This is a city that can never be entirely separated from its fun-and-sun mythology and the raucous spring-break hijinks immortalized in such 1960’s movies as Where the Boys Are. Many visitors never leave the promenade, with its signature white wave wall, or Las Olas Boulevard, the Rodeo Drive of Fort Lauderdale. But ambitious day-trippers can ﬁnd examples of the city’s rich cultural mix in the elegant 1920’s bungalows along Sailboat Bend and a slew of Jamaican and Brazilian restaurants. Port Everglades is international and quite lively— after all, it’s the second-busiest cruise port in the world. Better still, the port is close to the center of Fort Lauderdale. In minutes, you can be eating Bimini bread in atmospheric locals-only joints, channeling spring-breaks past in hallowed bars, or watching wild Brazilian squirrel monkeys scamper through lush estates.
A few rowdy kids can ruin a city's reputation. It has taken some time for this Florida beach town to shake the image of thousands of college students loose on spring break, but if you visit Fort Lauderdale today, you'll find it's changed since the '80s. Yes, it's still a popular destination for some students, but others travel to Fort Lauderdale too: Northeastern snowbirds, gay and lesbian visitors, and families, of all stripes. As our Fort Lauderdale travel guide explains, the beachfront hotels are five-star operations, one of Florida's best beaches is clean and quiet, and the bars are as likely to serve artisanal cocktails as pitchers of cheap beer.
Things Not to Miss in Fort Lauderdale
Museum of Discovery and Science, Flamingo Gardens, Las Olas Beach, Sawgrass Recreation Park, and Bonnet House Museum and Gardens.
When to go to Fort Lauderdale
Fort Lauderdale travel tends to peak in the winter, thanks in large part to the many flights arriving filled with people fleeing the cold Northeast. But unlike some beach towns, this city never shuts down. You can visit Fort Lauderdale at the peak of summer, take advantage of off-season rates, and find all the bars and restaurants are open.
Shopping for designer labels at Sawgrass Mills—with over 300 shops, it’s Florida’s most extensive outlet mall.
Breakfast at the Floridian, a beloved old-school diner adorned with celeb photos that’s open round the clock.
Escaping to the whimsical 35-acre Bonnet House Museum & Gardens, a 1921 Carribean-style plantation-cum-artist residence.