Living in a place with a vibrant dating scene is important for most single individuals, young and old. With such an environment, it can be easier to find a potential significant other, or simply explore the area with someone who doesn’t fall in the “friend” category. Romantic relationships aren’t everything — but they’re certainly an important part of life.
There are a variety of factors that make an area good for gay dating, including the number of single individuals, presence of LGBTQ+ population, availability of places to go on dates, and other local amenities. Some cities in the U.S. are above average in certain regards but fall short in others, so it can be difficult to know, overall, which ones are ideal for gay men and women looking to date.
With this in mind, we’ve ranked the 50 largest U.S. cities for gay men and women looking to date, based on seven key indicators. Read on for our findings and a full description of our methodology.
First, we wanted to highlight the 15 highest-ranking cities in the U.S. As it turns out, a number of southern cities earned high overall scores in our ranking and dominated the top spots. The five best cities for gay dating are New Orleans, LA; Austin, TX; Tampa, FL; Orlando, FL; and Providence, RI. The rest of the top 15 is a mix of northeastern and western cities, for the most part, with very few midwestern metros earning high marks.
Interestingly, all five of the lowest-ranking cities are also in the South. These include: Oklahoma City, OK; Raleigh, NC; Virginia Beach, VA; Nashville, TN; and Memphis, TN. The fact that the very top and very bottom cities in our ranking are all in the South tells us that an area’s dating scene has very little to do with the region it’s in, but rather has much more to do with the specific circumstances of the city.
We also wanted to show how all of the cities compare, so we included the sortable table above. This illustrates why each city earned the score and the rank that it did, by showing each individual data point used in the calculation. The top-ranking cities showed significant single and LGBTQ+ populations, relatively low drink costs, and a large number of bars for the population size. The metros at the bottom of our list generally fell short in at least one major area, such as municipal equality.
In order to determine the best and worst cities for gay dating, we compared the 50 largest U.S. metropolitan areas across seven key dimensions: 1) Percentage of Married People, 2) Percentage of Men Who’ve Had Sex with a Man, 3) Percentage of Women Who’ve Had Sex with a Woman, 4) LGBT Population Presence, 5) Human Rights Campaign Municipal Equality Index, 6) Average Cost of An Alcoholic Drink, and 7) Number of Bars Per 100,000 People. One city (Louisville, KY) was excluded from the ranking due to missing data.
Each of the seven indicators is graded on a 5-point scale, with a score of 5 representing the most favorable conditions. We determined each city’s total score from the total of each one’s individual factor scores, which were weighted according to their significance for gay dating. The sum of these weights is 10, which creates a total possible city score of 50. Each is listed below with its respective weight and data source.
Percentage of Married People — Weight: 1.00
— Source: 2017 U.S. Census
Percentage of Men Who’ve Had Sex with a Man — Weight: 1.25
— Source: City-Data
Percentage of Women Who’ve Had Sex with a Woman — Weight: 1.25
— Source: City-Data
LGBT Population Presence — Weight: 2.25
— Source: 2015 Gallup Poll
Human Rights Campaign Municipal Equality Index — Weight: 2.25
— Source: Human Rights Campaign
Average Cost of An Alcoholic Drink — Weight: 1.00
— Source: Expatistan cost of 1 beer
Number of Bars Per 100,000 People — Weight: 1.00
— Source: Yelp bar count, 2017 U.S. Census population