Our Gay Florida Road Trip: Miami

Where to eat, stay, party and play in The Magic City
October 04, 2016
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WHERE TO EAT

Pull up a chair in the heart of Lincoln Drive for magnificent people-watching. Whether you’re seeking a double espresso or a full meal, Balans is known for its modern menu, great cocktails and friendly atmosphere.

Get your fill of Cuban culture at a traditional coffee counter. Ask for a café con leche—steamed milk with a shot of Cuban coffee— or a cortadito —a tiny shot of super sweet Cuban coffee—to channel your inner Little Havana local.

South Beach style and sophistication abound at Juvia. This ultramodern space atop a designer parking garage serves up eclectic food and drink. A trinity of French, Japanese and Peruvian cooking styles, Juvia’s cuisine is the convergence in collaboration of three of the most talented chefs, using only the freshest of ingredients.

WHERE TO STAY

Miami Beach’s only gay-owned resort, Hotel Gaythering is a chic and fun spot to stay while you play. The Men’s Self Spa is an oasis equipped with a Jacuzzi, dry cedar sauna, aroma steam room, and mud lounge. In a city known for loud nightclubs and glitz, the Lounge at the Gaythering is the antithesis of what you’d expect in South Beach: no velvet ropes, no guest lists, and their Friday “HoPPY HoUR” is not to be missed. A good-looking crowd of locals mix in with explorers, kicking off the weekend on the perfect note.

After you check-in, stop by the LGBT Visitor’s Center to make your stay extra fabulous. There you will find a place for community, information, and resources.

WHERE TO PARTY

Every night of the week, Twist is the go-to spot for locals and tourists alike. With its five rooms, there is something for everyone including go-go dancers that look like the men you follow on Instagram and eclectic patrons for you to take home.

On Fridays, the best spot to see and be seen is Score for drag queen Athena Dion's weekly rage The Lab. 

For a good excuse to get day drunk and nurse your hangover, hop over to the Palace Bar and Restaurant. Touristy but also entertaining, their Sunday drag brunch is ridiculous, with drag queens traipsing all over Ocean Drive in looks fit for a queen.

 

WHERE TO PLAY

When you ask repeat visitors why they love Miami, they almost always answer, “the beaches”. South Beach conjures up images of sunny days, clear blue water, dining on Ocean Drive and a continuous flow of sexy men and women. The gay beach is 12th Street, where Ocean Drive crosses 12th. Check out nude Haulover Beach if you don’t want anything to get between you and the sun. 11 miles north of Miami Beach, get there on the 120 bus towards 120 – Max to Aventura.

Capturing the essence of South Beach style, Lincoln Road is an open-air pedestrian mall filled with tourists and locals alike. Its vibrant mix of outdoor cafes, restaurants, high-end boutiques and mainstream stores is set against a beautiful backdrop of towering palm trees. Stop by BASEthe flagship of a chain of hip lifestyle stores stocking fashion, books and other great gifts—before heading next door to Books & Books Miami Beach, if for no other reason than its vast magazine collection, which includes international and locally published periodicals.

Next to the Design District and carrying on the tropical SoHo vibe, explore the funky and hip neighborhood of Wynwood. It’s home to the astonishing Wynwood Walls, an open-air park dedicated to cutting-edge contemporary urban murals. The District also houses over 70 art galleries, retail stores, antique shops and eclectic bars.