Why you should go to Miami !

Miami and its beaches offer unlimited fun in the sun, cultural activities, outdoor adventures, pulsating nightlife and - most of all - a gay-friendly welcome. Local tourism offices actively court the LGBTQ traveler.  The winter high season is packed with activities and special events, but the area is also a year around destination with lower prices and more Brazilian and Argentine visitors on "winter" vacations in the summer It has a definite international vibe and a wealth of Gay Pride celebrations.  Most LGBTQ events take place in Miami Beach, four miles across Biscayne Bay from Miami, but the South Beach beat has spread to Miami neighborhoods like Wynwood. The January 2015 legalization of same-sex marriage in Florida makes Miami a popular wedding destination.

Miami Beach in 2014 scored a perfect 100 on the Human Rights Campaign's index of best cities for gays, but back in 1977, Miami-Dade County made national headlines in the gay rights struggle after the county commission passed a pioneering ordinance banning discrimination based on sexual preference, making illegal any discrimination against gays in employment and housing. Conservative religious groups, led by Anita Bryant, a singer who was spokeswoman for the Florida Citrus Commission, demanded and won its repeal, but not before a gay activist threw a pie in Bryant's face during a press conference and a national gay boycott of orange juice with gay bars around the country replacing the orange-juice-based screwdriver with the "Anita Bryant" made from vodka and apple juice. The Florida Citrus Commission didn't renew her contract, and many celebrities rallied to the gay cause in Miami. Much of the activism for which the local gay scene is known grows out of this controversy, including Save (formerly Save Dade), organized in 1993 to bring back the gay-rights ordinance. Four years later it was finally back on the books.

Today "gay-friendly" is the rule rather than the exception in Miami-Dade. In addition to the big-name Pride events throughout the year, the LGBTQ community has many professional and social organizations including a gay and lesbian chamber of commerce, a gay men's chorus, social services organizations and special interest clubs centered around tennis, sailing and swimming.

The fabulous circuit parties, mostly in the winter season, make for great photo ops, but many of the best parties are also the biggest fund-raisers for causes like gay consciousness, AIDS and breast cancer. Miami and Miami Beach host several of the world's largest and oldest LGBTQ celebrations like White Party Week, the Winter Party, Miami Beach Gay Pride and Aqua Girl.

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Getting around

Miami-Dade, the third largest county in Florida, has an extensive bus network and a limited elevated rail system that runs along U.S. 1 on its southern leg. The most convenient way of getting around is by car though rush-hour traffic brings things to a standstill. Because of distances and summer heat, walking is avoided except around South Beach or in neighborhoods like the Design District, Coconut Grove and Wynnwood.
Citi Bike, an hourly rental program similar to those in Paris and Barcelona, has racks located at convenient intervals in Miami and Miami Beach.  Many bike shops also offer rentals. The city bus system lets you load your bike on the front of the bus. Scooters are increasingly popular on South Beach.
Miami's Metrorail is an elevated rapid transit system that connects to Metro Bus routes. The new Orange Line provides service from Miami International Airport to downtown and south along U.S. 1. The Metrorail operates from 5 a.m. to midnight, seven days a week.

You can get almost anywhere in Miami-Dade County by public bus for around $2.50 if you have time, patience and don't mind bus transfers, but the most useful routes from LGBT travelers are:

The Miami Beach Airport Flyer (Route 150) - Travels between the Airport Metrorail Station across Julia Tuttle Causeway down Collins Avenue by Lincoln Road and on south on Washington Avenue to the end of South Beach.

Route 120 (Beach MAX)- Travels mostly on Collins Avenue between Aventura Shopping Mall and downtown Miami with stops servicing Haulover Beach, Bal Harbour, Lincoln Road and Washington Avenue.

Route 103 A - Travels across MacArthur Causeway between downtown Miami and Miami Beach along Washington Avenue to Lincoln Road and then north on Collins Avenue to 44th Street with a swing by Mount Sinai Medical Center.

The South Beach Local for 25 cents swings around SoBe on Alton Road and Washington Avenue as far as 20th Street and by the Standard Hotel pool on Belle Island.

Ground transportation from Miami International Airport includes Super Shuttle and registered taxis charging a flat fee according to zone. Board only at designated shuttle and taxi stands. In the city, taxis operate on the meter and are summoned by phone rather than hailed on the street. Uber and Lyft limousine services were introduced in 2014.