Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-11-27
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



TRAVEL Miami Beach has arts, culture and beaches with flair
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Ross Forman, Windy City Times

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

That wicked, pre-Christmas winter punch to the face from Mother Nature made me wish I was back in Miami Beach.

Forget the layers and layers of clothes needed, and the fact you're still ridiculously cold when Chicago hit single-digits in mid-December, and the temperature even dipped below-zero.

Forget the horrendous terms "polar vortex" and "real-feel temperature."

Forget the nasty look that cars carry, courteous of the salt.

Just think beach. Which beach of many do you want to visit? And for about $20 at Walgreen's you can buy an oversized, multicolored umbrella that's perfect to plant in the sand.

I liked everything about Miami Beach, although I wish I owned, or at least was invited onto, one of the multi-million-dollar yachts I saw as I drove past.

"Miami Beach is so exciting because of the amazing beaches and entertainment—ranging from relaxing to high-adrenaline—and fabulous dining and drinking options," said Tanja Morariu, who is the director of brand development for Miami Beach sister properties Circa 39 Hotel and The Palms Hotel & Spa. "But what makes it super special is that it's part of greater Miami—a true melting pot with Latin, Caribbean and European influences."

Miami Beach embraces arts and culture, something seen throughout by visitors. It also is a city "where new neighborhoods and concepts are popping up on a daily basis," she noted.

The city is exciting, full of energy, creativity and color. "It is all destinations in one: a budding metropolis with Caribbean-style beaches," she added.

Miami Beach is a coastal resort city, about a 20-minute drive from Miami International Drive. The city was incorporated in 1915, and features a variety of natural and man-made barrier islands between the Atlantic Ocean and Biscayne Bay.

Miami Beach is an amazing beach destination, period.

And there is a nude beach, too, for those wanting the all-over tan.

Circa 39 ( ), where I stayed during a late 2016 weekend visit, is a quaint, quiet property, with several packages available for guests to truly enjoy and experience Miami's most authentic neighborhoods. For example, the "Would You Wynwood?" package brings guests to the emerging arts district of Wynwood for a walking tour of the famous Wynwood Walls, and a tour and tasting at Wynwood Brewing Company. Another package is the "Miami Flavorhoods" package, which includes a culinary tour in the neighborhood of your choice.

Circa 39 is family-owned and operated, a boutique property that attracts guests and staff from around the world. The hotel's decor is an eclectic, vibrant mix of color, with a vibe that is as if you're simply at friend's private beach home.

I highly recommend the hotel's new web app:, which is a tool guests can use to navigate Miami's nearby neighborhoods. It's a curated list of top local picks from the hotel staff.

"We wanted to create a resource for guests who want to go off the beaten path to discover how to see Miami like a local, and since everyone does everything through their smartphones these days, we thought what better way than an integrated app where you can easily navigate our top picks for seeing the best of Miami's neighborhoods," Morariu said.

Circa 39 offers a renovated terrace, perfect for people-watching along Collins Avenue or simply enjoying the fresh breakfast.

Cocktails are served too, at Circa 39's WunderBar, and I'll admit that the Oriental Crush is worth a round. The Oriental Crush is their take on the mojito.

Speaking of mojitos, my favorite while visiting was served at Havana 1957 ( 1410 Ocean Dr. ), where the food is exceptional, servings were plentiful, customer service and eye candy was terrific, and, as their slogan boasts, the restaurant gives visitors the chance to relive the glory and glamour of old Cuba during the 1950s.

"We encourage our guests to explore and get to know the 'real' Miami that we know and love," Morariu said. "There is so much culture happening in Miami, with a real local community that's contributing everything from local craft beer to a world-famous art scene. Many only think of Miami as a place to come for the beaches and clubs, and return home with not much more than a T-shirt and a sunburn. Circa 39 hopes to inspire guests to discover the local flavor here in Miami for a trip to remember."

To that, here are five reasons to visit Miami Beach, in no particular order:

—Collins Drive: World-renowned street, known for its distinct art deco buildings;

—Haulover Beach Park: Clothing-optional Haulover is always filled with bodies of every form. Charter fishing also is available, and more;

—Holocaust Memorial: A moving, emotional tribute to the victims and survivors of the Holocaust. Opened in 1990, the venue features statues, a garden of meditation and a memorial wall;

—Jungle Island: A small zoo that has been open since 1936, with daily shows and unique VIP tours; and

—Winter Party: The annual, week-long festival of dance and social events, produced to raise funds for the LGBT community. The 2017 Winter Party is March 1-7 and the roster of confirmed DJs includes Alex Acosta, Rosabel, Micky Friedmann and Kitty Glitter, among others.

I'm ready to go back to Miami Beach, immediately. On the next United or American Airlines flight, nonstop from Chicago O'Hare International Airport to Miami. Or you can fly into Fort Lauderdale, as it's about a 35-minute drive away.

The sun awaits in Miami Beach.

Forget Chicago's snow and ice. Enjoy a frozen margarita in Miami Beach—on the beach, of course.

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

TRAVEL Louisville: Putting a twist on Southern hospitality 2019-11-27 - The South is renowned for many things—including food and its vaunted hospitality. However, it also has been maligned for, among other things, what ...

Gay News

The Camino Project, an experiment in travel 2019-08-20 - Far removed from the constructs of your typical theater experience, Theatre Y evokes participation, both physical and emotional. The Camino Project is an ...

Gay News

DINING Travelle dinner, National Bao Day, Winestyr Fest, ladies' night 2019-08-20 - —On Wed., Aug. 21, Travelle at The Langham Chef Jeff Vucko will collaborate with Granor Farm Chef ( and Ruffage author ) Abra ...

Gay News

Event promotes LGBTQ tourism in Israel 2019-08-16 - On Aug. 8 at Goddess and the Baker, 225 N. Lasalle St., the Israel Ministry of Tourism hosted a happy hour. The ...

Gay News

TRAVEL Driftless and daring: Mineral Point, Wisconsin 2019-08-07 - Thousands of years ago when the glaciers razed the Midwest and flattened the landscape, they left certain areas untouched, unmarred. These areas—known as ...

Gay News

TRAVEL Arizona: Hot and cool 2019-07-15 - "Arizonans are like lizards." I heard this sentence while recently visiting the neighboring cities of Phoenix and Tempe—and it certainly wasn't meant to ...

Gay News

Gay tourism group cancels Ethopian trip after death threats 2019-06-26 - Dan Ware, the owner of Chicago-based Toto Tours—which has a mostly gay clientele—has cancelled an October trip to Ethiopia after receiving death threats ...

Gay News

TRAVEL Portland: Something for everyone 2019-05-24 - First things first: Portland isn't nearly as granola as I thought it might be. Before visiting the Western city for the first time, ...

Gay News

LGBTQ activists travel to Springfield for Advocacy Day 2019-05-19 - On May 15, Equality Illinois hosted the annual Advocacy Day in Springfield, Illinois, in partnership with other statewide LGBTQ organizations. The daylong event ...

Gay News

STAYCATION REVIEW The Langham Chicago 2019-05-08 - The Langham Chicago ( 330 N. Wabash St.; ) has earned plaudits from various publications, including five stars from Forbes. However, I ...


Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.







About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.