(UDPATED JULY 2022) Fort Lauderdale is one of Florida’s premier cities along the Atlantic Coast in South Florida. It reeks of wealth, style, beaches, and boating, and offers amazing world-class options for sightseeing and exploring. Here are five things I love about Fort Lauderdale, a city boasting 300+ days of sunshine per year, and think you might, too.
Great Dining Options
Boatyard Restaurant is a gorgeous restaurant with exceptional cuisine, stellar cocktails and wine options, and swanky yacht-watching. Try the Bimini Bread and grilled seafood entrees, but definitely save room for the PB&J dessert. Another wonderful waterfront restaurant is GG’s Waterfront in Hollywood, where the lobster rolls are unforgettable.
15th Street Fisheries is one of our go-to places to eat in Fort Lauderdale. Whether you are having peel and eat shrimp or blackened fish tacos, it is the place to go for a great variety of seafood. You also have a primo views of the dock and marina and often, live music.
If you’ve never tried Florida Fish Dip, it’s a must when visiting the Sunshine State and excellent from 15th Street Fisheries.
The Chimney House is a personal favorite, located in a historic 1924 house and Spanish/South American dishes that will knock your socks off. Don’t skip the empanadas and sangria—they are amazing!
El Camino is another tasty eatery, with upscale margaritas, perfect queso fundido, and bangin’ fajitas. The watermelon and jalapeño margaritas are both spectacular, and the people watching those strolling Las Olas Boulevard is priceless.
A second place to sink your teeth into delicious Mexican fare is Rocco’s Tacos, with superb guacamole, mole dishes, and flavored margs.
Mall shoppers will love Fort Lauderdale’s choices: The Galleria at Fort Lauderdale, Sawgrass Mills, and Coral Ridge Mall. The Galleria offers a beautiful collection of high-end stores such as Neiman Marcus, Apple, and H&M, Sawgrass Mills (in Sunrise, FL) is off-the-hook—an enormous outdoor shopping center with 350 stores, movies, and dining. Barney’s New York, Nordstrom Rack, and Last Call by Neiman Marcus are a few of the high dollar outlet store names you’ll find there.
Sawgrass Mills is Florida’s second most visited attraction, coming close behind Disney. Coral Ridge is mostly box stores with Marshalls, Bath & Body Works, Target, and more of the same.
Las Olas Boulevard has adorable boutique shops and some well known retailers. There are Yeti, Bluemercury Makeup, and Grand Central Stationery stores, as well as posh antique shops with over-the-top finds. While you are there, grab a coffee or Champagne (from a vending machine!) at Ann’s Florist Coffee & Wine Bar.
Can’t Be Beaten Water Views
Hugh Taylor Birch State Park is not only fun to drive and hike through, but also a wonderful spot to admire Intracoastal views from one of the benches or picnic areas. This tropical area lies between the Intracoastal Waterway and A1A and has shade-covered walking trails and primo fishing access. Entrance fee is $6 per vehicle.
Anne Kolb Nature Center is a spectacular place to hike, fish, admire gorgeous scenery, and learn about nature. There are several hands-on exhibits and 1500 acres of coastal wetlands. Learn about the importance of mangroves to this Florida region and climb the observation tower.
My favorite way to see all that Fort Lauderdale offers as far as scenery goes is to take a Segway Tour. Segway Fort Lauderdale’s owner Jon does a wonderful job teaching newbies how to navigate and stay safe on the Segway.
I took Segway Fort Lauderdale’s Hollywood and Dania Beach Pier route that afforded 4.5 miles of spectacular beach views along the picturesque Hollywood Broadwalk, historical backstreets, and the Intracoastal docks. My tour even stopped at a local ice cream shop in Hollywood to soak up the scenery and enjoy a delicious cone.
Boating is big in Fort Lauderdale and you can see some of the most jaw-dropping yachts you’ve ever seen in its harbor. Standup Paddleboarding, scuba diving, and jet skiing are also popular things to do in the beautiful Florida waters.
Fun Museums and Attractions
Fort Lauderdale’s Museum of Discovery and Science is the most visited museum in Florida and offers a science park, storm center, ecoscapes, dinosaur bone yard, and an airboat Everglades adventure, as well as several other permanent and temporary exhibits. There is also a five-story IMAX 3-D Theater, but my favorite part is the two-story otter habitat.
Don’t miss Bonnet House Museum and Gardens, the historic estate home of Frederic and Evelyn Bartlett. Bonnet House also has fantastic flower gardens to meander through and is on the National Register of Historic Places since 1984. Artworks inside the museum offer a look at Picasso, Seurat, and Gauguin.
Catch your favorite Off-Broadway musicals and shows at the small 2,658-seat performance space, Au-Rene Theater at the Broward Center.
The 2022-23 schedule features Six, Little Shop of Horrors, Hamilton, Footloose, and Honeymoon in Vegas. Watch for your favorite musical acts in nearby Sunrise at the awesome FLA Live Arena (formerly BB&T Center), also home of the Florida Panthers.
Walk or drive around F.A.T. Village Art District to see Fort Lauderdale’s street mural claim to fame. As if they were a child of the nearby Wynwood Walls, the art is interesting, colorful, and definitely adding some unique character to a part of town that has been in need of revitalization.
You can now find shops, eateries, galleries, and lots of trendy things in addition to the vibrant walls in this up and coming warehouse district.
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