted city known for welcoming and celebrating people of all kinds who join together to make it the wonderful community that it is.

A Few Fun Facts About Oakland

  • Oakland is the only city in the world to have a natural saltwater lake within its boundaries. Lake Merritt even has its own legendary “Oak-ness Monster”, which has supposedly been appearing in the lake since the 1940s.
  • The city is full of hundreds of gnomes. Attached to utility poles across the city, the artist who created them continues to remain anonymous.
  • It is the only city in California to have three professional sports teams – the Raiders, the Warriors, and the A’s.

Find more fun facts about Oakland here.

The LGBTQ Community in Oakland

Oakland LGBTQ Community Center

The Oakland LGBTQ Community Center is a pillar of the Oakland community and prides itself on being Oakland’s “first and only” LGBTQ community center. Founded in 2017, the center, located in the beautiful Lake Merritt district, provides social, educational, and holistic health-related programs, services, and activities for the LGBTQ community in the greater Oakland area.

Oakland Weather

Weather in Oakland is fairly mild year-round, with a high in summer around 72 degrees, and low temperatures that average around 44 degrees in the winter. Oakland gets an average of 24 inches of rain per year. Residents of Oakland will experience plenty of sunny days, almost no freezing temperatures, no snow, and little excess heat, making it a very appealing climate to many.

Can’t-Miss Oakland Events

Oakland Pride

Every September, Oakland celebrates Pride, and it celebrates it in a big way. You won’t want to miss your chance to participate in the festivities which include parades, concerts, parties, educational events, networking opportunities, and more. Oakland Pride is committed to its mission of educating the greater Oakland community, encouraging the promotion of equality and civic involvement, and celebrating the rich diversity that the LGBTQ community adds to Oakland and its neighboring communities.

A Look at the Best Neighborhoods in Oakland

While some neighborhoods are known for their traditional “gayborhoods” (think the Castro district in San Francisco or Boystown in Chicago), Oakland doesn’t have one designated traditionally gay area. Don’t be dismayed, however – all that this really means is that many neighborhoods in the city are very opening and welcoming to the LGBTQ community, and might be a great fit, depending upon your interests and lifestyle needs. A couple of many popular neighborhoods in Oakland include:


Temescal is a hip, lively neighborhood with a burgeoning arts scene, several coffee shops on Telegraph Avenue, and easy access to the local BART station. It has a great craft brew scene, plenty of restaurants, shops, and nightlife to enjoy, and friendly neighbors. The median home value in Temescal is currently around 1.2 million dollars.


Though it’s called Uptown, this is actually the “downtown” area of Oakland. Broadway is the main drag, and the area is home to the Fox and Paramount theaters, numerous bars and eateries, and plenty of things to see and do. The median home sale price in Uptown is currently $950,000.

Arts and Entertainment

The New Parkway Theater

The New Parkway Theater is a unique movie theater with comfortable couches, a café restaurant, and beer and wine service. The theater is known for showing cutting-edge and progressive films, many of which are very popular with the LGBTQ community.

The Fox

Because Oakland is so inclusive and supportive of creativity, it has naturally become a magnet for talented local artists – but it also draws artists from across the country and around the world, many of whom have been known to perform at The Fox, which is an iconic Oakland landmark that originally opened in 1928, and recently reopened as a wildly popular live performance venue.

Parks and Recreation

Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park

Reinhardt Redwood Regional Park is a beautiful park in the hills east of Oakland that contains the largest remaining natural stand of coast redwood that can be found in the East Bay area. These beautiful giants are truly something to behold, and a walk through the park on a sunny Oakland afternoon is always well worth the time spent.

Lake Merritt

Lake Merritt is widely considered to be one of the most unique urban spaces in the United States. Its three-mile shoreline is a beautiful space, and this tidal lagoon is home to the United States' oldest designated wildlife refuge, dating back to 1870. Visitors can enjoy a day out on the water – but if boating isn’t your thing, there are also plenty of trails for hiking, biking, running, and walking too. It’s a great place to enjoy a beautiful day.

Oakland Nightlife

Uptown Nightclub and Bar

Uptown offers a lively dance floor, strong but reasonably priced drinks, live music, and the very popular Hella Gay dance party on the third Saturday of the month. During the Hella Gay dance parties, everyone is encouraged to, “dance, sweat, make connections, be sexy or silly, and have a blast.” At Uptown, chances are high that you’ll do exactly that.

White Horse Bar

The White Horse Bar is an Oakland icon and has been a staple of the LGBTQ community in Oakland since the 1930s. It is one of the oldest continuously operating LGBTQ bars in the United States, and it welcomes customers of all ages. You won’t want to miss Tuesday's karaoke nights!

Club BnB

Club BnB is one of the largest LGBTQ nightclubs in the Bay Area, and for over 35 years, this Oakland landmark has been offering live music, multiple dance floors, billiards, a VIP lounge, and many themed nights, including regular drag shows. There’s truly something for everyone here.

Contact an Oakland Realtor Today

If you’re ready to find your next home in an Oakland neighborhood that’s a perfect fit for you, today is the perfect time to get started. Contact an Oakland gay realtor for a free, no-obligation consultation, and find your perfect place in Oakland soon.