Lately, however, Washington DC’s “gayborhoods” have grown smaller, with many pillars of the gay community vanishing. Gone are Apex and Badlands, ambassadors of the DC gayborhoods for decades. Modern Washington, DC isn’t devoid of gayborhoods, but the shifting economics of the DC metro area have made it more difficult for gay neighborhoods to thrive in DC. That doesn’t mean all is lost for gay areas in Washington, DC – there are still plenty of neighborhoods that embrace LGBTQ+. If you’re a member of the LGBTQ+ community in any city, chances are you want to know the best neighborhoods for security and communal queer-spaces. Here are the best Washington D.C. neighborhoods to find just that:
- Population: 23,121
- Average Rent: $1,911
- Median Household Income: $104,366
- Popular LGBTQ+ Location: JR’s Bar and Grill
Dupont Circle is one of the most traditional gay neighborhoods, or gayborhoods, in the area. There are many bars, bookstores and restaurants that are geared toward the LGBTQ+ community. JR’s Bar and Grill, located on 17th Street, is less of a grill (it only serves popcorn) and more of a place for members of the DC LGBTQ+ community to congregate. Dupont Circle can be an expensive district to call home, so you may find an older generation of people living within its confines. In addition to JR’s, 17th Street is renowned for its gay-owned businesses, featuring myriad art museums and boutiques. Some of the popular residential homes include the Richardsonian Romanesque, Beaux Arts and Queen Anne Homes.
- Population: 10,076
- Average Rent: $1,623
- Median Household Income: $116,843
- Popular LGBTQ+ Location: Orchid
In Washington, D.C., Capitol Hill is the place where many gay singles and families move when they don’t want to be in a lively party district like Dupont Circle. However, there are many gay bars and LGBTQ+ entertainment spots, restaurants and markets in this neighborhood, too. During the weekend the Eastern market showcases a lot of crafts, foods and antiques. Over at Barracks Row in Capitol Hill you can find Orchid, featuring a ‘20s aesthetic with a 40-foot marble bar. Orchid recently opened, but it’s quickly becoming Capitol Hill’s premier queer hangout, thanks to its weekend disco brunch and Prohibition-era glam theme. Also, adjacent Capitol Hill is DC’s famous Capital Pride, a four-day event celebrating gay pride.
- Population: 35,702
- Average Rent: $1,324
- Median Household Income: $72,524
- Popular LGBTQ+ Location: Casa Ruby
While gentrification has been happening over the past five years, with the area becoming more modernized, Columbia Heights remains home to a large Hispanic segment of the LGBTQ+ community. Members of the gay community flock to Columbia Heights for its diversity, both in business and population. Columbia Heights is home to an eclectic mix of creatives and expats, many of whom frequent the densely populated neighborhood’s farmer’s market, GALA Hispanic Theater, vegan bakery combo, Mexican Cultural Institute, and elegant row homes and embassies. Further, Casa Ruby, a center for homeless LGBTQ+ youth, recently opened in Columbia Heights:
“It’s where gay people and trans people can be themselves, where they can come in and they don’t have to worry about being undermined, hurt, violated, repressed, harassed,” says Ruby Corado, founder and director of Casa Ruby. “It is a place where people can come together and be supported by people who know what it’s like to have that done to them.”
Additionally, there is a Wonderland Ballroom, which is on 11th Street and has a lively DJ and plenty of dancing. Also, you can find Rock Creek Park and the Metro in the area.
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