Much of South Florida and the Florida Keys offer a lively LGBT community and culture, especially Key West, South Beach and Fort Lauderdale. Venues range from sprawling bars packed to the brim with crowds to intimate lounges featuring sophisticated cocktails.
Key West is the place to party and there is no shortage of entertaining LGBT bars and clubs on Duval Street. Head to La Te Da to mix and mingle around the piano bar, or catch one of the Sunday Tea Dance parties and cabaret shows. Aqua Nightclub, 801 Bourbon Street and Bourbon St. Pub offer fabulous drag shows and people-watching will keep you entertained until the early morning hours. Modeled after the ball drop in Times Square, every New Year’s Eve, Bourbon Sr. Pub hosts a lively drag queen “drop” in a super-sized red high heel. Soak up the sun and book a sailing adventure on Blu Q, the largest gay-owned and operated charter in Key West. Every summer, mark your calendar for Key West Pride week, complete with a colorful street parade, pool parties, pageants, special events and live music performances.
Miami has been a favorite destination for LGBT travelers for decades thanks to the Miami-Dade Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, LGBT Visitor Center and local dignitaries. Ready for some beach time? Two large gay pride flags mark South Beach’s 12th Street Beach. This gay-friendly section of the beach flanks famed Ocean Drive and is located within walking distance to hot spots like the Palace Bar & Restaurant, where the weekend drag shows draw vibrant, fun-loving crowds. Also located on Miami Beach, clubs Twist and Score feature numerous bars and gathering spots, perfect for DJ-fueled dance parties. Miami’s only gay hotel, Hotel Gaythering is a great place to sip colorful cocktails or hang out in the sophisticated library bar. Events such as Winter Party Festival, White Party, Miami Beach Gay Pride Parade, Aqua Girl and Sizzle Miami draw crowds year-round. Mark your calendars for the World OutGames in 2017, an international sporting event organized to help champion LGBT human rights around the world.
Fort Lauderdale has attracted LGBT travelers for quite some time and became one of the first destinations to host the Southern Comfort Conference, one of the largest transgender conferences in the country. The Stonewall National Museum & Archives showcases exhibitions and programs shedding light on sexuality, gender and civil rights. The City of Wilton Manors boasts a large percentage of individuals identifying as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender, and is home to a Pride Center, World AIDS Museum and Educational Center and a branch of the Stonewall Library & Archives, whose main facility is in neighboring Fort Lauderdale. The Wilton Drive shopping district boasts many restaurants, lounges, nightclubs and boutiques geared to the LGBT community. Popular bars include Georgie’s Alibi, Boom!, Bill’s Filling Station, Dudes On The Beach, Scandals Saloon and The Manor.