Things to do in Fort Lauderdale
The most obvious place to start is, of course, the beach. There's the 7-mile long Fort Lauderdale Beach, but other options include Hollywood Beach, with its funky boardwalk; Deerfield Beach, popular with families; and Sebastian Beach, the section of Fort Lauderdale Beach that's especially popular with gay visitors. There's even a Canine Beach where dogs are allowed in the afternoons and evenings on the weekends. There are other sights beyond the beach:
Las Olas Boulevard. The city's main shopping and dining strip is lined with crowded restaurants, many with outdoor seating, and stores from familiar chains to small boutiques.
Bonnet House Museum and Gardens. This 1920s Caribbean-style plantation house has 35 acres of grounds planted with orchids and native Floridian flora where squirrel monkeys abound.
Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale. The city's art museum hosts visiting exhibitions while its permanent collection is especially strong in works by contemporary Cuban artists.
Broward Center for Performing Arts. If the name sounds serious, the calendar of performances is largely not—Instead you'll find touring companies of Broadway musicals, popular entertainers, and light comedies.
A store dedicated to Brazilian artifacts and furnishings, all made from natural materials. The offerings include mahogany chairs, recycled-wood figurines, and mirrors with frames of banana leaves and papiermâché.
A few miles southeast of Fort Lauderdale, the community of Davie still has rodeos and old Florida cowpokes. You can see why photographer Bruce Weber favors Grifs for Stetson hats, Roper shirts, and Lucchese boots.
This 1924 African-American schoolhouse has been converted into a museum. Its collection includes the "Heritage Room," a re-creation of a 1920's classroom, and a faux 1950's jazz club honoring Cannonball Adderley, once the band director of the school.
If you want to combine shopping with beach time, the Galleria, just a few blocks from the ocean, is the place to go. It features Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus, along with boutiques like Teavana ((954)565-6474), which specializes in all things related to tea.
This 1921 Caribbean-style plantation served as the winter studios of artists Frederic and Evelyn Bartlett, and the whimsical 35-acre spread—complete with wild Brazilian squirrel monkeys, swans, and the Bartletts' ornate murals—is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Beachfront hangout since 1938
The museum of the Seminole Tribe of Florida is also the cultural center of the Seminole Big Cypress Reservation, in the Everglades.
Insider find: A roster of local guides across Africa, including in the Zambezi River Valley, in Zimbabwe, and in Hwange National Park, near the Botswana border. Their walking and canoeing expeditions bring clients face-to-face with bull elephants, rhinos, and lions.
A 60,000-square foot state-of-the-art facility, only the third of its kind in the United States. Be sure to visit the collection of Haitian art and listen to the oral histories on race relations in Broward County.