The Iconic South Beach – Miami
Miami has all the ingredients for a world-class gay city, a cosmopolitan melting pot of culture infused with an intense Latin flavour. This is our Miami gay guide to the best gay bars, clubs, beaches, hotels and things to see and do on your next visit.
Known for its pastel art deco beaches, palm-lined boulevards and miles of sandy beaches., Miami attracts more than one million LGBTQ visitors a year and Miami Beach even has its own dedicated LGBTQ Visitor Center.
Miami is also home to some of the biggest gay events including the White Party and the Winter Party. If you are looking for a beach destination that likes to party, Miami is just the ticket.
3 Star – Miami’s “hetero-friendly” hotel with the catchy motto: “Why stay at a gay-friendly hotel when you can stay at a friendly gay hotel?” This hotel has become a unique meeting point in the city with the hotel bar proving especially popular.
Rooms are modern with a vintage touch, decorated with interesting art pieces. After a long day exploring Miami, visit Gaythering’s on-site, clothing optional, self-service sauna.
4 Star – AxelBeach Miami South Beach – Adults Only in Miami Beach provides adults-only accommodation with a garden, a fitness centre and a bar. Buffet breakfast is available each morning served a ‘à la carte’.
5 Star – This historic oceanfront hotel features a private beach area and on-site dining options. There are 2 swimming pools, including an adult exclusive rooftop pool, available at 1 Hotel South Beach.
Located in Miami Beach, Florida, this adult-only boutique hotel is just 3 minutes’ walk from the beach. A fully equipped kitchenette comes standard in each studio at Blanc Kara.
5 Star – Relax by the poolside at W South Beach, which features 2 on-site pools and a light fare bar and grille. Located in Miami Beach, this resort offers cabana rentals and beachfront views.
Miami Gay Scene
Miami is considered one of the most gay-friendly cities in the world and the gay scene is in a constant state of flux. The Miami beach area still holds its allure and energy, but gay bars and restaurants have spread out across the city to the shores and the upper east side offering a more relaxed vibe.
Miami Gay Districts / Neighbourhoods
- South Beach – the bustling home of the gay scene in the city with its epicentre at Collins and Washington Avenues and Alton and Lincoln roads. Miami Beach is a city on a barrier island, separated from Miami proper by Biscayne Bay. South Beach takes up its southernmost two miles.
TIP – Businesses in Miami open and close frequently. The hot Saturday night club this year may not be hot on the same nights or in the same ways next year.
- Coconut Grove – directly south of downtown and east of Coral Gables, this area was the original home of Miami’s gay scene since the 1960s. Its prized location at the waterfront make Coconut Grove a busy destination year-round.
- Miami Shores & Upper East Side – discover the Design District, Edgewater and Belle Meade with great bars, galleries, boutiques and restaurants offering impressive views along Biscayne Bay.
- Palace Bar– Going strong for almost 3 decades, Palace bar and restaurant is home to some great drag shows. Don’t miss Sunday brunch.
- Bar Gaythering – The hotel bar is home to some great theme nights Hares and is just two blocks from Lincoln Road. Enjoy meticulously crafted cocktails like the “Milton Coupe” or ” Alexander Beaverhausen” in either your swankiest or in beach shorts – you decide. There’s something different going on every night of the week, from Karaoke Monday’s hosted by Fantasia to Bears & Hares Fridays @ Gaythering.
- Gramps – Head to the colourful Wynwood Arts District, Gramps is a gay-friendly and hip Wynwood dance spot to enjoy delicious local beers and fantastic cocktails. They play a variety of music ranging from rock to EDM.
- Azucar –High-energy gay Latin nightspot with a drag wars show, cabaret nights, dancers & music by DJs. just off Coral Way Azucar is a home for Miami’s Latin LGBT population. The curious should check out Sunday night’s sultry noche de cabaret.
- WaterLOO – relaxed and comfortable vibe, stop by this newly opened lounge on Washington Ave. The space—which has a long bar along with comfy couch-like seating—feels like you could be hanging out in a friend’s living room. The party amps up on weekends.
- Twist – Famous South beach club, Twist is actually 7 bars in one, each bar having its own atmosphere and décor. You can literally “bar hop” without ever leaving this two story club. Located on Washington Avenue, their motto is their mantra, “Never a cover, always a groove, 7 nights a week, every week of the year”.
- Score – Score remains the quintessential, gay nightclub experience for both locals and visitors.
Club Aqua Miami (2991 Coral Way), 24-hours, men’s club, gym, steam and saunas, Jacuzzi, private cubicles, outdoor pool, patio and maze. Free admission 24/7 for 18-24 year-olds, Friday DJs and dancers, Sunday afternoons complimentary poolside BBQ, with drinks.
Miami has emerged as one of the most buzzed about foodie capitals in the country over the past few years. There’s plenty to choose from, which is no surprise given the city’s melting pot of cultures. Whether you’re in the mood for a classic Cuban dish, stone crabs, a fine dining experience curated by a world-renowned chef or a fantastic brunch hosted by drag queens – Miami has all your foodie cravings covered and then some!
Insider Tip: Many restaurants do enforce a dress code, so don’t be afraid to put on something shiny. You never know which celebrity, or two, you may run into.
Breakfast, Brunch and Lunch
- Big Pink – South beach diner with good breakfast options or a late night bite. Reasonably priced.
- For a coffee fix, there’s Panther Coffee. an award-winning coffee house featuring java from small farms around the world.
- Yardbird Southern Table and Bar – Rustic outpost attracting foodies with inventive Southern comfort food & bourbon bar near South Beach’s bustling Lincoln Road. Brunch is the highlight here. Wash it all down with Yardbird’s house-made cinnamon bourbon, and it’s the perfect start to any Miami day.
Evening Dining in Style
- Situated inside a Mediterranean-style villa with an adjoining garden, Casa Tua is a peaceful respite from the bustle of Miami Beach. The menu here is classic Italian.
- Amara at Paraiso Upscale Latin fare is served in a chic dining room. floor-to-ceiling windows offer unobstructed views of Biscayne Bay.
- The Matador Room inside the Miami Beach EDITION hotel. You won’t want to miss this high-end restaurant with seasonal menus inspired by Caribbean, Spanish, Latin and South American cuisines.
- Estefan Kitchen – Star-powered destination for upscale Cuban cuisine in Havana-style surroundings with live music, courtesy of Miami’s own superstars, Emilio and Gloria Estefan
R House Wynwood Drag Brunch
The Palace South Beach
R House Wynwood Drag Brunch
If brunch is your thing, check out the outrageous R House Drag Brunch on Saturdays and Sundays. Hosted by Athena Dion, Miss Ultimate Miami Drag Queen winner, you’ll be entertained by a few of Miami’s best drag divas while enjoying an unlimited menu and bottomless drinks. Drag brunches usually sell out, so reservations are strongly recommended.
The Palace South Beach
A must-do experience is the weekend drag brunch at the iconic The Palace South Beach, located on Ocean Drive for more than 30 years.
They say, “Every Queen Deserves a Palace” and this dragtastic landmark is it, with a history of hosting the best drag queens in Miami and beyond. Palace offers shows daily from 7 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., but you really won’t want to miss the weekend brunches with mimosa specials, a delicious menu and the best drag performances happening all throughout your meal.
- Daytimes are spent at Miami’s gay beach located on 12th Street and Ocean Drive, marked by two large gay pride flags. You will cross the road at Ocean Drive and walk on to the beach. The sandy beaches and serene ocean view are also. Located in South beach, this location is only a 10-minute bus ride from City center.
Other Gay Beaches
- If 12th street isn’t enough for you, there is also a gay section of Haulover Beach Park, part of the notorious Haulover nude beach. This ultimate tanning experience is just 20 minutes north of Sobe and is just as popular with locals as it is with tourists.
Haulover Beach, a private 1.5 mile strip along the Miami coast also has a .4 mile clothing optional area located in the northern side of the beach. The beach is found between lifeguard towers #12 and #16.You will know you are there form the posted signs. TIP – Bring your picnic basket to enjoy a seaside picnic with your friends or stop by the Grand Beach Hotel restaurant, just a hop over the bridge in Surfside for some al fresco dining of light bites and tasty cocktails as you listen to the soothing sound of the waves breaking over the shore.
- 3rd street beach is a little different from the rest, as it’s not usually a gay beach. 3rd street beach is a “Brazilian” beach filled with hot Latino men, which act as a gay magnet. If you’re looking for a beach with a nice view, 3rd street beach is the way to go. A picture-perfect portrait with clear waters, soft sands, and gorgeous hunks. 3rd street beach is located a few blocks north of 12th street beach. The drive is roughly 8 minutes, or a 30-minute walk to the city center.
Miami is home to an arts and culture scene with a unique diversity that mirrors its residents. World-class museums, theatres, street art, movie houses and festivals keep locals and visitors mesmerized and engaged year-round.
- Experience Miami’s innovative art culture at Perez Art Museum Miami, better known as PAMM, a flagship in Miami’s art scene, perched on Biscayne Bayfront.
- Tour the landmark Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. This 34-room mansion features acres of immaculate, European-style gardens dotted with antiques, fountains, and statues.
- Visit one of the world’s largest privately owned art collections, head to The Rubell Family Collection, a gallery that has changed the face of the Wynwood district.
- Catch a memorable Instagram moment at the home of “the greatest street art ever seen in one place.” The Wynwood Walls are life-size murals, street art and graffiti from both emerging and well-known artists.
- Escape the city and head to the tranquil Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden, 84-acres of tropical plants and trees, including flora and fauna that can only survive in South Florida.
- Stroll along Espanola Way, a pedestrian-only street showcasing the original charm of the 1920s Miami.
- Discover the tastes, sights and sounds of Cuba in Miami’s vibrant Little Havana district.
- Lincoln Road Mall, a few blocks off the beach, is a world-famous entertainment promenade in the heart of South Beach.
- The seasonal Antique and Collectibles market, which is open on select Sundays from October through May.
- Housed in a gorgeous, historic Art Deco building, on Collins Avenue, you’ll find The Webster for high-end fashion items.
- Flagship Base store stocks creative apparel, albums, books, scents and other gifts in Wynwood. This hip spot carries brands like Herschel Supply Co., Boy Smells, Comme Des Garçons, Kidrobot and more.
- In Midtown Miami is Creative Male, a men’s apparel store. Creative Male is a unique boutique store offering a tremendous selection and range of products from clothing, novelty tees, men’s jewelry and even personal lubricants.
- The Miami Design District has fully transformed into a luxurious destination for shopping reminiscent of Fifth Avenue in New York or Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.
Public transportation in Miami is reasonable; its elevated Metrorail and Metromover train systems can make commuting possible without a car. Most of the hotels, restaurants and clubs at South beach are within a walkable distance.
- If you plan on traveling outside South Beach (and we recommend you do), you’ll definitely want to rent a car. Miami is very spread out and if you want to shop, go to the beach, wine and dine, and see the sights, having your own vehicle makes your trip much easier.
- Miami International Airport is located eight miles northwest of downtown. The Miami Beach Airport Express Bus (Route 150) makes traveling between the airport and South Beach a breeze. The service is fast, easy, and convenient. For less than three dollars each way, passengers ride aboard 40-foot buses equipped with luggage racks, comfortable seating, and air conditioning.
- Taxis charge a flat rate of $32 to South Beach and $21.70 to downtown. There is no charge to share a cab.
- Miami is very hot from June to August which is considered low-season in the city, but perfect for those who want to hit the beach during the day and dance late at night!
- February to April is the high season. High profile events such as The Circuit Party, Miami Beach Gay Pride (April) and the Winter Party (March) fill the city with gay visitors from around the world.
- From September through to mid-January the weather is mild, making Miami a great winter gay escape.
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