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.
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.
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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.
South Florida has three airports with commercial service:
- Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport (IATA: FLL), located just two miles south of down town Fort Lauderdale. It is a major airport and popular low cost carrier destination. This is most convenient airport to Fort Lauderdale. Spirit Airlines maintains a hub here; JetBlue, Southwest Airlines, Delta Airlines, and United all also have substantial operations here. FLL is the main domestic airport for the South Florida region. It is also an emerging hub for flights to and from the Latin America and the Caribbean. There are some limited charter flights to and from Europe. Many passengers are bound for or coming from cruises using Port Everglades, some two miles away. Many taxis, cruiseline buses, and hotel/motel shuttles make access to either easy.
- Miami International Airport (IATA: MIA), is located 25 miles south of Fort Lauderdale. It is the major international airport in South Florida, and known as 'The Gateway to the Americas'. Home of American Airlines Latin American hub. There are frequent flights to Europe and many direct flights to the US West Coast; it is a 40 minute drive from Fort Lauderdale using I-95, but can be much, much slower during rush hour. You can catch the Tri-Rail from Miami airport to Fort Lauderdale station for about $4 a head. Then catch the linking bus, or get a cab from the station to the hotel. (More on Tri-Rail below).
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.
- Palm Beach International Airport (IATA: PBI), 1000 Turnage Boulevard, West Palm Beach, Phone: (561) 471-7420. This airport is another option. PBI, however, primarily serves the Palm Beach area and is the least convienent of the three airports for visiting Fort Lauderdale. Nevertheless, you can use Tri-Rail to get from Palm Beach Airport to Fort Lauderdale.
For general aviation:
- Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport (IATA: FXE), West Commercial Boulevard and NW 21st Av. One of the ten largest general aviation airports in the country. It is in the Oakland Park area of the city. This is where you arrive if flying your private plane. Sky Limo Air Charter is headquartered here and offers private flights to and from Ft. Lauderdale.
- See also: rail travel in the US
- Tri-Rail, 1-800-TRI-RAIL. Tri-Rail is a commuter rail line linking Miami Airport, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach in Florida. It is run by the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority. The 72-mile system has 18 stations along the South Florida coast. The train connects to the Metrorail in Miami at the Tri-Rail/Metrorail Transfer Station. For more detailed information refer to the entry. From Miami International Airport you can catch the Tri-Rail to Fort Lauderdale, and then a bus connects you the last mile downtown. Tri-Rail runs less frequently on weekends, so check the schedule.
- Amtrak, 200 SW 21 Terrace, 1-800-872-7245. Provides service to cities up the Atlantic Coast of the United States. Amtrak has two stops in the Fort Lauderdale Area, one in Fort Lauderdale located on Broward Boulevard and I-95, and another one in the suburb of Hollywood on Hollywood Boulevard and I-95. The train goes south to Miami and north to Boca Raton.
- Interstate 95 (I-95) is the major North-South artery along the East side of the city. It connects Fort Lauderdale with the downtowns in Miami and West Palm Beach and goes north to Jacksonville and beyond.
- Florida's Turnpike runs North-South west of the city. To the south it connects to Homestead and the Florida Keys. To the North it connects to Orlando and North Florida.
- I-595/I-75 connects Fort Lauderdale to Florida's West Coast (including Naples, Fort Myers, Sarasota and the Tampa Bay area).
- Greyhound Bus Lines, 510 NE 3 St, toll-free: +1-800-229-9424. downtown.
- Megabus, 2900 Sheridan St (Sheridan St Tri-Rail Station). Service from Orlando and Tampa.
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.
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.
The easiest way to get around Fort Lauderdale and South Florida is by car. If you are renting—all the major national chains, and several local ones, can be found here—it 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.
Taxis are generally expensive, but available at almost any time and place.
- Yellow Cab, ☎ +1 954 777-7777. The largest company in the city.
- Water Taxi. via the Intracoastal waterway and New River. A different way to see the city, its beautiful waterfront mansions, and stately yachts.
- Broward County Transit (BCT), ☎ +1 954 357-8400. The county bus system. BCT provides for connections with the bus systems in other parts of the metropolitan area: Metrobus in Miami-Dade County and Palm Tran in Palm Beach County. Buses are available, but often slow and inconvenient. There is a push to increase bus service.
- Sun Trolley, ☎ +1 954 761-3543. An inexpensive trolley serving the downtown, beach, and convention center areas. It also provides a link from downtown to the Broward Blvd Tri-Rail station. If you're looking for a cheap scenic tour through Fort Lauderdale, ride the Sun-Trolley or take the 11 bus along Las Olas Blvd and A1A.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Beach Place, Located on A1A, north of Las Olas Blvd. A collection of bars, restaurants and retail stores connected to a Marriott hotel.
- Bonnet House, 900 N Birch Rd, ☎ +1 954 563-5393.
- Elbo Room, Las Olas Blvd and A1A. The most famous spring break bar, and one of the few remaining from that period.
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.
- Broward Center for the Performing Arts, 201 SW 5th Ave, ☎ +1 954 522-5334.
- Las Olas Boulevard. An upscale collection of store, restaurants and bars near downtown.
- Museum of Art, E Las Olas Blvd, ☎ +1 954 525-5500.
- Museum of Discovery and Science, 401 SW Second St, ☎ +1 954 467-6637.
- Old Fort Lauderdale Village & Museum.
- Stranahan House, 335 SE 6th Ave, ☎ +1 954 524-4736.
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.
- African American Research Library and Cultural Center.
- Antique Car Museum, 1527 Packard (SW 1st) Av., ☎ +1 954 779-7300. Collection of pre-war Packard automobiles and other memorabilia.
- Boomers! Rollercoaster Park, 1801 NW 1st St, ☎ +1 954 921-1411. Go here for exciting rides and to let loose.
- Butterfly World / Tradewinds Park, 3600 W Sample Rd, Coconut Creek, ☎ +1 954 977-4400. Come here to see exotic butterflies and to get in touch with nature.
- Billie Swamp Safari, Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation, toll-free: +1-800-GO-SAFARI (46-723274). Swamp Buggy Eco-Tours, Airboat Rides, Animal & Reptile Exhibits, Day/Overnight Packages and Exclusive Tours.
- Cypress Airboat Rides, ☎ +1 561 798-2884. Explore this ecosystem on a heart pounding ride, or a more relaxed airboat tour. Open year round.
- Florida Everglades Holiday Park, 21940 Griffin Rd (west to end of Griffen road), ☎ +1 954 434-8111. Amazing wetlands and possibly an alligator or two.
- Flamingo Gardens and Wray Botanical Collection, 3750 S. Flamingo Rd, Davie, ☎ +1 954 473-2955. If you are an outdoors person, or just want to see our state bird you have to visit here. Adults $17, Children Ages 4-11 $8.50, Ages 3 and under Free.
- Fort Lauderdale Swap Shop. A large indoor/outdoor flea market with the country's largest drive-in movie complex (13 screens).
- Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, 3109 East Sunrise Blvd, ☎ +1 954 564-4521. 2$ per Car, 1$ per Person.
- Sawgrass Mills, Located in the suburburb of Sunrise, some 10 miles to the west.. The world's largest outlet mall.
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.
Golfing, snorkeling, scuba diving, and deep sea fishing are very popular sports in the area. The metropolitan area also offers the following spectator sports:
- The Florida Panthers of the National Hockey League play at BankAtlantic Center in suburban Sunrise, Florida.
- Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens is the home to the Miami Dolphins of the NFL and the annual Orange Bowl college football game held in early January. The stadium is 17 miles South-West of Fort Lauderdale.
- Major League Baseball's Miami Marlins play home games at Marlins Park in Miami, 28 miles southwest of Fort Lauderdale.
- The Miami Heat of the National Basketball Association play at AmericanAirlines Arena in downtown Miami, located 23 miles south of Fort Lauderdale.
- International Swimming Hall of Fame is located at Fort Lauderdale Beach.
- South Florida also hosts the college sports teams of Florida Atlantic University, Florida International University, Nova Southeastern University, and University of Miami.
- The Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the North American Soccer League play at Lockhart Stadium in North Fort Lauderdale only 12 miles from the downtown area.
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.
- The swimming Hall of Fame pool complex is one block back from the beach. A world class venue where top athletes swim. There are a number of national swimming meets throughout the year.
- There are a good number of local Triathlons, mostly the shorter sprint distances.
- Jungle Queen. Dinner cruise featuring sites along the New River in and around downtown.
- Pier Fishing at Commercial Blvd, Atlantic Blvd, Hillsboro Blvd and Dania Beach. Each area has long piers into ocean, and fishing available.
- Bahia Mar Marina. Just across from the beach. You can walk around the marina and look at luxury boats and yachts owned by the well-heeled. On one jetty there is a monument and plaque announcing slip F-18 as an American Literary Landmark - this is where author John D MacDonald's fictional hero, Travis McGee , moored his 52-foot houseboat The Busted Flush (21 Travis McGee novels were published).
- Flamingo Fishing. A drift fishing boat that makes 3 trips daily from the Bahia Mar Marina. The boat supplies all the equipment and supplies needed for deep sea fishing.
- Miss Bonita 2 Sport Fishing. The Miss Bonita II is a sport fishing charter that takes 3 trips daily from the Bahia Mar Marina. Our Trips includes all the equipment and supplies needed for deep sea fishing. Call for special rates and all inclusive trips.
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:
- Shops on Las Olas Blvd,Little specialty shops and upscale restaurants line Las Olas Blvd, starting down town and running East on Las Olas Blvd for a mile, to SE 15th Avenue. Most shops and restaurants are open late in the evenings.
- Galleria Mall, Sunrise Blvd and Bayview Dr. Fort Lauderdale's regional mall. Has over 200 stores including: Neiman Marcus, Macy's, Dillard's, and Saks Fifth Avenue. This is only 1/4 of a mile, about ten minutes walk from the beach.
- Sawgrass Mills, located in city of Sunrise at Sunrise Blvd and NW 136 Ave. One of the world's largest malls for shopping, dining, and entertainment.
- Broward Mall, located in Plantation at Broward Blvd, and University Drive.
- Coral Square Mall, located in Coral Springs at Atlantic Blvd. and University Dr.
- Festival Flea Market, located in Pompano Beach on Sample Rd, just east of Florida's Turnpike. Large indoor flea market.
- Pembroke Lakes Mall, located in Pembroke Pines at Pines Blvd. and Flamingo Rd.
- Pompano Square, located in Pompano Beach at US1 (Federal Hwy) and Copans Rd.
- Aventura Mall, large, upscale regional mall located in Aventura.
- Boca Town Center, large, upscale regional mall located in Boca Raton.
- Swap Shop. +1 954 583-2221. The Swap Shop is an older flea market located west on Sunrise Blvd. at a drive-in movie. Along with getting your hair braided you can shop for fruits, vegetables, clothes, nick knacks, and practically any other things other locations would not have.
- Clothes Encounters, 1952 E Sunrise Blvd, ☎ +1 954 522-2228. Fort Lauderdale. Huge selection of funny t-shirts along with basic swimwear and gifts.
- Flagler Antiques, 720 Flagler Dr. Fort Lauderdale. 10,000 Square Feet of antiques.
- Orchids Care, 3369 West Fork Dr. Provide insightful tips and techniques on growing orchids.
- Shop at Swap Shop. Get your hair braided there Phone: +1 954 583-2221. The Swap Shop is an older flee market located east on Sunrise Blvd. Along with getting your hair braided you can shop for fruits, vegetables, clothes, nick knacks, and you can practically find other things that other locations would not have.
- Zoo 14, 1208 NE 4th Ave, ☎ +1 954 763-9666. Fort Lauderdale. Men's designer clothing and club wear.
- Lilac And Lilies Boutique, 2541 E. Sunrise Blvd, ☎ +1 954 530-3109. Fort Lauderdale. Women's designer clothing and accessories.
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.
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
- Big City Tavern, 623 E.Las Olas Blvd. Great atmosphere, outside seating available. Sandwiches to steaks served.
- Capital Grille, Galleria Mall. Upscale restaurant featuring excellent service and great steaks. Incredible wine selection.
- Cheesecake Factory, 620 E.Las Olas Blvd, ☎ +1 954 463-1999. Located at base of Riverside Hotel where Las Olas meets the Tunnel. Popular chain featuring a large menu and countless desserts.
- Chima, E.Las Olas Blvd. Excellent Brazilian rodizio. Great salad bar too.
- Jalisco, 700 N.Federal Hwy, ☎ +1 954 462-9695. Small, family owned Mexican restaurant. Looks can be deceiving as excellent, yet affordable cuisine is served with a smile.
- Laffing Matterz, 219 S. Andrews Ave, ☎ +1 954 763-5236. After you dine on chef-prepared fare, their cutting-edge musical satire will leave you wiping tears of laughter from your eyes!
- Mango's, 900 E.Las Olas Blvd. Popular and reasonably priced. Outside seating is available and there is often live music.
- PF Chang's, Galleria Mall. Popular national chain, serving non-traditional Chinese food.
On the Beach/The Strip
- Dos Caminos, 1140 Seabreeze Boulevard (in the B Ocean Hotel), ☎ +1 954 727 7090. Su 12PM-3PM 5:30PM-11PM, M-Sa 7AM-2:30PM 5:30PM-11PM. Modern Mexican cuisine, made-to-order guacamole & tequila cocktails. $12-$26.
- Monster Subs, 1978 E Sunrise Blvd, ☎ +1 954 463-7997. Sub shop known for handing you some of the meat to sample while you are waiting for them to make your sub.
- Trina, Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd (A1A). At The Atlantic Hotel. Award winning restaurant featuring a Florida-Caribbean cuisine.
- St Barts Coffee Shop, On the beach (A1A), 2 blocks south of Las Olas Blvd. Outside tables under umbrellas. It's where the locals go for coffee and breakfast.
Wilton Manors/Close In
- Alibi, 2266 Wilton Dr, ☎ +1 954 565-2526. Wilton Manors. Gay bar & casual restaurant (hamburgers & sandwiches). Friendly, diverse "straight-friendly" crowd; lunch & dinner served both indoors & outside under covered patio area. Very reasonably priced.
- Galanga, 2389 Wilton Dr (on the main drag in Wilton Manors), ☎ +1 954 202-0000. Mo-Th 11:30AM-10:30PM, Fr 11:30AM-11PM; Sa 1:30PM-11PM, Su 5PM-10:30PM. Thai and Asian-fusion food. Great food, great atmosphere, enjoy the patio year 'round
- Mai Kai, 3599 N. Federal Highway, ☎ +1 954 563-3272. Along Polynesian food, you can view a show with fire.
- Rosie's, Wilton Drive. Great hamburgers and lite fare, with large outdoor seating area. Fun gay-themed restaurant, with live music on weekends.
- Tasty Thai, 2254 Wilton Dr, ☎ +1 954 396-3177. Wilton Manors. True authentic Thai Cuisine, get there early for dinner and get a complete meal at a reasonable price.
Lauderdale by the Sea area
- Pomperdale, 3055 East Commercial Blvd, ☎ +1 954 771-9830. An excellent New York Jewish style deli.
- The Village Grille, 4404 El Mar Dr, ☎ +1 954 776-5092. Lauderdale-By-The-Sea. Great place for breakfast, lunch and dinner or just drinks. Next to the beach. $8-$12. Try the banana nut pancakes, they are to die for.
- 101 Ocean, 101 E Commercial Blvd (Head East on Commercial blvd to Ocean it's on the corner of El-Mar & Commercial), ☎ +1 954 776-8101. 11AM-2AM. Really cool restaurant with a great outdoor bar. Perfect for people watching and 50 yards from the ocean. They have arguably the best happy hour in town: 50% off ALL drinks from 5-7PM, 7 days a week. Food and drink are both great—try the flatbreads or the cowboy steak.
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.
- Aruba beach cafe, one east commercial blvd (take commercial avenue east to end), ☎ +1 954 766-0001. open for lunch and dinner. A fun place for all ages with free live music from techno, pop to the beatles every day at 10PM average $15 to $30.
- ZEN BAR (Marando Farms), 1401 SW 1st AVE (South of Davie & West of Andrews, behind Tap 42), ☎ +1 9549378546, e-mail: email@example.com. M-F 10-6 & Sat/Sun 9-5. Cold-pressed raw, organic juices and smoothies. Zen Bar offers a wide selection of superfoods & also features a beautiful collection of crystals.
Downtown/Old Town/Las Olas
- Riverfront is a collection of stores and bars on the west side of the downtown district.
- Tarpon Bend, 200 SW 2 St (Old Town). Great beer specials and popular on weekends.
- Voodoo Lounge, 100 SW 2 Ave. Old Town. Popular dance club.
- Beach Place is on A1A across from the beach. It has many bars and restaurants, and is very popular on the weekends.
- Elbo Room famous spring break landmark at Las Olas Blvd and A1A.
- Fat Tuesday's, Beach Place. Great ocean views and strong frozen drinks. Perfect combo for fun.
- Shooters is on the Intracoastal Waterway, south of Oakland Park Blvd. Very popular with the yacht crowd, as there are boat slips available.
Hole In The Wall
- Grady's Bar, 905 S. Andrews Ave. At is a hangout for locals, open since 1940. Cheap drinks and food, cash only.
- Flossie's Bar and Grill 3985 Angler's Avenue on the opposite side of I-95 from the airport. Outdoor tiki bar with live music some nights. Popular biker hangout.
Wilton Manors/Gay & Lesbian
- Georgie's Alibi. At the Shoppes of Wilton Manors. Wilton Dr. and NE 6 Ave.
- Boom. A nightclub at Shoppes of Wilton Manors. Wilton Dr and NE 6 Ave.
- Roxanne's on Main. On the corner of Dixie Highway and Oakland Park. Music, drinks and food.
- Best Western Plus Fort Lauderdale Airport South Inn & Suites Hotel, 1900 Stirling Rd, ☎ +1 954 926-7300. Adjacent Fort Lauderdale International Airport and Port Everglades Cruise Ship Terminal, Suites available. Amenities include: high speed internet, cable, refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker, outdoor pool, complimentary breakfast, workout facilities, meeting space, airport shuttle
- Las Olas Blvd. luxury waterfront , Ocean ,Beach (Rentals Vacation Management), ☎ +1 954 604-3005. Check-out: vars.. Beautiful apartment with a breathtaking water view in a brand new building. Conveniently located on a world famous Las Olas Blvd. 0,5 miles from the ocean and walking distance to all the restaurants and shops. Apartment features Italian kitchen with stainless steel appliances and granite counter tops, marble bathroom and marble floors throughout the unit. Fully furnished with a brand new furniture, all utilities included. Two bedroom two bathroom apartments also available.
- Lauderdale by the Sea Vacation Rental Villa by the Ocean (Rentals Vacation Management), ☎ +1 954 604-3005. Steps to the beach in one of the safest cities in South Florida,public tennis and basketball courts,and access to sport fishing. Close proximity to over 50 public championship golf courses. Minutes to downtown Ft. Lauderdale, Las Olas Blvd., and the Performing Arts Center and numerous fine dining establishments. 20 minutes to Ft. Lauderdale Airport . vars..
- Bahia Mar, 801 Seabreeze Blvd, toll-free: +1-888-802-2442. A beachside resort that offers an array of leisure pursuits, including a premier yachting center, a charter fishing fleet, and a championship golf at Grande Oaks Golf Club.
- , 250 Racquet Club Rd, ☎ +1 954 389-3300. Full-service spa, two 18-hole PGA championship courses and five inviting pools.
- Elysium Resort, 552 N Birch Rd, ☎ +1 954 564-9601. Large resort catering to gay men. Jacuzzi and two pools.
- Embassy Suites, 1100 SE 17th St, ☎ +1 954 527-2700. An all-suite hotel situated in the heart of Fort Lauderdale.
- Fort Lauderdale Grande Hotel & Yacht Club, 1881 SE 17th St, ☎ +1 954 463-4000. Located at the edge of the splendid Intracoastal Waterway. Across from the Broward County Convention Center.
- FTL Vacation Rentals, toll-free: +1-800-954-5309. Offering 1, 2 and 3 bedroom vacation homes. NE 17th Ave @ NE 12th St.
- Harbor Beach Resort and Spa, 3030 Holiday Dr. Features a private beach and an 8,000 square foot tropical lagoon pool. Recognized as a Top Ten World's Best Wreck Diving, Marine Life and Value Dive Destination located off the 1/4 mile shores of Harbor Beach are two reefs and four dive sites.
- Hyatt Place, 91 Southwest 18th Ave, ☎ +1 954 922-0436. Rooms with free Wi-Fi, work space, refrigerator,flat screen TV, and alarm clock with MP3 connections. Guests have access to free airport shuttle, free parking, free breakfast,pool and fitness center. $113.
- Hyatt Summerfield Suites, 90 Southwest 18th Ave, ☎ +1 954 922 0271. Suites with full kitchens, free Wi-Fi, work space, flat screen TV, and alarm clock with MP3 connections. Guests have access to free parking, free breakfast, pool and fitness center. $120.
- Liberty Apartment & Garden Suites, 1500 S.W. Second Ave, ☎ +1 954 927-0090. (Dania Beach). Greater Fort Lauderdale's first and only exclusive extended stay resort hotel welcoming the gay and lesbian community and their pets.
- Marys Resort, 1115 Tequesta St, ☎ +1 954 523-3500, toll-free: +1-866-805-6570. Pet friendly, 4 cottages, heated swimming pool and Jacuzzi. Most have kitchenettes or full kitchens. Location is near the cultural area of Downtown, but close to beaches.
- The Royal Palms, 2901 Terramar St, ☎ +1 954 564-6444, toll-free: +1-800-237-7256. The Royal Palms is rated the # 1 gay resort in North America by Planet Out, the gay travel experts. The decor is delicious, the service exceptional and amenities without parallel in the gay guesthouse world. A gem in the heart of gay Ft. Lauderdale.
- Sheraton Suites - Cypress Creek, 555 NW 62nd St, ☎ +1 954 772-5400. In the middle of the north business district.
- Worthington Guest House, 543 N.Birch Rd, toll-free: +1-800-445-7036. The Worthington Guest House is a gay men's resort in "The Island" area of Ft Lauderdale. They boast 12 man jacuzzi and a large pool, both of which are open 24 hours a day. The Worthington is convenient to the town's gay nightlife, dining and shopping and only a 5-minute walk to the popular Sebastion Street Beach.
- Windamar Beach Resort, 543 Breakers Ave, ☎ +1 954 561-0039. Fort Lauderdale's friendliest gay guesthouse. Clothing optional throughout. Large heated 24 hour pool and a brand new hot tub. Lush landscape, newly renovated fully air conditioned rooms. Video lounge / dark room complex. Day passes available. Free BBQ & refreshments on weekends. Great place to meet locals. A few steps away from the gay beach, at Sebastian. Pet friendly.
- Wyndham - Airport, 1870 Griffin Rd, ☎ +1 954 920-3300. Adjacent to the FLL Airport and features 388 sound-proof rooms.
- Cambria Suites Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (Cambria Suites Florida hotel), 141 SW 19th Ct, ☎ +1 954 889-2600. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. 100 percent non-smoking, all-suite hotel located four miles from the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. $89 to $149.
- The Westin Beach Resort, Fort Lauderdale, 321 North Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd, ☎ +1 954 467-1111. Opened March 15, 2009, after completing the first phase in a multi-million dollar rebirth.
- Courtyard Fort Lauderdale Airport & Cruise Port, 400 Gulf Stream Way (Dania Beach), ☎ +1 954 342-8333. Renovated hotel off I-95. Minutes from Port Everglades and Fort Lauderdale Airport - offers free shuttle service to both.
- Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa (Fort Lauderdale Marriott), 3030 Holiday Drive, ☎ +1 954-525-4000. Check-in: 4:00 PM, check-out: 11:00 AM. Oceanfront hotel with 16 acres of private beaches, spa, and 100,000 Sq Ft for indoor and outdoor events.
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).
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).
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.
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.
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|