Fort Lauderdale: Florida’s LGBTQ Capital

A progressive and diverse culture has earned Fort Lauderdale one of the top 100 places to live in America. An inclusive and safe destination, it’s a welcoming place to live and work. Known for its beaches and boating canals, there’s everything from upscale restaurants and boutiques to luxury hotels and housing.

How Did The City Come to Be?

Originally settled for two thousand years by the Tequesta Indians, Spain changed all of that in the 16th century.  Before the 20th century, the Fort Lauderdale area was known as the "New River Settlement.” In the 1830s, there was only 70 people settled in the city.

Until 1961, the beaches were segregated, so a lot about the area has changed. Today, Fort Lauderdale is a major yachting town and one of the nation’s largest tourist destinations.

Stats on Fort Lauderdale

  • The city is 36 square miles.
  • There is a huge LGBTQ marketing spend here.
  • It has a relatively small population (only 170k).
  • It’s 28 miles from Miami.
  • Fort Lauderdale receives over 3,000 hours of sunshine a year.

Here are some more fun facts about Fort Lauderdale.

The Fort Lauderdale Community

 Gay & Lesbian Community Center Of Greater Fort Lauderdale/Pride Center at Equality Park

The pride center provides an inclusive and safe space that empowers, celebrates, and nurtures the LGBTQ community in Fort Lauderdale. They work to increase the scale of philanthropic resources for all.

Greater Fort Lauderdale LGBT Chamber of Commerce

The GFLGLCC helps to promote economic and business opportunities for LGBTQ and LGBTQ-friendly businesses. They work to advocate for all member businesses that promote equality.

The Best Weather

Fort Lauderdale has a trade-wind and tropical rainforest climate. Although there is no true dry season in the city, much of the rainfall comes between May and October. Winters can be slightly dry and sunny, and at times, drought can be a concern.,

From May to October is the wet season where the weather is typically hot and humid. I mean, it’s Florida. The best weather is often warm, dry, and sunny.

LGBTQ Events in the City

Fort Lauderdale Pride – April

Just like Pride in any city, Fort Lauderdale Pride is an annual event held on the last Sunday in February. Here are a few things to look forward to:

  • Stage shows
  • Local and national exhibitors
  • DJs
  • New gay village
  • World-class beach parties

Stonewall Pride Wilton Manors Street Festival – June

Held every year in June, this is a community-wide event that brings in a diverse crowd of up to 30,000 people. It features a parade, festival marketplace, several stages, and performers.

The Best Neighborhoods

Fort Lauderdale boasts many LGBTQ enclaves within the city limits. North Beach is the most popular.

Median home prices in Fort Lauderdale are $340,000 and the average price per square foot is $256. The area has 1775 homes for sale.

The average cost based on home size is:

  • 1 bedroom - $219,268
  • 2 bedrooms - $347,026
  • 3 bedrooms - $504,382
  • 4 bedrooms - $930,154

North Beach

This area is undergoing a tremendous transformation. It’s located just south of Sunrise Blvd. and north of Las Olas Blvd. There is a large amount of mid-century modern architecture, many of which is being updated. However, this is still the gayest neighborhood.

Just like South Beach in Miami, North Beach is on its way to becoming the gay mecca of the city. It has a beachy vibe with a lot of life.

Pompano Beach

This is an up-and-coming neighborhood that has a steady growing LGBTQ community. The area has many waterfront homes and condos. It’s close to Wilton Drive and Sebastian Beach. It’s also pretty affordable.

Sea Ranch Lakes

This is an enclave within Lauderdale by the Sea and while this tends to have an older crowd, it’s rapidly changing. This is resort-style living at affordable prices. The community has tennis courts, 3 heated pools, and 3 patio bars.

Sea Ranch Lakes also has its own shopping plaza and more amenities than other neighborhoods. It’s super close to downtown.

Lauderdale Lakes

This neighborhood offers a series of gated condo communities including some that are lakefront. It’s less than 10 minutes from the beaches, Las Olas, and more.

Architecture here ranges from modern to mid-century complexes. If you are on a budget but still want to be in a Fort Lauderdale LGBTQ community, this is your neighborhood.

Arts and Entertainment

Riverwalk Arts and Entertainment District

Just like it sounds, this is a promenade of shops, arts, entertainment, theater, and everything you can think of to engage and inspire. They call it “doing the district” and if you live in Fort Lauderdale, this is the place to get it all.

Bonnet House Museum and Gardens

35 acres of pristine gardens that also make up the Bonnet House estate. Situated on Fort Lauderdale Beach, the estate gives guided tours across extensive grounds that depict the Bartlett lifestyle. Don’t miss the paintings of Bartlett’s gorgeous wife, Evelyn.

Parks and Recreation

Fort Lauderdale Beach Park

A cute little sandy spot that features volleyball and basketball courts, a playground, and picnic tables.

Esplanade Park

This gorgeous park features waterfront gardens and a pavilion. It’s also part of the Riverwalk Park route.

The Nightlife

Ramrod Fort Lauderdale

A gay leather bar with DJs, different theme nights, and fun weekend crowds.

Georgie's Alibi Monkey Bar

This longtime local hangout is known for their strong drinks, festive surroundings, and yummy snacks.

Hunters Nightclub Wilton Manors

This gay hangout is a little more upscale, with a contemporary and cool feel. There’s also karaoke if you go on the right night. I know, upscale and karaoke?

Fort Lauderdale is an artsy city that’s slightly more laid back than Miami. It’s one of the only places in America to offer so many different “gayborhoods,” even more so than San Francisco. If you want to have fun in the sun, in a thriving LGBTQ community, try Fort Lauderdale on for size.