South Florida has become one of the world’s premier destinations to travel to for countless visitors. The LGBTQ+ community is no exception from Palm Beach to Pinecrest. Whether waltzing down Wilton Manors or playing on South Beach, you will feel the vibe and warmth of everything from Latin soul to artists thriving in warehouses. South Florida has the famous and the infamous. Here is a small sample of what it has to offer.
When people think of South Florida music, most of them begin to think about the Latin American music community. This is an integral part but there is even more to add to this tapestry. The music can relax you or it can vivaciously vibe you to the floor. Lighting a fire isn’t just for an evening in Coconut Grove. It’s also for this regions’ music in the soul.
Nicole Henry, an acclaimed jazz singer, holds her regular concerts at the Colony Theatre in Miami Beach. This diva won a 2013 Soul Train Jazz Award for her outstanding work. Her range and pizzaz will lighten the heart and leave you wanting more again and again. Lucy Grau lights up the stages of South Florida with her lovely salsa-style voice. She also performs classics from the 1970s to now. Her popular disco album known as “Alocada” will have you swaying to the Havana breeze anywhere you listen. You can find her performing all over the region, from Miami to Fort Myers.
Wilton Manors guitarist Albert Castiglia loves to headline at the Funky Biscuit in Boca Raton. He is known as one of the best Blues musicians in the local area. His album “Masterpiece” recently won a Blues Music Award. Castiglia makes frequent appearances all around South Florida and also tours with the Blood Brothers Duo. In addition to the Castiglia Band, which includes namesake Albert, many other diverse music groups are found in the South Florida region.
The Gay Men’s Chorus of South Florida (@gmscflorida) takes the stage at holiday concerts, fundraisers, vigils, and more. Their diversity is quite representative of their entire gay community. You will always be delighted to see them perform. Dan Bassett the Artistic Director of the South Florida Wind Ensemble will always be proud of his sixty top-notch performers. His instrumental troupe also supports the South Florida Pride Youth Band, Marching Band, and Jazz Ensemble. If you enjoy instrumental and classical, be sure not to miss this lovely group.
Sonlokos (@sonlokosofficial) brings Latin meringue and salsa tropical life to the forefront at many venues in Little Havana. Performing at the Gay8 (pronounced “gay-ocho”) Festival and at the Ball& Chain, this group of gentlemen will make you move your body like Nina Sky. Their fresh instrumentals bring many together in the region. Music duo Tony & Gloria perform jazz regularly at Alibi’s Monkey Bar in Wilton Manors. This duo lights up the stage with soft fresh vocals and warmth to make your soul sweat. Be sure to catch them each Wednesday and Friday.
Drag in South Florida always has bright lights, stages, and big names. However, there are times when they perform by the beach, in a casino, in a park—many alternatives to the standard LGBTQ bar scene. Regardless of venue, the heart and passion fueling their success is their unity and spirit to support each other and their community. Though many abound, a few will be mentioned here.
Nights at Alibi in Wilton Manors are never a drag with talented queens like Nicky Monet (@nickymonet) who hosts the hotter-than-our-summer-temps Outcast Show weekly. Be sure to stop by Fridays, too, and be ready to dance the night away for Noche Sucia with Teresita La Caliente (@teresita_la_caliente) and her go-go boys. Dynamic drag queen Nicole Halliwell (@omgnicoleh) hosts the wildly popular Tin Roof Brunch drag show, which now boasts three show locations throughout Florida.
“Don’t be a dry hoe; be a greasy bitch”, states Miami drag legend Tiffany Fantasia (@tiffanyfantasia). The Palace Show Bar on Ocean Drive blends amateur and drag icons in one spectacular place. Fantasia electrifies the stage with her epic high-energy performances. Diva legend Mhi-ya LePaige (@queenofflips) will not let you forget her flowing garb and electrifying smile. Join the weekly brunch and you’ll likely see other stunning queens such as Tiara Love Dupree (@tiara_love_dupree), Fantasia Royale Gaga (@fantasiaroyalegaga), and Joanna James (@joannajjames).
Sunsets and vistas of color fill the daytime as hot tunes abound well into the night. For the nightlife, South Florida abounds in excellence like no other place in the state. Sifting through all the options can be difficult but it is usually best to venture out and simply embrace the community. From Latin Dj’s to soul to funk and hip hop, this region has some of the best disc jockeys found worldwide.
DJs Mike James, Josh Riptide, and Cesar Hernandez blast the night away at the hotspots of South Beach. They know how to provide soothing sounds to transport the soul into a world of bliss. Come sway and move to the rhythm with resident DJ Josh (@joshriptide) at the Palace Bar. You can find DJ Mike holding down the beat at the LPN Party Miami After Hours. DJ Ed Talks (@djedtalks) rocks Hunters Night Club in Wilton Manors. He blends core hits with classics into mashups that are second to none.
DJ Sushiman (@djsushiman) and DJ Aulden Brown (@auldenbrownofficial) pack the dance floors of Alibi in Wilton Manors frequently. Sushiman hosts the Sick’ning Beats parties on Saturday nights and Aulden Brown brings you dance floor bliss on Sweatboxx Fridays.
South Florida isn’t short on laughs either. With a resilient spirit to hurricanes, this region often thrives with the simplicity of belly-rolling laughter. Be sure to explore all the area has to offer from theaters to restaurants and small lounges as well as big clubs. Here you will be able to take in humor ranging from the Latin quarters of SOBE and Little Havana to the gayest town on earth Wilton Manors.
Ronnie Larsen produces some scantily-clad and skillful-acted theater at The Foundry in Wilton Manors. Larsen brings in the best acts from around the area and uses the theater stage to create risqué laughs. He covers topics from pornography to Grindr to coming out. Be sure to check out one of his shows.
The hilarious Brian Coronado (@nadocomedy) takes his act all over the country, but you can also find him locally at places like Dog House Theater and Don’t Tell Comedy. Dominique Gelin has been a finalist for the Ultimate Miami Comedian and was part of the Boca Raton Comedy Festival. Though she lives in California, she frequently returns to her home base of South Florida to headline numerous events.
Not to be missed on your South Florida comedy tour is Yas!(@yasatvillian), Miami’s only all-LGBTQ comedy show. From hilarious anecdotes about Miami’s colorful nightlife to witty observations about the city’s love affair with cafecito, Yas! Performance Collective’s comedic stylings resonate deeply with the local crowd. But new travelers to Miami never fear, this talented group of comedians has a knack for delivering side-splitting jokes, improvisation, and unique sketch comedy that appeals to a wide audience. They are also known for their annual comedy festival “No Fear, We’re Queer” at the Villian Theater.
Whether you’re a cabaret enthusiast or a newcomer to this art form, seeing a burlesque show in South Florida is a thrilling experience that promises to leave you captivated and inspired. This region’s burlesque scene appeals to a wide variety of tastes, from pop-up shows at trendy bars to special events on the big stage. The variety is unsurpassed from Jupiter to Coconut Grove!
Zena Tarantino (@jezebellered) will dance her way into your heart with her creative makeup and costumes. Find her commanding the stage at Bubble Room in Pompano Beach and other local hot spots. In for a vintage adventure? Follow an unassuming staircase in Ft. Lauderdale down to Unit B Speakeasy for their amazing monthly burlesque show featuring lovely performers like Zena and the delightful Freckles Galore (@frecklesgalore_). With timeless cocktails and an opulent but comfortable environment, Unit B has quickly become a local favorite. But they keep the crowds at bay by requiring a password to enter. PRO TIP: check their website for the daily code.
The popular Kill Your Idol bar (@kyimiami) in Miami is a casually hip venue for reasonably-priced drinks and unreasonably incredible live shows. They offer the aptly named Ooh La La Burlesque show every first Saturday of the month. Jaw-dropping performers include Roxie Stones (@roxie_stones_) and Sofia Luna (@sofialunamiami). You can also find Sofia dazzling Burlesque Brunch audiences at The Wilder restaurant and bar every Sunday, along with a stellar lineup of other local performers.
South Florida Rhythm
This is the rhythm of South Florida nights. They are like no other. They are vicious and unrelenting but unprecedented on the scale of irresistibility. Take your flight in Wilton Manors or shimmy down Ocean Drive. Party in Palm Beach or salsa in Little Havana. No matter what you do—appreciate this plethora of options.
Don’t forget to check out our Event Calendar for updated events happening in your area.
Written by Johnathan Soots
Hailing from North Carolina, Jonathan Soots relocated to Orlando in 2001. He began a seven year career with Universal Orlando. After completing high school, he attended college in Tennessee. He worked in the church world and then came out in 2010. Around this time, he completed a Masters in Teaching. Jonathan presently teaches for Tutor Doctor, Challenge Island and Qkids English Learning. Travel is his favorite activity, and he has worked briefly for an LGBT travel company. In addition to enjoying Atlantis gay cruises, he and his husband Stephen enjoy spending time with their silky terrier Dusty. They live in the South Pasadena area of St. Petersburg.
**Disclaimer: There is a good chance that this post contains affiliate or sponsor links. If you make a purchase through them, we may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you (for which we are extremely grateful).
Also, while we do our best to highlight LGBTQ-friendly destinations and businesses, info provided is based solely on personal experience and recommendations by community partners. We hope that nobody experiences discrimination or homophobia while visiting Florida, but we make no guarantees. Please inform us if you experience discrimination or homophobia while visiting any destination so we can make updates to our recommendations.