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OUT & ABOUT: MIAMI

By OUT & ABOUT Online 

It is South Beach, the southernmost end of the oceanfront city of Miami Beach, that is home to Miami's gay community and tourist venues. The adage "everything old is new again" certainly applies to the community of South Miami Beach. Once a glittering stretch of luxury hotels and fancy nightclubs and then a seaside ghetto for poor retirees, South Beach has undergone a renaissance of grand proportions that is still continuing. Buildings that once sat vacant and crumbling have been purchased and renovated at a dizzying rate. Although there are relatively few gay-only lodging and dining options, the whole area is so gay popular, that the "mainstream" venues are all gay friendly, and gay travelers make up a large portion, if not the majority of their business. Although service levels had been a problem, the ever-increasing number of stores, restaurants, and nightlife options mean an increase in quality as well, as businesses operate in an increasingly competitive environment. And the jet set are still flocking to the area in droves. South Beach is re-earning its reputation as the place to be in south Florida, and as one of the more vibrant seaside communities in the country. 




South Beach is an entirely different kind of gay destination from the more traditional gay resorts. Where the others are low-key with broad appeal, South Beach is high-energy and high fashion. It attracts a fast-lane crowd, including a lot of New Yorkers who commute down on winter weekends, muscle boys, circuit queens, lipstick lesbians, and everyone in the fashion business. The club scene is cutting-edge, and the beach scene looks like the Undergear catalog come to life. Although this can be intimidating to the genetically less fortunate and steroid-free, sophisticated travelers love Miami's unique combination of diverse cultures that collide and fuse together. It is, all at once, urban like New York City, laid back like the Caribbean, and trendy like Los Angeles, with a European flair thrown in for good measure. All this next to the almost-white sands and sparkling blue sea that have adorned postcards for decades. The center of all the action in South Beach is the Art Deco District. This square-mile area is made up of 800 buildings between 6th and 23rd streets and from Ocean Drive west to Lennox Avenue. Overall, the crowd is certainly mixed, but gays are everywhere, and make no effort to hide their sexual identity. 
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