Ferndale is well-known as the most LGBTQ-friendly neighborhood in metro Detroit, with many LGBTQ organizations, businesses and residents. Ferndale is home to Affirmations community center, Matrix MAC Health (formerly the Michigan AIDS Coalition) and numerous other LGBTQ and progressive nonprofit groups. Located just north of Detroit, between 8 and 10 Mile roads along the Woodward corridor, Ferndale is easily accessible from major highways.
According to the latest census, Ferndale is second only to tiny neighbor Pleasant Ridge for percentage of households with same-sex couples. (In fact, Pleasant Ridge ranks among the top 10 nationally.) Ferndale’s current mayor, David Coulter, and former mayor, Craig Covey, are openly gay men. The city has numerous LGBT-owned shops, restaurants, bars and theaters, and many more LGBTQ-friendly establishments.
“In the beginning of the ’80s, Ferndale was a blank slate,” said former mayor Covey. “The downtown was empty. You could roll a bowling ball down the middle of 9 Mile and not hit anything.”
Home values were declining; the storefronts downtown were almost entirely empty except for a few adult bookstores, nail salons, wig shops and a strip club.
The Ringwald Theatre on Woodward Avenue is the Detroit area’s LGBTQ-identified theater troop. Restaurants such as Rosie O’Grady’s, Assaggi Bistro, The Emory and Woodward Avenue Brewers, Axle Brewing Company / Livernois Tap and others often host fundraisers and events for LGBTQ groups. Soho bar is a great place for LGBTQ people to relax and meet for a drink.
Ferndale’s downtown area is charmingly walkable, and you are sure to run into friendly local residents on their way to dinner, a shop or a show. Note the many rainbow flags flying in front of homes and businesses through the town.
The local government worked hard to attract forward-thinking people to stimulate the economy in this historically blue-collar town. It worked. Ferndale is flourishing and new people and ideas are welcomed.Ferndale Resources