Find Out Why Buffalo, New York, is the No. 1 City in America (2023 Data)

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By Sam M. Huisache Updated November 2, 2023


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🏆 Buffalo Gets the Billing for Top Spot 🏆

Buffalo, New York, is America's best overall city in 2023! It is also the second-best city for commuters and has seen the second-lowest increase in home prices in the nation, making it one of the best cities to live in the U.S.

Best of Real Estate | Best of Food | Best of the Rest | Methodology | FAQ

In an era when many Americans grapple with the decision to stay or go, understanding how one's city compares to others becomes paramount. Our "Best of 2023" analysis serves as a resource to help Americans weigh the pros and cons of staying in their current location or seeking greener pastures elsewhere.

After analyzing the results of 16 studies we published this year on Clever Real Estate and our sister sites,  our No. 1 city is Buffalo, New York, home to the Bills and one of the world's few radial street systems

Much has changed from our "Best of 2022" retrospective. Notable rank changes include significant gains for San Francisco, Minneapolis, and Pittsburgh — which all moved up more than 20 spots — as well as notable declines for Providence, Orlando, and Tampa — which dropped 20 spots. 

This year, Pittsburgh, Austin, and San Francisco tied for the most No. 1 rankings in our studies. Each of these cities took home the No. 1 spot twice: Pittsburgh for Best Beer Cities and Home Prices vs. Income; Austin for Best BBQ Cities and Best Taco Cities; and San Francisco for Inflation vs. Home Prices and Most LGBTQ-Friendly Cities.

You can see where your city ranks in every study here:

Best of 2023 Statistics 🏆

  • The No. 1 overall city in America is Buffalo, New York, while the bottom-ranking city is Miami. Find out more below. 👇
  • Buffalo's highest rankings were for Best Commuter Cities and Inflation vs. Home Prices, earning the No. 2 spot for both. Buffalo was also not in the bottom 10 in any of our studies in 2023. 👇
  • Since 2022, home prices have surprisingly risen the least in San Francisco, where they've decreased 1.6%. Across the country, home prices have increased by 8% on average. 👇
  • Miami's lowest ranking was for Inflation vs. Home Prices at No. 50. Its best was Best Pizza Cities at No. 8. 👇
  • The best overall food city in America is Denver. It was our No. 3 Best Burger City and No. 5 Best Beer City. 👇
  • The worst overall food city is Virginia Beach, Virginia. Its worst performance in a food-related study was Best Coffee Cities, where it came in 46th place. 👇
  • In a survey of 1,000 Americans, respondents said Seattle is the most desirable place to live in the U.S. 👇
  • The least desirable city was Washington, D.C. 👇
  • Based on where its biggest cities landed in the rankings, Florida is the worst overall state. 👇
  • San Francisco is the most LGBTQ-friendly city, while Memphis is the least. 👇
  • Best Taco Cities was by far our most polarizing study of the year. Austin is the No. 1 city for tacos this year, but California had more cities than Texas in the top 15. 👇

Best of 2023 City Rankings

Overall RankCityOverall ScoreAffordable Housing RankAffordable Housing ScoreFood City RankFood City ScoreChange from 2022 Rank
1Buffalo, NY100346.286021
2Denver, CO99.6375.3110011
3Baltimore, MD88.61511.1764.323
4Minneapolis, MN87.411142053.323
5Portland, OR86.6365.49595
6Pittsburgh, PA85.21100135523
7Milwaukee, WI83.8219.5280.9-1
8Austin, TX79.5326.7376.67
9Las Vegas, NV77395.2664.97
10Cincinnati, OH76.7623.1565.5-3
11San Francisco, CA75.9464.32748.328
12Hartford, CT75.61212.82548.6-9
13San Jose, CA74.4474.31057.11
14Raleigh, NC73.920102947.7-12
15St. Louis, MO72.94403342.43
16Chicago, IL71.71710.73242.95
17Salt Lake City, UT71.5307.33740.2-6
18Washington DC70.6336.5314522
19Oklahoma City, OK70821.4376.6-18
20Indianapolis, IN69.75241653.7-15
21San Diego, CA69.3494.21057.114
22Cleveland, OH69.12504039.3-5
23Kansas City, MO67.310151554.5-19
24Richmond, VA67.2268.61653.7-15
25Philadelphia, PA66.51910.313556
26Columbus, OH661412.52548.6-14
26Louisville, KY66623.12349.7-3
28New Orleans, LA65277.82252.90
29Boston, MA64.4425.13640.44
30Seattle, WA64.1434.94635.34
31Los Angeles, CA63.8504.22748.313
32Providence, RI61.7287.63442.1-24
33Detroit, MI60.8918.83541.19
33Sacramento, CA60.8415.1384013
35Dallas, TX60.3258.71653.715
35San Antonio, TX60.32492449-5
37New York, NY59.1444.64536.511
38Nashville, TN58.1316.92053.3-19
39Houston, TX56.81710.71653.76
40Birmingham, AL55.51212.83047.1-2
41Phoenix, AZ55.3355.74138.9-5
42Orlando, FL55.1405.21256.7-22
43Charlotte, NC54.7287.64237.3-6
44Virginia Beach, VA53.5239.25028.3-20
45Atlanta, GA52219.54436.7-2
46Tampa, FL48.7375.34734.1-21
47Jacksonville, FL47.1346.33840-6
48Riverside, CA46.7444.64336.91
49Memphis, TN46.41610.94932.4-17
50Miami, FL43.5474.34832.7-3

Best of Real Estate 

Our Best of Real Estate category compared the 50 most-populous U.S. cities based on their affordability. This year's category winner is Pittsburgh. This Pennsylvania city is the most affordable city for housing in the U.S. overall. The least affordable city is Los Angeles along with other California cities.

Three housing studies were used to compute the affordable housing score and rankings: Rent Prices vs. Income, Home Prices vs. Income, and Price per Square Foot, weighted equally.

The real estate study not included in the affordable housing ranking was Inflation vs. Home Prices, which tracked the increase in home prices and general goods over the past five decades. Several housing markets are still very expensive despite seeing decreases or minimal increases in prices. 

Affordable Housing RankCityAffordable Housing Score
1Pittsburgh, PA100
2Cleveland, OH50
3Buffalo, NY46.2
4St. Louis, MO40
5Indianapolis, IN24
6Cincinnati, OH23.1
6Louisville, KY23.1
8Oklahoma City, OK21.4
9Detroit, MI18.8
10Kansas City, MO15
11Minneapolis, MN14
12Hartford, CT12.8
12Birmingham, AL12.8
14Columbus, OH12.5
15Baltimore, MD11.1
16Memphis, TN10.9
17Chicago, IL10.7
17Houston, TX10.7
19Philadelphia, PA10.3
20Raleigh, NC10
21Milwaukee, WI9.5
21Atlanta, GA9.5
23Virginia Beach, VA9.2
24San Antonio, TX9
25Dallas, TX8.7
26Richmond, VA8.6
27New Orleans, LA7.8
28Providence, RI7.6
28Charlotte, NC7.6
30Salt Lake City, UT7.3
31Nashville, TN6.9
32Austin, TX6.7
33Washington, DC6.5
34Jacksonville, FL6.3
35Phoenix, AZ5.7
36Portland, OR5.4
37Denver, CO5.3
37Tampa, FL5.3
39Las Vegas, NV5.2
40Orlando, FL5.2
41Sacramento, CA5.1
42Boston, MA5.1
43Seattle, WA4.9
44New York, NY4.6
44Riverside, CA4.6
46San Francisco, CA4.3
47San Jose, CA4.3
47Miami, FL4.3
49San Diego, CA4.2
50Los Angeles, CA4.2

Rent Prices vs. Income

Rent Prices vs. Income examined changes in median rent prices and median income over time. We measured rent-to-income ratios for each city and found that Cincinnati, Ohio, has the lowest rent-to-income ratio at 15.5%. That means, on average, rent in Cincinnati is 15.5% of the median local income.

Miami, Florida, residents take the biggest hit by paying 28.5% of their income on rent.

Top 15 Cities With the Lowest Rent-to-Income Ratio

  1. Cincinnati, OH (15.5%)
  2. Pittsburgh, PA (16.2%)
  3. St. Louis, MO (16.4%)
  4. Minneapolis, MN (16.6%)
  5. Buffalo, NY (16.8%)
  6. Milwaukee, WI (17.1%)
  7. Providence, RI (17.2%)
  8. Cleveland, OH (17.2%)
  9. Kansas City, MO (17.2%)
  10. Louisville, KY (17.4%)
  11. Hartford, CT (17.5%)
  12. Indianapolis, IN (17.6%)
  13. Raleigh, NC (17.7%)
  14. Columbus, OH (17.7%)
  15. Oklahoma City, OK (17.7%)

Home Prices vs. Income

Home Prices vs. Income used the home-price-to-income ratio to determine the most affordable cities for buying a home. The study also looked at changes in income and home prices over time.

The most affordable city to buy a home is Pittsburgh, where the home-price-to-income ratio is 3.2, meaning the median home costs 3.2x the annual median income. San Jose, California, has the worst ratio — 12.1.

Top 15 Cities With the Lowest Home-Price-to-Income Ratio

  1. Pittsburgh, PA (3.2)
  2. Buffalo, NY (3.5)
  3. Cleveland, OH (3.5)
  4. St. Louis, MO (3.6)
  5. Detroit, MI (3.7)
  6. Oklahoma City, OK (3.7)
  7. Louisville, KY (3.9)
  8. Cincinnati, OH (3.9)
  9. Indianapolis, IN (4.1)
  10. Hartford, CT (4.2)
  11. Philadelphia, PA (4.2)
  12. Minneapolis, MN (4.2)
  13. Columbus, OH (4.3)
  14. Chicago, IL (4.4)
  15. Baltimore, MD (4.4)

Price per Square Foot

With home prices as high as they are these days, it's important to look at how much home you're getting for your money. The Price per Square Foot study ranks cities based on the median square footage of local homes against median local income.

Cleveland has the lowest price per square foot at $133 per square foot, whereas San Francisco is the most expensive at $716 per square foot. 

Top 15 Cities With the Lowest Price per Square Foot

  1. Cleveland, OH ($133)
  2. Memphis, TN ($143)
  3. Pittsburgh, PA ($147)
  4. Indianapolis, IN ($158)
  5. Birmingham, AL ($158)
  6. Buffalo, NY ($169)
  7. St. Louis, MO ($170)
  8. Oklahoma City, OK ($170)
  9. Louisville, KY ($174)
  10. Detroit, MI ($176)
  11. Houston, TX ($179)
  12. San Antonio, TX ($182)
  13. New Orleans, LA ($186)
  14. Atlanta, GA ($191)
  15. Kansas City, MO ($193)

Inflation vs. Home Prices

Inflation vs. Home Prices tracked the increase in home prices and general goods over the past five decades. This was not included in the overall affordability ranking, as several markets are still very expensive despite seeing decreases or minimal increases in prices. 

In this study, we found that median home sale prices rose 1,858% since 1970, while inflation, determined by the price of overall goods, rose 677%.

Since 2022, San Francisco experienced the smallest increase in home prices — a decrease of 1.6%. With the typical home value surpassing $1 million, San Francisco is notorious for exorbitant home prices, but buyers are now holding out on purchasing homes. Due to falls in demand, sellers are beginning to lower their prices.

Increasing 16%, Miami saw the biggest jump in home prices since 2022. Florida as a whole is the most expensive state in the South according to our research. This caused its major cities to fare poorly. Orlando, Tampa, Miami, and Jacksonville are all among the 10 cities with the highest home-price increases since 2022.

Top 15 Cities With the Lowest Home-Price Inflation

  1. San Francisco, CA (-1.6%)
  2. New Orleans, LA (-0.2%)
  3. Sacramento, CA (0.7%)
  4. Portland, OR (2.2%)
  5. Salt Lake City, UT (2.5%)
  6. Denver, CO (2.6%)
  7. Seattle, WA (2.9%)
  8. San Jose, CA (3.1%)
  9. Minneapolis, MN (3.2%)
  10. Washington, DC (3.3%)
  11. Phoenix, AZ (3.6%)
  12. Austin, TX (3.7%)
  13. Los Angeles, CA (3.9%)
  14. Baltimore, MD (4.3%)
  15. Las Vegas, NV (4.5%)

Best of Food

The Best of Food ranking draws from an analysis of six food studies published this year:

  1. Best Coffee Cities
  2. Best Pizza Cities
  3. Best Beer Cities
  4. Best Burger Cities
  5. Best BBQ Cities
  6. Best Taco Cities

Denver, Colorado, is the No. 1 city for food in America, consistently performing admirably across various categories. Despite not claiming the top spot in a single study, it secured a notable No. 3 ranking in Best Burger Cities and maintained a strong presence in every food-related study.  Denver is also our No. 2 city in America overall, making it one of the best cities to live in the U.S.

In contrast, Virginia Beach, Virginia, finds itself at the bottom of the foodie list. Its poorest showing was in the Best Coffee Cities category, ranking 46th.

Food City RankCityFood City Score
1Denver, CO100
2Milwaukee, WI80.9
3Austin, TX76.6
3Oklahoma City, OK76.6
5Cincinnati, OH65.5
6Las Vegas, NV64.9
7Baltimore, MD64.3
8Buffalo, NY60
9Portland, OR59
10San Jose, CA57.1
10San Diego, CA57.1
12Orlando, FL56.7
13Pittsburgh, PA55
13Philadelphia, PA55
15Kansas City, MO54.5
16Indianapolis, IN53.7
16Richmond, VA53.7
16Dallas, TX53.7
16Houston, TX53.7
20Minneapolis, MN53.3
20Nashville, TN53.3
22New Orleans, LA52.9
23Louisville, KY49.7
24San Antonio, TX49
25Hartford, CT48.6
25Columbus, OH48.6
27San Francisco, CA48.3
27Los Angeles, CA48.3
29Raleigh, NC47.7
30Birmingham, AL47.1
31Washington, DC45
32Chicago, IL42.9
33St. Louis, MO42.4
34Providence, RI42.1
35Detroit, MI41.1
36Boston, MA40.4
37Salt Lake City, UT40.2
38Sacramento, CA40
38Jacksonville, FL40
40Cleveland, OH39.3
41Phoenix, AZ38.9
42Charlotte, NC37.3
43Riverside, CA36.9
44Atlanta, GA36.7
45New York, NY36.5
46Seattle, WA35.3
47Tampa, FL34.1
48Miami, FL32.7
49Memphis, TN32.4
50Virginia Beach, VA28.3

Best Coffee Cities

Best Coffee Cities ranked America's big cities on how great they are for coffee lovers, using metrics such as coffee shops per capita and the average cost of local coffee.

The No. 1 coffee city in America is Baltimore, Maryland, with 26 coffee shops per 100,000 residents. The worst coffee city, Louisville, Kentucky, has just 8 coffee shops per 100,000 residents.

Top 15 Coffee Cities

  1. Baltimore, MD
  2. Hartford, CT
  3. Boston, MA
  4. Providence, RI
  5. Riverside, CA
  6. Cincinnati, OH
  7. Washington, DC
  8. Philadelphia, PA
  9. Pittsburgh, PA
  10. Oklahoma City, OK
  11. Dallas, TX
  12. Los Angeles, CA
  13. San Francisco, CA
  14. Austin, TX
  15. Salt Lake City, UT

Best Pizza Cities

Best Pizza Cities ranked America's largest cities on their pizza scenes. We looked at metrics such as the number of pizza places per capita, pizza-related Google search trends, and average Yelp ratings for local pizza places.

Detroit, Michigan, came out on top, securing the No. 1 spot, while San Antonio received our worst pizza city designation. The average large cheese pizza in Detroit costs just $14.83, compared to $20.23 in San Antonio.

Top 15 Pizza Cities

  1. Detroit, MI
  2. Hartford, CT
  3. Boston, MA
  4. Phoenix, AZ
  5. Philadelphia, PA
  6. San Diego, CA
  7. Denver, CO
  8. Miami, FL
  9. Buffalo, NY
  10. Pittsburgh, PA
  11. Cleveland, OH
  12. Los Angeles, CA
  13. Baltimore, MD
  14. New Orleans, LA
  15. San Francisco, CA

Best Beer Cities

Best Beer Cities ranked cities on their brewery scenes and their attractiveness to beer enthusiasts. Metrics included the number of breweries per capita and affordability of imported beer.

Pittsburgh is the country's No. 1 beer city, with 2.34 breweries per 100,000 residents. Los Angeles, the worst beer city, has just 0.26 breweries per 100,000 residents.  

Top 15 Beer Cities

  1. Pittsburgh, PA
  2. Cincinnati, OH
  3. Milwaukee, WI
  4. New Orleans, LA
  5. Denver, CO
  6. Louisville, KY
  7. Indianapolis, IN
  8. Nashville, TN
  9. Charlotte, NC
  10. Minneapolis, MN
  11. Oklahoma City, OK
  12. Jacksonville, FL
  13. Hartford, CT
  14. Seattle, WA
  15. Buffalo, NY

Best Burger Cities

Best Burger Cities looked at the best cities for burgers in America based on metrics such as burger restaurants per capita, the average Yelp rating of burger and American-style restaurants, and the average cost of a McDonald's Value Meal as a measurement for local burger prices.

Richmond, Virginia, is the No. 1 burger city in America, whereas Riverside, California, is the worst. In Richmond, you could buy a burger every day for a year and it would only cost 4.8% of your annual income. In Riverside, you'd have to pay 8.1% of your annual income.

Top 15 Burger Cities

  1. Richmond, VA
  2. Milwaukee, WI
  3. Denver, CO
  4. Oklahoma City, OK
  5. Louisville, KY
  6. Cincinnati, OH
  7. Birmingham, AL
  8. Minneapolis, MN
  9. San Jose, CA
  10. Las Vegas, NV
  11. Indianapolis, IN
  12. Columbus, OH
  13. Portland, OR
  14. Austin, TX
  15. Nashville, TN

Best BBQ Cities

Best BBQ Cities scoped out the best cities for barbecue in the U.S. Unsurprisingly, Texas cities dominated the top 10, with Austin taking the No. 1 spot, San Antonio coming in third, and Houston coming in seventh. Dallas is No. 16.

The worst BBQ city is Riverside, California, which has only 0.07 BBQ restaurants per 100,000 residents, compared to Austin's 1.7 BBQ restaurants per 100,000 residents.

Top 15 BBQ Cities

  1. Austin, TX
  2. Memphis, TN
  3. San Antonio, TX
  4. Birmingham, AL
  5. Las Vegas, NV
  6. Nashville, TN
  7. Houston, TX
  8. Oklahoma City, OK
  9. Jacksonville, FL
  10. Raleigh, NC
  11. St. Louis, MO
  12. New Orleans, LA
  13. Buffalo, NY
  14. Kansas City, MO
  15. Tampa, FL

Best Taco Cities

Best Taco Cities was one of the most controversial studies this year. Americans take tacos very seriously, and several cities around the U.S. think they're the best. To find the best taco cities, we weighed metrics such as the average cost of taco supplies and the percentage of taco restaurants out of all restaurants in a city.

Austin, Texas, took the No. 1 spot for the second year in a row, while Cleveland came in last place. In Austin, 7.4% of restaurants are taco joints, compared to 1.5% in Cleveland.

Top 15 Taco Cities

  1. Austin, TX
  2. San Jose, CA
  3. Las Vegas, NV
  4. San Antonio, TX
  5. San Diego, CA
  6. Los Angeles, CA
  7. Phoenix, AZ
  8. Riverside, CA
  9. Denver, CO
  10. Houston, TX
  11. Salt Lake City, UT
  12. Oklahoma City, OK
  13. Sacramento, CA
  14. Milwaukee, WI
  15. Richmond, VA

Best of the Rest

The Best of the Rest section highlights studies that don't quite fit into the real estate or food categories. These studies focus on quality-of-life measurements, such as road safety and LGBTQ friendliness, as well as the best cities for stoners, cyclists and other hobbyists: 

  1. Cities With the Worst Drivers
  2. Best Cities for Stoners
  3. Best Bike Cities
  4. Where People Want to Live
  5. Best Commuter Cities
  6. Most LGBTQ-Friendly Cities

Cities With the Best Drivers

This study actually ranks the Cities With the Worst Drivers, but for the sake of our Best Of ranking, we focus on cities with the best drivers. 

The best city for drivers may come as a  surprise — New York City. Most New Yorkers use some form of public transportation, which ultimately contributes to higher road safety, despite the city's reputation for traffic.

The worst city for drivers is Jacksonville, Florida, where there are 10.9 annual driving deaths per 100,000 residents. In New York City, that number is only 3.3.

Top 15 Cities With the Best Drivers

  1. New York, NY
  2. Minneapolis, MN
  3. Salt Lake City, UT
  4. Boston, MA
  5. San Francisco, CA
  6. Buffalo, NY
  7. San Jose, CA
  8. Raleigh, NC
  9. Washington, DC
  10. Los Angeles, CA
  11. Chicago, IL
  12. Milwaukee, WI
  13. Indianapolis, IN
  14. San Diego, CA
  15. Virginia Beach, VA

Best Cities for Stoners

Best Cities for Stoners ranks America's biggest cities on how great they are for weed enthusiasts. It takes into account the legality of cannabis, the number of cannabis-prescribing doctors per capita, the affordability of weed, and more.

Portland, Oregon, came in first place, whereas Birmingham, Alabama, came in last. Portland was one of the first major American cities to legalize weed, and it also boasts affordable weed. An ounce of medium-quality cannabis costs an average of $187 in Portland, which is $65 less than the national average.

Birmingham, on the other hand, is located in a state where recreational cannabis is illegal and is only approved for limited medicinal use. The city has just 0.5 medical dispensaries per 100,000 residents – 84% less than the average city in the study.

Top 15 Cities for Stoners

  1. Portland, OR
  2. Denver, CO
  3. Buffalo, NY
  4. Seattle, WA
  5. Baltimore, MD
  6. Las Vegas, NV
  7. Sacramento, CA
  8. San Diego, CA
  9. Los Angeles, CA
  10. San Francisco, CA
  11. Boston, MA
  12. San Jose, CA
  13. Phoenix, AZ
  14. Detroit, MI
  15. Hartford, CT

Best Bike Cities

Best Bike Cities ranks the best cities for cyclists and those who like to commute by bike. Some metrics we used for the study include overall bikeability, the number of bike shops per capita, and overall safety for cyclists.

Minneapolis, Minnesota, is the best city for cyclists, while Memphis is the worst. Cyclists are only involved in fatal crashes at a rate of 0.14 per 100,000 residents in Minneapolis, whereas in Memphis, that rate is 0.37 per 100,000 residents — 164% higher.

Top 15 Bike Cities

  1. Minneapolis, MN
  2. Portland, OR
  3. San Francisco, CA
  4. Boston, MA
  5. Washington, DC
  6. Salt Lake City, UT
  7. San Jose, CA
  8. Denver, CO
  9. Seattle, WA
  10. Providence, RI
  11. Hartford, CT
  12. Milwaukee, WI
  13. Raleigh, NC
  14. Sacramento, CA
  15. New York, NY

Where People Want to Live

Our Where People Want to Live study focuses on where Americans want to live if money was no object. It also examines the cities they would not move to under any circumstance. 

Seattle, Washington, is the most desirable U.S. city, while Washington, D.C., is the least desirable, according to a poll of 1,000 Americans. Americans also consider Seattle the most underrated city, while New York City ranks as the most overrated.

Top 15 Cities Where People Want to Live

  1. Seattle, WA
  2. Tampa, FL
  3. Charlotte, NC
  4. New York, NY
  5. Denver, CO
  6. San Francisco, CA
  7. Los Angeles, CA
  8. Orlando, FL
  9. Nashville, TN
  10. San Diego, CA
  11. Miami, FL
  12. Austin, TX
  13. Atlanta, GA
  14. Las Vegas, NV
  15. Washington, DC

Best Commuter Cities

Our Best Commuter Cities study looks at the best cities for Americans who commute by car or use public transportation.

Overall, Salt Lake City, Utah, is the best city for commuters, while Houston is the worst. Salt Lake City commuters lose just 12 hours to traffic annually. Houstonians lose a whopping 74 hours to traffic annually.

The best city for public transportation is, unsurprisingly, New York City, while Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, is the worst. About 28% of New Yorkers commute by public transit, and the public transit system scores 89 out of a possible 100. Just 0.4% of OKC residents commute by public transit, and its public transit system scores 17 out of 100.

Top 15 Commuter Cities

  1. Salt Lake City, UT
  2. Buffalo, NY
  3. Raleigh, NC
  4. Hartford, CT
  5. Columbus, OH
  6. Milwaukee, WI
  7. Cleveland, OH
  8. Cincinnati, OH
  9. Minneapolis, MN
  10. Richmond, VA
  11. Pittsburgh, PA
  12. Portland, OR
  13. Virginia Beach, VA
  14. Louisville, KY
  15. Austin, TX

Most LBGTQ-Friendly Cities

The Most LGBTQ-Friendly Cities study ranks America's most populous metros by how inclusive they are for the LGBTQ community. Metrics cover a range of factors related to political protections or regressions, as well as social and community aspects.

San Francisco ranks as the most LGBTQ-friendly city in the country, while Memphis, Tennessee, is the most unfriendly. San Francisco is not only located in a state with great protections for the LGBTQ community, it also has strong municipal protections and a thriving community.

Memphis is quite the opposite. Tennessee's state equality tally score is -11.5 out of a possible 43.5, while California's is near perfect at 43 out of 43.5. There are also just 0.22 gay bars per 100,000 residents in Memphis, compared to 0.63 gay bars per 100,000 residents in San Francisco — 186% more.

Top 15 LGBTQ-Friendly Cities

  1. San Francisco, CA
  2. Hartford, CT
  3. Las Vegas, NV
  4. Portland, OR
  5. Denver, CO
  6. Los Angeles, CA
  7. San Diego, CA
  8. Sacramento, CA
  9. Chicago, IL
  10. New Orleans, LA
  11. San Jose, CA
  12. Richmond, VA
  13. Pittsburgh, PA
  14. Baltimore, MD
  15. Milwaukee, WI


For the overall ranking, Clever compared the 50 most-populous cities based on normalized averages of each city’s score across 16 different weighted rankings for studies conducted throughout 2023. Each city's overall score is a sum of its rankings, divided by the lowest sum of rankings for all cities, multiplied by 100.

About Clever Real Estate

Since 2017, Clever Real Estate has been on a mission to make selling or buying a home easier and more affordable for everyone. About 12 million annual readers rely on Clever's library of educational content and data-driven research to make smarter real estate decisions, and to date, Clever has helped consumers save more than $160 million on Realtor fees. Clever's research has been featured in The New York Times, Business Insider, Inman, Housing Wire, and many more.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the #1 city to live in in America?

The best city in America overall is Buffalo, New York. But in a poll of 1,000 people, Americans said Seattle is the most desirable city in the country. Find out more.

Where is the best place to live in the U.S.?

Taking into account housing affordability, hobbies, and culture, Buffalo, New York, is the best place to live in the U.S. Learn more.

What are the best big cities to live in in the U.S.?

The best big cities to live in are Buffalo, Denver, and Minneapolis — the top three cities in the U.S. overall. Find out why.

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