The Daily Beast offers a slideshow of the nation's twenty gayest cities, as determined by Gary Gates, a demographer at UCLA's Williams Institute. The accompanying article is by Richard Florida, who has written extensively on the subject of progressive vs. failing communities and how areas welcoming to LGBT people are more likely to thrive. He summarizes:
"...gay men and lesbians are no more sophisticated, economically productive, innovative, or entrepreneurial than any other group on average. But places that attract gay people and lesbians tend to have the same open-minded attitudes and business styles that foster innovation. A visible LGBT community is the proverbial “canary in the coal mine,” signaling openness to new ideas, new business models, and diverse and different thinking kinds of people—precisely the characteristics of a local ecosystem that can attract cutting-edge entrepreneurs and mobilize new companies."
The data is pulled from a 2008 census bureau survey and it is severely flawed imho because it only counts couples. To render single lesbians and solo gay men invisible is a drastic flaw in determining "the nation's gayest cities." But of course it's the only data available. This is really a tally of the nation's Same Sex Couple-est Cities Compared to the National Average. The rankings are not based on which cities have the most LGBT couples (which you might say translates to the most visibility, since we tend to cluster) but rather they're scored on an index compared to the national average of same-sex households which is around half of one percent of all households. So, Chicago, which is very gay but very populated, doesn't make the Top 20. But Ann Arbor does. So does Columbus, which is pictured above.
Since you're dying to know, the top five areas on this scale are SF/Oakland, Santa Rosa, Portland Maine, Boston/Cambridge, and Seattle. See the whole list.
Much, much easier to understand is the Huffington Post's immature collection of fifteen sports photos that look like gay sex. For once, the rankings (to the right of the slideshow) are accurate. Voting is still open.