The Gay and Lesbian scene on Fort Lauderdale Beach began the day that Connie Francis first sang, “Where the Boys Are”. Of course, The Boys were flocking to Fort Lauderdale Beach before the 1960 movie made it fashionable, and famous. The Gay guesthouse scene gained momentum in the mid 1980’s and today the Gay guesthouses outnumber their straight counterparts.
Fort Lauderdale Beach is home of the Florida AIDS Walk and Music Festival, and two LGBT beaches, the most popular is the Sebastian Street Gay Beach and the other, smaller beach, is at 18th Street.
Just a few blocks over the Intracoastal waterway is the Gateway neighborhood with shops, restaurants and the Gateway Cinema, an art theater showing first run Hollywood blockbusters alongside art, international and films of LGBT interest. A little further away is the Wilton Manors with an abundance of LGBT bars, mega-clubs, restaurants and several annual street festivals including Stonewall Summer Pride and Wicked Wilton.
Wilton Manors (affectionately known as WilMa) is a city within the larger city of Fort Lauderdale. Wilton Manors, #WilMa, it is one of America’s largest year-round populations of Gay and Lesbian residents. Wilton Manors was the second city in the country (after West Hollywood, California) to elect a Gay-majority city council.
In the past decade downtown Wilton Manors has been revived with new Town Homes and Condos and new Residential Rental Apartments. The main drive Wilton Manors Drive is nearly one mile long corridor of Gay and Lesbian owned, shops, restaurants, bars and nightclubs. The main street, is closed several times a year for Street Fair LGBT events like the Stonewall Pride Wilton Manors in June and Wicked Manors, a Halloween event that attracts tens of thousands of costumed revelers from all over the world.
Broward County is home to over thousand of restaurants and over one hundred nightclubs (1/3 of them are Gay or Lesbian oriented). Several of the nightclubs are located in downtown Fort Lauderdale’s Arts & Entertainment district, but most LGBT establishments are located in Wilton Manors, the “Gayborhood of South Florida.”
Contact Tom Wolf, for more information on relocating to Ft Lauderdale or Wilton Manors.
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