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How To Have A Gay Old Time In Miami Beach

Your guide to where to stay, eat, explore, party and play during Miami Beach Pride…

By Jumol Royes

If it’s sun, sand and gay-friendly vibes you seek, it’s hard to beat Miami Beach. 

Famous for its off-the-charts sex appeal, stylish hotspots, beautiful beaches and equally beautiful people as far as the eye can see, there’s a reason why Miami Beach consistently ranks among the world’s top LGBTQ2+ travel destinations. 

And what better time to visit the cosmopolitan city than during Miami Beach Pride. The annual celebration is set to host to more than 170,000 attendees from around the world from April 1-16, 2023. This year marks the event’s 15th anniversary with the theme, ‘Growing Stronger Together.’

We’ve rounded up our favourite picks for where to stay, eat, explore, party and play during Miami Beach Pride to help you get the most out of your visit.

 (photo credit: Kimpton Hotel Palomar South Beach)

Stay: Kimpton Hotel Palomar South Beach
This boutique hotel takes its design cues from Miami Beach’s oceanic surroundings. Featuring 96 guestrooms, many with private balconies overlooking Sunset Harbour, the Kimpton Hotel Palomar is relaxed, yet refined. Check out Osteria Morini for soulful Northern-Italian cuisine (the fritto misto is a must-try); check in with the hotel’s wellness concierge to sign you up for a class at the nearby Hanu Yoga studio; and take advantage of complimentary hotel bikes for a fun-filled day of exploration. When you’re ready to hit the beach, put on your cutest pair of short shorts and catch a ride to beach access at 21st and Collins Avenue via the eco-friendly Freebee shuttle (if you’re lucky enough to get Denise as your driver, you’ll be in very good hands).

(photo credit: Jaya at The Setai)

Eat: Jaya Restaurant at The Setai
The Setai is a vibe and Jaya Restaurant is a sophisticated dining destination that provides an unparalleled culinary experience. Meaning ‘victory’ in Sanskrit, Jaya’s menu features regional dishes from Southeast and Northern Asia like sushi, tandoor and curry, dim sum and more. The restaurant is open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with the Sunday Jazz Brunch featuring live jazz and endless Louis Roederer Champagne. If you happen to be there on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday evening, request to dine al fresco in the courtyard and you’ll be treated to the Asian Night Bazar and live entertainment in the form of an aerial acrobat, fire dancer and resident DJ. Reservations required.

(photo credit: Jumol Royes)

Explore: Miami Design District
Venture just across Biscayne Bay, a 15-minute drive from the Kimpton Palomar Hotel, and you’ll discover the Miami Design District. This creative and fashionable neighbourhood offers world-class shopping, design, dining, art and architecture. There are more than 170 luxury retail brands represented here, from Dior and Dolce & Gabbana to Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Saint Laurent. Beyond the fashions, cultural institutions like the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) Miami can also be found in the district. Whether you’re in need of some retail therapy or simply looking to enjoy the public art and pedestrian-friendly streets, the Miami Design District is a well-heeled designer path with endless selfie opportunities. 

Party: TWIST
What has seven bars, three dancefloors, cute bartenders, no cover and is always a groove? TWIST, of course. The inclusive gay bar and club in the heart of South Beach has been going strong for close to 30 years, welcoming locals and visitors alike. Depending on the day of the week, be prepared to enjoy drag performances, karaoke, world-class DJs and great music. It’s the sort of place where you can go from dancing with a stranger and making out in a dark corner to having lively conversations over cocktails and bonding with new friends. Bars here are open until 5:00 a.m., so be sure to pace yourself.

 (photo credits: Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau)

Play: 2023 Miami Beach Pride
This 16-day extravaganza celebrating Miami Beach’s diverse LGBTQ2+ communities originally began as a parade down Ocean Drive. This year’s festivities include the Miss Miami Beach Pride Pageant presented by ViiV Healthcare (April 4), a queer art showcase supporting local artists (April 10) and a social justice night (April 12). The main attraction is the festival at Lummus Park (April 15 and 16), culminating with the parade on Ocean Drive (April 16). Sandra Bernhard, Jonathan Bennett, Todrick Hall and Shangela are just a few of the celebrity guests scheduled to make appearances. “With over 16 days of exciting events, there is truly something for everyone and we have maintained our commitment to keep much of our programming free for the community to be as inclusive as possible,” says Bruce Horwich, chairman of Miami Beach Pride.

Bienvenidos a Miami Beach!

JUMOL ROYES is IN Magazine’s director of communications and community engagement, a GTA-based storyteller and glass-half-full kinda guy. He writes about compassion, community, identity and belonging. His guilty pleasure is watching the Real Housewives. Follow him on Instagram @jumolroyes.  

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