Sea view of Fort Lauderdale

City Guide / Fort Lauderdale

A Beginner’s Guide for Moving to Fort Lauderdale

By Bri Hand | Aug 4, 2021

Sunny skies. Palm fronds rustling in a gentle breeze. Have you been dreaming of moving to Fort Lauderdale? You’re not alone. 

Fort Lauderdale, FL, offers blue waters, a vibrant city, and seemingly eternal sunshine. To be specific, this scenic city enjoys 246 days of sunshine per year. Before you break out the sunscreen and your suitcase, read this guide to break down everything you need to know about the “Venice of America.”

Who lives in Fort Lauderdale?

If you’re a city dweller through and through, you won’t have to trade in the hustle and bustle for oceanfront natural beauty by moving here.

Fort Lauderdale is one of the 10 largest cities in Florida and the largest of Broward County’s 31 municipalities. A total of 186,220 people call the 36 square miles of this city home, and with more and more snowbirds moving south, the population has grown 10% in the past decade.

Where to live in Fort Lauderdale, FL

Ready to make your move? First, look into the pros and cons of living in Fort Lauderdale, and take a look at some of the best neighborhoods in Fort Lauderdale

Victoria Park

In the heart of downtown, you’ll find Victoria Park, a neighborhood that has solidified its popularity with both locals and transplants since the ‘90s. You’ll find beautifully restored homes and gorgeous estates throughout this friendly community. Young professionals love Victoria Park’s bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and parks. 

Rio Vista

South of downtown, Rio Vista features laid-back, tree-lined streets and even homes with their own docks along the Intracoastal Waterway of the New River. Rio Vista also has all the entertaining daytime and nightlife activities that create an exciting urban contrast to its relaxed waterways. 

Sailboat Bend

Sailboat Bend is a historic neighborhood west of downtown whose eclectic energy has recently made it popular among young professionals. You’ll find artist lofts next to historic homes. And, with the New River and the Broward Center for the Performing Arts nearby, Sailboat Bend is sure to continue to be a hotspot for young professionals looking to make their mark on the area.

Where to work in Fort Lauderdale

Whether you’re a digital nomad planning to work remotely or a travel nurse looking for a sunshine stint, you’ll likely want to know more about the professional ecosystem Fort Lauderdale has to offer.

Here’s a rundown of the top five employers in South Florida:

  1. Publix Super Markets
  2. Baptist Health South Florida
  3. The University of Miami
  4. Tenet Healthcare Corp
  5. Jackson Health System

This Broward County city is the perfect place for healthcare workers, educators, and digital nomads alike. There are also plenty of coworking spaces in Fort Lauderdale if you’re looking for a space to get some work done.

Where to visit in Fort Lauderdale: Outdoor activities edition

So, why do people call this city the Venice of America? With the Atlantic Ocean, New River, and countless inland waterways, Fort Lauderdale brings an Italian ethos to the area. Gondola rides, anyone?

If you’re considering moving to Fort Lauderdale because of its scenic majesty, here are just a few natural wonders to whet your appetite:

Fort Lauderdale Beach

It wouldn’t be Florida without a trip to its beautiful beaches. Fort Lauderdale Beach promises soft white sands and sparkling blue water just steps away from a bustling promenade full of shopping and dining. Grab a towel and enjoy the more laid-back vibes compared to nearby Miami Beach, or rent equipment to become a water sports olympian for the day.

Las Olas Beach

There’s more than one iconic sandy beach that calls this city home. A short walk north of Fort Lauderdale Beach, you’ll find Las Olas Beach, which offers the same white sand and blue water with the occasional addition of raucous college students enjoying their spring break or summer. Choose this beach for a little more fun (and a great place for people-watching).

Flamingo Gardens

Take a drive 17 miles west of downtown, and you can discover Flamingo Gardens, a quiet wildlife sanctuary that surprises visitors with its 60-acre oasis of peacocks, flamingos, sea otters, panthers, alligators, 250 species of birds, and even a bear named Josh. You’ll also discover Florida’s natural plant life, including ancient oaks and tropical groves. 

History buffs can stop into Wray Home Museum on the property, where the sanctuary’s original owners lived in the 1930s when it was a citrus orchard. Catch an authentic peek into life into the community a century ago in this restored home.

Butterfly World

Animal lovers should also plan a weekend drive 15 miles north of downtown to Butterfly World. It’s the largest butterfly house in the world, and the first of its kind since its inception in the 1980s. Be prepared to be dazzled by the 20,000 live butterflies you can discover here.

Where to visit in Fort Lauderdale: Shopping, entertainment, museums, and more

Whether you love to spend your Saturdays shopping, cooling off in a local museum, on a jet ski, or racing through an escape room, Fort Lauderdale has options for you.

Shopping and more

This Florida city has shopping and entertainment options for every budget. Here are three places where you can enjoy a little retail therapy:

  1. Las Olas Boulevard: Among the ritzy stores that line Las Olas Boulevard, you’ll also find a wide range of restaurants to grab lunch from and 10 international art galleries. Splurge on a shopping spree, or soak up the culture with an afternoon in one of these art galleries.
  1. Sawgrass Mills: The ultimate shoppers will quickly make the 14-mile drive west of downtown to Sawgrass Mills (but as local, you’ll just refer to it as “Sawgrass”). With 350 stores, this is the largest outlet mall in the U.S. From Target all the way up to Prada and Jimmy Choo outlets, there’s something for everyone here. There are plenty of restaurants to fuel you, and even an IMAX movie theatre if your feet need a break.
  1. Riverwalk Arts and Entertainment District: You’ll find retail and restaurants along the 22 blocks of the Riverwalk Arts and Entertainment District, along with countless museums, the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, the Florida Grand Opera, and more. Walk along the banks of the New River to explore the best Fort Lauderdale has to offer. This district also includes the aforementioned Las Olas Boulevard.

Museums

Escape the heat at one of the city’s many museums, including:

  • Bonnet House Museum & Gardens: This is a restored home from the 1930s filled with art. Outside the house, you’ll find beautiful gardens, where you can spot the occasional monkey!
  • Historic Stranahan House Museum: Nestled in downtown Fort Lauderdale, this historic home has been restored to offer visitors an authentic look into Fort Lauderdale’s history.
  • Museum of Discovery and Science: Science buffs can spend an afternoon here learning about history and science at this family-friendly spot. There are even otters!
  • Fort Lauderdale Antique Car Museum: History lovers and auto-enthusiasts should visit the city’s Antique Car Museum, where they can explore beautifully maintained antique cars.

Outdoor recreation

Whether you want to get your adrenaline pumping or enjoy a leisurely afternoon, you can choose from:

  • Fort Lauderdale Beach Park: Near Fort Lauderdale Beach, you’ll find Fort Lauderdale Beach Park. Go for a swim, or take advantage of the local volleyball and basketball courts for a game with friends.
  • Fort Lauderdale Boat Tours: Hop on a boat to see the Atlantic Ocean, New River, or Intracoastal Waterway in style.
  • Sawgrass Recreation Park: In Sawgrass Recreation Park, you’ll be introduced to Florida’s everglades, alligators and all. Take a boat tour to marvel at these prehistoric creatures from a safe distance.
  • Hugh Taylor Birch State Park: In this state park, visitors can go kayaking, hiking, fishing, or even bird watching. It’s the perfect excursion into the area’s ecosystem.

Where to eat in Fort Lauderdale

To be clear, it would be impossible to cover all of the wonderful restaurants this Florida city has to offer. From fine dining to quaint cafes, you’ll find global cuisine for everyone to enjoy. Here are some local favorites:

  • Cyth & Co.: This is an Instagram-worthy breakfast spot if there ever was one! Grab a breakfast sandwich or a baked good and one of the shop’s creative latte masterpieces. Their blue butterfly latte is an unforgettable shade of cerulean.
  • Dar Tajine Moroccan Restaurant: Enjoy authentic Moroccan cuisine at this colorful local restaurant. You’ll find delicious offerings for both carnivores and plant-based diners.
  • Sistrunk Marketplace: In the city’s arts district, you’ll find this trendy food hall boasting a wide array of food and drink options, art, and even live music.
  • Dune: Splurge on oceanfront dining at Dune, where you’ll enjoy seafood with a Latin twist and sweeping views of the ocean and beach.

Making moving easy

Are you ready to relocate? Your relocation to the Fort Lauderdale area doesn’t need to be a hassle. Here’s a quick checklist to make your move a breeze:

  1. Explore employment options: This city is the perfect home for digital nomads, but moving here is also possible for other types of workers. Explore employment options in nearby Miami or other Florida cities like Coral Springs or West Palm Beach to widen your search.
  2. Choose a neighborhood: If you’re ready to take the plunge into the Atlantic, start deciding which neighborhood you’d like to live in. Above are three local favorites, but the options for great places to live are endless.
  3. Find an apartment: The traditional headache of finding an apartment is gone. Book a furnished apartment in Fort Lauderdale online in just minutes with no lease or long-term commitments through Landing.
  4. Select your transportation: Travelers from neighboring states can make the drive down south, but a flight might be in order if you live further away. Want to save on overweight bag fees? Plan a road trip south and enjoy the sights on the way to your new home.
  5. Pack your bags: It’s happening! Pack your bags, apply your sunscreen, and get ready for a new adventure!

It’s really as simple as that.

Explore South Florida the right way

Once you settle into your new apartment and get the lay of the land, you can really get to know some of the fun things to do in Fort Lauderdale. Looking to relocate? Landing offers fully furnished apartments in Fort Lauderdale, with flexible lease terms that make it easy to stay for as long as you’d like. Browse our available apartments in Fort Lauderdale, or contact us to learn more about what a Landing membership can do for you! 

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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.