Wondering what to do in Fort Lauderdale during your visit? People worldwide visit its long white-sand beaches, vast parks and parklands, and rich culture and cuisine.
It is a relatively small city – the total population is just over 180,000 — but there are so many things to do in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, that it can be hard to narrow down the list. That’s why we’ve rounded up our must-see and do locations and activities for your next trip to Fort Lauderdale.
Visiting Fort Lauderdale means enjoying various activities, from shopping on Las Olas Boulevard to gondola rides through the canals of Las Olas Isles. Fort Lauderdale’s waterways include 22 miles of canals, and over 200 bridges make it the “Venice of America.”
The city’s marinas and exclusive yacht clubs, with their gleaming yachts, gorgeous sunsets, and classic harbor ambiance, are clustered around the many islands of the New River and Intracoastal Waterway.
The beaches in Fort Lauderdale are some of the best in Florida. The golden sand offers the perfect backdrop to the dark turquoise waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
If you love exploring, then you will find plenty to keep you busy in this coastal town. Consider taking a tour of Fort Lauderdale, by boat or bicycle. It’s an excellent way to see what this wonderful city has to offer.
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Stroll down Las Olas Boulevard and Downtown Riverwalk District
Las Olas Boulevard
This iconic boulevard runs from downtown Fort Lauderdale to Fort Lauderdale Beach, a modern corridor filled with unique boutiques. Las Olas boasts an artistic Mediterranean influence in their architecture and fine landscaped green spaces as well as providing a beautiful setting for visitors to experience Florida’s most iconic street scene. It’s the perfect location for exploring the area.
Cafés and restaurants line the sidewalks of this area. They’re perfect for a leisurely meal or just people watching.
Downtown Riverwalk District
This historic downtown district is this ever-expanding Riverwalk District that features an array of 10 million square feet of riverfront, marina, and mixed-use development.
In Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale, you can take a stroll along the peaceful Riverwalk, which is fixed with classic cobblestones and fishing piers. The Riverwalk features an array of unique cultural amenities, plush parks, retail destinations, waterside office buildings, and residences.
The Riverwalk also provides fantastic views of the Intracoastal Waterway to one side and downtown Fort Lauderdale to the other.
Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale includes the Riverwalk Linear Park, which is 18.2 acres. This park features over 5,000 feet of multi-use trails along the New River.
Browse the Unique Shops of Downtown Fort Lauderdale
The Fort Lauderdale downtown area has retained its small-town feel while attracting local artists, hipsters, and young professionals.
The old downtown Fort Lauderdale’s streets have been converted into cafés, bars, boutiques, restaurants, and art galleries. Many talented musicians often play for free throughout the streets of downtown, which makes for a fun evening out.
The downtown area is best known for its art deco architecture. The streets are filled with stately condos and apartment buildings that have stood the test of time.
Take a Water Taxi across the New River
The Fort Lauderdale Water Taxi travels from the northernmost section of Las Olas Boulevard to the southernmost portion. It goes through three locks and lifts at Falls Park before reaching The Westin Hotel. In all, you’ll see 35 bridges and pass by six parks.
The Ft Lauderdale River Water Taxi is a beautiful way to see the city’s waterfront discover some of its famous bridges. It’s a boat ride through historic neighborhoods on the New River. It’s also a great way to head to dinner at one of Ft. Lauderdale’s waterfront restaurants.
Sightseeing cruises such as Jungle Queen Riverboat and the Bahia Mar Yachting Center offer cruises up and down the river.
Enjoy a Beach Day at One of Fort Lauderdale Beaches
Many of South Florida’s beautiful beaches are located in Fort Lauderdale. Each with a different vibe, there is something for every visitor.
Fort Lauderdale Beach
Filled with nice restaurants, luxury hotels and shops, Fort Lauderdale Beach has it all. Walk along the Beachfront Promenade and do a bit of shopping or grab a delicious gourmet meal.
Join in on beach yoga to start your day off right before a light breakfast at one of the lovely hotel restaurants.
Hollywood Oceanfront Broadwalk
Hollywood Oceanfront Broadwalk is a 2.2-mile pedestrian promenade for people who enjoy long walks or bike rides. It has dramatic views of coastal Hollywood Beach, as well as quaint outdoor cafes where you can sit and people watch.
If you have a furry friend, no need to leave them at home! Hollywood beach has a special beach just for your pup!
The last beach before you reach Miami, Hallandale Beach is split into two parks: South City Beach Park and North City Beach Park.
South City Beach Park is perfect for kids as it includes a playground and a volleyball court. There are also outdoor showers, a pavilion and access to beach parking!
North City Beach Park offers more volleyball courts, as well as the famous Beach Ball Water Tower! Grab a bite to eat at ETARU with offers Japanese style cuisine right on the water.
Perfect for those who love to fish, Deerfield Beach is home to the International Fishing Pier. The pier is the perfect place to watch the waves and take pictures with the beautiful Atlantic backdrop.
Don’t forget to grab a bite at the Whale’s Rib which offers the freshest seafood, right from their raw bar.
Spend the Day in One of Fort Lauderdale's Parks
The Fort Lauderdale Beach Park
Located just one block north of Fort Lauderdale Beach, the Fort Lauderdale Beach Park is a spacious stretch of soft sand where you and the entire family can relax.
The park includes a basketball court, picnic tables, a volleyball court, a playground, outdoor showers, and many other amenities. It’s a fun place to hang with the family for a few hours during you exploration in Fort Lauderdale.
Hugh Taylor Birch State Park
Hugh Taylor Birch State Park is a pretty spot to unwind amid a hectic metropolis. You may find gophers and tortoises while relaxing here — dubbed “the Central Park of Fort Lauderdale.” At this location, over 200 species of birds may be seen.
Hugh Taylor Birch State Park has a beach on the Atlantic Ocean, plus it is only about 10 miles from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Hugh Taylor Birch State Park is composed of expansive white sand perfect for sunbathing and swimming. Hike its Coastal Hammock Trail.
Colee Hammock Park
This park is the perfect place to have a picnic and watch the boats go by. There are also plenty of picnic benches to sit at.
Bring a frisbee or ball to play with your kids or pack your roller blades and ride around the winding park road. Colee hammock park is a great place to spend any part of your day.
Fort Lauderdale Museum of Discovery and Science
The fascinating museum has five floors of interactive exhibits showing how science and nature impact our everyday lives.
Visitors can learn about topics like Florida ecosystems, recycling, prehistoric Florida, flying and chemistry experiments, just to name a few. This museum is a great learning experience for kids and fun for any science buff!
Fort Lauderdale Fire and Safety Museum
Fort Lauderdale Fire and Safety Museum, located at 2603 Hollywood Blvd, has a collection of firefighting vehicles and equipment. Visitors can explore Fort Lauderdale’s history and development through hands-on exhibits.
The Museum was built in 1927 due to the 1926 hurricane that devastated Ft. Lauderdale. On exhibit are vintage — up to more than 100 years of photos of fire engines and firefighters’ uniforms.
Fort Lauderdale Historical Society & Museum
This museum has an eclectic display of historical photos, uniforms, and artifacts that tell the history of Fort Lauderdale.
Fort Lauderdale Historical Society & Museum also runs and manages Old Fort Lauderdale Village, part of Riverwalk Linear Park. Its mission is to maintain and exhibit the rich history of Broward County’s past.
NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale
The NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale is the only accredited museum in Broward County and has thousands of artifacts, contemporary sculptures, and paintings.
A cutting-edge-designed building, the NSU Art Museum is 85,000-square-foot.
Visit Historic Homes and Gardens
The Stranahan House, Fort Lauderdale’s oldest home, was built in 1901. Built by Frank and Ivy Stranahan, this historic landmark is a great spot to explore the early history of Fort Lauderdale.
The purpose of the Stranahan house is to share with others the history and how the community of Fort Lauderdale came to be. Take a tour through this old home and learn the origins of this special community.
Bonnet House Museum and Gardens
The Bonnet House Museum and Gardens is the best way to experience early 20th-century South Florida. The house, grounds, and art collection will transport you back in time.
Take a stroll through the gardens and experience 5 distinct ecosystems, perfectly preserved. Then take a guided or self-guided tour through the museum and art gallery. An afternoon at the Bonnet House museum will be an afternoon well-spent!
The Flamingo Gardens is a unique attraction combining a botanical garden and an everglades wildlife sanctuary. The whole family can enjoy the day feeding and touching the resident wildlife such as flamingos, alligators, birds, turtles, otters, bobcats, and deer.
It is one of the oldest botanical gardens in South Florida and houses over 3,000 species of flora and fauna.
Visit the Florida Everglades
The Everglades is a popular destination for nature lovers, perfect for a day trip from the city.
Take a canoe trip on the Everglades from Everglades Holiday Park to experience the best of this unique national park. Along the way, you can see alligators, birds, snakes, turtles, and other wildlife in their natural habitat.
Then, get on an Everglades airboat adventure trip to explore the local wildlife in their environment.
Enjoy a Show or Concert
Broward Center for the Performing Arts
The Broward Center for the Performing Arts is home to concerts, musicals, plays, and other shows year-round. There’s something for everyone. If you feel like watching a fantastic performance during your trip, check it out! The Performing Arts is next to Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment District.
No matter the season, Fort Lauderdale truly has something for everyone to enjoy. The weather is sunny and pleasant, there’s a lot of history to discover, and fabulous entertainment options for all ages.
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