LGBTQ+ Travel Guide to The Palm Beaches: Discover Diversity

LGBTQ+ Palm Beaches

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Situated along Florida’s southeastern coast, The Palm Beaches, known as America’s First Resort Destination, encompass 39 diverse towns and cities, from Boca Raton and Delray Beach to Palm Beach, Jupiter, and the artsy Lake Worth Beach. More than just a tranquil coastal region, The Palm Beaches are a mosaic of cultures and lifestyles, and home to an expansive LGBTQ+ community.

Worth Avenue Clock Tower. Photo by Rachel Covello

Here, you won’t just find miles of sun-drenched beaches, magnificent mansions, and meticulously maintained golf courses, but also a rich tapestry of LGBTQ+ history and ongoing advocacy for inclusion and diversity. The area’s commitment to welcoming everyone is evident in its variety of events, establishments, and LGBTQ+ community center.

Whether you’re exploring scenic waterfront promenades, uncovering the natural beauty of local parks and nature reserves, or delving into the wealth of cultural treasures and landmarks scattered throughout, The Palm Beaches offer a genuine reflection of Florida’s multifaceted charm.

How To Get There: Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Getting to The Palm Beaches is straightforward (or as we like to call it, “gayly forward”) with a variety of transportation options available. 

Brightline Bikes lined up near the Brightline Station in W Palm Beach. Photo by Rachel Covello

Planes: Visitors can fly into Palm Beach International Airport, which is centrally located and offers numerous flight options. 

Trains: The Brightline train service provides a convenient and efficient connection from nearby cities like Miami and Fort Lauderdale, along with Orlando. 

Automobiles and More: For those who prefer the road, the region is well-connected by highways, making it easily accessible by car or bus. Once in The Palm Beaches, a range of local transit services, rideshare options, bike rentals, and walking paths are available to help you explore the area and get from one attraction to the next.

How LGBTQ+ Welcoming Is The Region?

The Palm Beaches have made strides in recent years to become more inclusive and LGBTQ+ friendly, offering a warm and welcoming environment for people of all sexual orientations, gay and straight alike.

You can find LGBTQ+ friendly bars, clubs, and businesses throughout The Palm Beaches, especially in areas like West Palm Beach and Lake Worth Beach. These establishments often host events and provide spaces where the LGBTQ+ community can gather, socialize, and celebrate together. Additionally, the region has started to embrace LGBTQ+ pride events such as pride parades and festivals, which have gained momentum over the years.

Compass LGBTQ+ Community Center in Lake Worth. Photo by Rachel Covello

Compass LGBTQ+ Community Center

The Compass Community Center in Lake Worth Beach is a vital support center for the local LGBTQ+ community. It’s a welcoming place where LGBTQ+ individuals can find the support and resources they need without fear of judgment. Compass offers support groups, educational programs, and events that provide a sense of belonging and connection. It’s a place of acceptance and understanding, open to everyone in the LGBTQ+ community.

Pride Events In The Palm Beaches

In The Palm Beaches, a series of Pride events celebrate the LGBTQ+ community, each bringing its unique flavor of joy, inclusivity, and unity to different locations.

Palm Beach Pride – Located in Lake Worth Beach, this is the county’s largest cultural event, held over two days in Bryant Park. It’s a family and pet-friendly festival presented by Compass LGBTQ+ Community Center, showcasing local talent, music, food, drinks, and a diverse range of vendors, emphasizing inclusivity and diversity in The Palm Beaches.

Pride on the Block – This annual fundraiser and block party in West Palm Beach supports the LGBTQ+ nonprofit, TRANSPIRE HELP. The event, drawing crowds from across South Florida, offers live performances, LGBTQ+ discussions, various vendor offerings, and features an auction and raffle for additional support, highlighting a spirit of love and inclusion

Delray Beach Pride Fest & Concert – Hosted by Delray Beach Parks & Recreation in Pineapple Grove, this free event features a pet costume contest, an array of vendors, food trucks, and live entertainment, adding another layer to the diverse array of Pride celebrations in the region.

These events collectively illustrate the diverse LGBTQ+ culture within The Palm Beaches, making it a welcoming and inclusive destination for all.

Rainbow Crosswalks In The Palm Beaches

In The Palm Beaches, various localities proudly display rainbow crosswalks, symbolizing unity, inclusivity, and the recognition of the diverse LGBTQ+ community.

Pride Streetscape in Delray Beach – This installation incorporates the colors of both the classic and Progress Pride flags, acknowledging people of color, trans, and non-binary individuals, and stands as a testament to the city’s commitment to solidarity, inclusion, and visibility for all.

Pride Streetscape in Delray Beach. Photo by Rachel Covello

Northwood Village Rainbow Crosswalks in West Palm Beach – Marking the county’s inaugural pride rainbow crosswalk at the intersection of Northwood Road and Spruce Avenue, this crosswalk symbolizes the historic embrace and acknowledgment of diversity.

Boynton Beach Pride Intersection at East Ocean Avenue and Southeast First Street – Adorned with the colors of the pride flag and maintained with thermal paint for longevity, this crosswalk in Boynton Beach is a permanent declaration of the city’s embrace of diversity.

Each of these colorful installations in The Palm Beaches serves as a daily reminder of the region’s dedication to the LGBTQ+ community, creating a welcoming environment throughout.

History Of The Palm Beaches

The Palm Beaches region has a diverse history, starting with the Native American tribes that inhabited the lands, utilizing the area’s natural resources. European settlers arrived in the late 19th century, attracted by the climate and coastline, and West Palm Beach was incorporated in 1894, initiating its modern development.

With the construction of the Florida East Coast Railway and the influence of individuals like Henry Flagler, the area transformed into a destination for vacationers and retirees. Today, The Palm Beaches merge history with contemporary amenities, maintaining the region’s natural beauty and historical landmarks while offering a welcoming environment for visitors.

LGBTQ+ Friendly Hotels & Resorts In The Palm Beaches

In The Palm Beaches region, you’ll find accommodations that go the extra mile to be inclusive, offering a warm welcome to travelers of all backgrounds and needs, making your stay comfortable and memorable. From accessible rooms to LGBTQ+ friendly establishments, there’s a wide variety of options from which to choose.

The Ambassador Palm Beach – Situated on the most pristine beach of Palm Beach Island, The Ambassador is the island’s sole Oceanfront Hotel & Residence. The hotel welcomes guests with well-appointed apartment suites, a refreshing pool, direct beach access, fitness center, and a variety of complimentary services including daily continental breakfast and high-speed WiFi. Guest rooms vary from suites to two bedroom apartments, some with direct ocean beach access and others with views of the inter-coastal.

Hilton West Palm Beach – Found at the heart of Downtown West Palm Beach, the Hilton West Palm Beach is an esteemed AAA 4-Diamond hotel known for its contemporary design and tropical pool deck. Recently renovated with upscale guest room decor and amenities, guests enjoy resort living with the comforts of a suburban city. The Hilton West Palm Beach is conveniently located near Palm Beach International Airport and The Square, offering easy access to shopping and dining. It is also home to some of the largest event spaces in the region.

Moke vehicles available for quick transportation at the Hilton West Palm Beach. Photo by Rachel Covello

Grandview Gardens B&B – Centrally located in the Grandview Heights Historic Neighborhood of West Palm Beach, the gay-owned Grandview Gardens Bed & Breakfast is a short walk from The Square, offering guests easy access to a variety of entertainment options. Its location is also convenient to several notable institutions and the charming resort island of Palm Beach.

The Ben, Autograph Collection – Located in West Palm Beach, The Ben, Autograph Collection offers guests stunning views of Palm Harbor Marina and the Intracoastal Waterway, along with thoughtful amenities including a rooftop lounge, swimming pool, stylish bar, curated library, and well-equipped fitness center. The guest rooms and suites are equipped with modern comforts for a relaxing stay.

Palate Pleasing Restaurants In The Palm Beaches

In The Palm Beaches, diners can explore a range of culinary options to suit varied tastes. The region features seafood, international dishes, and American classics, with many restaurants using locally sourced ingredients. Tropical drinks are available to complement the coastal setting, and dining options include both casual cafes and more formal establishments.

Note: There are an endless number of restaurants in The Palm Beaches that could be included on this list but I chose to showcase those I visited during my recent stay.

Dada – Located just off the bustling Ave in downtown Delray Beach, this LGBTQ-owned restaurant is a beloved gem of a restaurant that combines culinary artistry with a creative ambiance. Housed in a historic home, Dada is known for its eclectic decor and charming outdoor courtyard. With a menu that features a wide range of dishes, and an unforgettable atmosphere, Dada offers a memorable dining experience that captures the essence of Delray Beach’s vibrant food scene. We suggest the short rib, butternut squash ravioli, and the crispy cauliflower. And don’t forget to check out the mojito menu!

Buttery Old Fashioned at Dada. Photo by Rachel Covello

Celis Juice Bar  – At Celis, the mission revolves around simplifying the journey to healthier choices for families in West Palm Beach. Offering a delightful range of juices, smoothies, acai bowls, and excellent breakfast and lunch selections, embracing a healthier lifestyle has never been easier. We suggest the Turkey Sammy and El Tropical smoothie. Yum!

The Turkey Sammy and El Tropical Fruit Smoothie at Celis. Photo by Rachel Covello

Ambassador Grill – Located on the 8,000-square-foot pool deck of The Ambassador Palm Beach Hotel & Residences, this hotel restaurant’s simple decor is elevated by its food offerings. The chef and staff goes above and beyond to cater to its patrons. Offering indoor dining or outdoor seating poolside, The Ambassador Grill is the perfect spot to enjoy a delicious meal or drink. We suggest anything with lobster! 

Twin Lobster Tails at The Ambassador Grille. Photo by Rachel Covello

City Cellar Wine Bar & Grill – Located in The Square, this popular dining spot is known for its American menu and exceptional service. They offer daily specials using fresh, local ingredients and feature an impressive wine cellar with over 600 bottles and 60 wines by the glass. Contemporary twists on classic dishes along with house-cured meats, cheese boards, artisanal breads, and desserts are prepared daily in their scratch kitchen. Our suggestion? Try the special of the day, especially if it includes snapper. The Brussel sprouts are also divine.

Snapper Risotto Special at Cellar Wine Bar & Grill. Photo by Rachel Covello

The Funky Biscuit – Since its opening in July 2011, The Funky Biscuit has been a cherished food and music venue founded and run by musicians. It hosts a range of national, regional, and local acts, all accompanied by a delicious southern-style menu. Known for its exceptional sound quality, this cozy spot provides an intimate setting for music lovers to enjoy genres like NOLA Funk, Delta Blues, Fusion Jazz, and soulful Rock n Roll on any given night.

The Blind Monk – Enjoy a cozy and inviting wine bar located in downtown West Palm Beach. With its extensive selection of fine wines and craft beers, The Blind Monk is the perfect spot to unwind and enjoy a relaxing evening with friends or loved ones. The casual atmosphere, coupled with a knowledgeable staff, makes it an ideal place to explore new wines and savor delicious bites in a laid-back setting.

Kapow! Noodle Bar – Situated in West Palm Beach, Kapow! Noodle Bar combines innovative cuisine with craft beers and distinct cocktails, offering a relaxed atmosphere for a casual night with friends.

What to Do & See In The Palm Beaches

The Palm Beaches, a picturesque stretch along Florida’s coastline, beckon visitors and locals alike with a wealth of activities and sights to explore. From the tranquil beaches and lush nature reserves to the lively arts scene and historical landmarks, there’s no shortage of ways to immerse oneself in the culture and natural beauty of the area. Whether you’re an adventure seeker, a history buff, or someone in search of relaxation, The Palm Beaches offer an array of opportunities to create unforgettable experiences.

Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens – Reopening on October 11, 2023, after preservation work, this oasis in West Palm Beach spans over two acres and showcases stunning sculptures by artist Ann Weaver Norton, providing a contemplative experience amidst mature greenery and peaceful surroundings.

Mounts Botanical Gardens – As Palm Beach County’s oldest and largest botanical garden, Mounts hosts 25 distinct garden areas, featuring over 5,000 species of plants, and has been inspiring and educating through nature for over 40 years.

Lion Country Safari – Located in Loxahatchee, this drive-through safari park offers a unique wildlife experience, allowing close encounters with a variety of animals, making it a fantastic adventure for families and animal enthusiasts.

Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens – This serene escape in Delray Beach offers meticulously crafted Japanese gardens and exhibitions on Japanese art, history, and traditions, providing an enriching and peaceful experience.

Flagler Museum – Also known as Whitehall, this historical gem in Palm Beach offers a glimpse into the opulence of the Gilded Age and the enduring legacy of Henry Flagler, an influential figure in Florida’s history.

Flagler Museum Entrance. Photo by Rachel Covello

Pineapple Grove Arts District – This cultural hub in Delray Beach showcases a variety of art galleries, boutiques, and studios, offering a comfortable atmosphere and a unique display of local artistic talent.

Palm Beach Opera – Enriching South Florida with live opera for over six decades, the Palm Beach Opera offers world-class performances and cultural programs, featuring internationally acclaimed artists.

Boca Black Box Center for the Arts – Located in Boca Raton, this venue is known for its live performances, including comedy shows, concerts, and theatrical productions, providing a rich variety of arts entertainment.

Norton Museum of Art – Boasting an international reputation, the museum features an extensive collection of over 7,000 works of art, including European Impressionists, Modern Masters, Chinese artifacts, and contemporary art.

Kravis Center for the Performing Arts – This cultural beacon in West Palm Beach hosts an array of events, from Broadway shows and classical concerts to dance performances, inspiring audiences to embrace the magic of live performances.

Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse & Museum – Offering breathtaking views and outdoor exhibits, this iconic lighthouse and museum provide insights into regional history and is part of the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse Outstanding Natural Area.

Worth Avenue Historic Walking Tours – Conducted every Wednesday, these 75-minute tours offer a deep dive into the origins and character of Worth Avenue, exploring unique architecture and sharing fascinating stories about its famous residents.

Worth Avenue. Photo by Rachel Covello

Silverball Pinball Museum – Located in Delray Beach, the Silverball Pinball Museum showcases the evolution of pinball through a wide array of machines from the 1930s to today. Visitors are invited to play on these historic machines, offering a hands-on look at gaming history. The museum also features a variety of classic arcade games, making it a worthwhile visit for anyone interested in the development of pinball and arcade culture.

West Palm Beach Food Tours – Savor the city’s flavors and explore its culinary scene. Choose from four different guided tours taking you to a range of eateries and local favorites, allowing you to sample an array of delectable dishes. With expert guides leading the way, you’ll not only enjoy delicious bites but also gain insights into the area’s rich food culture.

Where to Shop & Stroll In The Palm Beaches

Looking for a shopping spree in The Palm Beaches? You’re in for a treat! This area boasts a variety of shopping destinations, each with its unique charm and offerings. Here’s a listicle to guide you through some of the top spots.

Atlantic Avenue – Known as the heart of Delray Beach, Atlantic Avenue offers a wonderful blend of shopping, dining, and nightlife near the waterfront. This pedestrian-friendly street invites you to discover charming antique shops, fashionable clothing boutiques, and numerous art galleries. 

Lake Avenue – Lake Avenue in Downtown Lake Worth Beach features a variety of quirky and casual boutiques, galleries, and shops. From plants to gifts from Paris to imported jewelry and wooden giraffes, you can hunt down fabulously fun finds on Lake Ave. The shopping with Downtown Lake Worth reflects the diverse character of the community.

LGBTQ+ welcoming plant store on Lake Avenue in Lake Worth. Photo by Rachel Covello

The Royal Poinciana Plaza – Welcome to a shopper’s paradise! The Royal Poinciana Plaza offers an eclectic mix of shops, eateries, and entertainment options. Whether you’re on the hunt for high-end fashion, unique boutiques, or a quick bite to eat, this place has something for everyone.

Royal Poinciana Plaza in The Palm Beaches. Photo by Rachel Covello

Antique Row Art & Design District – For antique lovers, the Antique Row Art & Design District is a treasure trove. With over 40 shops offering a diverse collection of antiques, fine arts, and decorative accessories, it’s a delightful destination for collectors and enthusiasts alike.

The Square – Situated in the heart of West Palm Beach, The Square is a bustling center that brings together a diverse range of shops, dining options, and entertainment venues. With its convenient location and vibrant atmosphere, it’s a must-visit for anyone looking to explore the local shopping scene.

The Square in W Palm Beach. Photo by Rachel Covello

Clematis Street – Clematis Street in Downtown West Palm Beach is a vibrant area filled with shops, restaurants, and nightlife. Here, you can explore a variety of stores, enjoy the lively atmosphere, and maybe even catch a street performance or two.

Northwood Village – For those seeking a more bohemian vibe, Northwood Village, a community within West Palm Beach, is the place to be. This artistic neighborhood is home to an array of galleries, antique stores, and eclectic boutiques, making it a great spot for finding one-of-a-kind items and soaking in the local culture.

Northwood Village. Photo by Rachel Covello

Worth Avenue – Famed for its luxury shopping, Worth Avenue is a palm-lined street that’s home to some of the world’s most renowned designer boutiques and upscale shops. A stroll down this elegant avenue is sure to be a delightful experience for any shopping enthusiast.

Tanger Outlets – If you’re looking for deals, head to the Tanger Outlets in The Palm Beaches. With a wide range of popular brands and discounted prices, it’s a great spot for those looking to snag a bargain while enjoying a day of shopping.

LGBTQ+ Bars, Clubs and Nightlife In The Palm Beaches

The Palm Beaches come alive after dark with a nightlife scene that caters to various tastes and preferences. From LGBTQ-friendly bars with live music to upscale lounges and late-night dining options, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you’re looking for a quiet evening by the waterfront or a night of dancing and entertainment, The Palm Beaches offer quite an array of nighttime experiences.

HG Rooster’s – A cornerstone in West Palm Beach, HG Rooster’s is renowned for its amicable ambiance and varied entertainment. A haven for drag shows, karaoke, and dance, it’s been a welcoming venue for years. HG Rooster’s is currently under renovations. Check their website for updates.

Throw Social Delray Beach – Throw Social in Delray Beach is a diverse entertainment hub offering a variety of activities and experiences. Guests can enjoy live music from top South Florida bands and DJs, engage in competitive games like TapGlo Ping Pong and light-up Shuffleboard, or relax in furnished cabanas on a patio with retractable roof. The venue features craft cocktails, shareable fishbowl drinks, automatic scoring darts, board games, and safe axe throwing, ensuring a memorable experience with numerous photo-worthy spots.

The Mad Hatter Lounge – For a cozy and laid-back vibe, The Mad Hatter Lounge in Lake Worth Beach is the go-to spot. Hosting regular live music events, it’s a warm venue for everyone.

Respectable Street – A longstanding alternative dance club in West Palm Beach, Respectable Street is famed for hosting diverse music events, drawing eclectic crowds seeking a unique experience.

Discover The Palm Beaches

The Palm Beaches and the communities within the region offer inviting beaches, a rich LGBTQ+ history, and a thriving arts scene with inclusive spaces to both relax and socialize while enjoying natural beauty. Whether you’re strolling along the waterfront, exploring museums, or engaging in outdoor activities, this popular destination provides experiences to suit every traveler’s taste. Don’t miss the opportunity to create lasting memories in a place that extends a warm embrace to the LGBTQ+ community.

**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 and beyond, 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.

Events are subject to change. Please check the events webpage for updates and schedules.

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july, 2024

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