Cleveland Gay City Guide – The Rock and Roll Capital of the World

Situated on the southern shores of Lake Erie, Cleveland is a city that always offers a warm welcome, even despite its tendency for cold weather. It’s known as The Forest City, C-Town, and The Rock and Roll Capital of the World – but whatever you call it, it would be a wonderful place to call home.

Cleveland’s History

Cleveland is the second largest city in Ohio. Initially known as the Western Reserve in colonial times, it was officially founded in 1796 by General Moses Cleveland, for whom it was named. Cleveland’s industrial growth began with the opening of the Ohio and Erie canals in 1832. By the early 20th century, Cleveland had emerged as a major American manufacturing center. Today, Cleveland has succeeded in developing a more diversified economy and has gained a national reputation as a center for healthcare and the arts. It is a city with much to offer – an excellent dining scene, quirky and eclectic nightlife, a vibrant arts scene, multiple professional sports teams, and a warm, and welcoming spirit.

A Few Fun Facts About Cleveland

  • Cleveland is home to what is widely considered America’s first shopping mall. The Cleveland Arcade, opened in 1890 is still standing today.
  • Cleveland is the birthplace of Superman. When comic writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster created the iconic character in 1933, they were students at Cleveland's Glenville High School.
  • The game of golf as we know it today owes much to Cleveland. In 1898, an avid golfer named Coburn Haskell inadvertently created the wound rubber design of modern golf balls.

Find more fun facts about Cleveland here.


Cleveland’s LGBTQ Community

Cleveland has a vibrant and active LGBTQ community – one which offers many resources, ways to get involved, network and make connections, and work toward the greater good. A few of many LGBGTQ community resources in Cleveland include:

LGBTQ Community Center of Greater Cleveland

Founded in 1975, the center was created with the goals of educating the public, providing mental and physical health services, as well as social services and support to the LGBTQ community. Still today, the mission of the center is to enrich the lives of the LGBTQ community through support, education, advocacy, and celebration.

PFLAG Cleveland

PFLAG Cleveland was established in July 1985. In addition to other forms of community involvement, it holds monthly support group meetings with the goal of fostering understanding and acceptance within families. Through education and advocacy, its goal is to foster a community of inclusion, to celebrate and encourage appreciation of diversity, and to provide support and encouragement for the LGBTQ community, as well as friends, families, and allies.


Cleveland Weather

Cleveland residents experience all four seasons. Summers in Cleveland are typically warm and humid, and winters are cold, windy, and often include snow. Spring brings fresh and beautiful flowers, and in Autumn, residents can expect to experience the beautiful changing colors of the leaves. During the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from 22°F to 81°F and is rarely below 7°F or above 89°F. June, August, and September are often considered to be some of the most pleasant months of the year in Cleveland.


Can’t-Miss Cleveland Events

Pride in the CLE

Cleveland’s annual LGBTQ Pride Festival, Pride in the CLE has been celebrating the LGBTQ community and championing equality, diversity, and inclusion for five years running. Events during Pride in the CLE include a big parade, parties, lectures, and any number of other gatherings and events. Truly there’s something for everyone to enjoy!


Where to Live in Cleveland

While there are many parts of Cleveland that would be fine neighborhoods to call home, there are a few neighborhoods in particular that stand out as being popular with and welcoming to the LGBTQ community.  These include:

Ohio City

Ohio City is a historic area that sits just west of downtown Cleveland. Much of the nightlife and entertainment options are centered on the main strip of West 25th Street, which has a wonderful and eclectic assortment of cocktail bars and beer gardens, alongside popular vegan bistros and gourmet farm-to-table restaurants. This very diverse area has an active community and a wide variety of housing options, with homes ranging from approximately $42,000 to $1.2 million. The median home sale price is approximately $219,000.

Detroit Shoreway

The Detroit Shoreway neighborhood is located near Lake Erie, and is home to Cleveland’s LGBT center.  It is a quirky, eclectic, and progressive arts neighborhood full of creative individuals. The median list price of homes in the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood is approximately $325,000.


The Edgewater neighborhood, particularly the neighborhood between Clifton and Baltic, is a historic area that is also home to a several gay bars and has an active gay scene.  The median home value in Edgewater is currently approximately $148,000.

Are you ready to look at some "for sale" homes in Cleveland? Connect with a top Cleveland Gay Realtor today!


Cleveland Arts and Entertainment

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a must-see for any music lover, or anyone who simply enjoys history, fascinating exhibits, and fun. Designed by architect I.M. Pei in 1995, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame documents the history of rock music and the many important musicians and figures who are a part of it. The only museum of its scale in the country, it’s definitely something you won’t want to miss!

The Cleveland Museum of Art

The Cleveland Museum of Art is internationally known for its substantial collections of Asian and Egyptian art, and the museum is home to a diverse permanent collection of more than 61,000 works of art from around the world. Even better, admission is free!


Parks and Recreation

Stonewall Sports

Stonewall Sports is Cleveland’s sports league for the LGBTQ community and its allies. Its mission is to create a social, safe, and welcoming community where people can have fun being themselves while also taking part in fun sports. Sports offered include billiards, bocce, bowling, darts, rock climbing, tennis, volleyball, dodgeball, and yoga – and the league is continually growing. Be sure to try it out!

Cuyahoga Valley National Park

Located only a short distance from Cleveland, Cuyahoga Valley National Park is a national treasure. This beautiful park serves as a refuge for native plants and wildlife, and as a haven of peace and beauty for visitors. Within the park’s boundaries, the winding Cuyahoga River gives way to forests, rolling hills, and open farmlands. Visitors can walk or ride the Towpath Trail to follow the historic route of the Ohio & Erie Canal.


Cleveland Nightlife

The Hawk

The Hawk is a popular gay bar located on Detroit Avenue, home to much of the city’s bustling gay scene. Serving the city since 1933, The Hawk offers retro cocktails in a comfortable setting. Visitors can enjoy a game of pool, playing music on the jukebox, television, and games. When the weather is nice, visitors can enjoy mingling on the spacious patio.

Twist Social Club

Twist Social Club is a lively Cleveland gay bar in Edgewater. Throughout the week Twist hosts special event nights, including game nights, karaoke, and DJ parties.

Leather Stallion Saloon

The Leather Stallion Saloon is a popular gay bar in Cleveland’s St. Clair neighborhood.

It is known as the oldest leather bar in Ohio. It is known for its spacious patio, attentive staff, and friendly crowds.