Orlando Area Top Gayborhoods
The question I get all the time is "where do the gay people live?" Just like most other cities in the USA, it's the city and peripheral neighborhoods where you'll find the most rainbow and HRC flags and an overall progressive vibe, which is palpable in Orlando. To illustrate the point, in City of Orlando District 4, we have an openly gay city council member named Patty Sheehan. On my neighborhood list below, 5 of the neighborhoods mentioned are within her district.
Since we are a somewhat small city, that super concentrated "gayborhood" or "gay ghetto"...like Castro, Boystown, Wilton Manners, Chelsea or West Hollywood doesn't quite exist.
Finding the best neighborhood really comes down to life-style. If you like the theatre and great, interesting restaurants and enjoy an active social life, do you really want to live 50 minutes from everything? Conversely, if you really don't care about those things and prefer an amenity rich sub-division, we'll need to look at some wonderful, suburban neighborhoods which cater to your specific wants and needs.
As of 2018, only 2 large Florida cities hold a 100% score card from the HRC...Orlando and St. Pete. I look forward to introducing you to Orlando!!...a beautiful, friendly and accepting place to call home.
- Thornton Park & Lake Eola Heights. Walking distance to DT Orlando, great little restaurants and bars, great mix of people, gentrified neighborhoods with gorgeous bungalows and craftsman style homes on cobblestone streets. Predominantly built post WWI. Expensive. Stop at Dexter's for Happy Hour.
- Downtown Orlando. Professional, educated and active...endless things to do. Ground zero for gay pride events. Many new condo towers since the 1990's. Moderate to expensive. Visit Hamburger Mary's or Rusty Spoon for dinner.
- College Park. Quaint & Convenient, with nearby shopping, bars and restaurants & sleepy streets lined primarily with post WWII houses. Moderate to expensive. Check out RusTeak for drinks/dinner.
- Colonial Town & Conway. In my opinion, these areas offer great value and are up & coming! Primarily 50's and 60's houses, which often times includes terrazzo floors! Value to expensive. Dinner at Maxine's on Shine is a must!
- Winter Park. Old money settled here, and you'll see it on the chain of lakes and near Park Ave., which is fabulous. Further east you find more moderately priced homes. Wide range mainly built from 1920's-60's. Moderate to expensive. Cafe de France is fabu!
- Delaney Park. Designing Women's own Delta Burke has a connection to the neighborhood. This lovely part of town features cobblestone streets, big old houses and a super location close to DT Orlando. Going further east near Lake Davis, AKA "Lake Betty Davis" by friends who live in the area, you'll find prices moderating a bit. Homes mainly built between WWI & WWII. Moderate to expensive. East of Lake Davis, check out 903 Mills Market.
- Baldwin Park. Formerly a military base, Baldwin Park is new urbanism at its finest! Easy commute to DT, nice restaurants and bars...very walkable neighborhood. Homes built 1990's+ Moderate to expensive. Seito Sushi is fantastic.
- Kissimmee. Yep, our gal pal's and guy's enjoy the laid back atmosphere & affordable prices Kissimmee has to offer. Excellent little ma & pa restaurants from all over, but particularly the islands and South America pepper the landscape. Lots of new but plenty from the 70's and earlier. Value to expensive. For amazing Dominican fare, check out M & M's Cafe then go have ice cream at Abracadabra---this is a MUST SEE on this list!
- Dr. Phillips. Many Disney and Universal executives call Dr. Phillips home, and for good reason: easy access to the attractions, airport, DT and Dr. Phillips restaurants, which are fabu! Primarily built in the 1960's-1980's. Moderate to expensive. Too many to choose, seriously. Visit restaurant row (Sand Lake Road) for endless possibilities, but check out The Pharmacy.
- Lake Nona Area. From doctors, nurses and other specialties and supporting staff within the medical field, to professors and teachers at the VA and UCF Medical School, you'll find it here. Suburban, moderate to upscale, green and super convenient to DT, OIA, Atlantic Ocean, Disney and Universal. Some neighborhoods were built in the early to mid 2000's; the area is currently exploding with new construction. If you like numerous small parks and easy access and many conservation/water lots, check out East Park. Moderate to expensive. 310 Nona has excellent steak.
- Sweetwater Area. Straddling both Longwood & Apopka, which are both approx. 30 minutes N-NW of D.T. Orlando, this area is heavily forested (old growth) with fairly decent sized lots with homes primarily built in the 1970's & 1980's with some more recent and new construction peppered throughout. If you want a less restrictive HOA with a well maintained aesthetic, check out the Deer Lake Run neighborhood in Apopka. Nearby is beautiful Wekiva Springs State Park, which is LOVELY! Moderate to Expensive. Back Room Steak House.
- Lake Mary. Many tech companies are concentrated in this area, which is approximately 30 minutes north of D.T. Orlando, depending on I-4 traffic. Suburban and lovely...but not cheap. Like most areas on this list, Lake Mary is also considered Moderate to Expensive. Ipho Noodle House has great Vietnamese fare.
- Wedgefield. Full disclosure. If I could get my partner to live here, we'd be here...in the Estates Section in the south near #528, not the northern area of the community which is sub-divisions. Wedgefield offers a rural setting yet it's only 30 minutes from DT Orlando and 15 from OIA. You'll find 1-10 acre parcels, some heavily forested parcels, well and septic, zoned for horses and deed restricted to prevent trailers and mobile homes. Shopping is not conveniently nearby and it's fairly remote and quiet, which is why my partner won't budge. Moderate to Expensive. This is pretty rural, but you can go to the country club at the golf course or head to Lake Nona...stop at Nona Tap for fantastic beer selection and their Blue Burger.
- Belle Isle. Looking for a lake home with that "Old Florida" feel while towering Live Oaks & hanging Spanish Moss canopy over the winding roads? You'll find it here. The location is just minutes south of DT and 15 minutes from OIA. Lovely and Expensive. Happy Snapper Seafood Market. Excellent seafood!
- Vi-Mi District. Located east of DT where Virginia & Mills meet, this area is packed with restaurants, shops, galleries and the LGBT Center. The adjoining neighborhoods predominantly consist of smaller homes, but their prices are much more affordable than Thornton Park or Lake Eola Heights AND it's equally walkable to all types of services. My favorite place to sit and chill is Santiago's Bodega (tapas with excellent wine...happy hour starts at 4) or Hawkers, Pop Thai, Mamak (a bit further south on Colonial) or Greek Corner, which is a bit west in Lake Ivanhoe Village, which is another wonderful neighborhood packed with shops, restaurants, antiques shops and a gay bar called Savoy. Moderate to Expensive.
New to Orlando? If you like attending theatre events, bowling, concerts, museums, happy hour, networking, restaurants, etc., check out