Top tips for visiting Miami Beach Pride, from the best food to unbeatable LGBTQ+ venues

US actor and singer Billy Porter participates in the Miami Beach Pride Parade on Ocean Drive on April 14, 2024, in Miami Beach, Florida

With sunshine, sea and a diverse, vibrant atmosphere, Miami remains one of the best places in the US to celebrate Pride, despite some of the troubling legislation passed in the state of Florida in recent years.

After attending Miami Beach Pride this year, PinkNews is eager to help you plan your own trip to the city, so you can make the most of the beautiful surroundings and exhilarating entertainment while celebrating the LGBTQ+ community. 

Here’s everything you need to know. 

Rainbow flags mark Miami Beach Pride in 2024
Miami Beach Pride is at a perfect time of year. (Emily Chudy)

When is Miami Beach Pride?

Unlike many Pride celebrations, Miami Beach Pride is held in April, with the 2024 celebrations held from 2 to 14 April. Florida is gorgeous, sunny and breezy at this time of year. It can be sweltering in the summer, so the celebrations were perfectly timed.

The atmosphere of 2024’s festivities were encapsulated by Pose star Billy Porter, who highlighted both the importance of celebration and showing up to protest. 

In an emotional speech on the opening night of Pride weekend, the actor and singer spoke about coming of age during the Aids crisis.

“I was 16 years old at the beginning of thecrisis,” Porter said after being presented with the key to Miami Beach by city commissioner Alex Fernandez.

“We didn’t have the luxury to hide. We didn’t have the luxury to not be active. We had to go straight to the front lines to fight for our lives, and that’s exactly what we did. We came together as a community, we fought back and we succeeded.

Pride-goers wave a banner reading "Born This Way" during Miami Beach Pride 2024
Visitors enjoying Miami Beach Pride earlier this year. (Emily Chudy)

“We’re now in a position where we must come together again. We must fight the forces of evil that are trying to destroy us… it’s time to re-engage. It’s time to pay attention again. It’s time to get in these streets. This is not a parade, it’s a march.”

“When we started” fighting for LGBTQ+ rights it was vital to protest, he added. “Then the change came, and we partied… now we can march and party.”

Miami Beach showed up in full force to both march and party during 2024’s event, with parade grand marshal Porter alongside a jam-packed line-up, including JoJo Siwa’s first Pride performance.

South Beach’s Lummus Park was the hub of the event, with stalls selling merchandise and raising awareness for several charities, and parties taking place in the evenings, featuring local drag queens, breakdancers and performers. 

According to Miami Beach Pride’s website, next year’s festival and parade will take place on 12 and 13 April. 

Is there a Pride parade?

The Pride parade is one of Miami Beach Pride’s central events, with organisers estimating 170,000 people showed up for the 16th annual event down Ocean Drive. 

While the parade itself was a kaleidoscope of colours, flags, and sunshine, it also served as a powerful protest, with several signs and placards decrying the recent wave of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation passed in Florida

“Pride, as you know, started as a protest in many different places, including Stonewall,” Dane Grams, vice president of membership at Human Rights Campaign, told PinkNews at the event.  

“Today we continue that protest, but we also celebrate joy. It’s possible to hold two truths at one time.”

He explained that “trans people are targeted more than anyone these days” through “absolutely senseless” bigotry, and in order to stand up for the community “people can show up, people can speak up, speak out, be a friend, and also support organisations like the Human Rights Campaign who are working tirelessly to protect transgender people, especially transgender youth, today.”

Actor and recording arist Billy Porter greets festival attendees in his role as a Parade Grand Marshal at the annual Miami Beach Pride Festival on April 14, 2024 in Miami Beach, Florida
Billy Porter was the parade grand marshal and headliner for Miami Beach Pride 2024 (Sean Drakes/Getty Images)

As well as being a crucial protest for LGBTQ+ rights, Grams said Miami Beach Pride is “an awful lot of fun”.

“We just had Billy Porter. The weather’s always gorgeous. The spirit is high, the diversity is amazing… Welcome to Miami!” Grams enthused.

Where should I stay?

PinkNews had the pleasure of staying at The Elser Hotel and Hotel Greystone during Miami Beach Pride 2024, and highly recommends both locations for different reasons.

Hotel Greystone is close to the beach, and within walking distance of the Pride festivities. The hotel boasts a pool, a sun-soaked café, and cosy, comfortable rooms that are surprisingly quiet despite its prime location on bustling Collins Avenue. 

The rooftop pool at Hotel Greystone
The rooftop pool at Hotel Greystone (Hotel Greystone)

Downtown, and a little further away from the action of Pride, The Elser Hotel provides a luxurious vibe, with spacious rooms, a state-of-the-art gym and swimming pool, and sleek interiors. The hotel’s amenities, including in-room washing machines, makes for an incredibly convenient stay. 

Miami is packed with hotel and Airbnb options, with dozens of places to stay dotted along South Beach. PinkNews would recommend South Beach for its nightlife and proximity to Pride, Downtown Miami for plenty of shopping options and a luxurious feel, and Wynwood for a creative and youthful vibe. 

How do I get around?

Pride is mostly held in South Beach – a very accessible area – so if you’re heading to Miami solely for Pride, the best way to get around is walking or using apps like Uber, Bolt and Lyft, which are widely available. You can also rent a bike via Citi Bike Miami.

Ocean Drive in Miami Beach, Florida
Ocean Drive in Miami Beach, Florida (Marie LaFauci/Getty Images)

Much of the city’s public transport is free, and easy to access. The Miami Beach Trolley and the Metromover tram are free and connect some areas of the city – the trolley goes between South Beach and North Beach for example – so if you’re taking short journeys these could be great options.

Those looking to travel further within Miami should note the city is sprawling, so planning ahead to arrange taxis, buses, or renting a car is a must. 

What are the best LGBTQ+ venues?

In terms of LGBTQ+ venues, Miami has it all: drag brunch, cosy queer bars, and lively nightclubs. 

For drag performances, Palace is the place to be. The LGBTQ+ bar and restaurant has been doing “sidewalk” drag shows since the 1980s, and its open patio means passers-by can be seen crowding to get a peek of its famous shows to this day. As well as brunch options and cocktails, Palace is home to impressively athletic and immersive drag performances – Elishaly D’witshes, known as “The Queen of the Bus” was a stand-out act – that will have you at the edge of your seat. 

In terms of smaller queer bars, Willy’s Neighborhood Bar is a great place to grab a drink, while R House Wynwood hosts incredible drag brunches, and has a welcoming, inviting atmosphere. Blackbird Ordinary, while not exclusively an LGBTQ+ venue, hosts a ladies’ night on Tuesdays which has become a popular lesbian hangout. 

For a big night out, Twist – opened in 1993 – is the city’s busiest and most exciting nightclub, featuring seven different bars, with each room playing different music. While the bar can get extremely busy, and you may want to arrive early to avoid queues, the DJ sets, drag performances, and vibrant aura are unmissable. 

Where is the best food?

While it’s impossible to list all of the delicious and diverse food Miami has to offer – there’s simply too much of it – the best food experienced by PinkNews during Pride was at Julia & Henry’s food court in Downtown Miami. The multi-storey venue features food stalls and cocktails from just about every cuisine you can think of, and definitely ranks as a must-visit for any foodie. Just make sure to save room for dessert!

Also worth mentioning is Vietnamese fusion restaurant Phuc Yea, Italian restaurant Avenue 31 Café in Bal Harbour shopping mall, and Havana 1957 for authentic Cuban food and the largest mojitos known to mankind. 

Moving slightly outside of Miami’s South Beach was Yann Couvreur Café in Wynwood, with pastries and desserts to die for. R House Wynwood is also well worth a visit, with unique and delicious cocktails alongside its dinner and brunch menus. 

What else can I do in Miami?

If you want to make the most out of Miami during your stay, there are plenty of activities to get stuck into, from exploring nature to visiting galleries.

As Miami is the only city in America boasting two national parks – Everglades and Biscayne – it’s worth checking out the nature on offer. Closer to the city centre, Oleta River State Park offers snorkelling, kayaking, mountain biking, and the chance to see wildlife, all under a beautiful canopy of mangrove trees. 

In terms of shopping, Bal Harbour is the best area for luxury designer outlets, while Lincoln Road district in South Beach provides myriad high street options. 

A view of Wynwood's street art
A view of Wynwood’s street art (Emily Chudy)

For a spot of culture, Miami boasts several museums, including the Art Deco Welcome Center – which offers an LGBTQ-themed walking tour – the immersive art museum Superblue Miami, and the World Erotic Art Museum. Heritage buildings, including the Vizcaya Museum & Gardens, also provide picturesque areas to explore. 

For the city’s famous street art, the neighbourhood of Wynwood is a must-see, with incredible murals turning the landscape into an ever-changing outdoor art gallery. The street art museum Wynwood Walls offers tours to ensure you don’t miss a thing. 

Visit the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau website to learn more about the city, and for more information about Miami Beach Pride, visit the Pride website

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