The Melrose District is a neighborhood located in north central Phoenix along 7th Avenue, roughly sandwiched between south Camelback Avenue and Indian School Road, though those boundaries are not hard lines.
The Melrose District gets its name from the historic neighborhood it passes through called Woodlea Melrose. Thomas Mackenzie, a real estate developer, purchased 47 acres of land for $20,000. He named the area “Woodlea” due to the many trees. In the 1940s, Andy Womack built houses, calling the subdivision Melrose Manor. Most of the homes in the neighborhood were built 1929-1949. In 1988, the neighborhoods officially combined and, with the City’s approval, became known as Woodlea Melrose.
Along with 11 other Phoenix neighborhoods, Woodlea Melrose was designated as a Historic District in June 20111
Affectionately nicked “the gayborhood” or the “fruit loop”, it is known for its abundance LGBTQ+ friendly bars, restaurants, shops. Rainbows adorn many of the businesses, including on a coffee shop and a pet store2.
Since 2004 the neighborhood has held The Melrose Street Fair, organized by the Seventh Avenue Merchants Association3, boasts a variety of vendors, food trucks, a car show. The variety of different businesses along 7th Avenue open their doors to encourage patrons to browse.
The local Denny’s is lovingly known as “Jenny’s” or “gay Denny’s.” It adopted this name due to it becoming the meet-up spot after 2 AM. When being publicly out was still very taboo, gay Denny’s was a safe space for queer people outside of bars. It continues to be a late-night refuge, particularly on weekends, after the neighboring gay bars let out as well as for those under 21.4
Phoenix Pride Festival
The annual Phoenix Pride Festival, which celebrates LGBTQ+ persons, is hosted at Steele Indian School Park, just east of 7th avenue, since 2003.
Murals and Identity
There are a variety of murals along 7th Avenue that reflect the identity of the neighborhood
Erected November 2013. Located just north of Indian School Road on 7th Avenue. The columns are 24 feet tall and support over 40,000 pounds. The arch cost $498,000.5
Crosswalk at 7th Ave and Glenrosa – paid for with private donations to Phoenix Pride and approved by the City of Phoenix, completed in July 2018.6