Miami has long been a popular destination for gay travellers in Florida. Its gay scene dates back to the 1930s. Miami is currently home to one of the world’s largest LGBT+ populations.
The city has quite a reputation based on its portrayals in popular culture. The movie Scarface was set in Miami, as was the game Grand Theft Auto and, of course, Miami Vice.
There’s far more to Miami than hedonism, though! It’s a notable cultural destination and one of America’s most popular vacation spots. Miami boasts many historic Art Deco buildings, luxury hotels, great beaches and a buzzing gay scene. Here are our Miami highlights.
Miami’s beaches might not be natural but neither are Barcelona’s. South Beach is the busiest beach in Miami. It’s dotted with shops, bars and restaurants. You can also walk to the Art Deco district from South Beach. It’s more popular than Miami Beach as there’s far more going on within walking distance. If you’d like a slightly quieter strip of beach, head north from South Beach to 21st-45th Street: Miami Beach boardwalk runs parallel to this stretch of beach.
You’ll find most of Miami’s gay bars around South Beach. You’ll also find Miami’s gay beach in the same area, right by 12th Street. Head down Ocean Drive and keep an eye out for the rainbow flag. Haulover Park is Florida’s only legal clothing-optional beach, and is a hotspot for LGBT beach-goers to relax and hang out (if you know what we mean). Read More: Miami’s Gay Beaches.
The Art Deco district
Miami emerged as a popular tourist destination in the 1930s – the era of Art Deco design. Miami boasts more Art Deco buildings than any other city. The style is very distinctive and full of character. Miami’s Art Deco buildings are vibrantly coloured. You’ll find most of them in the Miami Beach Architectural District.
Gianni Versace had his famous mansion in this area. He would meet his grizzly end outside just outside the mansion. You can take a trip to the Versace Mansion and imagine you’re about to attend one of the legendary parties he used to have. Other Art Deco highlights include Park Central Hotel, The Webster and Cameo Nightclub. You can see the influence of Art Deco in Miami’s colourful and garish 80s aesthetics, exemplified by Miami Vice.
Explore Miami’s Gay Scene
Twist is Miami’s biggest gay club. It’s comprised of seven bars and three dancefloors. Twist is the place to go if you’re looking to party all night. Palace Bar is located on Ocean Drive. It hosts regular drag shows and popular drag brunches on Sundays. It’s great for people watching, especially if you sit outside. WaterLOO has a more civilised feel – a good choice if you’d like a cocktail and to have a conversation without shouting over very loud music.
Food and Drink
Miami is one of the best cities in America for people watching. Ocean Drive is full of al freco restaurants. Take a seat and observe the locals, often dressed/undressed for the beach. You can let it all hang out in Miami, so to speak.
You’ll find a diverse culinary scene in Miami – inevitable, really, considering how diverse the population is. If you’re looking for a fine dining experience, head to House of Food Porn or The Capital Grille.
You can go on a Miami Vice tour around the Bayside Marketplace. While you’re there, have a drink at Mac’s Club Deuce. It was also featured on the show and it was also a favoured haunt of Anthony Bourdain.
GG’s Waterfront Bar and Grill is a historic establishment. Former regulars include the Rat Pack and, surprise surprise, a meeting place for the mob. It’ll give you a glimpse of Miami’s glamorous and seedy past. The food is still excellent, not to mention the views.
The Best Hotels In Miami
AxelBeach Miami is a great choice for gay travellers. It’s part of the Axel – “straight-friendly” – hotel group. It’s the second gay hotel to open in Miami. The first one is not far up the road and it’s called Gaythering. The gays do indeed gather at Gaythering – it has its own men-only sauna.
by Alex | On: Gay Miami