Best Things To Do In Fort Lauderdale, Florida

From sunny beaches to gondola rides on canals, and plenty of arts, culture, and shopping, Fort Lauderdale has proven that it's a destination worthy of your time.

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Situated between Miami and Palm Beach on Florida’s Atlantic coast, Fort Lauderdale sometimes gets short shrift when it comes to Florida vacation destinations compared to its glitzier neighbors. 

But you don’t need to look very hard to find plenty of reasons to stick around. From sunny beaches to gondola rides on canals, and plenty of arts, culture, and shopping along the way, Fort Lauderdale has proven that it's a destination worthy of your time.

For Lauderdale coastline

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Around Town

One of Florida’s largest cities, Fort Lauderdale spans 24 miles of beachfront along the Atlantic Ocean and stretches inland over the Intracoastal Waterway. The city is home to a major international airport and cruise terminal: the Fort Lauderdale International Airport and Port Everglades both serve millions of passengers each year. 

A new high-speed rail service, Brightline, operates a station in Fort Lauderdale, zipping passengers from Miami to West Palm Beach (with future expansions planned for Orlando and Tampa).

Fort Lauderdale beach

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Besides the scenic A1A Highway which runs north to south through the city, Las Olas Boulevard is a main thoroughfare through the heart of downtown, running east to west and offering boutique shopping, art galleries, and dining.

If you’re looking to expand your horizons, head to the Museum of Discovery and Science or the NSU Art Museum, both located downtown. Keep tabs on events happening in two arts districts: MASS District Art Walk is a free outdoor event that runs the last Saturday of every month for 10 years and FAT Village (named for Flagler, Art, and Technology) is four blocks of Fort Lauderdale’s historic warehouse district teeming with creativity.

One of the best ways to explore the city is by water on the city’s 300 miles of navigable waterways. Take a Water Taxi for a guided tour through the town’s legendary mansions and mega yachts—hop on and off throughout the day for $35. Or plan a romantic electric gondola ride—you can bring your own picnic and enjoy watching the sights unfold through Fort Lauderdale’s canals. Airboats and jet skis are even more options for exploring these waterways.

Fort Lauderdale Water Taxu

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Where To Eat

Dining in Fort Lauderdale is a fully multicultural experience that delights the palate. Head to Sistrunk Marketplace & Brewery, Fort Lauderdale’s first food hall that opened in 2020, to get a good sampling of some cuisine from around the globe, from sushi to sandwiches, bibimbap to empanadas, in addition to live music events.

Or go get a little taste of Jamaica at Island in the Pines, dishing out island favorites like brown stew chicken, oxtail, cow foot and beans (best enjoyed accompanied with a bottle of ice cold Ting).

At Cleveland’s Old Fashion Ice Cream in Miramar, they’ve been churning out 50 flavors of fresh ice cream for 40 years. If you have a hungry crew with you, order up the Ice Cream Chaffer, which is delivered in a metal handled serving container with eight flavors and all the toppings you can hope for. 

A popular stop for those headed out on the water for a little daytime cruise is The Wharf, an outdoor spot on Las Olas Boulevard that hosts rotating food trucks, as well as bars, and various pop-up events.

Dining on the water in Fort Lauderdale

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Where To Stay

The Four Seasons Fort Lauderdale opened in March 2022 in an oceanfront location on North Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard. Unwind at the hotel spa, with treatments designed to mimic the waterways that surround Fort Lauderdale, and swim at the in your choice of two infinity pools. Dine at Evelyn’s Table serving a Eastern Mediterranean/coastal-influenced menu, plus a soon-to-be-opened boulevard-level restaurant.

Kimpton Shorebreak Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort reopened in 2022 following a rebrand. Originally opened as the Escape Hotel in 1949, this property has long been prized by vacationers. With decor that celebrates its retro roots, guests can stretch their way through daily beach yoga classes, and use the Kimpton’s bikes, boogie boards, and children’s beach toys—all included in the daily resort fee.

Plunge Beach Resort offers a great budget-friendly option in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, and recently launched new adults-only bungalow accommodations. These exclusive environs include kitchenettes and dining rooms, welcome drinks, and access to a VIP lounge, as well as an adults-only pool and beach area.

Hotels in Fort Lauderdale

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