It’s been for quite some time now that Fort Lauderdale has been known as a top destination in the U.S. for gay vacation goers. A large variety of different cultures and sexualities among such a beautiful landscape is a sure win for those who wish to vacation in an open and non-judgemental environment, and this is something Fort Lauderdale has proved to be true with a very active and profitable tourism market. But in recent years, there is another, specifically popular attraction that has been consistently drawing in tourists from around the globe – Wilton Manors.
Wilton Manors, a small city bordering west Fort Lauderdale is literally a tourist attraction in itself. Wilton Manors could best be described as more of a neighborhood than a city, but regardless, it’s their gay business district that gets all the attention. The main street in Wilton Manors, Wilton Drive, is well known as “the gayborhood” by locals. Wilton Drive is jam packed with gay oriented businesses of all kinds, from bars and bakeries to clothing and thrift stores. The area, although gay oriented, is not specifically reserved for gays of course, but it’s the feeling of acceptance, individuality and pride that make the small area so attractive to visitors and natives alike. With a very welcoming and friendly atmosphere, it’s no wonder why downtown Wilton Manors is a top destination and an absolute must see for any gay traveler visiting Fort Lauderdale.
As Fort Lauderdale itself has an extraordinary following from gay travelers, Wilton Manors is in some ways “the icing on the cake”. Then again, with Wilton Manors being a sort of gay mecca, it could always be spoken the other way around by saying that Wilton Manors is the gay tourism icon, and Fort Lauderdale because of their acceptance and welcoming of gay travelers, could be “the icing on the cake”. Either way, it’s safe to say that Wilton Manors itself has done much in recent years to build confidence in their own gay industry.
With gay hotels and guesthouses to gay restaurants, bars and nightclubs, Wilton Manors has everything one could expect from a gay vacation, and then some. Given the fact that it’s a rather small community compared to Fort Lauderdale in general, Wilton Manors has a solid grip on South Florida’s gay market for tourism, housing and even retail.
One might argue that Fort Lauderdale brings the gays and Wilton Manors is just an added benefit to their lifestyle, but in reality, Wilton Manors and Fort Lauderdale go hand in hand. Sure, they could be considered separate for whatever reasons, including the fact that they are technically two different cities. But the way it’s seen by most people, both locals and tourists, is that Fort Lauderdale and Wilton Manors are both birds of the same feather, and it’s their ability to compliment one another in such a unique fashion that makes the area such a wonderful destination for not only gay tourism, but for the gay lifestyle in general.