South Beach, one of Florida’s famous hotspots, is well known for its beaches, nightlife, restaurants, and more. It is also recognized by the LGBTQ community as a welcoming and inclusive destination that is always ready to welcome and celebrate everyone. The area around 12th Street Beach and Ocean Drive in particular is known to have the best LGBTQ events, including the popular annual Miami Beach Gay Pride. 

Planning a trip to Miami? With so much to do and see, it can be difficult to choose where to eat, where to stay, and what places to visit. Here are our top picks to hopefully, make your choices a little easier.

Check out our guide to LGBTQ New York City while you’re here! 

MIAMI LGBTQ NIGHTLIFE

There is a reason behind Miami being a popular travel destination year round. In addition to the amazing beaches, Miami has always been well known for its nightlife, especially during the warmer months. The options of places to go for a few drinks, to hang out with friends, and to meet new people are endless. But there are a few places that stand out. Twist is one of them. With its 7 bars, 3 dance floors, and a different vibe in every room, Twist is known as one of the most popular and busiest gay clubs. Whether you want to listen to good music, have a few drinks, dance, or do all at once — Twist is the place to be. 

Provided by the Greater Miami Conventions and Visitors Bureau.

Palace is another unique place to go. This local landmark has been around for over 3 decades and is known as the top Drag Bar and Restaurant in Miami Beach. Located right on Ocean Drive by 11th street, the drag brunch and curbside drag shows are a must! Now, if you are looking for a fun time away from Miami Beach, Azucar is well worth the visit and it is only a 20-30 minute-drive – closer to Coconut Grove, Miami. This gay Latin night spot is known for its drag and cabaret shows. 

FOOD

The number of unique and amazing restaurants in Miami can be overwhelming. But with Miami being such a popular vacation destination, having so many options isn’t a bad thing at all. 

For breakfast, the Front Porch Café is the perfect choice considering their iconic pancakes. Located on Ocean Drive, the beloved gay-owned institution has been serving the best breakfast in town for over 20 years. Front Porch Café is also known for being a home away from home dining experience with the right ambiance for every occasion.

A filling brunch from Scrumptious Bakery and Café.As previously mentioned, if you are looking for a unique brunch experience, Palace on South Beach is the place to go for a fantastic brunch. You can enjoy amazing food all while watching the best drag performances throughout your meal. Seating is available at 11am and 2pm on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. 

Another unique spot is Big Pink. This retro diner is an experience not to be missed. Located South of Fifth, it features more than 200 menu items! With its TVs lining the walls and the signature pink Volkswagen Beetles outside, guests are welcomed with a modern diner atmosphere mixed with the classic.

WHERE TO STAY

Whether you want to stay right at the beach or in a quieter area, Miami doesn’t disappoint. 

For a relaxing getaway, Axel Hotels features a destination restaurant, spa and community experiences. Fun fact: Miami was the first US location to the internationally renowned LGBTQ hotel brand. Another option is Hotel Gaythering – the iconic gay-owned hotel is a boutique destination with “handsome industrial” design. Hotel Gaythering features clothing-optional men-only gay sauna, jacuzzi, and steam room.

If you are an art and beach lover, The Betsy is an LGBT friendly high-end beachfront hotel and the perfect place to stay. Through programs like the Writer’s Residency, The Betsy has had a chance to give voice and provide respite to many LGBTQ writers. But it doesn’t stop there. Jonathan Plutzik, owner of the Betsy, mentioned that they take special pride in the partnerships built with organizations in the LGBTQ community. In fact, The Betsy created and hosted the first TRANSArt festival in the country, celebrating the creativity of those in the Trans community.

And for those who want a little more peace and quiet, away from the busy spots, Riveria is the place to stay. This hidden gem is away from the busy South Beach, but not too far where you can’t get to everything you need to if you want to go to a restaurant, walk on the beach, or have a few drinks. 

SHOPPING

When it comes to shopping, Miami has everything you could possibly need. On Collins Avenue, you will find world famous brands such as Armani, Zara, Steve Madden, and more. If you like thrifting, the Antiques and Collectables Market features over 100 local vendors selling clothes, jewelry, and collectables. 

Make sure you check out The Webster, a boutique store devoted to men’s and women’s luxury, housed in a gorgeous 3 story historic Art Deco building. 

Photo courtesy of the Greater Miami Conventions and Visitor Bureau.

If you are looking for unique art pieces, make sure you check out the galleries in the  Wynwood district and The Wynwood Shop, a creative curated space with hand-picked local brands from fashion, home decor and accessories.

You definitely should also stop by Beatnix, a drag paradise, selling everything from costumes, club gear to wearable art. This hidden treasure is a fun place to go for unique souvenirs.    

MIAMI LGBTQ EVENTS

Miami Beach offers so many events! 

The Miami Beach Pride is one not to be missed. Hosted every April, Miami Beach Pride features a nine-day celebration which includes dance parties, pool parties, VIP gala, incredible artists, and overall, a lot of fun in the sun! Just a few weeks later, there is the Wynwood Pride. Hosted in the popular and colorful Wynwood Art District in June, this is a free event featuring lip-syncing battles, DJs, dance parties, art and culinary experiences, and more.

Photo courtesy of the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Another great Miami event is the world-renowned Winter Party. The action-packed week-long festival features celebrity DJs, cocktail receptions and the best hotel pool parties. 

The list of Miami events could go on and on, but here is one more that shouldn’t be missed: Aqua Girl, which takes place in October. The five-day event celebrates life and pride, featuring live music, comedy shows, dining events, VIP reception, and of course, Miami’s favorite dance parties. 

What are your favorite LGBTQ-friendly activities in Miami? Let us know on Twitter!

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Barry Hoy also known as @asianmapleleaf, is an Asian-Canadian, born and raised in Toronto and transplanted to New York City. Barry is an ambassador of all things travel – he is also a travel, food and lifestyle writer who showcases great destinations, their local experiences, and all of the must see places around the world. Through his Instagram and travel blog, Barry shares these moments and his favorite destinations with his readers and followers. Follow his adventures on www.asianmapleleaf.com or on Instagram @asianmapleleaf.