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Denver Colorado’s Top LGBTQ Neighborhoods & Attractions

Denver’s open-minded community and laid-back vibe make it the perfect haven for the LGBTQ+ community. The Mile High City is teeming with restaurants, hotels, and nightlife that welcomes the queer community with open arms. 


Thinking about moving in? This is your sign to take that leap. Beyond its vibrant queer scene, Denver's stunning views from the nearby Rocky Mountains are certainly a sight to behold. 


Read on to learn more about Denver’s gay culture, discover the top neighborhoods, and how you can make Denver your new home. 


Denver’s Ever-Booked LGBTQ Events Calendar 

If you relish outdoor activities and have a knack for a vibrant cultural scene, you’re in luck. Denver’s queer community knows how to create a welcoming and festive atmosphere; The city hosts numerous annual events that draw huge crowds of community members from all over the world.


The celebrated Denver PrideFest is one of the largest queer events where thousands gather for a weekend of entertainment, festivities, and parades. Since 1974, it has been considered the top Pride event in the city, featuring top-tier queer entertainers. The two-day free festival, hosted by The Centre on Colfax on Colfax Avenue, opens its doors to everyone regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation.  


Another major event is the Rocky Mountain Regional Gay Rodeo, Colorado’s most celebrated Pride event. The rodeo supports several charities, and attendees can bring their cowboy spirit to the arena for a rather unique experience.


Additionally, Denver supports the LGBTQ+ film industry with the CinemaQ Film Festival. Lovers of film and cinema enthusiasts flock to this event each year for its wide array of movies that encapsulates the beauty of queer love. 


For art aficionados,  Denver’s Queer Frontier - Art Discussion in Honor of Pride Month highlights the creative and historical journey of queer life in one of the city’s art galleries.



A Brief History of Denver’s LGBTQ Scene 

Queer events in Denver did not break into the scene until the late 1960s and 1970s. Despite this, Denver has always been a welcoming place for both natives and newcomers. The high-plain American Indians found refuge in the Front Range after following buffalo herds. Once the prospectors discovered gold in 1858 and crossed the Great Plains, they settled in Denver. 

It wasn't until the 1900s that the city's gay scene started to change, leading to the vibrant city of culture and color we have today.

  • 1939: Denver’s first gay bar, The Pit, opens on Seventeenth Street. 

  • 1973: Tired of police harassment, the Gay Coalition of Denver works with Denver's City Council to abolish anti-gay laws. 

  • 1974: Denver holds its first gay pride event in Cheesman Park to celebrate the community's milestones. 

  • 1975. Denver holds its inaugural Pride Parade with allies snaking their way from Cheesman Park, Franklin St, to Colfax Avenue.

  • 1982: The Colorado Gay Rodeo Association was formed, and after that, Denver hosted the first gay rodeo.

  • 1983: Denver's gay and lesbian community mobilizes to elect Federico Pena as the city's first Latino mayor and an executive ally to the LGBTQ+ community.  

  • 1990: Denver emerged as one of the first municipalities to embrace an anti-discrimination policy that covered lesbians and gays.

  • 1991: Denver voters supported an anti-discriminatory policy despite much opposition on the ballot.

  • 1994: The Gill Foundation was established to promote LGBTQ+ rights.

  • 2010: PrideFest gets a second day for pride celebration.

  • 2013: Colorado adopts the Colorado Civil Union Act, establishing relationship recognition for same-sex couples. 

  • 2014: Same-sex marriage is declared legal in Colorado.

  • 2015: The U.S. Supreme Court issues a nationwide ruling favoring same-sex marriage.

  • 2018: The first openly gay man, Jared Polis, was elected to serve as U.S. governor.


Denver’s Top Gay Neighborhoods 

Denver is known as one of the most LGBTQ-friendly cities in the nation due to its diverse and inclusive neighborhoods. A majority of the neighborhoods in the city are queer-friendly, each with its own special amenities and charms. 

Each area offers a variety of experiences, including quiet green areas, vibrant nightlife, and restaurants that offer an eclectic dining experience. 


Here are some of the best neighborhoods for same-sex couples in Denver.


The River North Art District

Known for its industrial charm and artistic flair, RiNo is one of Denver's trendiest districts. It’s a rapidly growing area that attracts a vibrant and diverse community, and it’s a center of innovative creativity.


Rich in galleries and visually striking street art, RiNo is home to a thriving arts community. The Source is an essential destination for art lovers. Known for its fusion of culinary delights and artistic creations, this marketplace houses artisan shops, food vendors, and a brewery.


Popular gay bar and coffee shop Blush & Blu is a gathering place for the local LGBTQ+ community, offering something for everyone to enjoy. Here you can unwind, relax, and meet people who share your interests.

Another interesting spot in RiNo is the EXDO Event Center, which hosts a range of LGBTQ+ events like drag shows and dance parties. 


Capitol Hill 

Capitol Hill is one of Denver's oldest neighborhoods but is often referred to as the heart of Denver's LGBTQ+ scene. Located in downtown Denver, the neighborhood has old mansions that give off a Bohemian vibe. Capitol Hill neighborhood is also home to some of Denver's most prominent LGBT pubs and clubs.

Tracks is a must-visit venue, known for its vibrant dance floor and themed evenings, while Charlie's Denver provides a unique combination of country-western charm and outstanding drag shows. You can sample the local cuisines from the top-rated eateries such as the 9th Door and Di Franco's. Hudson Hill and the Fainting Goat are worth checking out too if you fancy some nightlife. 

The neighborhood also hosts the annual Denver PrideFest in Civic Center Park. One of the largest Pride events in the country, it features a parade, live music, and numerous vendors.


Uptown

North Capitol Hill, also known as Uptown, is a lively area with lots of different places to eat, shop, and have fun. Because of this, the area is fairly busy and draws a wide range of people.


Steuben's is a local favorite that serves comfort food in a cool retro environment, ideal for a relaxing dinner with friends. If you're looking for something unique, Ace Eat Serve blends Asian cuisine with a lively ping-pong bar ambiance, making it an excellent choice for both food and entertainment.


Uptown also offers a great nightlife experience. The X club is a popular gay club that keeps the good vibes going all night long with its amazing drag shows and regular themed events. Hamburger Mary's offers weekly drag bingo evenings, which combine delectable food and lively acts for a unique dining experience.

Uptown is a popular cultural destination in the city; it hosts the annual Denver Film Festival, which features a range of LGBTQ+ films and creators. 


Baker

Baker is a diverse neighborhood with a deep history and a strong sense of community. It is popular among both locals and visitors because of its antique stores, numerous culinary options, and bustling nightlife.

One of the highlights is The Hornet, a prominent LGBTQ+-friendly pub where you can have a delicious meal or beverages with your friends. If you enjoy live music, Syntax Physic Opera provides a pleasant atmosphere with their always-entertaining performances.


South Broadway's Antique Row is a must-visit if you like a great shopping experience. There are lots of interesting shops and antique boutiques where you can find unique items. If you are looking for a place to eat, Beatrice & Woodsley is notable for its excellent food and rustic-chic ambiance.

Baker also hosts inclusive events, including street fairs and local music festivals, making it a lively and welcoming destination.


Cheesman Park 

Cheesman Park is the perfect neighborhood to live in, especially for same sex couples who love nature. The neighborhood is renowned for its lush green spaces and tree-lined streets. The park is a gay oasis and hosts the city's annual Pride Parade, making it a central hub for the LGBTQ+ community.

Nearby, you’ll find a mix of trendy cafes, eclectic shops, and vibrant nightlife. Living here, you’ll always have something exciting to do. Plus, the neighborhood’s central location offers easy access to other parts of the city. The greatest attraction, the Denver Botanic Gardens, is the perfect place for outdoor fun alone or with company. 


Be a Local or a Boss in the Mile High City 

Whether you choose Denver as a travel destination or your forever home, it’s full of places where you can fit right in. The city's inclusive policies ensure that everyone feels welcome and respected. Plus, its vibrant gay-friendly neighborhoods provide a sense of community and belonging. 

Denver's welcoming atmosphere is further supported by diverse cultural events, ranging from art festivals and music concerts to Pride celebrations and community gatherings. This combination of inclusivity, community, and culture makes Denver not just a city to visit, but a place where you can truly feel at home.


Moving to Denver 

Denver checks every box as a safe place for the LGBTQI+ community to call home. Don’t believe me? Here’s why you should consider moving to Denver.


Inclusive and Welcoming Policies

Denver's policies are inclusive and support the LGBTQI+ community. Colorado state laws promote healthcare access, parental rights, and education for queer people. You don't have to worry about accessing essential services regardless of your sexual orientation or gender identity.

According to the Human Rights Campaign's Municipal Equality Index, Colorado state scores 100% for its inclusive policies, municipal laws, and services that support the LGBTQI+ community. The score speaks to the state's non-discrimination laws, transgender-inclusive healthcare benefits, and supportive city services.

Additionally, Denver's inviting and welcoming atmosphere for queer people specifically is highlighted by its high State Safety Ranking. Colorado ranks high on the SafeHome LGBTQ+ safety index, which measures factors like hate crime rates, legal protections, and social attitudes. The state holds a safety score of 85.4 and ranks as the 6th most gay-friendly state in America. 


Plenty of Housing Options

Besides the accepting and safe conditions, you’ll also get a wide array of housing options thanks to the competitive market. Denver's metropolitan solid economy has supported the city's consistent growth rate, leading to increasing house demands. 

If you are wondering whether to rent or own in Denver, it all boils down to preference. In 2024, home market prices in Denver increased by 9.3%, selling for an average of $620k. Thanks to home loans, you can own property in Denver. With rising rents, homeownership could be more cost-effective in the long run, especially with competitive mortgage rates in Colorado currently averaging around 6.5% for a 30-year fixed mortgage. 


Balanced Cost of Living

Denver's cost of living is higher than the national average, but it is more affordable than cities like New York or San Francisco. The main factors for the high costs are housing, health care, and transportation. However, Denver's overall quality of life and amenities provide a good balance.

Additionally, Denver's robust economy supports a comfortable lifestyle. The top-paying job sectors are healthcare, tech, finance, and renewable energy, with the average household income being $111,981. 

If you put all this together, Denver is one of the most LGBTQ-friendly cities, and its suburban queer lifestyle doesn't come with a hefty price tag. 


Same-Sex Households

Colorado ranks as the 14th state with the highest percentage of same-sex households. This further proves the inclusive and supportive policies in place to cater for the queer community. Moreover, the city is known for its strong school districts that support diversity and prevent bullying based on sexual orientation. 


Real Estate Investing in Denver 

Investing in Denver's real estate is a wise choice, especially if you are eyeing the real estate sector. The city’s vibrant culture is highlighted by a number of queer events, and these contribute to the city's booming real estate market. 

Here’s why Denver should be on your investment radar:


Year Round Tourists

On average, Denver receives around 30 million visitors annually. 2022 was a record-breaking year for Denver, with over 36 million visitors touring the large city. This surge in tourism, especially during events like Pride Month, creates a huge demand for short-term accommodation. Neighborhoods with high occupancy rates include Capitol Hill, LoDo, and Uptown​.


Robust Population Growth

Denver’s growing population and strong economy are the major factors driving a higher demand for housing. Being the largest city in a 600 mile radius, Denver attracts people from all walks of life. Since 2010, Denver's population has increased by a significant 21%, which has put pressure on the housing market. This population surge is partly fueled by the city's thriving job market, diverse cultural offerings, and high quality of life, which attract people from all over the country.

Plus, with the city hosting its annual official pride parade, many visitors looking for temporary or even permanent residency are expected. 


Supportive Economy

Denver has a thriving economy that ensures a comfortable lifestyle for its residents. With a low unemployment rate and balanced household income, Denver is enticing for new residents.

Denver's consistent job growth drives a steady demand for property, offering high returns on investment. For instance, areas like Union Station and RiNo are in high demand due to their job opportunities, making them particularly lucrative for investors.


Essentially, owning a home in Denver is easy. Once you've laid down your preferences and budget, doing thorough research will shed more light on the ideal neighborhoods to invest. Even if market prices don't align with your budget, mortgage lenders in Denver can help you find a financing solution that works for you.


 

Pride Lending LLC - Serving the LGBTQ+ Community

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