Fort Lauderdale

Overview

Introduction

Getting around Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is half the fun on a vacation: One of Fort Lauderdale's main drags is a river (the New River, to be specific), so visitors to Fort Lauderdale can hop on a water taxi and take in the sights.

This South Florida city's extensive system of waterways and reputation for gracious living have made Fort Lauderdale one of the country's largest yachting centers. Fort Lauderdale restaurants and bars overlook the canals and are accessible by water or from land by taxis and, believe it or not, from rickshaws. Several of Fort Lauderdale's special events—including a winter holiday boat parade that draws local, national and international celebrities—revolve around boating and the water.

Redevelopment in the 1990s left Fort Lauderdale awash in museums, art galleries, restaurants, hotels and chic sidewalk cafes, all appealing to visitors. The Broward Center for the Performing Arts houses two theaters, which provide separate venues for the Symphony of the Americas, Florida Grand Opera, Miami City Ballet, Broadway road shows and top-name performers. An elegant beachfront promenade attracts upscale vacationers from all over the world, including the spring-break college crowd. Fort Lauderdale was popularized by and is still often remembered for the 1960s beach movie Where the Boys Are.

More sedate than it used to be (but livelier than Palm Beach, its northern neighbor), Fort Lauderdale has more to offer visitors than most beach towns. The passage of a casino gambling law revitalized this resort town, and the former Hollywood Dog Racing Track, Isle Casino Pompano Park and Gulfstream Race Track have built multimillion-dollar casinos and entertainment venues attracting more tourists and businesses to the area.

Fort Lauderdale is also gay-friendly, with more than 150 gay-owned businesses in the city. Wilton Manors, a suburb of Fort Lauderdale, is the hub of activity for the gay community. There are several gay bars and restaurants in that area.

Note: Florida sustained widespread damage during Hurricane Irma in September 2017. Travelers should investigate current conditions prior to planning a visit.

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