Three Days in The Palm Beaches for LGBTQ+ Travelers
Julie Seaver, CEO of Compass LGBTQ Community Center…
Check out the ultimate guide to LGBTQ+-friendly accommodations, local events, nightlife, and entertainment geared toward the LGBTQ+ community in The Palm Beaches.
Situated along 47 miles of pristine Atlantic Ocean coastline from Boca Raton in the south to Jupiter and Tequesta in the north, America’s First Resort Destination® offers a proud tradition of hospitality to all who visit. The Palm Beaches’ collection of 39 distinct towns and cities continues its long-standing legacy as a welcoming and safe destination for the LGBTQ+ community. Charming neighborhoods, beautiful beaches, trendy bars, eclectic restaurants, annual events and elegant accommodations — there is something here to satisfy every style, taste and lifestyle.
The Ben evokes the spirit of one of West Palm Beach’s great homes — The Ben Trovato, the legendary home of Byrd Dewey, a 19th century author, socialite and philanthropist — interpreted for today’s traveler. Grab a book from its perfectly curated library, or go swimming in or relax by the rooftop pool. It’s all within walking distance from dining, nightlife and mural art on Clematis Street.
The Hyatt Place Delray Beach is located just seconds from festive Atlantic Avenue and its countless bars, restaurants, and live music venues. Their rooms provide state-of- the-art technology and signature Hyatt Grand beds, blending comfort and innovation. It’s a perfect hotel for any multi-tasking leisure traveler. Nicknamed the “Pink Paradise,” The Colony Hotel in Palm Beach has a rich history of housing legendary celebs like Judy Garland and Lena Horne. Its custom decorated pink and green interior and unique rooms (no two are the same) make for a delightful ambiance. It’s also right around the corner from all the gems of Palm Beach Island including Worth Avenue and the Flagler Museum.
In March, do not miss Palm Beach Pride. Presented by Compass Community Center, this event takes over Lake Worth Beach’s Bryant Park, filling it with thousands of festival goers and vendors. There’s also a Pride parade featuring celebrity guests and an array of local talent.
Each April, the Gay Polo League brings both glamour and sportsmanship to Wellington in the form of the International Gay Polo Tournament, which was named the LGBTQ Sporting Event of the Year by Connect Sports in 2017. In addition to the exciting competition, the event features some of the most colorful and festive tailgating in the world.
In West Palm Beach, the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts has three venues, which host a variety of Broadway productions, opera, concerts and more. It’s also home to a first-of-its-kind, custom-designed digital organ, which intensifies sounds to unprecedented levels. Pretty epic, huh?
Across The Palm Beaches, local green markets feature an array of unique vendors where shoppers can find fresh produce, artisan baked goods and beverages, prepared dishes, gluten and vegan-free products and more. Live musical performances may even provide the soundtrack to your shopping experience. Markets generally happen on Saturday or Sunday mornings through the early afternoon.
Cities in The Palm Beaches have started commissioning artists to paint crosswalks with the colors of both the traditional and progress Pride flags. The first street mural in West Palm Beach’s Northwood Village premiered last year, and more crosswalks have been unveiled in Delray Beach and Boynton Beach. Stop by for a photo and to explore the vibrant neighborhoods surrounding the new inclusive art pieces.
Pineapple Grove Arts District in Delray Beach is sprinkled with traditional and international restaurants, high-end boutiques and casual cafes. Pineapple Grove also features an eclectic array of salons and galleries, and is home to Arts Garage and Arts Warehouse.
Just north of downtown West Palm Beach, tour a neighborhood that was voted “Best Neighborhood” by South Florida Gay News readers in 2019 and named one of the top 10 “Instagrammable” places in Palm Beach County by Boca Magazine. Northwood Village is a hip go-to haunt for cool shopping, local dining and even more art.
Downtown Lake Worth Beach is another fun and welcoming area with amazing shops, bars and restaurants. Not to mention, it’s the home of the annual Palm Beach Pride celebration and the incredible Street Painting Festival each February.
For more than 30 years, Antique Row has been one of the most favored shopping spots in not only West Palm Beach but all South Florida. It has more than 40 different shops that offer a vast selection of 17th to 20th century antique pieces, vintage and modern home decor, and so much more. The Box Gallery, also in West Palm Beach, sells merchandise designed by gallery owner and curator Rolando Chang Barrero, who is most well-known for his “Pajaro” design. You can find dresses, buttons, coffee mugs and even baby onesies with the “Pajaro” bird on it. The Box Gallery was also voted “Best Gallery” by the readers of South Florida Gays News multiple years in a row. Mizner Park in Boca Raton is a picturesque indoor-outdoor shopping destination with a variety of big-name and smaller boutique retail stores, delicious eateries, and international and local artwork on display. You can also see a movie and have dinner at IPIC or visit the Boca Raton Museum of Art to view current exhibitions.
Atlantic Avenue in the heart of Delray Beach celebrates a more leisurely and beachy vibe featuring everything from Urban Outfitters for the hipsters to Quiet Storm Surf Shop for the beach lovers. You can also follow it straight to or from the coast, so it’s an ideal locale before or after your beach day. Don’t miss the newly opened Delray Beach Market food hall to get a bite to eat.
West Palm Beach’s Camelot pays homage to the Kennedys and their love for all things sailing and Palm Beach. This semi-private, upscale bar and lounge serves cocktails and features a booming dance floor. Camelot also has one of the best drag brunches in Florida and a drag show on Fridays.
Another iconic place is E.R. Bradley’s right on West Palm Beach waterfront. Opened over 30 years ago, this place offers live music every single night. Stop at E.R. Bradley’s for happy hour or on Saturday night and enjoy the best live music in town with awesome views.
Copper Blues is a rock ‘n’ roll inspired place for cocktail and music lovers, as well as foodies and beer enthusiasts (they have over 60 beers on tap). Located in the heart of The Square, it features a Stage Bar where local bands play top-40 and classic rock, country music and more, and a laid-back Beer Garden filled with vegetation.
Opened back in 1987 in an old Salvation Army building, Respectable Street is the longest running nightclub in the Southeast. Since its opening, this South Florida institution has hosted more than 1000 live acts including the Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Damned, and The Misfits. Check it out on Clematis Street, West Palm Beach.
Rhythm Cafe in West Palm Beach serves good food and a double dose of nostalgia in its 1950s pharmacy building. Some of the restaurant’s must-try dishes include filet mignon, jambalaya fettuccine and cashew-crusted mahi-mahi. Find the restaurant just minutes from both Antique Row and Clematis Street.
Another West Palm Beach favorite, Sassafras blends Southern charm and hospitality with an upscale menu and decor that looks like it could have been taken from your grandmother’s country kitchen. There are even pickled veggies on display. Some of the restaurant’s hearty staples include buttermilk biscuits, baby back ribs and collard greens. Housed in a historic 1924 home, Dada has been a Delray Beach institution since 2000. Inspired by the original and unique qualities of the restaurant’s namesake art movement, the cooks at Dada make playful and delicious meals, which you can enjoy on the beautiful patio under dreamy string lights. Some nights they also have live entertainment.
New York Grilled Cheese in Boca Raton serves the best blend of fine cheeses and bread with each sandwich, whether you order the Time Square Pizza Melt or the Village Vegan. This casual spot takes comfort to the next level, offering plenty of grilled cheese combinations, speedy service and consistent, high-quality fresh food.
Julie Seaver, CEO of Compass LGBTQ Community Center…
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