Fort Lauderdale is known as the "Venice of America" due to its expansive and intricate canal system. It is in Broward County, Florida , United States. Population is over 170,000.
The city is most famous for its beaches and boats.
While the city of Fort Lauderdale is relatively small, 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 in the middle of the South Florida metropolitan area ( Miami -Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach), 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.
Fort Lauderdale has a humid tropical monsoon climate. The city does experience some cold fronts between November and March, during the dry season, however most of the winter is warm and mild. The summers are hot and muggy, with temperatures in the upper 80s and low 90s lasting into early fall.
The city sees most of its rain in the summer (wet season), and although some wet cold fronts come through in the winter, the winter is mainly dry (dry season) with mild temperatures broken up by invasions of colder air and some rain when the fronts come through.
May to September is the summer wet season. During the summer, it is hot and humid, with the prevailing wind bringing the warm tropical breeze blowing up from the Caribbean. 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 sharp showers in the afternoon, which helps to cool the air off for a cooler and generally dryer evening.
The Atlantic hurricane season largely coincides with the mid to latter part of the summer wet season.
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 ºF (24 ºC). Summer temperatures are commonly in the high 80s to low 90s (30-35 °C), which is often relieved by the sea breeze, that 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 ºF (15 ºC), rarely dipping below 40 ºF (4 ºC) 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 major 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 is served by four airports:
- Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport (IATA : FLL) (ICAO : KFLL), 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 Continental Connection 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, . Primarily serves the Palm Beach area with flights to the Northeast Corridor. You can use Tri-Rail to get from Palm Beach Airport to Fort Lauderdale.
- 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 Cypress Creek area of the city. This is where you arrive if flying your private plane.
- 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 Street downtown, telephone 1-800-229-9424, .
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.
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".
NOTE: The US1 does NOT intersect with Las Olas blvd. Your map is wrong if it says otherwise. US1 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, 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 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.
On Airport car rental companies include:
- Alamo Rent A Car, ☎ +1-800-462-5266
- Avis Rent A Car, ☎ +1-800-331-1212
- Budget Rent A Car, ☎ +1-800-527-0700
- Dollar Rent A Car, ☎ +1-800-800-3665
- E-Z Rent-A-Car, ☎ +1-800-277-5171
- Enterprise Rent-A-Car, ☎ +1-800-261-7331
- Hertz Car Rental, ☎ +1-800-654-3131
- Thrifty, ☎ +1-800-847-4389
Off Airport car rental companies with Shuttle include:
- Sunshine Rent A Car, ☎ +1-888-786-7446
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, ☎ +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's only 10 minutes from the beach to downtown, the supermarkets, or the malls. A bike creates it's 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 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 along side 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 1960's 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 1980's 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, 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 Street, ☎ +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, ☎ +1 800 GO-SAFARI Swamp Buggy Eco-Tours, Aiboat 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 Here you can see our 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 $8.50, Ages 3 and under Free.
- Fort Lauderdale Swap Shop, A large indoor/outdoor flea market with the country's largest drive-in movie complex (13 screens).
- Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, 3109 East Sunrise Boulevard, ☎ 954-564-4521 2$ 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.
Things to do
There are many things to do in Fort Lauderdale, but the beautiful beach is a prime attraction. There 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 Saturdays 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, 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 Galaria, 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 Cooley 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.
- Discovery Cruise Line sails every day to the Bahamas , departing at 7:45AM & returning at 10PM.
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.
- The Florida Marlins of Major League Baseball and the Miami Dolphins play at Dolphins Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. The stadium is 17 miles South-West 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.
Because the weather is good, there are year round events and races. Unlike the rest of the USA which closes up during the Winter, there are sports and events year round. There are so many local running races during the cooler months that there may be as many as three or four races on a week end. 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 through out 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 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, ☎ (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, ☎ (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 Avenue, ☎ 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
- Monster Subs, 1978 E Sunrise Blvd, 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
- Mai Kai, 3599 N. Federal Highway. Phone: +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, Wilton Manors, Phone: +1 954-396-3177. True authentic Thai Cuisine, get there early for dinner and get a complete meal at a reasonable price.
- Georgies Alibi, 2266 Wilton Dr, Wilton Manors, Phone: +1 954-565-2526. Gay bar & casual restaurant (hamburgers & sandwiches). Friendly, diverse "straight-friendly" crowd; lunch & dinner served both indoors & outside under covered patio area. Very reasonably priced.
Lauderdale by the Sea area
- Pomperdale' 3055 East Commercial Boulevard (954) 771-9830 An excellent New York Jewish style deli.
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.
- Tropic Seas Resort, 4616 El Mar Drive (Lauderdale By The Sea, FL 33308), ☎ (954) 772-2555 8:00 a.m - 8:00 p.m.. Welcome to Tropic Seas Resort, situated directly on the beach in the charming seaside village of Lauderdale By The Sea. Our desirable accommodations is perfect for both international vacationers and the domestic travelers seeking that relaxing tropical get-away. Tropic Seas is centrally located and within easy walking and driving distance to the famous fishing pier, where you can experience the delectable tastes of sidewalk cafes, groove into the evening’s nightlife, shop at the various boutiques and souvenirs stores, have a day at the beach with the wealth of beachfront activities offered and experience Florida’s various cultural events.
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 Street (Old Town). Great beer specials and popular on weekends.
- Voodoo Lounge, 100 SW 2 Avenue,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 at 905 S. Andrews Avenue 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.
- Fort Lauderdale Marriott North, 6650 Andrews Avenue, ☎ 954-771-0440 Located in Cypress Creek, FL this pre-cruise hotel offers lodging, dining and facilities for meetings and weddings. The hotel also offers vacation packages and deals for family vacations and getaways.
- Marriott's BeachPlace Towers, 21 S. Ft. Lauderdale Beach Boulevard, ☎ (954) 525-4440 Nestled between the beaches of the Atlantic & Intracoastal Waterway, Marriott's Fort Lauderdale beach villas at BeachPlace Towers are the ultimate seaside retreat.
- Fort Lauderdale Beach Hostel (Rentals Vacation Management), 2115 N. Ocean Blvd, ☎ 1(954) 567-7275 Nice hostel only a few blocks from Ft. Lauderdale Beach. Hostel also has private rooms available. Dorms are spacious, there are kitchens, lounges, free telephone and a free computer with internet access, as well as wi-fi throughout the building. Public transportation in front of the hostel, free parking. There is no lockout. Current office hours (Feb 2010) are 10 AM-3 PM and 6 PM-10 PM. Please note there is no luggage storage available whatsoever. Also, lockers are provided, but are fairly small. The hostel only accepts cash as a method of payment. $22 (4-bed single-sex dorms).
- Las Olas Blvd. luxury waterfront , Ocean ,Beach (Rentals Vacation Management), ☎ 1(954)604-3005 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 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..
- The Atlantic, a Starwood Luxury Collection resort. On Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd. (A1A).
- Bahia Mar, 801 Seabreeze Boulevard (Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33316), ☎ 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.
- The Bonaventure Resort & Spa Fort Lauderdale Hotel, 250 Racquet Club Rd, +1 954-389-3300, . Full-service spa, two 18-hole PGA championship courses and five inviting pools.
- El Palacio Ft. Lauderdale Resort, 4900 Powerline Road , +1 954.776.4880, .
- Days Inn Ft Lauderdale/Oakland Park, 1595 West Oakland Park Blvd., +1 954-484-9290, .
- Elysium Resort, 552 N Birch Road, Phone: +1 954-564-9601, . Large resort catering to gay men. Jacuzzi and two pools.
- Embassy Suites, 1100 SE 17th St., Phone: +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 (Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33316), ☎ (954) 463-4000 Located at the edge of the splendid Intracoastal Waterway. Across from the Broward County Convention Center.
- FTL Vacation Rentals, offering 1, 2 and 3 bedroom vacation homes. NE 17th Ave @ NE 12th St, Phone: +1 800-954-5309, .
- Harbor Beach Resort and Spa, 3030 Holiday Drive 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.
- Hawthorn Suites,2201 N. Commerce Pkwy., +1 (954) 659-1555, Fax: +1 (954) 659-1191, .
- Hyatt Regency Bonaventure, 250 Racquet Club Road. Weston, FL 33326, Newly renovated. Golf Resort & Spa Complex situated on 23 acres. 20 minutes away from airport and beaches. With an Elizabeth Arden - Red Door Lifestyle Spa, fitness facility, three outdoor swimming pools and nearby golf and tennis.
- Liberty Apartment & Garden Suites, 1500 S.W. Second Avenue, (Dania Beach), +1 954-927-0090, . 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 Street, Phone: +1 954-523-3500 or 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 Street , Phone: +1 954-564-6444 or +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., Phone: +1 954-772-5400, . In the middle of the north business district.
- TownePlace Suites Fort Lauderdale West, 3100 Prospect Road, Phone: +1 954-484-2214, Fax: +1 954-484-4533, .
- Worthington Guest House, 543 N.Birch Road, 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 Avenue, +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 Road, Phone: +1 954-920-3300, . Adjacent to the FLL Airport and features 388 sound-proof rooms.
- The Westin Beach Resort, Fort Lauderdale, 321 North Fort Lauderdale Beach Boulevard, ☎ 954-467-1111 Opened March 15, 2009, after completing the first phase in a multi-million dollar rebirth.
- Tropic Seas Resort, 4616 El Mar Drive (Lauderdale By The Sea, FL 33308), ☎ (954) 772-2555 Welcome to Tropic Seas Resort, situated directly on the beach in the charming seaside village of Lauderdale By The Sea. Our desirable accommodations is perfect for both international vacationers and the domestic travelers seeking that relaxing tropical get-away. Tropic Seas is centrally located and within easy walking and driving distance to the famous fishing pier, where you can experience the delectable tastes of sidewalk cafes, groove into the evening’s nightlife, shop at the various boutiques and souvenirs stores, have a day at the beach with the wealth of beachfront activities offered and experience Florida’s various cultural events. See Website.
- Cambria Suites Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (Cambria Suites Florida hotel), 141 SW 19th Court, ☎ (954) 889-2600 100 percent non-smoking, all-suite hotel located four miles from the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. $89 to $149.
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.
- Archives Book Cafe, CLOSED 1948 E Sunrise Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, Phone: +1 954-764-8212. Good selection of hard to find books and has a small coffee shop and cafe.
- Clothes Encounters, 1952 E Sunrise Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, Phone: +1 954-522-2228. Huge selection of funny t-shirts along with basic swimwear and gifts.
- Flagler Antiques, 720 Flagler Drive, Fort Lauderdale. 10,000 Square Feet of antiques.
- Orchids Care, 3369 West Fork Drive, Fort Lauderdale.Provide insightful tips and techniques on growing orchids. Orchids Care
- 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 Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, Phone: +1 954-763-9666. Men's designer clothing and club wear.
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.
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.
Fort Lauderdale's economy is very diverse. Once it was heavily reliant on tourism and the very large marine industry but it now has a very diverse economy 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 1980's when there was a crack down on underage drinking. Fort Lauderdale is now less spring collage spring break destination and does more year round business with European families and upscale US tourists. There city also has a booming cruise ships industry: Every day there are ship loads of tourists leaving and arriving at the sea port.
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 .