20 BEST Things to do in Fort Lauderdale [2021 UPDATED]

More than just a destination for college spring break, Fort Lauderdale, found on Florida’s southeastern coast, is full of sunshine and white sandy beaches. Known as the Yachting Capital of the World, this place is also beloved for incredible restaurants, boutique shopping, and thriving nightlife. Just 25 miles north of Miami, Fort Lauderdale is the perfect location to experience quintessential Florida. Also home to an impressive amount of golf courses, an admirable collection of museums, and an unbeatable 3,000 hours of sunshine every year, there’s so much to love in this state. A yearly average temperature of 75 degrees Fahrenheit makes the city a desirable destination any time of the year. Whatever your reason for visiting, there are so many amazing things to do. Read on to discover this extensive list of things to do in Fort Lauderdale, and get Florida dreaming!

Things to do in Fort Lauderdale

 

1) Fort Lauderdale Beach 

At the top of the to-do list for anyone visiting Florida are the beaches. Fort Lauderdale Beach is a gorgeous expanse of stretching sand set against sparkling blue waters. The Fort Lauderdale Beach Promenade is the best place to start at Fort Lauderdale Beach, connecting the beach with places to rent bicycles, restaurants to dine at, and shops to do some souvenir shopping. Many hotels line the periphery of Fort Lauderdale Beach, making it a popular place to stay. Whether you’re just coming to sunbathe or want to try a new outdoor adventure, you’ll find it at Fort Lauderdale Beach.

Phone: (954) 828-5000
Address: A1A between Las Olas and Sunrise Boulevards, Frt Lauderdale, FL 33301
Website: www.sunny.org

 

2) Las Olas Boulevard

The place to go for shopping and dining in Fort Lauderdale, Las Olas Boulevard should be visited at least once by every Fort Lauderdale tourist. Running from Andrews Avenue in the Central Business District to A1A and Fort Lauderdale Beach, Las Olas Boulevard is a beautiful street adjacent to canals and the oceanside. More than just a tourist destination, Las Olas Boulevard is also frequented by locals for business and leisure. Stroll down Las Olas Boulevard and feel the vibrant energy of Fort Lauderdale, with al fresco dining, art galleries, and over 65 one-of-a-kind shops. Additionally, be sure to spend time at Las Olas Beach which is the perfect place to watch the sunset.

Phone: Las Olas Association: (954) 258-8382
Address: Las Olas connects Downtown Fort Lauderdale with A1A and the Frt Lauderdale Beach/Atlantic Ocean
Website: lasolasboulevard.com

 

3) Bonnet House Museum and Gardens

Once the home of wealthy Chicago-born artist, Frederic Clay Bartlett and his wife, Evelyn Fortune Bartlett, the Bonnett House Museum and Gardens is a must-see for any art or architecture lover. A beautiful expanse of 35-acres, with immaculately kept garden grounds, the Bonnet House Museum and Gardens showcases art by Frederic as well as his personal art collection he amassed. The gardens are equally stunning to walk around and offer a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of downtown Fort Lauderdale.

Phone: (954) 563-5393
Address: 900 N Birch Rd, Frt Lauderdale, FL 33304
Website: www.bonnethouse.org

 

4) Intracoastal Waterway

Known as the Venice of America, Fort Lauderdale is connected by a network of canals, inlets, and waterways that comprise the Intracoastal Waterway. There are a number of ways to experience the Intracoastal Waterway while in Fort Lauderdale, from water taxis to kayak rentals. Although the waterways are best seen on the water, if you prefer your feet on dry land, it’s easy to experience the Intracoastal Waterway restaurant-side from one of Fort Lauderdale’s many venues. Riverfront cruises chartered by companies such as Fort Lauderdale Riverfront Cruises are an additional way to experience the waterways without getting wet.

Phone: No Phone Number Listed
Address: 
Rua Professor Carlos de Carvalho 75 AP 41, Frt Lauderdale, FL 04531-080
Website:
www.sunny.org

 

5) Hugh Taylor Birch State Park

Hugh Taylor Birch State Park is located within Fort Lauderdale proper and offers an incredible natural refuge of 180-acres. Swimming, camping, picnicking, and canoeing are all some of the options available at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, making it a favorite with locals and tourists alike. Open daily from 8 am to 5:30 pm, Hugh Taylor Birch State Park is $6/vehicle upon entry. The park is known as Fort Lauderdale’s Central Park, and one can easily while away a day at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park.

Phone: (954) 564-4521
Address: 3109 E Sunrise Blvd, Frt Lauderdale, FL 33304
Website: www.floridastateparks.org

 

6) Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale 

Another win for Fort Lauderdale’s green spaces is the Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale which hugs the North River. Part of the Downtown Riverwalk District, the Riverwalk is comprised of local businesses, ten parks with exercise stations, and historic sites. An easy place to spend an afternoon meandering through Fort Lauderdale, the Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale hosts ongoing activities such as the Monthly Sunday Jazz Brunch, held on three different stages in Riverwalk Park.

Phone:  (954) 468-1541
Address: 888 E Las Olas Blvd Suite 210, Frt Lauderdale, FL 33301-2272
Website: www.goriverwalk.com

 

7) Port Everglades 

To really experience the seaport experience of Fort Lauderdale, complete with yachts, cruise boats, and working boats, head to Port Everglades. One of the busiest cruise ports in the world, Port Everglades is nonstop action of trade and tourism. Comprised of three municipalities: Hollywood, Fort Lauderdale, and Dania, Port Everglades is a testament to the international influence of the area, and the role it plays in America’s connection to the Atlantic.

Phone: (954) 523-3404
Address: 1850 Eller Dr, Frt Lauderdale, FL 33316-4202
Website: www.porteverglades.net

 

8) Stranahan House

One of the first homes to be erected in Fort Lauderdale by pioneers Frank and Ivy Stranahan, the Stranahan House is the oldest remaining original structure in Fort Lauderdale. Surrounded by towering skyscrapers, it’s clear to see how the Stranahan House has stood the test of time. A visit to the Stranahan House is a look into the rich past of Fort Lauderdale, and the home has served as a trading post, post office, town hall, as well as being the home to the Stranahan family. Daily guided tours start at 1 pm, 2 pm, and 3 pm and must be booked online ahead of time.

Phone: (954) 524-4736
Address: 335 SE 6th Ave, Frt Lauderdale, FL 33301
Website: stranahanhouse.org

 

9) Sun Trolley

A ride on the Sun Trolley is a breezy and fun way to see the city of Fort Lauderdale. The trolley runs throughout downtown and is an easy hop-on-hop-off way to stop at stores, restaurants, and beaches. The Fort Lauderdale trolley system has recently gone to an all-free model meaning you can’t miss this too-good-to-be-true deal. Head to hotspots like Las Olas Boulevard, the Riverwalk, and downtown, without worrying about parking or traffic.

Phone: (954) 828-8000
Address: 290 NE 3rd Ave, Frt Lauderdale, FL 33301
Website: www.suntrolley.com

 

10) Broward Center for the Performing Arts

The Broward Center for the Performing Arts located in downtown Fort Lauderdale helps to elevate the city culturally. A treasure for locals, the Broward Center for the Performing Arts hosts theater, comedians, and musical acts. Though the center has certainly been affected by Covid, there are still events running such as the upcoming Benji Brown, or the musical performance Shades of Bublé: A Three-Man Tribute to Michael Bublé. Check the website to get the latest updates about event availability.

Phone: (954) 462-0222
Address: 201 SW 5th Ave, Frt Lauderdale, FL 33312
Website: www.browardcenter.org

 

11) NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale

The NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale is another cultural gem. The 75,000-square-foot modernist building designed by Edward Larrabee Barnes is inspiration enough, yet when you step inside you’ll truly be transported. Explore art throughout the ages, with some 7,500 works. Known best for its post-war, avant-garde European Cobra artists as well as the largest collection of American painter William J. Glackens, there is always something to learn at NSU Art Museum. Closed on Mondays, NSU Art Museum offers Free First Thursday “Sunny Days” if you’re in Fort Lauderdale at the beginning of the month.

Phone: (954) 525-5500
Address: 1 E Las Olas Blvd, Frt Lauderdale, FL 33301-1807
Website: nsuartmuseum.org

 

12) History Fort Lauderdale 

Dive into the historical make-up of Fort Lauderdale at History Fort Lauderdale, a three-museum campus. Watch history come alive through exhibits, historical walking tours, and ongoing events. Housed in the largest collection of historic buildings remaining in Broward County, History Fort Lauderdale is worth visiting the grounds alone. The museum is open seven days a week from 10 am – 4 pm, and docent-led walking tours happen at 1 pm, 2 pm, and 3 pm.

Phone: (954) 463-4431
Address: 231 SW 2nd Ave Museum Lobby is at 231 SW 2nd Ave, Frt Lauderdale, FL 33301-1825
Website: historyfortlauderdale.org

 

13) International Swimming Hall of Fame

Even if you’re not a swimmer, the International Swimming Hall of Fame covers fascinating sports-ground. Discover the history of swimming as it evolved through different cultures and times, as well as exploring renowned swimming legends. Dive into the regional history of Fort Lauderdale’s relationship to swimming, or take in rotating exhibits like Synchronized Swimming, Marathon Swimming, or the History of Water Polo.

Phone: (954) 462-6536
Address: 1 Hall of Fame Dr, Frt Lauderdale, FL 33316-1694
Website: ishof.org

 

14) Swap Shop & Thunderbird Drive-In Theater

The largest daily flea market in the world, the Swap Shop & Thunderbird Drive-In Theater is also comprised of 14 drive-in movie theater screens. An “only-in-Florida” destination, the Swap Shop is a thrifter’s and movie-goer’s dream. If you’re both of those things, even better! Onsite is also the Free Ferrari Museum, an unexpected bonus. Amusing for people of all ages, bring the whole family to the Swap Shop & Thunderbird Drive-In Theater.

Phone: (954) 791-7927
Address: 3291 W Sunrise Blvd, Frt Lauderdale, FL 33311
Website: www.floridaswapshop.com

 

15) The Wharf Fort Lauderdale

The Wharf Fort Lauderdale is a charming section of the Las Olas Riverfront that consists of bars and restaurants. Nautically-themed, The Wharf Fort Lauderdale offers outdoor dining and entertainment. With four bars and five restaurants, you can choose from a variety of cuisines that includes casual lunch to James Beard-nominated chef, José Mendín’s Riverfront. Reopening on January 28th, The Wharf will be operating at a limited capacity and requires reservations.

Phone: (954) 372-7606
Address: 20 W Las Olas Blvd, Frt Lauderdale, FL 33301
Website: wharfftl.com

 

16) FATVillage Arts District

Feel the artistic vibe of Fort Lauderdale at FATVillage Arts District. Hosting a monthly art gallery walk, FATVillage Arts District is home to a variety of artists from designers to techies. The Last Saturday ArtWalk from 6 pm – 11 pm is where you can sample a bit of what Fort Lauderdale’s artists have to offer. Even if you can’t make one of these monthly events, a visit to the FATVillage Arts District is still worth it. On any given day you can see colorful murals or stop in for a bite to eat at one of the cafes.

Phone: (954) 760-5900
Address: 521 NW 1st Ave, Frt Lauderdale, FL 33301
Website: www.fatvillage.com

 

17) Flamingo Gardens 

A bright way to perk up any day, the Flamingo Gardens just west of Fort Lauderdale is a 60-acre wildlife sanctuary and botanical garden. Open to the public, you can tour the grounds which include animals like alligators, flamingos, bobcats, black bears & Florida panthers. The arboretum at Flamingo Gardens includes some of the largest trees in all of Florida, and a walk through the historic Wray Home Museum sheds light on what life would have been like in Florida in the 1930s.

Phone: (954) 473-2955
Address: 3750 S Flamingo Rd, Davie, FL 33330
Website: www.flamingogardens.org

 

18) Young at Art Museum 

Geared towards kids, but worthwhile for any age, the Young at Art Museum is a hands-on art museum with exhibits that feel like sheer play. Explore exhibits like the Mural Museum, CultureScapes and ArtScapes, and InnerSpace. Weekly play dates and an annual Festival of the Arts are other reasons to head to this unique learning opportunity.

Phone: (954) 424-0085
Address: 751 SW 121st Ave, Davie, FL 33325
Website: www.youngatartmuseum.org

 

19) Butterfly World 

The largest butterfly park in the world is just outside Fort Lauderdale in Coconut Creek, Florida. With an impressive 20,000 butterflies under its roof, Butterfly World was created by Ronald Boender who started the “Bring Butterflies Back” campaign in 1988. About 15 minutes north of downtown For Lauderdale, Butterfly World is a great destination for an afternoon activity. Butterfly World is open from 9 am to 5 pm Monday through Saturday and 11 am to 5 pm on Sunday.

Phone: (954) 977-4434
Address: 3600 West Sample Road, Tradewinds Park Rd, Coconut Creek, FL 33073
Website: www.butterflyworld.com

 

20) Gulfstream Park

For horse lovers, Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach has ongoing horse races that can not be missed. With live thoroughbred racing Wednesday and Friday – Sunday, Gulfstream Park never has a dull moment. Onsite enjoy dining, shopping, and gambling. Make an evening of it by watching the races, having dinner at Ten Palms Restaurant (open race days only), and then trying your luck at the casino. Shopping includes Williams & Sonoma, Atelier Coture, and Royal Cigars.

Phone: (954) 454-7000
Address: 901 S Federal Hwy, Hallandale Beach, FL 33009
Website: www.gulfstreampark.com

 

Conclusion

This place represents the best of where urban and nature meet. With so many things to do, you’ll be amazed at how quickly, yet luxuriously, time passes. Whether you are spending time on sunny beaches having watery adventures, enjoying a night out on the town, or spending time at one of Fort Lauderdale’s many museums, there is no shortage of things to do in Fort Lauderdale. With this list, you’re in for an incredible experience here.

 

Post Author

Marina Yoveva

Marina Yoveva

Originally from Bulgaria, Marina caught the travel bug about 10 years ago with her first trip to Italy. Ever since there she has been obsessed with learning new cultures, languages and sharing her experiences and travel expertise online. Her favorite country for traveling to so far is Spain.

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