THE FLYING NUNN
Miami means much more than a beach
Tue. June 22, 2021 12:00 AM
by Jerry Nunn
Miami has so much more to offer than just sun and sand when looking for things to do while visiting. Whether you are straight, gay or anywhere in between, drag has finally been elevated to an artform thanks to popular television shows and makeup tutorials. Start at Palace Restaurant and Bar on Ocean Drive in South Beach for drag entertainment that literally stops traffic every day. Onlookers will gawk at the usuall wild and loud show as sassy divas speak on the mic while warning people to stay out of way when they lip synch for their life. These queens have had it with tourists blocking the aisles, so please stay seated throughout the ride. That can certainly be a challenge with the refreshing cocktails served by the handsome staff such as the grape crush drink, made with Hennessy, or the blueberry mojito, created with Zacapa 23 dark rum.
Hungry for more drag? Head over to Time Out Market Miami for themed nights that include drag bingo where diners can sample some of the best restaurants in the city. The frita burger at Kush is a must try item, with guava jelly, LoKal sauce and challah bun, all adding to the uniqueness of this popular cheeseburger. For dessert, cool down with Azucar and their house made Cuban ice cream. While I didn't win a prize at bingo the night I visited, the venue wins for supporting the LGBTQIA+ community during Pride month with a special vodka martini complete with a rainbow of gummy bears as a garnish.
R House Wynwood is the winner, Baby, when it comes to drag brunches in many ways. Keeping the menu limited with crispy chicken and cheesy sliders is a smart move with crowds this big attending the two shows offered on Saturdays and Sundays. Athena Dion and the gang don't play when it comes to a medley by divas such as Jennifer Lopez and Beyonce. Acrobatics and a conga line are all part of the fun that with have the audience gagging in the aisles. Even the tip collectors get in on the act as they twerk to a DJ spinning the tunes while grabbing dollars!
Ready for some culture? Learn important LGBTQIA+ history with guide George Neary as he walks with your group over to the Miami Beach Art Deco Museum. Hearing stories about Gianni Versace while standing outside his mansion and seeing where The Birdcage was filmed are all part of the eye opening experience.
If your feet are tired hop on to the Open Miami Convertible Private Bus Tour. Riders can breathe fresh air while seeing different neghborhoods and ask to stop at Little Havana for a Cuban colada to revive your soul.
To exercise that upper body, look no further than Sunset Kayak & Paddleboard tour at Virginia Key. See the Miami skyline as you fight the current to stop on an island for a photo opportunity that will leave your Instagram followers jealous. Bug repellant and a swimsuit is vital to pack in your bag for this watery excursion.
For the lower body, dance your pants off at Nathan's Bar on Washington Avenue, with Latin themed nights that have you shaking your maracas. After, it's just a hop, skip and a jump to Twist at 1057 Washington Avenue. With seven different bars, there is really something for everyone including drag shows, go-go boys and DJs spinning all genres of music. You will need the quieter rooms to simply sit and cool down!
The Wynwood area has been revitalized by street artists, so stop there to see a massive display of art that is ever changing at Wynwood Walls. The place recently started charging visitors because of popularitry and now sells the artwork that is quickly rising in price thanks to ravenous collectors around the world. Nearby, a Pride celebration kicked off in 2021 combining live acts, food vendors and pop up booths all in one area. The event will surely return so start making plans for next year.
For more artwork, the Rubell family has a museum at 1100 NW 23rd Street that is not to be missed. There is something inside to fit anyone's taste with over 7,000 rotating pieces by more than 1,000 artists. Across the street Superblue is begging to be photographed. The large space houses interactive installations that have to be seen to be believed. No spoilers, just immerse yourself into the various environments before it's too late.
That's just a few highlights to cover while visiting Miami, there's so much more. Oh, and don't forget the beach! For more information on The Magic City, visit MiamiandBeaches.com.