When pondering the perfect vacation spot, the first location that should appear on your list this fall is Wilton Manors, Florida. Wilton Manors is a small city near Fort Lauderdale known for its thriving LGBTQ community. According to the 2010 Census, Wilton Manors is the second gayest city in the United States.
Within the city itself is a Pride Center on Dixie Highway whose mission is to “provide a welcoming, safe space — an inclusive home — that celebrates, nurtures and empowers the LGBTQ+ communities and our friends and neighbors in South Florida.” The city is also one of the sponsors and location of the Stonewall Pride Parade and Street Festival every June. The festival attracts 35,000 people from across the world.
To get to Wilton Manors from Atlanta, you’re looking at a short flight of about an hour and a half. Once you get there, you’ll be greeted by the sunny skies of Fort Lauderdale. From the airport, it’s roughly a 20 minute drive to Wilton Manors.
Since the city is near Fort Lauderdale Beach, there’s an excellent opportunity to go outside and catch some rays, thanks to the tremendous weather Florida receives all year. This beach tends to get crowded quickly and is quite busy. Therefore, I recommend hopping in your car in the early morning; that way, you can get the best spot at the beach.
If being in the sun isn’t your thing, there are a few beachside restaurants I highly recommend. If you’re vegan or vegetarian, there’s a great spot called SoBe Vegan that focuses on crafting burgers and fries using vegan ingredients. This restaurant is right on Fort Lauderdale Beach, making it perfect for a midday beach meal! If you’re looking for a classier dining experience, I recommend the Asian fusion restaurant Takato. I recently visited the restaurant to celebrate my younger sister’s graduation and I would highly recommend the Crispy Brussels Sprouts and the Short Rib Japchae. With a great view of the water, you’ll have a tasteful dining experience. Within Wilton Manors, there are many amazing places to dine. A favorite of mine is a small breakfast spot known as The Alchemist. This quaint brunch restaurant is perfect if you love outdoor dining with colorful foods and drinks. My favorite meals are the chocolate chip waffle for breakfast and the pulled pork slider for lunch. They also have great tea and iced coffee.
Nightlife in Wilton Manors is always a blast. Clubs like the Infinity Lounge and Hunters Nightclub are great places to unwind after a long day. At the Infinity Lounge, they offer new takes on classic cocktails and martinis. Keep in mind: this is a lounge, so if you’re more into drinks and dancing, Hunters Nightclub is a perfect fit for you. With flatscreens everywhere and fun music creating an active atmosphere, Hunters is the perfect place to let loose and have a great time with friends.
Near Wilton Manors, there’s also the unique Broward Center for Performing Arts in Fort Lauderdale, where many Broadway shows on tour stop and perform. The Broward Center for Performing Arts has been around for 31 years. Recently, over spring break, when I went home to Fort Lauderdale, the Broward Center was performing Pretty Woman. I went with my younger sister and parents for Mother’s Day, and we had a fantastic time. The Broward Center has new shows come every year. This season’s lineup included shows like Six, Hamilton, and Beetlejuice. With tickets starting at $35, a show will offer you an inexpensive, yet memorable experience when you visit.
When looking for somewhere that stays sunny all year long and offers fun experiences, look no further than Wilton Manors. It’s a colorful city that emphasizes its connection with the LGBTQ community living in and visiting the area, and its close connections with Fort Lauderdale make finding something fun to do simple.