Atlanta Gay-Friendly Neighborhoods
Atlanta is often referred to as the gay capital of the South. And while San Francisco has its own gay district—known as the Castro—the Atlanta gay population lives, works and plays all over the city and even into the suburbs.
Atlanta Gay and Lesbian Pride was inaugurated in 1971 and holds a festival each year in October to coincide with National Coming Out Day. The weekend is usually held in Midtown's Piedmont Park with a parade and many other activities as it was started to commemorate the Stonewall Riots in New York City. It is estimated that over 200,000 people attended last year's event. Black Pride is also held in Atlanta, usually in September.
Midtown has several of the city's most popular gay bars like Blake's, Burkhart's Pub, Bulldogs and Swinging Richards. Consequently, this area is very popular with the gay male population. There are also many hotels in Midtown that advertise themselves as gay-friendly; among these are the W Atlanta Midtown, the Hyatt Regency and Hello B&B, a gay-owned bed and breakfast in the heart of Midtown.
The Candler Park, Kirkwood and Emory University/Decatur neighborhoods (all adjacent) are quite popular with the lesbian community thanks in part to the Indigo Girls, Amy Ray and Emily Saliers. The pair met in elementary school and started making music together in high school in Decatur. They both went on to Emory University and laid down roots in the community. Saliers was one of the initial investors in the Flying Biscuit Cafe and is also the co-owner of Watershed, which was once in Decatur, but relocated to Midtown.
The Atlanta LBGT populace is also partially responsible for the resurgence of Grant Park in the 1980s. The historic neighborhood was falling into ruins when members of the community started scooping up properties, renovating and restoring them to their original glory. This fever pitch trickled over into the neighborhoods of East Atlanta, Ormewood Park and the Old Fourth Ward. These are all eclectic, funky and tolerant neighborhoods, like most of Atlanta.
Notable businesses in this area are My Sister's Room and Ria's Bluebird, both in Grant Park; Mary's in the East Atlanta Village; Sister Louisa's Church of the Living Room and Ping-Pong Emporium, and the Clermont Lounge, both in the Old Fourth Ward.