From sprawling parks and world-class museums to Venetian canals and endless beaches, Greater Fort Lauderdale welcomes travelers from around the world. With its dynamic dining scene, upscale lodging and ongoing improvements, the city is flourishing. Located on the Atlantic Coast, 23 miles north of Miami, this ocean-side oasis is a mecca for LGBTQ travelers looking to show some Pride.
Ready to plan your own Floridian adventure? Here are a few insider tips on travelling to Fort Lauderdale.
LGBTQ Pride Week
Pride in Fort Lauderdale is a weeklong celebration filled with fun times and over-the-top activities. On June 11, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Progressive Bar Car Wash hosts a fundraiser benefitting Wilton Manors Stonewall Pride Parade and Festival; it's a great way to help the community.
After the car wash, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., Huizenga Park hosts The Equality Rally in solidarity with the national Equality March for Unity & Pride. It's a celebration of diversity and inclusivity you must experience.
On June 14, from 8 p.m. to midnight, The Stonewall Skate Night, where roller skating and dancing ensure nostalgic fun, kicks off at Xtreme Action Park. Be sure to stick around for a live performance by drag extraordinaire TP Lords.
Then, on June 15 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., the exclusive Wilton Manors Stonewall VIP Gala, where guests dress to the nines to celebrate LGBTQ Pride, commences at the Manor House, Richardson Park & Nature Reserve. It's an invite-only event, so start networking.
Stonewall Parade and Festival
On June 17, Fort Lauderdale hosts the legendary Stonewall Parade, a fabulous extravaganza everyone attends. The event marks the 48th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, and it's the largest Pride-related festivity in the city. Celebrating its 18th year, the Stonewall Parade and Festival (June 17, between 3 p.m .and 11 p.m.) features dozens of wonderful floats and hundreds of proud marchers.
Meanwhile, The Manor offers amazing performances, refreshing beverages and live DJs to dance the day away. And, the Stonewall Event & Marketplace features more than 100 vendors, exhibitors, and gourmet food trucks to help you celebrate Pride.
Where to Play
Ranked as the second "Gayest City in America" by the 2010 U.S. Census, Wilton Manors has a thriving LGBTQ community with dozens of gay-owned businesses and attractions. It's also home to queer-themed attractions such as the Pride Center, The World AIDS Museum and Educational Center, and a branch of the Stonewall Library and Archives.
Take a stroll down Wilton Drive, the epicenter of Wilton Manors, and you'll find more than 40 restaurants, lounges, nightclubs and shops to explore. Fuel up on champagne and oysters at Top Chef Josie Smith-Malave's Bubbles + Pearls and be sure to try the key lime pie -- it's the best in town. After that, you can catch a game at Sidelines, a gay sports bar, or head over to the Village Pub, the neighborhood watering hole.
If you're looking for a more relaxed holiday, Victoria Park boasts stunning architecture, beautiful neighborhoods and an incredibly welcoming community. Residents and businesses openly embrace diversity, which makes Victoria Park a great place to stay. Plus, it's conveniently located near the beach and the excitement of Wilton Manors.
Where to Stay
Although Fort Lauderdale is famous for its LGBTQ B&B scene, travelers seeking a luxury hotel experience won't be disappointed. With Ritz-Carlton Fort Lauderdale, The Atlantic Hotel & Spa and clothing-optional resorts like Alcazar Resort, Fort Lauderdale offers accommodations for everyone. And, many of the premiere resorts in the area have been recently updated. The Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa and W Fort Lauderdale -- favorites for out travelers -- completed major renovations to their guest rooms and suites.
If you'd prefer to experience new properties, you have many options. Consider the HYDE Resort & Residences, a striking, glass-clad, 43-story resort, featuring 363 suites with outdoor terraces, two rooftop infinity pools, a spa and dining outlets; the Plunge Beach Hotel, a modern, low-key oceanfront boutique with 163 rooms, offers direct beach access.
Later this year, the highly-anticipated Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach and Melia Costa Hollywood are slated to open. And in 2019, the new 22-story Four Seasons Private Residences Fort Lauderdale will welcome its first guests.
Fort Lauderdale takes cruising to the next level with plenty of ways to set sail. For intimate voyages, yachting offers visitors the opportunity to charter private vessels for an unforgettable sail on the Atlantic Ocean. And, in the city, you can board a gondola for a peaceful tour of the waterways.
As you can see, being out is perfectly in and everyone is welcome is Fort Lauderdale. To plan your fabulous Fort Lauderdale escape, go all out at www.sunny.org/lgbtq.