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City Guide / Fort Lauderdale

10 Fun Things to Do in Fort Lauderdale for Any Age

By Bri Hand | Aug 5, 2021

Just outside of Miami sits another coastal city with plenty of white-sand beaches, teal-blue waters, and its own unique charm and cultural flair: Fort Lauderdale. More than an idyllic boater’s haven, it’s a city brought to life by its varied cuisine, upscale boutiques, ongoing live entertainment, and natural oases along the shore. 

Whether you’re staying for a week, a month, or as long as your schedule permits, the colorful streets of this sophisticated seascape have more than enough to keep you entertained. 

Here are 10 fun things to do in Fort Lauderdale:

1. Fuel up at local coffee houses

Whether you’re a cappuccino connoisseur or you’re looking for a place to park your portable office for the day, Fort Lauderdale’s coffee shops do not disappoint. This city is abuzz with grab-and-go corner cafes, spacious study lounges, and everything in between. 

If you’re out for a jog or a stroll along Las Olas Boulevard, you won’t want to miss Nanou’s French Bakery and Café. Come for the coffee and stay for the assortment of freshly baked French pastries. Need oui say more? 

Another spot you won’t want to miss? BREW Urban Café in the City View neighborhood. Serving up locally roasted coffee and literature-inspired libations, this local hang is perfect for your work grind or an evening out with friends.

2. Whet your appetite for art in FATVillage

This culturally diverse community is a hit for all ages. Short for Flagler Arts Technology, FATVillage may be one of Fort Lauderdale’s smaller districts but it’s an enormously vibrant space for creatives. Join in on the ArtWalk on the last Saturday of every month to check out new exhibits, enjoy live entertainment, and browse handcrafted goods at the makers market. 

You can also discover the best in local, contemporary art at three different galleries: Projects Space, ArtsUP! Concepts, FAR Contemporary Gallery. And, if you can never get enough of street art, you’ll be gushing at the multitude of murals that pop up around every corner. 

3. Get jazzed up at NYSW Jazz Lounge

Old souls and spring chickens alike will fall in love with the atmosphere at NYSW Jazz Lounge. Located in Downtown Fort Lauderdale, it’s one of the city’s premier spots for live jazz. Offering shows four nights a week along with a full menu on weekends, this is a great way to unwind after a long day at the beach or the office. 

Another live music lounge worth visiting is Blue Jean Blues located just off of NE 33rd Street. With daily happy hours, an extensive menu, and entertainment seven nights a week, Blue Jean Blues is a favorite among the locals for both jazz and blues. 

4. Escape the city without actually escaping 

Need a break from city life without having to travel far? 

Hugh Taylor Birch State Park is the Central Park of Fort Lauderdale. Situated right in between the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway, this wooded area is a welcome escape for those looking to press pause on bustling city life. 

Pack a picnic, a yoga mat, or even a tent for an overnight stay at one of the available campsites. From biking and fishing to snorkeling and paddling, park-goers of all ages are bound to find something that will keep them entertained. 

Don’t forget to make reservations ahead of time to secure a campsite, as space may be limited. Visitors to the park should also plan to pay a $6 park entrance fee per vehicle. 

5. Spend a day at the beach

Florida is known for its high temperatures and humidity, so beachgoing is often a daily ritual for residents looking to cool off. Despite the fact that Fort Lauderdale has an abundance of beaches at its doorstep, we think it’s worth it to take a 20-minute drive north of the city to explore Deerfield Beach

This sandy spot is more than just an ideal location for seashell-hunting or getting lost in a book. It’s less crowded than most beaches located right in the city, and it’s a winner of the Blue Wave Award. Earning points for water quality, conservation policies, and safety services, Deerfield Beach is an ocean lover’s delight!

6. Book a spot for Sunday brunch at Foxy Brown

Brunch is always a good idea, and it’s an even better one when you’re at Foxy Brown in Downtown Fort Lauderdale. Whether you’re looking for classic, homestyle breakfast options or dishes with an innovative twist, Foxy Brown offers a bit of everything. 

Just thinking about the banana bread grilled cheese with Nutella and ricotta or the crab cake benedict will make your mouth (and eyes) water. Pair it with a grapefruit spritz or a pomegranate mimosa and you’ll be wishing you could have brunch for every meal of the day. 

This place is the talk of the town, so be sure to reserve your table in advance to this popular attraction. 

7. Get a dose of history at Bonnet House Museum & Gardens

Take a day to explore the Bonnet House, a historic estate created in 1920 by artist Frederic Clay Bartlett. Aside from peering into a bit of South Florida’s past, you’ll also be able to frolic through its tropical gardens and admire some of Frederic’s own artwork on display in the museum. 

Keep an eye out, as well, for local fauna like manatees and migratory birds that frequently visit the property. Boasting maritime forest, dunes, and mangrove wetlands, the Bonnet House Museum & Garden is one of this region’s last remaining examples of a native barrier island habitat. 

Grab a camera and your garden-loving adventure pal, and time-travel back to early 20th century Fort Lauderdale. 

8. Stock up on organic produce at a local farmer’s market

Clean ingredients and seasonal produce aren’t hard to come by in Fort Lauderdale—especially when you go looking for them at one of the city’s several farmer’s markets. The Las Olas Oceanside Park Market features farmers, antiques, and artisans. Bring along your yoga mat, too, if you want to join in on the weekly session every Saturday at 10:30 a.m. 

You can also check out the Flamingo Road Nursery Farmers Market happening daily from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Davie, a short ride outside of Fort Lauderdale. Here you’ll find more locally grown produce as well as plants, trees, and shrubs for your home or patio. 

9. See the city from above 

Want a bird’s-eye view of the Fort Lauderdale skyline? Take in the city from a new vantage point while also sipping on your favorite fizzy drink. Rooftop @1WLO is a tropical terrace just overhead the Las Olas Boulevard. Stop in for happy hour or stay all night to grab a bite to eat and sample an array of inventive cocktails. 

Another rooftop patio, Sparrow, can be found on the top floor of The Dalmar Hotel in Downtown Fort Lauderdale. Sample an Asian fusion cocktail, tune in to whatever live music offerings are on the calendar of events, and watch the sun set over the city’s high-rises. 

10. Try your hand at fishing

Fort Lauderdale has over 300 miles of canals for inshore fishing as well as nearby reefs and wrecks ideal for offshore adventures. 

This makes it a prime spot for veteran fishermen and an exciting outdoor classroom that’s perfect for first-timers who are still getting the hang of things. Book a day on the ocean with one of the city’s many sport fishing charter companies and try your best to bring home a fresh catch for dinner. 

Common fish species in Fort Lauderdale include mahi-mahi, blackfin tuna, and Atlantic tarpon. 

Be sure to check with a local charter when you book your day trip at sea for more season-specific details.  

Living with Landing in Fort Lauderdale

From eating and drinking to museum-going and beach-hopping, there are restaurants and entertainment for everyone to love in Fort Lauderdale. Now that you’ve got a calendar that’s jam-packed with musical events, camping, and dinner dates, moving to Fort Lauderdale has never been more exciting. 

If you’re thinking about moving to Fort Lauderdale, Landing offers fully furnished apartments in the area, all with flexible lease terms that make it easy to move when you want. Find your furnished apartment in Fort Lauderdale with Landing today.

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About the author

Bri Hand

Bri Hand is Landing's Content Marketing Manager. She currently lives in Salem, Massachusetts, with her partner and dog, Arlo, but relishes any opportunity she can to travel so she can try new foods, see gorgeous sights, and daydream about living somewhere new after visiting there for less than 24 hours.