Raleigh Gay City Guide – Making Your Home in the City of Oaks

Known affectionately by residents as the City of Oaks for its vast number of oak trees and beautiful green spaces, this capital city of North Carolina has so much to offer. It is well known for its amazing educational opportunities, but beyond that, it has a diverse performing arts and music scene, plenty of museums and cultural attractions, many job opportunities, and lots to see and do. All of this, and growing LGBTQ community welcoming to visitors and residents alike make Raleigh a great place to consider calling home.

A Look at Raleigh’s History

In 1792, Raleigh, named after Sir Walter Raleigh of England, was established as the capital of North Carolina, which was one of the 13 original colonies. Chosen for its location in the geographical center of the state, it began as a 1000 acre purchase of land and began to grow steadily. Initially a community primarily of farmers, it eventually grew to encompass one of the state’s first industrial areas and its first university. Still today, Raleigh is known as a city with a strong emphasis on education, which is reflected not only in its institutions of higher education but also in the fact that it is often called the “Smithsonian of the South” for its many museums and historical attractions. It is also known as part of the North Carolina “research triangle” along with the Durham and Chapel Hill areas for its innovations in technology, healthcare, science, and education. In addition, it has a growing and thriving LGBTQ community. If you’re looking for a sunny southern place with plenty of opportunities, lots to see and do, and a friendly neighborhood feel, Raleigh may be a great fit for you.

A Few Fun Facts About Raleigh

  • Known as the “Smithsonian of the South,” Raleigh is home to more than 40 free historic attractions and museums.
  • The Raleigh Beer Garden has held the World Record Academy’s title for “Most Beers on Tap” since 2015 – 366 beers on tap since its opening, in fact!
  • Raleigh was founded in 1792 and was named after the English explorer, Sir Walter Raleigh.

Find more fun facts about Raleigh here.

The LGBTQ Community in Raleigh

Raleigh’s LGBTQ community is a rich, growing, diverse group that is well-supported by a variety of resources across the city, including:

The LGBTQ Center of Raleigh

The LGBTQ Center of Raleigh is a community center offering resources, networking and advocacy opportunities, support groups, and other services to the LGBTQ community, friends, and allies in the greater Raleigh area. The mission of the LGBTQ Center is to serve, empower, and advocate for the well-being of the LGBTQ community.

PFLAG Triangle

PFLAG Triangle is the local chapter of the national PFLAG organization serving the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area. PFLAG is the largest grassroots organization of its kind in the country and has 500 chapters with more than 200,000 members in the United States. PFLAG plays a critical role in providing advocacy, support, and resources to the LGBTQ community, and offers monthly support meetings, as well as resources, advocacy, and networking opportunities for the LGBTQ community, friends, and allies.

What’s the Weather Like in Raleigh?

Raleigh has what’s known as a “subtropical” climate – this typically means hot, humid summers, and cold winters. In fact, one-third of the summer days in Raleigh reach temperatures exceeding 90°F, and about 70% of the days reach highs of at least 80°F. Fall and spring are usually pleasant and fairly mild, and residents can enjoy beautiful spring blooms, or crisp, colorful fall leaves depending upon the season. Winters are short but cold, with an average low temperature of 31°F.

The Best Events in Raleigh

The Crape Myrtle Fest

The Crape Myrtle Fest calls itself, “A non-profit that throws fabulous parties to raise funds for HIV/AIDS and LGBTQ support organizations,” and in Raleigh, it is indeed known for throwing fabulous parties. What better combination than having fun at a variety of LGBTQ community events throughout the year, all while knowing that your good time is also benefitting the community and causes you care for?

Raleigh Pride

Raleigh Pride is celebrated throughout the year – whether it is at North Carolina Pride Night in the fall (typically held in September), Out! Raleigh, which is typically held in the spring, or at any number of other events throughout the city during the year. You don’t want to miss your chance to be a part of the festivities and to celebrate all that the LGBTQ community adds to Raleigh!

Where to Live in Raleigh

While Raleigh is a welcoming community generally, Downtown Raleigh is typically the most popular area with the LGBTQ community. Downtown Raleigh has grown steadily over recent years and is known for being a trendy area with plenty of restaurants, shops, and entertainment options, in addition to a wide selection of housing choices. Whether you would prefer a condo, apartment, or single-family home, Raleigh has plenty of options. The median price of homes currently for sale downtown is $349,850.

Arts and Entertainment

North Carolina Museum of Art

The North Carolina Museum of Art was recently ranked by the insider as one of the top 25 museums in the country. It is widely considered to be one of the best visual arts museums in the south, and in addition to its impressive indoor exhibits, it also features an outdoor park with works of art, trails, and a live music theater, as well as a museum store and an on-site restaurant. Truly, it is a wonderful place to spend a beautiful North Carolina afternoon.

The Raleigh Little Theatre

The Raleigh Little Theatre has been entertaining and educating the greater Raleigh community for over 75 years. Known for showcasing a wide variety of groundbreaking LGBTQ- centered plays and screening a variety of LGBTQ movies in addition to many other types of live theater and entertainment experiences, you’ll want to be sure to enjoy all that it has to offer.

Parks and Recreation

Stonewall Sports

Stonewall Sports Raleigh is Raleigh’s branch of the nationally popular LGBTQ-focused Stonewall Sports League. The mission of Stonewall Sports is to make sure that everyone has the ability to feel comfortable being who they are in organized sports. Regardless of whether you’re a beginner to a sport or if you’ve been playing for some time, there’s a spot on a team for everyone, and a chance to make friends, raise money for great LGBTQ causes, and get some healthy exercise.

Pullen Park

Pullen Park is one of many beautiful Raleigh greenspaces that is a wonderful option for enjoying a beautiful, sunny Raleigh afternoon. This beautiful park offers 66 acres of hiking, biking, and walking trails, along with a picnic area, a carousel, pedal boats, concessions, and more. 

Raleigh Nightlife


Flex is a popular LGBTQ club in a basement-like setting that offers karaoke, regular theme nights, drag shows, line dancing, live music, strong drinks, and more. It’s a great spot to hang with old friends, or meet new ones!

Legends Nightclub

Legends Nightclub is a Raleigh nightspot that offers a lively dancefloor, a video bar, a game room, a spacious patio, and performance theater, along with popular theme nights. It’s definitely a popular place to enjoy a night out on the town.

Contact a Raleigh Realtor Today

Without a doubt, Raleigh would be a great city to call home. If you’re ready to find your perfect home here, today is a great day to get started with your search. Contact a Raleigh gay realtor today for a free, no-obligation consultation!