Tampa Bay Gay City Guide: Pirates, Pride, Gayborhoods and a Place for Everyone

This sunshiny city on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico has so much to offer visitors and residents alike. It offers professional sports, a thriving arts scene, excellent restaurants, and plenty of entertainment options, indoors and out. And beyond all of the fun it offers, it offers professional opportunities too – and plenty of them. It also has a strong, steadily growing LGBTQ community, one where everyone can find their place and be a part of all that makes the Tampa Bay area wonderful.

A Brief History of Tampa Bay

Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon first arrived in the area that is now Tampa Bay in 1513, although the Spanish primarily focused their attention on the development of areas in eastern Florida at that time, and it was not truly until the 1800s with the arrival of American settlers that the area truly began to grow. The area officially became United States territory in 1845 and began to grow steadily after a railroad hub was established there in the late 1800s. Its location on both the bay and the Hillsborough River also contributed to its growth, and today, Tampa’s port is the seventh-largest in the nation. In addition to being a major port city, Tampa also has a thriving downtown business district and a vibrant, multicultural and diverse community. It is truly a city with something for everyone.

A Few Fun Facts About Tampa Bay

  • Tampa is home to Florida’s oldest restaurant, as well as its largest Spanish restaurant. The Columbia is known for offering some of the best Spanish and Cuban cuisine in the country, as well as regular Flamenco dancing.
  • Tampa Bay is known as the lightning capital of the world. Storms can pop up quickly, so it’s always best to be prepared.
  • A massive pirate festival, the “Gasparilla Festival”, celebrating the legend of pirate Jose Gaspar, has been taking place in Tampa for over 100 years.

Find more fun facts about Tampa Bay here.

Tampa Bay’s LGBTQ Community

Tampa Bay has a thriving and active LGBTQ community that is well supported by a variety of resources and community centers throughout the city, including:

The LGBTQ Welcome Center

The LGBTQ Welcome Center, located in the St. Pete portion of the Tampa Bay area, is a community center intended to be a safe and welcoming space for the LGBTQ community, friends, and allies in the Tampa Bay area. The center seeks to provide information and serve as a resource and a hub for the LGBTQ community in the greater Tampa Bay area.


PFLAG Tampa is the city’s local chapter of the national PFLAG organization. PFLAG is the largest grassroots organization of its kind in the country and plays a critical role in providing advocacy, networking opportunities, connections, and resources to the LGBTQ community. It also offers monthly support meetings, as well as resources, advocacy, and support for the LGBTQ community, and its friends and allies.

What’s the Weather Like in Tampa Bay?

If you choose to live in the Tampa Bay area, you can expect plenty of sunshine and lots of warm weather. You can also expect a fair amount of rain, as pop-up showers and precipitation are not at all unusual in coastal areas in Florida. On average, Tampa receives 51 inches of rain per year and 0 inches of snow. Around 246 days per year in Tampa are sunny – more than the national average. Summers are typically hot and humid with the July high reaching around 90°, and winters are mild and pleasant with the low in January typically only averaging around 52°.

Can’t-Miss Events in Tampa Bay

Tampa Pride

Tampa Pride is the city’s annual pride celebration, honoring and celebrating the LGBTQ community and all that it adds to the city. Featuring parades, parties, networking opportunities, concerts, and more, it’s a yearly even that you’ll want to be sure to put on your calendar.

St. Pete Pride

Held in the St. Petersburg portion of Tampa Bay, this annual pride celebration typically draws over 250,000 people per year to celebrate the LGBTQ community with parades, performances, fireworks, parties, and more, along St. Pete’s gorgeous downtown waterfront area.


Since as long ago as 1904, the people of the Tampa Bay area have been hosting the Gasparilla Pirate Festival, which is an annual pirate-themed event celebrating the legend of mythical pirate Jose Gaspar, otherwise known as Gasparilla. The event includes parades, parties, and other festivities, and it truly a unique celebration that you won’t want to miss.

The Best Neighborhoods in Tampa Bay

There are many wonderful neighborhoods in Tampa, each with its own unique character and personality. Two of the neighborhoods most popular with the LGBTQ community include:

The GaYbor District

The GaYbor District is the most well-known LGBTQ neighborhood in the Tampa Bay area. Part of the historic Ybor City neighborhood, the GaYbor District includes many gay bars, nightclubs, shops, restaurants, and other businesses. Centered primarily around the intersection of 15th Street and 8th Avenue, the neighborhood hosts an annual LGBTQ street party, as well as the Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, which is one of the largest independent LGBTQ film festivals in the United States. Those interested in living in the GaYbor District will find a wide variety of single-family homes and condos to choose from at varying price ranges. The median list price of homes currently for sale in the GaYbor District is approximately $190,000.

Seminole Heights

Seminole Heights is another very popular LGBTQ neighborhood in the Tampa area. Located in the heart of the city, it has an eclectic and diverse population, and homes that are unique and full of character. The median list price of homes currently for sale in Seminole Heights is $270,000.

Arts and Entertainment

The Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival

The Tampa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival is one of the largest independent gay and lesbian film festivals in the country. The mission of the festival is to showcase a wide variety of compelling film and video selections made by and for the LGBTQ community with the purpose of entertaining, empowering, and enlightening the audience each year.

The Tampa Museum of Art

The Tampa Museum of Art is well-known for its collection of modern and contemporary art, although it also has a substantial collection from many eras and genres. It’s a wonderful place to spend an afternoon feeling inspired and amazed, and to learn about history too.

Parks and Recreation

Gay Kickball

Gay Kickball Tampa is a recreational LGBTQ kickball league open to all in the Tampa Bay area, regardless of experience or ability. It’s a great way to get some exercise, meet some friends, and have some fun, while enjoying a sport that’s fun for all.

Cypress Point Park

It’s almost impossible to truly enjoy all that Tampa has to offer without spending time on one of its beautiful beaches, and Cypress Point Park is certainly a great place to do exactly that. With a boardwalk, hiking and biking trails, dunes, canoe rentals, and more, it’s a great place to spend a beautiful Tampa Bay afternoon.

Tampa Bay Nightlife

Bradley's on 7th

Bradley’s is a very popular LGBTQ nightspot in the Tampa Bay area known for its lively dance floor, regular happy hours, theme nights, and drag shows. It’s a great place to spend an evening dancing the night away with friends.

City Side Lounge

City Side Lounge is a lively LGBTQ nightspot featuring 3 bars and a stage, as well as plenty of room to mix and mingle. City Side regularly offers theme nights, drag shows, karaoke, and more. You won’t want to miss your chance to join in on the fun!

Contact a Tampa Bay Realtor Today

If you think the Tampa Bay area would be a great fit for you, now is a perfect time to get started looking for a home you’ll love in a neighborhood that’s a perfect fit for you. Contact a Tampa Bay gay realtor today for a free, no-obligation consultation!