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Fort Lauderdale Unveiled: A Comprehensive Guide to 30 Things to Do

Updated: Nov 21, 2023

Fort Lauderdale, Florida, often referred to as the "Venice of America," is a vibrant city renowned for its stunning beaches, cultural attractions, and a bustling waterfront. Beyond the sun-kissed shores, Fort Lauderdale offers a diverse array of activities that cater to every taste and interest. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore 30 unforgettable things to do in Fort Lauderdale, categorized to help you plan an immersive and well-rounded visit.

30 Things to Do in Fort Lauderdale

Venice of America, Fort Lauderdale
Venice of America, Fort Lauderdale

Sun, Sand, and Sea:

  1. Fort Lauderdale Beach: Begin your exploration at the iconic Fort Lauderdale Beach. Relax on the golden sands, take a dip in the turquoise waters, and soak up the Florida sunshine.

  2. Las Olas Beach: Stroll along the palm-lined promenade of Las Olas Beach. This quieter stretch of coastline is perfect for a tranquil beach day or a romantic sunset walk.

  3. Hugh Taylor Birch State Park: Immerse yourself in nature at this coastal state park. Enjoy hiking trails, rent a kayak, or simply relax in the shade of the abundant greenery.

  4. Bonnet House Museum and Gardens: Explore the historic Bonnet House, a picturesque estate with gardens overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway. Admire the art, architecture, and serene surroundings.


Are you spending some time in and around Florida? Here are some other places to visit nearby:

Fort Lauderdale Historic Stranahan museum
Fort Lauderdale Historic Stranahan museum

Cultural and Artistic Gems:

  1. NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale: Delve into the world of art at the NSU Art Museum. Featuring a diverse collection, this museum showcases contemporary and modern art from renowned artists.

  2. Stranahan House Museum: Step back in time at the Stranahan House, the oldest surviving structure in Fort Lauderdale. Learn about the city's history and the influential Stranahan family.

  3. Museum of Discovery and Science: Perfect for families, the Museum of Discovery and Science offers interactive exhibits, an IMAX theater, and hands-on science activities for all ages.

  4. Old Dillard Art and Cultural Museum: Celebrate African American culture and history at the Old Dillard Art and Cultural Museum. The museum showcases art, artifacts, and educational exhibits.

  5. Fort Lauderdale Historical Society and Museum: Gain insights into Fort Lauderdale's history at the Historical Society and Museum. Explore exhibits, artifacts, and the King-Cromartie House.

  6. Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum: Take a day trip to the Big Cypress Reservation to visit the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum. Learn about the history and culture of the Seminole Tribe of Florida.


Are you spending some time in and around Florida? Here are some other places to visit nearby:

Fort Lauderdale Nightlife - RiverWalk
Fort Lauderdale Nightlife - RiverWalk

Riverfront Exploration:

  1. Fort Lauderdale Riverwalk: Embark on a scenic stroll along the Fort Lauderdale Riverwalk. This picturesque promenade meanders along the New River, offering a perfect blend of nature and urban scenery.

  2. Water Taxi Tour: Hop aboard a water taxi to explore Fort Lauderdale's waterways. This leisurely cruise provides unique perspectives of the city and its luxurious waterfront homes.

  3. Jungle Queen Riverboat: Experience a touch of nostalgia aboard the Jungle Queen Riverboat. Enjoy a sightseeing cruise with live entertainment and learn about Fort Lauderdale's history.

  4. Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment District: Immerse yourself in the arts at the Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment District. Discover theaters, galleries, and cultural events in this vibrant district.


Are you spending some time in and around Florida? Here are some other places to visit nearby:

The Galleria at Fort Lauderdale
The Galleria at Fort Lauderdale

Shopping and Dining Delights:

  1. Sawgrass Mills: With 2,370,610 square feet (220,237 m2) of retail selling space, it is the eleventh largest mall in the United States, the largest single story outlet mall in the U.S., the largest shopping mall in Broward County, the second largest mall in Florida and the Miami metropolitan area after the Aventura Mall, and the third largest shopping mall in the southeastern United States.

  2. Las Olas Boulevard: Indulge in a shopping spree along Las Olas Boulevard. This upscale shopping district boasts boutique stores, art galleries, and a diverse array of restaurants.

  3. Fort Lauderdale Swap Shop: For a unique shopping experience, visit the Fort Lauderdale Swap Shop. Browse through a massive flea market, catch a drive-in movie (the drive-in appears to be permanently closed as of mid November 2023), or explore the circus-themed attractions.

  4. The Galleria at Fort Lauderdale: Discover a mix of high-end and popular retailers at The Galleria. After shopping, enjoy a meal at one of the mall's diverse dining options.

  5. Lauderdale by the Sea: Charming seaside gem for sure worth visiting. Beach, shops, restaurants, bars, all walkable.


Are you spending some time in and around Florida? Here are some other places to visit nearby:

Airboating, Everglades, Fort Lauderdale
Airboating, Everglades, Fort Lauderdale

Nature and Wildlife Encounters:

  1. Everglades Holiday Park: Experience the thrill of an airboat ride at Everglades Holiday Park. Witness Florida's iconic wildlife, including alligators, in their natural habitat.

  2. Butterfly World: Immerse yourself in the beauty of Butterfly World. Walk through lush gardens filled with thousands of butterflies, tropical birds, and vibrant flowers.

  3. Flamingo Gardens: Explore the botanical gardens and wildlife sanctuary at Flamingo Gardens. Encounter native Florida species, including flamingos, panthers, and alligators.

  4. Anne Kolb Nature Center: Delve into the coastal mangrove ecosystem at the Anne Kolb Nature Center. Enjoy hiking trails, wildlife exhibits, and scenic views of West Lake.


Are you spending some time in and around Florida? Here are some other places to visit nearby:

Snorkeling, Things to do in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Snorkeling, Things to do in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Water Activities and Excursions:

  1. Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Complex: Dive into aquatic adventures at the Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Complex. This state-of-the-art facility offers swimming pools, diving boards, and water-based fitness classes.

  2. Fort Lauderdale Paddleboarding: Experience the serene waters of Fort Lauderdale by paddleboarding. Rentals and guided tours are available for all skill levels.

  3. Snorkeling and Scuba Diving: Explore the vibrant underwater world off the coast of Fort Lauderdale. Numerous operators offer snorkeling and scuba diving excursions to coral reefs and shipwrecks.

  4. Fishing Charters: Cast a line and enjoy a day of fishing on the Atlantic. Fort Lauderdale's waters offer opportunities to catch a variety of fish, from snapper to sailfish.


Are you spending some time in and around Florida? Here are some other places to visit nearby:

Things to do in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Things to do in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Nightlife and Entertainment:

  1. Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino: Try your luck at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. In addition to gaming, the complex offers live entertainment, dining, and a bustling nightlife scene.

  2. Revolution Live: Catch a live music performance at Revolution Live. This popular venue hosts a variety of artists and bands, making it a hub for music enthusiasts.

  3. Clubs & Bars: There is a large selection of very popular bars and clubs in Fort Lauderdale to choose from. Some local favorites:

    1. Parrot Lounge

    2. Shooters Waterfront Restaurant

    3. Elbo Room Beach Bar

    4. Kim's Alley Bar

  4. Fort Lauderdale Improv Comedy Club & Dinner Theatre: Laugh the night away at the Fort Lauderdale Improv. Enjoy stand-up comedy and delicious meals in a relaxed setting.

  5. Restaurants: There is a large selection of quality restaurants. Some local favorites:

    1. Tropical Acres Steakhouse

    2. Rustic Inn Crabhouse

    3. Casablanca Cafe

    4. Shooters Waterfront Restaurant

    5. The Floridian The Floridian

    6. Anthony's Runway 84

    7. Boatyard and 15th Street Fisheries

    8. Flanigan's Seafood Bar and Grill

    9. Mai Kai's Restaurant and Polynesian Show

Fort Lauderdale, with its dynamic blend of sun-soaked beaches, cultural richness, and diverse activities, offers a multifaceted experience for every type of traveler. Whether you're seeking relaxation on the shores, cultural immersion in museums, or thrilling adventures on the water, Fort Lauderdale has it all. By exploring the activities outlined in this guide, you're sure to craft a memorable itinerary that captures the essence of this vibrant city, leaving you with cherished memories of your time in the Venice of America.


Are you spending some time in and around Florida? Here are some other places to visit nearby:


Photo Credits:

  • By jjron - Own work, GFDL 1.2,

  • By Rob Olivera - Fort Lauderdale After Dark, CC BY 2.0,


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