Florida Travel/Greater Fort Lauderdale

city scene greater fort lauderdale

From beautiful beaches to cultural hotspots, natural and manmade wonders to culinary experiences, Greater Fort Lauderdale continues to surprise visitors and residents.

Why Should You Visit Greater Fort Lauderdale?

Where do we start? 24 miles of beaches to soak in the sun and over 300 miles of navigable waterways. That’s why Greater Fort Lauderdale is known as the Yachting Capital of the World and the Venice of America. And while there is plenty to admire in the marinas and along the coastline, the area is filled with things to do for all sorts of personal interests. From beautiful beaches to cultural hotspots, natural and manmade wonders to culinary experiences, Greater Fort Lauderdale continues to surprise visitors and residents.

Yet, before we get to what’s new, let’s not forget about the places and experiences that have helped put Greater Fort Lauderdale on traveler’s Florida Bucket List. Here are some of the more popular things to do in South Florida:

For Boating Enthusiasts

Known as the “Venice of America,” Fort Lauderdale and its surrounding areas are a boater’s paradise. The extensive network of canals and the Intracoastal Waterway offer endless opportunities for exploration. Try the sandbar off Pompano Beach for a day of socializing on the water.

For Arts and Cultural Travelers

From the cutting-edge exhibitions at NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale, including an app to get behind-the-scenes perspectives from artists and curators, to vibrant street art in Hollywood’s Downtown Arts District, and a county-wide $100 million art in public spaces program, cultural and art enthusiasts find their vibe in Greater Fort Lauderdale. The Coral Springs Museum of Art has been called a “Delightful small gem of a museum…” and the Coral Springs Center for the Arts is a local favorite. History enthusiasts dive into hundreds of years of culture and heritage at the Fort Lauderdale Historical Society’s museum and the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center. Or check out South Florida’s first Holocaust Museum in Dania Beach. History will come to life as you learn about the stories from the diverse communities that helped build Fort Lauderdale.

For Beach Fun and Water Sports

You’re on the Atlantic Coast of Florida with 24 miles of coastline, eight golden beaches, and more than 300 miles of waterways. This is a paradise for sun-worshipers and water enthusiasts. Some enjoy the action at Fort Lauderdale Beach, while others seek out quieter spots like Dania Beach and Dr. Von D. Mizell-Eula Johnson State Park. But there is more to enjoy than the beach. Jump in and under the water to the coral reef system and artificial reefs that have made this a popular dive destination. 

For Shopping

Looking for some retail therapy? Greater Fort Lauderdale doesn’t disappoint. From the high-end shops at The Galleria in Fort Lauderdale to the sprawling Sawgrass Mills Outlet Mall in Sunrise, shoppers find everything from designer brands to unique local boutiques. 

For Golf Lovers

A golfer’s dream with more than 40 golf courses like Lago Mar Country Club in Plantation to Deer Creek Golf Club in Deerfield Beach. No matter what your handicap is, you can find a course in Greater Fort Lauderdale. Want to improve your golf game? Golftec has practice bays with simulator technology and professional coaches. Golfers tee off all year round because the weather is fine! 

For Nature Lovers

Outdoor enthusiasts will be delighted with how many options there are to hike, paddle, and explore nature in Greater Fort Lauderdale. Whiskey Creek, with its mangrove-lined waterway has been called the hidden gem of Fort Lauderdale. The Anne Kolb Nature Center in Hollywood and Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, called Fort Lauderdale’s “Central Park,” offer tranquil escapes with mangrove-lined waterways and diverse wildlife. For a unique experience, locals recommend a nighttime sea turtle walk on Hollywood Beach during nesting season, and discovery at NSU Marine Environmental Education Center (MEEC), the public education facility at the historic Carpenter House.

For Foodies

The culinary scene in Greater Fort Lauderdale has exploded in recent years, offering everything from fresh seafood to innovative fusion cuisine. Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale with its selection of restaurants, bars, and sidewalk cafes, and downtown Hollywood are foodie hotspots. Don’t miss hidden gems like Yellow Green Farmers Market in Hollywood where you get a taste of local flavors and international cuisine.

For Road Trippers

Greater Fort Lauderdale serves as an excellent base for road trips. A short drive takes you to artsy Delray Beach, the natural wonders of the Everglades, or vibrant Miami. Locals often enjoy weekend getaways to the Florida Keys, with Key Largo just a two-hour drive away.

Those are some of the “normal” things to do in Greater Fort Lauderdale and barely scratches the surface. Each city has its own unique vibe and a full menu of experiences to enjoy. Now, let’s see what’s new! 

NOTE: We’ve added a map at the end of this article of the places discussed.

What’s New in Greater Fort Lauderdale in 2024?

large beach chair greater fort lauderdale

This is a beach-lovers paradise, and Fort Lauderdale also offers a blend of natural beauty, rich culture, urban sophistication, and pockets of small town charm.

According to Visit Lauderdale, there are many new places to stay, things to do, food to eat, and memories to be made to top off your Florida Bucket List in 2024. Here are a few new things to enjoy in Greater Fort Lauderdale this year:

 

Save with the South Florida Adventure Pass

You can explore four popular attractions and save! The South Florida Adventure Pass allows you to visit Butterfly World to enjoy exotic butterflies and birds, Flamingo Gardens with a Dinosaur exhibit that starts May 25th, Museum of Discovery and Science including IMAX movies, and Sawgrass Recreation Park with the thrill of an Airboat Ride, at a reduced rate.

flamingos greater fort lauderdale activity

The South Florida Adventure Pass allows you to visit popular attractions.

3 woman doing yoga pose

Bonnet House offers yoga to help travelers immerse themselves in wellness.

Yoga at Bonnet House

Why not start your visit to the Bonnet House Museum and Gardens with a 75-minute vinyasa yoga flow? Wellness travel is as simple as incorporating movement into your journey. Now, this historic house will host “Yoga Flow on the Veranda – A Tropical Treat”. Upcoming 2024 classes are: July 12, September 6, October 4, and November 1. Get class details here.
Location: 900 North Birch Road, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304

Fort Lauderdale Water Taxi

The Water Taxi in Fort Lauderdale is more than a ride. Travelers coast between 20 stops and knowledgeable guides share stories you may not have heard before about the area. Now, they’ve added a new stop along the Intracoastal Waterway.
Location: 1366 SE 17th St., Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316

yellow water taxi in greater fort lauderdale

Water taxi travelers coast between 20 stops as knowledgeable guides share stories about Greater Fort Lauderdale.

close up of golf ball and club

It’s a blend of sport, socializing, technology and entertainment…

Topgolf Pompano Beach

It’s not just golf, but an entertainment option that blends sport, socializing, technology and entertainment. Guests of Topgolf Pompano Beach can use their complimentary clubs or bring their own to climate-controlled hitting bays. Features include three floors of fun, 100+ all-weather bay, Topgolf games, 28-foot video wall and 200+ HDTVs, golf lessons, sports bar and restaurant.
Location: 400 Lucky Lane, Pompano Beach, FL 33069

Women’s Professional Soccer Team

Nova Southeastern University is home to a new game. Fort Lauderdale United FC is the inaugural top-tier women’s professional soccer team in Greater Fort Lauderdale that will practice and play at the University fields . They will compete in the United Soccer League Super League starting this August. Season tickets are available now.

woman kicking soccer ball

Fort Lauderdale United FC is the inaugural top-tier women’s professional soccer team in Greater Fort Lauderdale.

closeup cricket ball and paddle sport in greater fort lauderdale

Cricket is the second most popular sport in the world.

Cricket in Fort Lauderdale

Did you know that Cricket is the world’s second most-watched sport? This year, Greater Fort Lauderdale was one of nine cities that will host matches. Four of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Matches were held at Broward County Stadium in Lauderhill this June. To stay informed for future events, check out the ICC World Cup.

Florida Panthers in Downtown Fort Lauderdale

Baptist Health IcePlex at the War Memorial Auditorium in Holiday Park is the new practice facility for the Florida Panthers. The venue has two National Hockey League-quality ice rinks, including a dedicated rink for team practices and a public rink for public skating, youth and adult hockey, and figure skating. If you’re looking for something to do on ice, check out everything available here.

closeup-row of ice hockey players with sticks

If you’re looking for something to do on ice, check out Baptist Health Iceplex.

Marinas to Watch in Greater Fort Lauderdale

marina with yachts in greater fort lauderdale

“The Las Olas Marina will be a world-class destination for mega yachts and a signature destination for visitors to South Florida for the next 50 years.”

Las Olas Marina

The Redevelopment Project at Las Olas Marina is something to watch! According to the Marina, “The Las Olas Marina will be a world-class destination for mega yachts and a signature destination for visitors to South Florida for the next 50 years.” That’s the vision and with 68 boat slips with the ability to handle vessels up to 250-feet, yacht owners may agree. In addition, the project improves and upgrades critical public infrastructure, includes public access, indoor and outdoor dining, and a waterfront promenade, and will convert three acres back to water and natural habitat. 

Location: 240 Las Olas Circle, Fort Lauderdale, FL  33316

Marina Village

Coming to the Greater Fort Lauderdale area around August, 2024 the new Marina Village will replace the existing space at 849 Seabreeze Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, on the eastern edge of the Bahia Mar Fort Lauderdale Beach-a DoubleTreeby Hilton Hotel peninsula. They are calling it the “new-and-improved Bahia Mar Marina.” Plans show that there will be 245 new boat slips, a 256-room resort with 60 condos, and 350 residential units in four towers. In addition, visitors can look forward to 87,000 square feet of commercial space. Look for The Shorely, a 500-person ferry reborn as a luxurious lounge and entertainment hub, The Promenade, and open-air food hall along the Intracoastal with eight culinary kiosks and other restaurants, The Mainland Bar where you can grab a cocktail and watch your favorite game on television. 

Location: 849 Seabreeze Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, FL

Getting To/From Fort Lauderdale with New Air Options

commercial airplane with colorful sky in background

Getting to Greater Fort Lauderdale is getting easier thanks to popular airline options.

Flying into and out of Greater Fort Lauderdale is getting easier thanks to popular airline options.

JetBlue Airways

JetBlue Airways plans to build its own terminal by 2027 at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. The 230,000-square-foot project will be responsible for 250 daily trips, have five passenger gates, inbound and outbound baggage processing, security checkpoint, food concessions, and two elevated pedestrian bridges. In the meantime, you can enjoy many JetBlue non-stop flights to popular destinations, in addition to flights with a single layover from Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. See where they fly here.

Porter Airlines

Porter Airlines has expanded flights to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport from Eastern Canada. Getting to Greater Fort Lauderdale from Toronto, pearson and Ottowa just got easier. Additionally, check out available round-trip flights from Fort Lauderdale to Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. 

Other Porter Airlines News 

El Al Israel Airlines

El Al Israel Airlines now offers two nonstop flights per week between Tel Aviv and Fort Lauderdale. This new airline strengthens the connection between Greater Fort Lauderdale and the Middle East. 

Renewed Lodging in Greater Fort Lauderdale

two beach chairs by infinity pool and palm trees greater fort lauderdale

New Hotel renovations give Fort Lauderdale travelers some exciting options.

Ocean Sky Hotel & Resort

Some say the Ocean Sky Hotel and Resort has the best ocean views. Stay in one of their 15 renovated oceanfront suites with newly installed open air glass balconies and see if you agree. The recent transformation was part of a multi-million dollar investment for this 225-room oceanfront resort that invites you to experience laid back luxury.

Location: 4060 Galt Ocean Drive, Fort Lauderdale, FL  33308

Embassy Suites by Hilton Deerfield Beach Resort & Spa

Located across from the beach and the Deerfield Beach International Pier, Embassy Suites by Hilton Deerfield Beach Resort & Spa recently unveiled their multi-million-dollar transformation. Guests can enjoy 244 newly designed two-room suites, and other modern updates.  Plus, get a complimentary two-hour bicycle rental to pedal around during the day, then head to the Beach Terrace Restaurant for dining near the ocean. 

Location: 950 S. Ocean Dr., Deerfield Beach ,FL 33441

Exciting New Dining Options in/around Fort Lauderdale

three bowls with Asian fusion meals

Exploring the culinary scene in Greater Fort Lauderdale is exciting with a vast number of choices for diners.

With so many things to do in the greater Fort Lauderdale area, you’re going to get hungry! Many new restaurants have opened their doors to diners since the beginning of the year. In case you missed them, or are adding to your list of new favorite Florida restaurants, check these out:

Boashi Food Hall and Bar

Head over to Pembroke Pines to enjoy an innovative Asian food hall, stylish cocktail bar and lounge. Baoshi Food Hall and Bar officially opened their doors on December 15, 2023, and is revolutionizing the dining scene. Boca Magazine called it “a gastronomic adventure.” You can explore five distinct food vendors under one roof at Baoshi including Boba Street Cafe’, Gold Marquess, Poke OG, and Temple Street Eatery.

Location: 8525 Pines Blvd., Pembroke Pines, FL 33024

Grandma’s Secret

Owner Bakhtiyor Ostonov has mastered the traditional cuisine of his homeland, Uzbekistan, and pairs it with dishes from neighboring Kazakhstan, Armenia, Turkey, and Xinjiang in northwestern China. Grandma’s Secret in Dania Beach is the only restaurant of its kind in Greater Fort Lauderdale.

Location: 50 E. Dania Beach Blvd., Dania Beach, FL 33004

Livello

Chef Bruno honed his culinary mastery on the streets of Rio De Janeiro, guided by his grandfather Ari, a maestro of classic Italian flavors, and now brings those skills to a fine dining experience at Livello. Diners can look forward to an experience that they describe as “timeless elegance of classical Italian mastery.” 

Location: 2047 N. University Dr., Coral Springs, FL 33071

MAASS

With an extensive wine program and seasonal menu, MAASS at the Four Seasons Hotel and Residences in Fort Lauderdale, is the new addition to the fine dining scene. They refer to themselves as a contemporary wood-fire restaurant inspired by European and Japanese techniques. Eye-pleasing ingredients are sourced from the finest markets, focusing on Japanese seafood and luxury fruits.

Location: 525 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304

Smith & Webster

Coral Springs welcomes Smith & Webster, elevated American Cuisine with a Southern Influence. Diners have called this the newest hotspot. Co-owned by Starex Smith, foodie and culinary business developer, and Kayvon Webster, former NFL player and owner/creator of VYBE 305 Restaurant, the restaurant pairs soulful African diaspora food pathways with French cooking techniques. The result? Make a reservation and find out for yourself!

Location: 4372 N. State Rd. 7, Coral Springs, FL 33073

Vitolo

Step inside the Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach hotel for a taste of old-school Italy. Vitolo is the work of Chef Anthony Vitolo and offers diners three unique dining experiences: The Terraza exudes the rustic and romantic ambiance of an Italian trattoria, Sala Argo brings you back to the era of glamor and supper clubs, and Vitolo’s Cucina gives you the perfect “chef’s table” experience. And, one of our favorite reasons to check them out, a craft cocktail named La Vita Bella Cocktail. We’re on our way!

Location: 551 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304

Sweetwaters

The owners of the Rusty Pelican in Key Biscayne are developing the southeast side of Downtown Fort Lauderdale’s Huizenga Park along the Riverwalk, breaking ground in 2024. Sweetwaters will be a multi-level indoor-outdoor restaurant with 12,688 square feet with an additional 5,846 square feet for outdoor dining. Diners can expect an elegant culinary experience and unforgettable views of the downtown skyline, New River, and the three acre park.

Stay Tuned!

B&D Trap BBQ

B&D Trap BBQ is the Texas BBQ known for simple ingredients and slow cooking over a wood-fire flame. A former Texas resident said, “it’s hard to find genuinely good BBQ in south Florida. B&D was pretty darn solid…” Guests also enjoy the outdoor seating., brisket, and top-notch service.

Location: 1551 NW 6th St., Fort Lauderdale, FL 33311

Tacocraft Taqueria & Tequila Bar

If guac, chips, and tacos are your vibe, then Tacocraft Taqueria’s newest location coming soon to Coral Springs may be your new best friend. The 200-seat restaurant will anchor the new City Village which will span two blocks on North University  Drive in Coral Springs. 

Location: 3249 University Drive, Coral Springs, FL 33065

The West End Lounge

The West End Lounge aims to redefine mixology! From classic cocktails to ultramodern creations, natural ingredients are the focus and guests are in for something special. Live music many nights.

Location: 2100 Wilton Drive, Wilton Manors, FL 33305

J&C Oyster

This 2,000 square-foot Asian inspired seafood restaurant opened in April. The space at J&C Oyster is open, bright, and cool, decorated with shades of blue. Each dish is plated in a way that makes the food the star of the show, adding nothing more than is needed to enhance the presentation. Be ready to be wowed as others who have given the new restaurant an average of 4.7 stars out of a possible 5. As one diner said, “…it is a culinary experience that I can sincerely say is a Diamond in the heart of the new and upcoming area of Hollywood Florida,”

Location: 2035 Harrison St., Hollywood, FL 33020

Nube’ Rooftop

It’s where the “sky’s embrace meets ocean’s gaze” on the 26th floor of Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort. Past diners at Nube’ Rooftop suggest you make reservations if you want to experience the spectacular view from this rooftop bar. Also, be sure to comply with their dress code for entry to this VIP experience.

Location: Hilton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort 505 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blv., 26th Floor, Fort Lauderdale, FL

Your Next Fort Lauderdale Vacation Could Be a Click Away

lifeguard stand on beach

While it’s true that this is a beach-lovers paradise, Fort Lauderdale also offers a blend of natural beauty, rich culture, urban sophistication, and pockets of small town charm.

Greater Fort Lauderdale continues to evolve far beyond its reputation as a spring break hotspot, offering a diverse range of experiences to engage visitors in all four seasons.

While it’s true that this is a beach-lovers paradise, Fort Lauderdale also offers a blend of natural beauty, rich culture, urban sophistication, and pockets of small town charm. Whether you’re kayaking through serene mangroves, exploring colorful coral reefs, or wandering along scenic nature trails, Greater Fort Lauderdale invites you to reconnect with nature in its most pristine forms.

What truly sets this region apart is the variety of experiences concentrated in one accessible area. From world-class dining to outdoor adventures, vibrant urban scenes to laid-back beach vibes, Greater Fort Lauderdale satisfies every taste and interest.

Planning your next vacation (or staycation) is as easy as clicking to make a reservation, maybe at one of the new hotels or resorts, and then letting the fun unfold as you anticipate a South Florida adventure. The only question left is: Where will you go first?

 

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