Gay Miami · City Guide
Planning a trip to Miami? Then our gay Miami city guide page is for you.
The cultural, financial and economic center of Florida, Miami has the country’s third tallest skyline with over 300 high rise buildings. The city where towering feats of modern architecture meet pristine blue water and white sand beaches, Miami is a dazzling destination of sun-soaked culture and entertainment.
Boasting one of the most iconic and established gay districts in the country, South Beach is a hub of gay community, culture and nightlife in its most glitzy and glamorous form. The city is home to a wide and varied selection of gay clubs, bars, hotels and other venues that are guaranteed to pique the interests of any gay traveler.
Gay rights in Miami
Florida isn’t known for being the most socially liberal or gay-friendly state in the USA, however much like its neighbors Fort Lauderdale and Orlando, Miami has become a bastion for gay community and culture in the state.
Same-sex sexual activity was only legalised in 2003 but since then there have been a number of progressive laws and legislative bills that have afforded LGBT+ individuals increased liberties and equality. Same-sex marriage was legalised in 2015 and the Supreme Court protects LGBT+ people from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
Attitudes towards LGBT+ people have experienced a drastic progression over the last decade, with growing respect and empathy for LGBT+ people and issues.
Miami has a long and established history as a hotspot for gay nightlife that continues today. South Beach is the home of LGBT+ culture in the city and gay travelers will find an eclectic, glamourous and varied mix of gay nightlife experiences on offer. From drag shows and cabaret to gay superclubs, there’s something here for every gay traveler.
The pinnacle of South Beach’s nighttime offerings is Twist, the most popular and longest-running gay bar in Miami. Twist has been open for over 25 years and boasts world-class DJs, professional and performative bartenders and nightly male dancers. The bar often plays host to the country’s most renowned and impressive drag acts, including multiple Ru Paul’s Drag Race alum.
Just south of Little Havana and known for its vibrant, exciting and varied mix of events, Azucar nightclub offers some of the best gay clubbing in Miami. The Latin focused club draws in large crowds with its lively atmosphere and fantastic drag shows.
Miami is home to a wide and impressive range of gay-owned and gay-friendly hotels and accommodations. The most popular hotels for gay travelers tend to be in the South Beach area, home to beautiful stretching beaches, towering skyscrapers and the city’s hub of gay culture and nightlife.
AxelBeach Miami is one of the most recent additions to the hotel scene in the city and offers comfortable and stylish stays to gay travelers. The hotel has 159 rooms, a gym and a spa and guests can even enjoy breathtaking views of the Miami skyline from AxelBeach’s beautiful sky bar. Located in the heart of Art Deco District, many of the city’s best gay clubs and bars are located within short walking distance. Another gay focused hotel is Gaythering, Miami’s first gay hotel and still one of its most popular. Gaythering features an in-house sauna and restaurant bar, meaning guests can eat, sleep and cruise all in the same venue.
There is also a plethora of gay-friendly hotels in Miami, many of which offer comfortable and convenient accommodation in the city’s most popular areas, including South Beach Hotel, Miami Beach Resort and Spa and the Intercontinental Miami.
If you plan to visit Miami on a big party weekend, it is advisable to book your hotel well in advance as the rooms sell out fast, especially during Miami Beach Pride in April.
Miami has a small number of gay saunas, but whilst the offerings may be limited the venues do not disappoint. One of the most popular venues is Club Aqua, a large sauna boasting an extensive range of facilities including a sauna, whirlpool, heated pool and outside deck. The venue operates on a private members basis, however, membership can be purchased for a one-off affordable price. This will allow limitless visits throughout your stay.
Gaythering Spa and Sauna is located in the Gaythering gay hotel. The venue is clothing-optional and is a popular cruising destination. In addition to the sauna facilities, the venue also provides a range of spa treatments and massages including aromatherapy.
Miami boasts some of the best beaches in the whole of the USA and there are a number of locations that attract sizeable gay crowds. The most famous is undoubtedly 12th Street Beach which is on Miami’s main strip. Here you’ll find gay flags aplenty coupled with lots of eye candy too.
Haulover Park is one of the only clothing-optional beaches in Florida and is a hotspot for LGBT+ beachgoers. Whilst nudity is not permitted on some areas of the beach, the northern-most edge is a popular location for gay sunbathers and travelers. Some areas of the beach are popular for cruising, so make sure to keep an eye out.
Getting to Miami
The city is served by Miami International Airport. The airport is located fairly close to the Downtown area and there are numerous ways to reach the city centre. The fastest and most convenient option is MIA Mover, an automated train system that transports travelers from the airport to the Miami Intermodel Centre. The MIA Mover station is located on the third floor of the airport, between the Dolphin and Flamingo Garages.
The journey from Miami International Airport to the Intermodel Centre takes roughly four minutes, and once at the centre travelers can then take the Metro Orange Line to the Government Centre stop in Downtown Miami. The metro costs $2.25 per person is undoubtedly the fastest way to travel.
Alternatively, the airport runs a shuttle bus to the Downtown area with a flat rate of $22.
Getting around Miami
The Metromover is a public transport network that uses vintage buses to provide free travel across Miami. The Metromover is free and whilst the network is largely limited to tourist destinations and locations of interest, it can be a useful way to travel in the city. Be warned that the Metromover can get very busy at peak times.
Buses are a particularly good option for travelers staying in Miami Beach. Due to the high tourist population in this part of Miami, the city has invested heavily in its bus network. The bus is convenient and cheap, however, fares can only be paid in cash and coins.
The areas of Downtown, Edgewater and Miami Beach are known for their cheap Uber fares and this can be the most efficient way to travel. There are also plenty of licensed Taxis in Miami and they tend to operate on single fare prices, protecting against price surges.
Things to do in Miami
There are limitless possibilities when it comes to things to do in Miami. However, the most worthwhile attractions include:
- Visit the iconic Miami Beach
- Spend a day at the Miami Zoo
- Shop at the Bayside Marketplace
- Wander the Art Deco District
- Immerse yourself in Little Havana
- Climb Freedom Tower
- Stroll the legendary Ocean Drive
- Relax and unwind on South Beach
Read More: The best things to do in Miami.
When to Visit
For the best weather consider visiting Miami in the spring. During this period, the heat will be less intense and hurricane season will not have begun yet. Spring is also ideal for travelers looking for cheaper prices on flights and hotels and the high season will be dying down.
Miami Beach Gay Pride, The Miami Open and the Ultra Music Festival all take place between March and May, so spring is also the best time to catch the best events in the city.
Those living outside the United States will require a temporary travel visa, and these can be applied for through the official US Embassy website or in your local US embassy.
There are plenty of ATM machines throughout Miami, and the majority of establishments will accept credit and debit cards. However, some ATM machines and card readers may add an additional fee for transactions attempted with overseas cards. The generally accepted and expected rates of tipping in Miami are 15-20% for good service.
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