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The Gay Ghetto Top 10 for 2008
GLBT towns, cities, villages, ghettos, enclaves, districts, quarters, and neighborhoods are referred to with various descriptive words. But they all represent blossoming pride, celebration, and reliable real estate value.
Each year we choose our Gay Ghetto Top 10 by cross-analyzing demographics against real estate sales data to discover those especially prized metropolitan areas throughout the USA that are most in vogue with the diverse GLBT community. When the number crunching is over, we usually have 10 distinct winners, individually ranked by virtue of their popularity. But for 2008 we have some unique and special surprises – including three 2-way ties and a 3-way tie. Our top 10 are so outstanding, in other words, that they rate higher than ever.
Here are our selections – ranked 1-6 to accommodate 10 championship GLBT communities:
#1 & #2 - Atlanta, GA & Portland, OR (2-Way Tie)
“Peach City” reigns as the South’s GLBT capital and continues to attract record numbers of GLBT newcomers each year. Combine Southern charm and hospitality with the exciting urban sophistication and thriving economic base of a world-class cosmopolitan city and you the unique Hot ‘Lanta cocktail. The midtown hosts a well-established gay enclave, but at least half a dozen other districts are up-and-coming GLBT ghetto centers.
Portland Oregon
The “Rose City” boasts a thriving arts scene that ranks among America’s best; and its Hawthorne Districtis home to one of the most concentrated lesbian communities on the continent. Portland’s Burnside Triangle is a triangular district that underwent a complete renaissance and is now thoroughly established as a GLBT enclave stretching over several energetic city blocks. The influence of Burnside spreads into nearby neighborhoods including the Pearl District (a former industrial section of old Portland that now booms with art and commerce) and the rather upscale and upbeat Northwest neighborhood.
#3 - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte is one of the largest banking centers in the world, and is second only to NYC in that respect. But the “Queen City” also benefits from a powerfully funded arts community and offers wonderful museums, entertainment venues, and an eclectic mix of 19th century neighborhoods and sleek urban downtown architecture. Neighborhoods like South End and NODA (North Davidson Street) enjoy a thriving GLBT presence and the city has other desirable and affordable enclaves including tree-lined Windsor Park.
#4 & #5 - Raleigh, NC & Tampa/St. Pete Metro Area, FL or (2-Way Tie)
Raleigh is North Carolina’s capital city and occupies one section of the Piedmont region’s Research Triangle. It benefits from an expanding arts and entertainment scene and an overabundance of renowned universities and high-tech industries. Raleigh is also fast becoming a capital city for GLBT communities. Housing is affordable; upside economic and population growth potential is strong, and it is centrally located between the pristine Outer Banks coastal region and the wildly popular Blue Ridge Mountains.
Tampa/St. Pete Metro
If 300 days of sunshine each year along some 40 miles of beachfront appeal to you, that might explain why Tampa and St. Pete have experienced a steady influx of like-minded GLBT residents and business owners during the past decade. Downtown’s Central Avenue underwent a complete revitalization and the city hosts Florida’s biggest GLBT festival. Art enthusiasts appreciate the fact that while this metro area is a great place to buy a permanent or vacation home for equity appreciation; it also serves as the proud home to the most extensive collection of Salvador Dali paintings outside of Spain.
#6 & #7 - Dallas/Fort Worth, TX & Short Hills/Metuchen/Surrounding, NJ or (2-Way Tie)

Dallas/Fort Worth
Dallas has a relatively young population, a steady economy, a low cost of living, and one of the biggest commercial fashion and furniture districts in the USA. The “Big D” is also big in terms of GLBT communities that can be found throughout the sprawling city with a high concentration along Greenville Ave., Cedar Springs Road, and Oak Lawn Avenue. The Dallas gay Mecca converges in the gorgeous historic Turtle Creek area – home to the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Dallas Theater Center. Neighboring Fort Worth is a smaller city with big city GLBT amenities including its own gay film festival and rodeo.
Short Hills/Metuchen/Surrounding Areas
Natural and historical beauty, vibrant downtown venues that retain quaint charms but exceptionally innovative restaurants and shops, the nationally recognized Paper Mill Playhouse, a first-class school system, and easy commutes into the Big Apple all conspire to make this area a uniquely awesome place to live. These valuable features have not been lost on the GLBT community that thrives in this Victorian-era central New Jersey enclave of restored antique homes and outstanding real estate investment opportunities.
#8, #9 & #10 - Palm Springs, CA & Chicago Metro Area, IL & Austin, TX or (3-Way Tie)
Austin has a long reputation for gay-friendliness, and what was long ago a large gay underground is now a tremendously creative GLBT synergy that permeates the whole city in full view of everyone. Austin is the state capital, an important academic center, and the music industry’s newest crown jewel. Plus the city has a high-tech industry presence only rivaled by Silicon Valley. Austin offers a wide range of GLBT enclaves that are literally all over the map, and Texas is famous for low taxes and high growth.
“Chi-town” surprises many newcomers who do not expect so much abundant and accessible green space – including many miles of public lakefront parks – in such a large American city. Better-known assets include the entire range of big city perks and activities – from major sports teams and museums to world famous restaurants and a sizzling music scene. The local GLBT celebration attracts half a million people for its annual parade, and scores of them stay each year to become fulltime residents of the numerous architecture-rich neighborhoods found in the wonderful Windy City.
Palm Springs
Ideally situated two hours from Los Angeles and San Diego, Palm Springs combines sunny days, breathtaking mountain views, exotic nightlife, an historic downtown village, and an array of galleries, gardens, museums, shops, and restaurants. These days it also offers rare affordability, as California’s housing prices have fallen from their high perch to become much more accessible. In 2008 the town offers rare opportunities for upward equity appreciation. Plus same-sex marriage is now legal. No wonder Palm Springs has emerged as one of the most dynamic and fast-growing GLBT destinations in the USA.
Trace the social migration of America’s GLBT population through history. What emerges is a virtual blueprint for success in terms of smart growth, savvy investment, vibrant arts and culture, robust economics, low crime, high property value, superior schools, and model communities.
Pick your “Gayborhood” and rest assured that the future is bright for a diversified return on investment highlighted by synergistic appreciation of assets that are both tangible and intangible.
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The Gay Ghetto Top 10 for 2008
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