LGBTQ+ Must-See List to The Palm Beaches

June 8, 2021

Check out the ultimate guide to LGBTQ+-friendly accommodations, local events, nightlife and entertainment geared towards 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 continue their 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.

Where to Stay

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.

Spruzzo at The Ben hotel
The rooftop of The Ben; photo by Shannon Smagala

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.

Pool at The Colony Hotel
Photo courtesy of The Colony Hotel

When to Go

In February, Lantana bar Penny’s at the Duke hosts the annual Gay Chili Cook Off, where local businesses and organizations vie for the title of best chili as voted by the event’s attendees. In addition to the good eats, there’s always a drag queen host, along with other performers. Funds raised benefit the Compass Community Center.

Penny's at the Duke sign
Photo courtesy of Compass Community Center

Also presented by Compass and returning in March 2022 (after the pared-down Palm Beach Pride Market in June 2021), Palm Beach Pride 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.

Crowd photo at Palm Beach Pride
Photo courtesy of Compass Community Center

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.

Tailgating at Gay Polo, Wellington
Tailgating at Gay Polo; photo by Scott Fisher

What to See & Do

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?

Palm Beach Opera at the Kravis Center
Palm Beach Opera at the Kravis Center

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.

West Palm Beach GreenMarket
West Palm Beach GreenMarket

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 (or will soon be) unveiled in Delray Beach and Boynton Beach. Stop by for a photo and to explore the vibrant neighborhoods surrounding the new inclusive art pieces.

Rendering of the Pride crosswalk in Boynton Beach
Rendering of the Pride crosswalk in Boynton Beach; image courtesy of The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council (PBCHRC)

Where to Explore

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. Make sure you stop by the gigantic pineapple mural for a photo op.

Pineapple Grove Arts District, Delray Beach
Archway at the entrance to the Pineapple Grove Arts District

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.

Northwood Village, West Palm Beach
Strolling past mural art in Northwood Village; photo courtesy of West Palm Beach Community Redevelopment Agency

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.

Downtown Lake Worth Street Painting Festival
Aerial view of Lake Worth Beach's Street Painting Festival

Where to Shop

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.

Mizner Park in Boca Raton
Scenic landscaping at Mizner Park

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.

Atlantic Avenue, Delray Beach
A gorgeous evening on Atlantic Avenue

Where to Hangout

In 2021, H.G. Roosters in West Palm Beach became the only gay bar in Florida to earn a historical designation. Roosters has been a safe and cool place to party for more than 30 years. On many nights, you can catch a performance from drag royalty Melissa St. John or a sick lip sync battle.
 
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.
 
Death or Glory is a woman-owned and dog-friendly bar located just off Atlantic Avenue in Delray Beach. Guests can kick back on the covered outside patio while sipping on a magnificent rum cocktail from what is hailed as the largest rum collection in The Palm Beaches. Make sure you try the truffle fries.

Where to Dine

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.

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Deon Jefferson bio photo
Deon Jefferson
Deon is a creative artist, journalist, singer and designer. His efforts granted him the opportunity to be a featured employee on the Emmy-winning reality TV show “Undercover Boss” for Alfred Angelo Bridal. In 2020, Deon designed the entire bridesmaid collection for Gather & Gown. He has written for publications such as South Florida Gay News and the Westside Gazette. He also recently directed and curated his first-ever fashion art ball.