Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale is a coastal city on the Atlantic Ocean in the US state of Florida. It is known as the "Venice of America" due to its expansive canal system. Situated in Broward County in South Florida, the city's population is over 170,000.

The city is most famous for its beaches and boats, and while the city of Fort Lauderdale is relatively small in area, the term 'Fort Lauderdale' is often used to refer to the larger metropolis that has grown up around it. It is the county seat for Broward county, and is part of the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach metropolitan area, which has over 5.5 million people.

Understand

The first inhabitants of the land were Seminole Indians who arrived in the 18th century. During the Second Seminole War, Major William Lauderdale led his Tennessee Volunteers into the area and raised New River Fort on the site of the modern city in 1838. In 1893, a young Ohioan named Frank Stranahan arrived and built a house that served as the first trading post, post office, bank and town hall of the area. The house was built near the site of the New River Fort and still stands today as a museum, Stranahan House.

Fort Lauderdale was officially incorporated as a town in 1911, and became the seat of newly formed Broward County. It began as a predominantly agricultural community of dairy farms and citrus groves.

More growth came with establishment of the Naval Air Station, which is now Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport.

The city and its surrounding suburbs experienced tremendous growth following the end of World War II, and the arrival of home air-conditioning. In the 1960s, Fort Lauderdale became the center of Spring Break after the debut of the movie "Where the Boys Are." It is now an anchor of the Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach Metropolitan area, the nation's 6th largest metro area.

Climate

 Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
 
Daily highs (°F) 78 78 80 83 86 89 90 91 89 86 81 78
Nightly lows (°F) 59 59 61 65 69 72 73 74 73 70 64 60
Precipitation (in) 2.5 2 2.8 4.2 5.9 7.3 6 6.8 8.8 9.2 3.5 2.7

Fort Lauderdale has a humid subtropical climate. Summers are very humid with temperatures in the upper 80s and low 90s lasting into early fall. The city sees most of its rainfall in the summer (the wet season). Winter is warm and mild and mainly dry (the dry season) with mild temperatures that are occasionally broken up by some rain when cold fronts come through.

May to September is the summer wet season. During the summer, it is warm and humid, with the prevailing wind bringing tropical breezes blowing up from the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico and equatorial Atlantic. It is often clear and sunny in the mornings but as the land heats up the air rises and the sea breeze kicks in. This brings in more damp moist air from the sea and so by noon it often starts to cloud over, and then there are commonly short showers in the afternoon, which helps to cool the air off for a cooler and generally dryer evening. The Atlantic hurricane season largely occurs from late July through early November, with peak activity generally occurring from mid-August through early October.

Fort Lauderdale, positioned just above the Tropic of Cancer, owes a lot of its winter warmth to the Gulf Stream that runs just a couple of miles off shore. The Gulf Stream brings warm water up from the tropics year-round.

On a typical summer day the temperature does not get below 75 °F (24 °C). Summer temperatures are commonly in the high 80s to low 90s (30-35 °C), which is often relieved by the sea breeze, which in turn brings some afternoon thunderstorms.

During winter, humidity is significantly lower. The average daily high in the winter is usually between 65 and 75 °F (18-24 °C) and the low normally around 59 °F (15 °C), rarely dipping below 40 °F (4 °C) when a front comes through.

Fort Lauderdale receives abundant rainfall, most of it falling in the summer. The annual total of 63.8 inches (1488 mm) is one of the highest for a U.S. city. This sounds a lot, but it does not rain that much, it's just that when it does rain it really chucks it down, a real tropical downpour.

Get in

By plane

South Florida has three airports with commercial service:

You can take one of the shuttle vans from Miami Airport to Fort Lauderdale, price varies by destination but will be around $50 to $70 a head.

For general aviation:

By train

See also: rail travel in the US

By car

By bus

By ship

Port Everglades, on the south side of the city center, is the most active container port and second most active cruise port in Florida. It supports a high number of cruise ships with about ten thousand passengers arriving and departing each week.

Those able to drive here for a cruise may find Port Everglades somewhat more convenient and economical than Miami to park and stay overnight at local lodging, and then catch a shuttle to/from the ship's terminal. Numerous hotel/motel chains offer park/stay/cruise-shuttle packages. Most are also quite close to the airport.

Get around

The east side of Fort Lauderdale, between down town and the beach, is criss crossed with canals. It doesn't matter if you are in a car, on bicycles, or on foot, you have to cross the canals where the bridges are. This is one town where a good map can save you a lot of backtracking. Surprisingly the best road map of the East side of town is the 'Dolphus Waterway Map".

The US 1 does NOT intersect with Las Olas Boulevard. Your map is wrong if it says otherwise. The US 1 passes under the river in a tunnel and goes under Las Olas too, re-emerging only at Broward Blvd. to the north. This confuses many people who are trying to navigate around Fort Lauderdale.

By car

The easiest way to get around Fort Lauderdale and South Florida is by car. If you are rentingall the major national chains, and several local ones, can be found hereit is substantially less money to rent a car from a location outside of the airport. The city is set up on grid system and is fairly easy to navigate. Downtown is roughly two miles west of the beach. You need to consult a map when on the East side of town because the canals divide up the city and you need to find the bridges.

Broward County is served by three major Interstates (I-75, I-95, I-595) and some U.S. Highways including U.S. Highway 1, US 27 and US 441. It is also served by Florida's Turnpike and State Highway 869, also known as the Sawgrass Expressway.

By taxi

Taxis are generally expensive, but available at almost any time and place.

By bus

By train

Tri-Rail, toll-free: +1-800-872-7245. Commuter train which runs north and south parallel to I-95, connecting Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach. Tri-Rail provides access to South Florida's three major airports, as well as links to Miami's Metrorail. However, since Tri-Rail trains can sometimes be thirty minutes to an hour late and has trains coming every two hours apart on the weekends so you will probably have better luck taking the city bus system. Tri-Rail also does not offer a very scenic tour as it is just a commuter line through the back sides of town.

By boat

Fort Lauderdale is America's yachting capital, and as such has numerous boat charter and rental companies. There are many restaurants and bars along the intracoastal that cater to the passing yachtsmen and their guests.

Water Bus has 11 pick up/drop off locations in east Fort Lauderdale along the Intracoastal Waterway and New River. Float to and from the hotels, shopping, restaurants, beaches and nightlife. Slow and costly, but worth it for the view and romance.

By bicycle

When you visit the beach you will see that many locals bike to the beach. Things in Fort Lauderdale are close, but often further apart than a quick walk. A bike makes everything much closer, and you don't have to find parking. By bike, it is only 10 minutes from the beach to downtown, the supermarkets, or the malls. A bike creates its own breeze so biking is not only quicker and less effort than walking, it's often cooler too.

You can rent a bike, or, if you know you are going to be staying more than a couple of days, it may be more cost effective to buy a $100 bike from a big discount store and sell it or pass it on when you go home. (If you stay a week, you can just about pay for a bike in the money you save on parking.)

There are bike lanes on the road by the beach on A1A and on Las Olas Blvd. going between the beach and downtown and the Riverwalk. Ride in the same direction as the traffic. It is common to take to the sidewalks on the bridges or on major roads when the bike lane disappears.

Because most things are quite close and Florida is very flat, bicycles are a very green, very sane, and relatively quick way to get around. You also get to see more, hear more, and be able to stop easily along the way to take pictures, something that is difficult to do when in a taxi or a car.

See

The beach in the evening

Fort Lauderdale Beach (The Strip)

The most popular section of beach is where A1A runs alongside the beach, between Las Olas Blvd north to Sunrise Blvd.

The "Elbo Room" bar, located at Las Olas Blvd and A1A was featured in the 1960s film Where the Boys Are. The movie led to the city's former reputation as a spring break mecca. The bar anchors the Southern end of the 'Strip', a strip of eating and drinking establishments that run along the land side of the beach road.

Spring Break peaked in the mid 1980s and the city now attracts a more upscale crowd. Fort Lauderdale is in the midst of a luxury condo building boom, this is displacing the hotels that once lined the beach.

The city is more cosmopolitan than most, having lots of Europeans and gay residents. The beach culture reflects the laid back nature of the community. You will find European food in the restaurants and bathers in thong swimsuits.

Downtown/Las Olas Blvd

The downtown area, especially around Las Olas Boulevard, has seen dramatic growth in the past decade, and now hosts many new hotels and high-rise condominium developments. Other improvements include a wide array of new boutiques, art galleries and restaurants.

The entertainment district runs east-west along Las Olas Boulevard. East Las Olas Blvd has a mile of upscale shops and restaurants. Across the railway lines, West Las Olas caters to a younger crowd. There are funky nightclubs and restaurants between the railway lines and the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. In between East and West, there is a new set of shops called Riverside that sits on the RiverWalk. The RiverWalk runs along the north side of the new river, from the shops at Las Olas to the performing arts complex.

Wilton Manors

Wilton Manors is a city surrounded by Fort Lauderdale. It is a popular area for gays and lesbians. It has many guesthouses, restaurants, and bars/nightclubs catering to its gay clientèle. The busy center of the city is Wilton Drive near NE 26 Street. This is only two miles north of downtown Fort Lauderdale.

Suburban Fort Lauderdale/Broward County

Greater Broward County is home to 1.8 million people, and offers an wide array of activities.

Do

There are many things to do in Fort Lauderdale, but the beautiful beach is a prime attraction. There is parking just south of Las Olas Blvd or if that is full, there is plenty more under the Las Olas Blvd Bridge. The machines take cash or credit cards. There is more parking on A1A, North of Sunrise Blvd.

Athletes enjoy running along the road by the beach in the early mornings. On Saturday mornings there is a continual stream. Best viewed from one of the numerous coffee shops or restaurants across the road from the beach.

You can rent a bicycle and explore along the beach, or head inland via Las Olas Blvd, to explore the upscale shops that line Las Olas towards the down town. From Las Olas the RiverWalk connects to the Arts and Entertainment district. Parking at some beach hotels is limited and with things quite close you will find bicycles are a good way to get around. Bicycle on the sidewalks if the traffic scares you.

You can go boating on the miles of waterways, take the water taxi, take a ride in a glass bottom boat or take one of the river cruises like the Jungle Queen. There is also sport or deep sea fishing. If boating is not your thing, then you can just watch the boats go by from the many waterfront bars and restaurants.

There is plenty of shopping. The metropolis has lots of malls. The closest to the beach is the Galleria, about 10 minutes walk from the beach along Sunrise Blvd. The biggest by far is the huge Sawgrass Mills mega mall out on the west side of the city. With over 300 retail outlets it is one of the largest malls in the USA. There is also the 'Swap Shop', that bills itself as 'the largest Drive-In movie theater and daily flea market in the world.'

From Fort Lauderdale you can take a day trip to Miami's South Beach, or closer to home, Hollywood beach. Popping down to visit the night clubs and restaurants along Hollywood Blvd near Young Circle is a close and interesting evening outing.

On Friday and Saturday evenings the bars and clubs along SW 2nd Street come alive with young people. If you are under 35 this is the place to be on weekend nights. Known by locals as Colee Hammock, this is the two blocks on SW 2nd St just West of the rail way tracks, near the Science Museum and Preforming Arts Center. For tourists, or people over 35, there is the RiverSide complex with bars and restaurants just East of the same railway lines.

You can take overnight excursions to the Florida Keys or the Bahamas, but both are just too far away to make good day trips. There are also organized coach trips to the theme parks in Orlando but again a bit too far for day trips. If you are only here for a week it may not make any sense to take several days out to bus hundreds of miles to a different city when there is so much to do here.

Sports

Golfing, snorkeling, scuba diving, and deep sea fishing are very popular sports in the area. The metropolitan area also offers the following spectator sports:

Personal Fitness

There are sports and events held year round; although less frequent in the summer due to the intense heat. There are so many local running races during the cooler months that they may be held just several weeks apart. Greater Fort Lauderdale Road Runners keeps a central listing of running races on their web site.

Other

Buy

Fort Lauderdale, and South Florida in general, is a shoppers paradise. There is something to satisfy everybody's shopping desires. Here are is a list of some of the main districts/destinations:

Independent Stores

Work

Once heavily reliant on tourism and the very large marine industry, Fort Lauderdale's economy is now diverse and based on many small and medium business.

Several large companies are based in the Fort Lauderdale area including: AutoNation USA, Citrix Systems, DHL Express, Spirit Airlines, and National Beverage Corp. Due to its proximity to Miami, Fort Lauderdale is emerging as a location for Latin American headquarters for companies such as Microsoft.

Fort Lauderdale is a major manufacturing and maintenance center for large and expensive private yachts. The boating industry is responsible for over 100,000 jobs in the area. With its many canals, and proximity to the Bahamas and Caribbean, it is also a popular place to keep a yacht, and a major stop for nautical staging and refitting. Unfortunately the boating industry is being squeezed out because waterfront property continues to increase in value and this is forcing some marinas and shipyards to sell out or relocate out of the area. The total number of available boat slips is also declining as marinas are more actively seeking a few large mega-yachts instead of several smaller boats. Even so, the marine industry continues to grow, catering more and more to the mega yachts. There is now a section of the old State Road 84 that has been renamed Marina Mile where the mega yacht industry is booming.

During the 1970s, the city's tourism was largely driven by younger people, because Fort Lauderdale was infamous for being THE spring break destination for college students. This changed in the late 1980s when there was a crack down on underage drinking. Fort Lauderdale is now less of a college spring break destination and does more year round business with European families and upscale US tourists. The city also has a booming cruise ships industry: every day there are shiploads of tourists leaving and arriving at the sea port.

Eat

Fort Lauderdale has countless dining options. Among the most popular areas are Las Olas Blvd, Olde Town Fort Lauderdale, and the Beach.

Downtown/Old Town/Las Olas Blvd

On the Beach/The Strip

Wilton Manors/Close In

Lauderdale by the Sea area

Drink

Fort Lauderdale's former reputation was built by Spring Break, and the city still does not disappoint. There are countless places to have a drink from little 'hole in the walls' to the ultra chic.

Downtown/Old Town/Las Olas

Beach/The Strip

Hole In The Wall

Wilton Manors/Gay & Lesbian

Oakland Park

Sleep

Connect

Phone

In order to make local phone calls, all ten digits of the phone number are required. As such, you'll notice that all local phone numbers include an area code. Currently the local area codes are (954) and (754), both local so you don't dial a 1 first but do dial the area code.

i.e. You dial 954 555 1212 or 754 555 1212

To call anywhere else you must dial 1 then the area code. i.e. To call to Miami from Fort Lauderdale you dial 1 (305) 555 1212

Area codes for Miami are (305) or (786) and for Boca Raton and Palm Beach it is (561).

Media

Fort Lauderdale is served by two English-language newspapers, the Sun-Sentinel|South Florida-Sun Sentinel and The Miami Herald, as well as two Spanish language|Spanish-language newspapers El Sentinel del Sur de la Florida|El Sentinel and El Nuevo Herald.

Fort Lauderdale is considered to be part of the Miami media market, which is the 12th largest radio market and the 17th largest television market in the United States. Television stations serving the Miami area include WAMI (Telefutura), WBFS (UPN), WBZL (WB Television Network|The WB), WFOR (CBS), WHFT (TBN), WLTV (Univision), WPLG (American Broadcasting Company|ABC), WPXM (i television network|i), WSCV (Telemundo), WSVN (Fox Broadcasting Company|FOX), WTVJ (NBC), WPBT (PB), and WLRN (also PBS).

Stay safe

Fort Lauderdale can be very safe but there are some parts of town you should probably avoid if you are on foot at night. Like all cities, you should ask advice on what areas are safe and what to avoid. The areas likely to be frequented by the tourists, along the beach, shopping along Las Olas and down town are safe. This would be the NE and SE parts of the city. You should use more caution if the address is on the West side of the city NW or SW. The intersection of Andrews Ave and Broward Blvd designates the NW NE SW SE sections of the city. Avoid the NW and SW areas, especially at night. The central part of Broward County West of Andrews Ave to the Florida turnpike is not a place for tourists. Suburban cities that should be avoided include Lauderdale Lakes, Lauderhill and especially Sistrunk.

Rental cars stand out as obvious targets for thieves, so never leave valuables in a visible place (put any purchases or valuables in the trunk) and always lock your car doors.

Tourists may find South Florida drivers get impatient with the heavy traffic during high season. Try to plan your route before setting off and remember that US1 tunnels under Las Olas Blvd and the river. It may look like the two intersect on a map but they don't. South Florida has quite a few senior citizens on the road mixed in with their crazy teenaged offspring, so be alert.

Emergency telephone number for fire, police and rescue emergencies is 911.

Cope

When driving, realize traffic is heavy, and there are people from all over the world with completely different driving habits. This feeds South Florida's reputation for having rude drivers. The problem lies in different people with different driving habits and that their ages run from 16 to over 100. Drive carefully and defensively.

Go next

Port Everglades is the nation's second busiest port for cruise ships, after Port of Miami. There are many cruises of varying lengths (1 day to several weeks) available to choose from. The airport offers a free shuttle bus to the port for car renters. Many off-airport rental car locations also offer port shuttles.

South Florida (Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach) is home to over 5.5 million people, and is the 6th largest metropolitan area in the United States. As such, the areas surrounding Fort Lauderdale have plenty to offer, particularly Miami.

Routes through Fort Lauderdale

Orlando Deerfield Beach  N  S  Hollywood Miami
Tampa Deerfield Beach  N  S  Hollywood Miami
West Palm Beach Pompano Beach  N  S  Hollywood Miami
Tampa via Davie  W  E  END
West Palm Beach Pompano Beach  N  S  Hollywood Miami
West Palm Beach Pompano Beach  N  S  Hollywood Miami
West Palm Beach Pompano Beach  N  S  Hollywood Miami


This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Thursday, February 18, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.