By Jodi Mailander Farrell
Members of the LGBTQ community are woven into the modern history of Miami Beach and its preservation movement.
Their historic treasures and hot spots are highlighted on the Gay and Lesbian Walking Tour, which stops at key spots that mark the contributions that lesbians and gay men have made to Miami Beach over the years. The $25 tour ($20 for seniors) is available on request.
Stops include the Palace Bar on Ocean Drive (home to drag-queen shows and brunches) and the Villa Casa Casuarina (Gianni Versace’s former mansion), as well as the Breakwater Hotel, where Bruce Weber shot a photograph that was used in a famous advertisement for Calvin Kein Obsession.
Florida LGBTQ people played a major part in the resurrection of South Beach’s treasured architectural history. Leonard Horowitz, one of the co-founders of the Miami Design Preservation League, was a gay man, and many of the supporters of the preservation movement in its early days were gay or lesbian. Gary Farmer, another gay man, opened the Strand Restaurant in 1986, a "mixed crowd" restaurant that became an important part of the revitalization of Miami Beach.
It starts at the Art Deco Welcome Center, 1001 Ocean Dr., Miami Beach.
Florida has an abundance of LGBTQ-friendly destinations and LGBTQ events.