The Local Lesbian Insider

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By: A.M. De la Torre

Miami is one big, beautiful, Instagram-worthy city proclaiming, “wish you were here!”

For women who love women, Miami offers something to make you glad you are here, any and every day of the year.

Thanks to online, digital, and social media, a city’s lesbian or gay bar is no longer the sole resource for meeting likeminded locals and visitors. Lesbian fun can be found every day, in expected and unexpected places, and here’s your insider guide to live it like a local.

Care to dance?

Miami is legendary for its energetic dance parties. Icandee and Pandora, organizers of lesbian events, have a successful history of making merry for the ladies, in Miami. Each organizes separate events for gay women at cool locations throughout the city. They are also the dynamos behind lesbian-focused soirees held during annual special events such as Miami Beach Pride, the OUTshine Film Festival, SweetHeat Miami, Gay8 Festival, and the legendary Aqua Girl.

Newer event promoters have added dimension, diversity and buzz to the Miami lesbian social scene. A Different Kind of Ladies Night and LesConnect organize “takeover” parties with varying frequency and a variety of formats such as Happy Hour events, a sunset cruise, live music concert, or a karaoke night. 2Sis, another organization, attracts a largely Hispanic/Latina lesbian crowd to a weekly Saturday night gathering, where they “shake what their mamas gave them” to merengue, bachata, vallenato and salsa. Interested in something more low-key or sporty? Check MeetUp, or Facebook to find gay-oriented nature outings or sporting activities, or see what the non-profit, Aqua Foundation for Women, has planned. Check online to see what’s coming up, who’s attending and maybe even find an online pal, while researching.

Make a new gay friend, at the Miami Beach LGBT Visitor Center. Miami Beach has historically been the epicenter of gay life in Miami. So, it’s no surprise that the city offers one of the country’s first LGBT Visitors’ Center. Open seven days a week, the Center-- situated in the historic Old City Hall building (an attraction in itself,) and perpendicular to the World Erotic Art Museum (curious?) -- provides information to thousands of tourists each year, and hosts activities for locals and visitors, weekly. Stop in and learn what’s going on during the days you’re in town. Insider tip: they can also inform you of discounts at member establishments throughout the City.

After your official welcome, walk a few blocks east and grab an ocean-view seat at the official LGBTQ beach (the rainbow flags give the location away.) Nothing will get you in the Miami spirit like a little sunbathing and a splash in our turquoise, Atlantic waters. And speaking of spirits, the Palace Bar, two blocks south, is the gay go-to for cocktails, nibbles, and outrageous drag shows, any day – and especially during the weekend.

Beyond the beach: hip, bohemian and artsy hangouts you’ll want to check out.

The Wynwood and Coconut Grove neighborhoods of Miami possess a richly diverse population and an “anything goes” vibe. In hipster-haven Wynwood, an outdoor art district that was once only warehouses, the bar, Gramps, has a no-judgements policy, potent cocktails and a calendar of gay-friendly events. Laid-back and gritty-in-a-good-way, Wood Tavern features a big, outdoor yard with music and dancing, where the friendly conversation flows as freely as the craft beers. A little further north, along Biscayne Boulevard, you’ll find the MiMo District (Miami Modernism), and The Vagabond Motel. A chic, retro motel from Miami’s mid-century, which attracts a diverse crowd for happy hours, dinners, music nights and Sunday poolside parties. Heading south and delving into Miami’s past, Coconut Grove is a lush neighborhood along Biscayne Bay that’s always been a home to originals. Bahamians and bohemians, hippies and artists created a vibrant area tolerant of all kinds of lifestyles and viewpoints. Sidewalk cafes, bayfront bar and grills, and unique boutiques attract LGBTQ locals and visitors, who come to “the Grove,” for brunch, happy hours, romantic al fresco dining, or the yearly Art Fair.

Interested in something intellectual?

O Cinema features art film screenings, and films for LGBTQ audiences are very well represented. Don’t forget to visit the Perez Art Museum Miami (PAMM)—and not just for the art—the building and its bayfront location are enough to make you swoon. It’s a perfect place for a first date-- or a marriage proposal(!)-- because Miami does cast its magic spell, after all.

Besides enjoying the larger, annual LGBTQ events and happenings that Miami offers, know that the rainbow-colored carpet is always rolled out for you, and plenty of fun to be had, every extraordinary, ordinary Miami day.

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