5 LGBTQ+ Destination Offerings in The Palm Beaches
Celebrating pride in The Palm Beaches is easy with a growing list of fun and fabulous experiences that only augment the historical, cultural and natural charm of America’s First Resort Destination®. Though not as prominently known as some of South Florida’s neighboring regions, there’s a benefit that comes with that – a quieter, classier escape, with fewer crowds, less traffic and unmatched appeal. Whether you’re seeking a quaint bar outing or a wide mix of events, you’ve come to the right place. Located just under one hour from Miami and under two hours from Orlando, below is a brief list of events and LGBTQ+ offerings taking place in The Palm Beaches as well as a few staple sites worth visiting next time you’re in the vicinity of this posh and playful playground of The Sunshine State.
Travelers to The Palm Beaches can fly into Palm Beach International Airport (PBI), located only a few miles from downtown West Palm Beach. Worth touting, PBI is recognized as 3rd Best Airport in the U.S. in the prestigious Condé Nast Traveler 2020 Readers’ Choice Awards and was among the first three airports in the nation to pursue and receive GBAC Star Accreditation.
Arts Garage Garage Queen 2021 – Delray Beach, Florida A trip to the sunny, seaside town of Delray Beach, named “Most Fun Small Town” by Rand McNally of USA Today and The Travel Channel and named in the “top 10 Happiest Seaside Towns” by Coastal Living, this charming destination is about to up its fun factor. Time your visit just right, and you can prepare to be wowed by Arts Garage Garage Queen series. The local theatre and entertainment venue serve as host to three talented, fierce and feisty performers April through October for select performances. Showcasing some of South Florida’s most lively and talented drag queens and female illusionists, Garage Queens: Fierce, Fabulous, Divine series returns on select Friday nights in 2021: April 30, July 30 and October 29. All shows begin at 8 p.m. and are hosted by the exquisite Ariel Rimm-Chanel, while the first show will feature past Garage Queen performer Citris as well as DJ Joshua Atom. Tickets begin at $25, and virtual tickets are available for just $10.
While you’re in Delray, take advantage of this area, best known for its coastal pedestrian-friendly downtown, stylish shops, artistic flair, and diverse cultural appeal. The Town’s bounty of dining, bars, art studios, and growing attractions including the Silverball Museum & Arcade and the soon-to-open Delray Beach Market only enhance its appeal. The city is also home to the Delray Beach Pride Fest each June, with this year’s event scheduled for June 26.
Palm Beach Pride Market – Lake Worth Beach, Florida Often referred to as an artsy bohemian town, this easygoing enclave is home to some of the destination’s most colorful events such as the Lake Worth Street Painting Festival and the annual Palm Beach Pride event – a gated, two-day festival with a parade. Though this year’s event looks a bit different as a free, family- and pet-friendly Market concept (Palm Beach Pride Market), it will allow free entry and open-air shopping to encourage social distancing. This year’s Market event is scheduled to take place on June 5, 2021 at Lake Worth’s Bryant Park.
Held in one of the most LGBTQ+-friendly destinations in The Sunshine State, Lake Worth Beach, the event’s home base, is the prideful home of The Compass Community Center. The Center is one of the largest gay and lesbian community centers in the Southeast United States. A multitude of galleries, street murals, Matthews Brewing Company, watersports, cultural institutions, beaches, and golf make this a must-stop on any South Florida itinerary. Mad Hatter Lounge is an LGBTQ neighborhood staple as are Work it Wednesdays at Propaganda – a local entertainment and music venue. Additional activities include Voices of Pride – a gay men’s chorus located in the Lake Worth Beach area, though temporarily on hold. Just a short drive away, you can also pay a visit to Penny’s at the Duke in Lantana, Florida for continued exploration of the destination’s LGBTQ gems.
The Gay Polo League’s Lexus International Gay Polo Tournament - Wellington, Florida Though most notably recognized as the Winter Equestrian Capital of the World, the rural Town of Wellington does not only play hostess to the Winter Equestrian Festival and the International Polo Club Palm Beach, but is also the esteemed home to the Gay Polo League and the League’s Annual International Gay Polo Tournament. The tournament, which takes place each March, is accompanied by an annual ticketed brunch as well as other ticketed social events that serve to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community as well as the sport of polo.
H.G. Rooster’s – West Palm Beach, Florida Home to the oldest gay bar in Florida and Palm Beach County’s first incorporated city, the City of West Palm Beach serves as the heart of The Palm Beaches with its wide abundance of cultural magnetism and historical finds. Among its historical landmarks, visitors can find H.G. Roosters – a longstanding local treasure that is currently seeking a spot on West Palm Beach’s Register of Historic Places. Making significant contributions to the City’s LGBTQ community over its close to 60+ years of existence, it is believed that Roosters will be the third gay bar in the nation to be granted this historic designation, among the ranks of the Stonewall Inn in New York City and The Atlanta Eagle in Georgia. Though the bar is temporarily closed, the bar’s owner and city officials are working to bring it back as quickly as possible.
West Palm Beach is also home to Dramaworks, which has an LGBTQ series of programming called OutStage@PBD. Additionally, the city hosts the annual Stonewall Black and White Ball – a fundraiser that recognizes LGBTQ history and celebrates opportunities for the community’s future, and West Palm Beach’s Northwood Village district will soon be home to a permanent Pride crosswalk with expected completion before year’s end. Cultural offerings add to the city’s pulsating vibrancy with an abundant collection of museums, performance venues, gardens, and more. A wide mix of shopping experiences abounds from outlet malls to antique and consignments boutiques, while golf courses, the National Croquet Center, Shark Wake Park and the FITTEAM Ballpark of The Palm Beaches appeal to sports enthusiasts.
Town of Palm Beach – This cozy and well-heeled luxurious destination prides itself as one of the richest zip codes in the United States – usually coming in third or fourth place in the United States, with its residents donating more money per capita to charities than any other community in America. This manicured and serene small town, iconic for its glamour and style, helped define The Palm Beaches as the world-recognized tourism destination it is today. As one of the Florida areas founded by Henry Morrison Flagler, the town is synonymous with luxury living offering unparalleled accommodations, experiences and customer service dating back more than a century. From tropical alfresco shopping to prominent architectural treasures such as The Breakers, The Colony and The Flagler Museum, a 75-room Gilded Age mansion turned museum, visitors from near and far can’t help but be enamored with the seaside retreat. Jaw-dropping mansion sightseeing, lavish gardens, a historic bike trail, golf, art, tennis, and historical tours and attractions are activity staples here. Public beaches are also available to visitors. This town is well-known, and lowkey uber gay-friendly.