If you're looking a vacation full of sun, warm temperatures, beaches, excellent dining and fun nightlife, Fort Lauderdale is the place for you.
While this Florida city may be known for its epic spring breaks, it's a great place to visit any time of year for families, friends or couples on a romantic getaway. Along the water's edge you'll find miles sandy shores, and when you come inland you'll have a variety of shops and dining options to sample throughout your stay. And with it's subtropical climate, it's an idyllic spot to escape the cold and snow or get a change of scenery during the warmer months.
Considered the "Venice of Florida," Fort Lauderdale features a unique and expansive canal system, so be sure to catch a gondola ride. The city offers a plethora of activities and attractions to explore, from arts and culture to live events and outdoor spaces.
Things to Do in Fort Lauderdale
- Bonnet House: In 1920, Chicago-born artist Frederic Clay Barlett created Bonnet House on land given to him and his second wife Helen Louise Birch by her father, Hugh Taylor Birch. For more than 70 years the families lived on the property, developing the 35 acres into what it is today. Now the house serves as a museum dedicated to historic and environmental preservation as well as creative expression. The main house is filled with a unique collection of art and personal artifacts from the families, while the gardends create a lovely tropical oasis and habitat for local wildlife.
- Museum of Discovery and Science: Head to the Museum of Discovery and Science, one of the largest museums of its kind in Florida, for a day of fun and adventure. An IMAX theater provides a 3-D look at science, and ecoscapes allow you to experience a simulated ride to Mars or a MaxFlight airplane. Peruse the extensive collection of Floridian animal species on display and see animal-centered demonstrations. While you're here, take a ride on an Everglades airboat adventure, dig for fossils, walk under a 12-foot-tall imperial mammoth and watch North American river otters play.
- International Swimming Hall of Fame: If you enjoy all things water sport-related, you'll love a trip to the International Swimming Hall of Fame and Museum. Learn more about famous moments in swimming history, the evolution of swimwear and see memorabilia belonging to people who've excelled in aquatics. The museum is dedicated to the memory and recognition of famous swimmers (both solo and synchronized), divers, water polo players and other people involved with aquatics.
- Hugh Taylor Birch State Park: Be sure to enjoy the outdoors while in Fort Lauderdale. An awesome place to do so is at the Hugh Taylor Birch State Park. Take an exhilarating hike along the trails or rent a canoe and paddle along a mile-long freshwater lagoon. Pack a picnic lunch to enjoy as you experience the natural scenery, then fish off the sea wall or head out on a bike ride along the paved park road. You can also learn more about the area's natural and cultural history at the Terramar Visitor Center. Every Friday at 10:30 a.m., rangers offer guided park tours and feature themes like mangrove, tropical hardwood hammock, coastal dune lake and beach habitat. Guided segway tours are also available as well as kayak, bike and skate rentals.
Shopping and Dining in Fort Lauderdale
- Las Olas Boulevard: For a premier shopping experience in Fort Lauderdale, head to Las Olas Boulevard. Along the commercial stretch of the street you'll find a wonderful array of stores and boutiques as well as art galleries. This part of the boulevard is considered the riverfront area of downtown Fort Lauderdale, and the name las olas means "the waves" in Spanish. You'll certainly be able to spend plenty of time window shopping here and pick up fun souvenirs, then stop into a local eatery to refuel and enjoy a delicious meal as you discuss your favorite parts of your trip so far.
- Chima: Enjoy a Brazilian dining experience at Chima, named after a traditional drink of Rio Grande do Sul. Gauchos (meat waiters) roam the dining room floors offering churrasco of more than 14 different meats on huge skewers ranging from steak, lamb, chicken, fish and sausage. Brazilian and American flavors are combined here, and the salad bar is excellent.
- Laffing Matterz: Enjoy a meal with a side of side-splitting laughter at Laffing Matterz dinner theater. It's a live, original musical comedy spoofing current events and pop culture. Choose from a variety of delicious menu items like calamari, chicken, beef tenderloin, butternut squash ravioli and salmon, then sit back and enjoy the hilarious show that was named "best dinner theatre" by the Broward/Palm Beach New Times twice.