10 Reasons Why Miami Should Be Your Ultimate LGBTQ 2020 Getaway

by Matthew Wexler

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Friday January 3, 2020

As 2019 comes to an end, we're already thinking about where to escape in 2020. There's no better LGBTQ vacation destination than Miami.

Packed with award-winning beaches, an astounding arts scene, colorful nightlife and dining options for every palate, Greater Miami and the Beaches offer something for all spectrums of the LGBTQ community. And with its very own LGBTQ Visitor Center, there's no shortage of recommendations for hotels, excursions and the latest happenings around town.

Whether you're headed to Miami for an event or festival or seeking a low-key weekend to relax under the Florida sun, Greater Miami and the Beaches is ready to help create a vacation of a lifetime. Here are 10 of our favorite reasons to put Miami on your 2020 vacation calendar.

1. Winter Party Festival — Perhaps Miami's most iconic LGBTQ weekend, the Winter Party Festival returns March 4-10, 2020, for a week of revelry including three signature events: Heat at Wynwood Factory where Brazilian superstar DJ Edu Quintas makes his Winter Party debut (March 6); the Beach Party at the Sands of South Beach (March 7); and Action! Finale at Exchange Miami with "RuPaul's Drag Race" alum Nina Flowers (March 9).

Proceeds benefit the National LGBTQ Task Force and South Florida LGBTQ community, so you'll be dancing the night (and day) away for a good cause. "People always ask me what it is that makes Winter Party Festival different from all other events like it, and the answer is love," says National LGBTQ Task Force events director Michael Bath. "It is a labor of love for the staff and consultants involved, and especially for the dozens of volunteers who have sustained it and allowed it to flourish over the years. And all of that culminates in an atmosphere of love among the guests who attend our events."

2. Drag Brunch - You don't have to be in town for the Winter Party to kick up your heels. Miami's drag brunch scene is legendary and is a must-do for visitors who love their eggs with a side of sass:

The Palace has been an Ocean Drive legend for 31 years. Book in advance to ensure the best seats for this weekly happening every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Unlimited mimosas flow throughout the day and stick around for Drags Gone Wild, hosted on Saturday afternoons (starting at 5 p.m.) by Tiffany Fantasia.

R House offers its own take on drag brunch with Athena Dion (Miss Ultimate Miami Drag Queen) at the helm. The venue, launched by restaurateur husbands Rocco Carulli and Owen Bale in 2014, quickly became a neighborhood hotspot. Be sure to allow extra time to check out the rotating art exhibits and bring an appetite for the Italian-inspired fare.

3. Miami Beach Pride — Who says Pride only happens in June? Miami kicks off a season of pride March 28 - April 5, 2020, with a nine-day celebration featuring special events, social mixers, dance events, VIP gala, an incredible two-day festival and Pride Parade.

4. LGBTQ-Friendly Beaches — There's no place like home, especially when it comes to Miami's rainbow-proud sandy shores. With the Art Deco District eye-catching background, sun lovers flock to 12th Street Beach to catch some rays (and maybe some glances, if they're lucky!). Haulover Beach is another popular spot, which includes a clothing-optional stretch for those avoiding tan lines. Traveling with your pooch? There are several dog-friendly beaches from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays.

5. OUTshine Film Festival —The Miami Gay & Lesbian Film Festival (which dates back to 1998) combined forces with the Fort Lauderdale Gay & Lesbian Film Festival in 2015 to create a some of the most dynamic and comprehensive queer cinema events in the country. Miami's festival returns April 16-26, 2020. Past screenings have included a collection of domestic and international films the encompass the broad-reaching topics affecting the LGBTQ community.

"This is the most beautiful vehicle for an independent filmmaker who does LGBTQ content," says filmmaker Andrea Meyerson ("Getting Started"), "because the audiences are so grateful to see themselves represented."

6. Aqua Girl — Described as "by and for LGBTQ women," Aqua Girl is the largest queer women's charity event in the country with proceeds benefitting the Aqua Foundation for Women, which contributes to a range of LGBTQ causes, scholarships and organizations. October 2020 dates have yet to be finalized but expect five days of dance parties, pool parties and tea parties that attract thousands of women from around the world along with all-star DJs such as Citizen Jane and Whitney Abstrakt.

7. Destination Dining — No matter what you have a taste for, you can find it in Miami and the Beaches' bustling restaurant scene. Past James Beard Award winners (America's top culinary honor) include Douglas Rodriguez, Michael Schwartz and Paul Qui, along with additional nominees and top cocktail spots like The Broken Shaker, named one of the "The World's 50 Best Bars" in 2014 and 2015, and awarded the Best American Hotel Bar at the Tales of A Cocktail Spirited Awards.

8. Can't-Miss Art
Miami is packed with galleries, museums and public art that has long drawn collectors to its cultural hub. Art Basel Miami Beach's 83,000+ attendees descend upon the city each December, but there's plenty to discover throughout the year such as The Bass, the newly renovated contemporary art museum, and immersive galleries like Artechouse where the arts and technology converge.

Of course, visitors can't skip Wynwood Walls. Restaurateur and visionary Tony Goldman help turn aging warehouses into a global phenomenon through the commissioning of public murals, and now visitors can stroll the neighborhood to see Instagram-worthy by a range of artists.

9. When the Sun Sets
Thank goodness for Miami's delicious Cuban coffee culture — night owls will need it after hitting the clubs and some of the special LGBTQ-friendly events around town. Hit the dance floor at Twist and Wood Tavern, or check out the Thursday night drag shows at Gramps' Double Stubble.

10. Hotel Gaythering — Gay owned and operated since 2014, this boutique property offers a sophisticated and friendly oasis for gay travelers. On-site amenities include a clothing-optional men's sauna, free shuttle to the nude beach, a range of room types from spacious kings to "anti-hostel" shared accommodations, and a lively bar with extended happy hour (5 p.m. - 8 p.m.) and nightly events.

Ready to start planning? Visit www.miamiandbeaches.com to create a personalized itinerary and explore everything that the region has to offer.

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Matthew Wexler is EDGE's National Senior Editor of Travel, Lifestyle, Health & Branded Content. More of his writing can be found at www.wexlerwrites.com. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @wexlerwrites.

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