Stay Gay and Play in Greater Fort Lauderdale
GREATER FORT LAUDERDALE, FL - The secret is out of the closet: the Gay-borhood is getting a facelift and a shot of BOTOX too. Major renovations are taking place at gay-owned and gay-friendly guesthouses in Greater Fort Lauderdale, most recently named the fourth most gay-friendly city in the USA by Advocate Magazine and consistently ranking as Florida’s number one GLBT destination by Community Marketing, a group which focuses on the GLBT market.
Those who live the "go big or go home" motto should check out Fort Lauderdale’s Grand Resort and Spa and its recent penthouse make-over with new flat screen televisions, and inviting new pool deck with sleek and sexy lounge seating. This gay-owned and operated men’s resort is steps from the beach.
If discretion and seduction is on the agenda, try the Worthington Guest House and the Alcazar Resort which celebrated their 12th anniversary by beautifying their garden walkways, perfect for a romantic moonlit stroll. The Fort Lauderdale properties are just two short blocks from the sands and a five-minute walk to the gay beach at Sebastian Street. Honeymooners should visit the destination’s Honeymoon With Pride microsite, www.sunny.org/honeymoonwithpride, which features deals and packages from local hotels.
An estimated one million GLBT travelers visited Greater Fort Lauderdale and spent $1.2 billion last year. Among the resort town’s strongest appeals to discerning GLBT travelers - aside from inspiring Blue Wave Beaches, more than 300 miles of inland waterways and fun water sports - is the incomparable shopping; cultural events ranging from ballet to Broadway shows and a full calendar of GLBT events.
Add to those reasons, the more than 150 gay-owned establishments, five gay and lesbian publications, a large GLBT resident population and the largest Metropolitan Community Church congregation in the U.S., Fort Lauderdale also was recently ranked in TripAdvisor’s 2012 Travelers’ Choice Top 10 Beach Destinations in the U.S.
Mark Your Calendar
Throughout the year, Greater Fort Lauderdale plays host to events that celebrate the GLBT lifestyle. Visitors can partake in the fanfare of the Stonewall Street Festival and Parade in Wilton Manors, known for its vibrant gay nightlife, taking place on June 9 and 10. Wilton Manors is also the place to be on Halloween for its annual "OUTrageous" Manors Masquerade. The events never seem to end at the Gay and Lesbian Community Center (GLCC) / Pride Center in Wilton Manors, with such fun as receptions, art exhibitions, bingo and even Show Tune Karaoke keeping it lively. Cheer on the cowboys at the Florida Gay Rodeo Association’s Sunshine Stampede Rodeo, which takes place each April in Davie and is one of the largest gay rodeos in the U.S.
Year-round, travelers can use a smartphone to load the Mild to Wild mobile site www.sunny.org/mildtowild, which randomly generates four fabulous ways to have a mild, medium, or wild day and night out - from kayaking along the waterways, to live music or enjoying the natural wonders of exotic Everglades, flamingos and butterflies. Visitors can cruise and play with a pre- or post-cruise stay when sailing out of Port Everglades to keep their vacation going a little longer.
Greater Fort Lauderdale is a shopaholic’s dream with an overload of offerings. Designer discount outlet mecca Sawgrass Mills, leather shops, funky vintage stores and sophisticated boutiques are sure to put credit cards to good use. From Florida’s only Prada Outlet at the Colonnade Outlets at Sawgrass Mills to boutiques such as Gay Mart and Bottoms and Tops, there are lots of retail therapy options.
With an abundance of eateries, gourmet fare and trendy restaurants with cuisine from around the world, visitors can see and be seen while dining al fresco on "style mile" Las Olas Boulevard or indulge at some of South Florida’s hotspots with celebrity chef concepts like Hi-Life Café with Chef Carlos of "Top Chef" or Stephen Starr’s Steak 954 at the W Fort Lauderdale. Wilton Manors is a dining delight plus a nightlife frenzy offering such must-visit favorites as The Manor entertainment complex with four different entertainment venues including a new Taps & Tapas eatery to indoor and outdoor partying at the popular Georgie’s Alibi, to the casual and sporty Sidelines, all located on the mainstream of the "gayborhood."
From the sawgrass to the seagrass, Greater Fort Lauderdale boasts more than 34,000 lodging accommodations at a variety of hotels, luxury spa resorts, and Superior Small Lodgings reflecting a "beach chic" vibe. Visitors enjoy 23 miles of Blue Wave certified beaches, discover 300+ miles of inland waterways that run from the Intracoastal Waterway to the Everglades, dine at thousands of restaurants and eateries, get immersed in a thriving arts and culture scene and indulge in top shopping.
For more information about GLBT Greater Fort Lauderdale, visit www.sunny.org/glbt.
For more info, contact the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau at (800) 22-SUNNY or visit www.sunny.org.
The Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau can also be followed on Twitter atwww.twitter.com/visitlauderdale.
To have Greater Fort Lauderdale in the palm of your hand, download the free iPhone applications, iVisitLauderdale and Defrost Your Swimsuit at www.sunny.org/apps.
This article is part of our "Summer 2012" series. Want to read more?
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