20 Incredible Places to Visit in Fort Lauderdale

Oct 25, 2023

Fort Lauderdale, a vibrant city on Florida’s southeastern coast, is known for its stunning beaches, diverse attractions, and unique experiences. From pristine sands to bustling downtown districts, there are plenty of places to visit in Fort Lauderdale, ensuring something for every traveler in this sun-soaked paradise. Ready to explore the best that Fort Lauderdale has to offer? Let’s dive in!

Key Takeaways

  • Explore Fort Lauderdale’s beaches, downtown attractions and Bonnet House Museum & Gardens
  • Experience the Everglades, Las Olas Boulevard shopping/dining and Flamingo Gardens Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Enjoy interactive exhibits at the NSU Art Museum, Historic Stranahan House Museum journey or a water taxi tour

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Fort Lauderdale Beaches

The spectacular beaches of Fort Lauderdale provide a perfect mix of relaxation and excitement for those visiting Fort Lauderdale. Visitors can bask in the golden sandy shores, indulge in thrilling water sports, and admire the breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean. The renowned Fort Lauderdale Beach Park, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Loggerhead and Vista Park, and Las Olas Beach are just a few of Fort Lauderdale’s picturesque spots where you can unwind and soak up the sun.

At Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, you’ll find one of the busiest sea turtle nesting sites in the world, with a remarkable coral reef accessible directly from the beach. In contrast, Las Olas Beach is a bustling epicenter of activity, attracting beachgoers seeking a lively atmosphere and vibrant parties. Fort Lauderdale Beach Park, the city’s largest public beach, is the perfect spot for families to lounge, swim, and enjoy the stunning scenery.

Many opportunities are available in Fort Lauderdale to explore the city’s underwater marvels through popular aquatic activities like snorkeling and scuba diving. For those who prefer to stay above water, paddleboarding and kayaking are excellent options to navigate the picturesque waterways and admire the beautiful surroundings.

And if you’re looking for a bird’s eye view of Fort Lauderdale’s beaches, consider a helicopter tour. This thrilling experience offers breathtaking aerial views of “Millionaires Row,” the stunning coastline, and the magnificent Everglades.

Downtown Fort Lauderdale Exploration

Attractions and scenic views abound in the vibrant downtown area of Fort Lauderdale. Stroll through the city’s Riverwalk, a mile-long area with ten parks on the tropical banks of the New River, and enjoy the lush surroundings. The historic district offers fascinating insights into the city’s past, with museums showcasing grand homes, technological marvels, and exhibitions that honor Fort Lauderdale’s diverse citizens. Discover the beauty and excitement of the Fort Lauderdale area as you explore its many attractions.

Consider a guided walking, cruising, or tour bus experience as a more interactive approach to exploring the downtown area. You’ll traverse the city’s renowned landmarks and areas, such as:

  • Central Park
  • Hugh Taylor Birch State Park
  • Las Olas Boulevard
  • Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale
  • Bonnet House Museum & Gardens

Fort Lauderdale’s bike tours, in particular, are a popular way to cover the city’s attractions while enjoying the great outdoors.

If you’re seeking entertainment options, downtown Fort Lauderdale has plenty to offer. From the Broward Center for the Performing Arts to the Museum of Discovery and Science, there’s always something happening in the heart of the city. And when it’s time to refuel, enjoy a delicious meal at one of the many Fort Lauderdale food restaurants and eateries that line the bustling streets of downtown Fort Lauderdale.

Bonnet House Museum and Gardens Experience

The Bonnet House Museum and Gardens, nestled within the lush South Florida jungle, offer a chance to immerse yourself in history and art. This Plantation-style architectural marvel offers visitors a glimpse into the past, with guided tours showcasing art, attractive furnishings, and stunning marble.

The Bonnet House Museum and Gardens offers:

  • A testament to the area’s history
  • A haven for nature lovers
  • Beautifully manicured gardens that offer a tranquil respite from the bustling city
  • An Orchid Display House that showcases a stunning collection of delicate flowers

Located just minutes away from Fort Lauderdale’s beaches, the Bonnet House Museum and Gardens provide a unique experience that combines history, art, and natural beauty. Whether you’re exploring the museum’s extensive collection or strolling through the picturesque gardens, a visit to this cultural treasure is sure to leave a lasting impression.

Everglades Adventure

Embark on an Everglades Adventure for an unforgettable experience of witnessing the unique ecosystem, diverse wildlife, and thrilling alligator encounters that this natural wonder offers. The Florida Everglades is a vast wetland that stretches across South Florida, providing a habitat for countless plant and animal species.

One of the best ways to explore the Everglades is by taking an airboat ride. These high-speed vessels whisk you through the wetlands, allowing you to get up close and personal with the region’s unique flora and fauna. Everglades Holiday Park, for instance, offers guests an exciting airboat ride and the opportunity to learn about the ecology of alligators, the Everglades, and South Florida.

For an even more exhilarating experience, consider a nighttime airboat tour at Sawgrass Recreation Park, where you can witness the Everglades’ nocturnal animals in their natural habitat. Or, if you’re looking for a more intimate adventure, opt for a private tour, such as a sunrise excursion through the wetlands.

No trip to the Everglades is complete without a visit to Sawgrass Recreation Park. Here, you can observe:

  • Alligators
  • Turtles
  • Wild boar
  • Hundreds of bird species

With knowledgeable and entertaining tour guides, the Everglades Adventure is truly an experience you won’t want to miss.

Las Olas Boulevard Shopping and Dining

At Fort Lauderdale’s premier shopping and dining destination, Las Olas Boulevard, you can:

  • Indulge in a shopping spree at the trendy boutiques
  • Enjoy delicious cuisine at the restaurants and bars
  • Explore over one hundred stores, cafes, and restaurants
  • Find something for every taste and budget

From eclectic boutiques to luxury retail outlets, Las Olas Boulevard has a variety of shopping options that cater to both frugal and high-end shoppers. And when hunger strikes, choose from a selection of dining options, ranging from casual eateries to gourmet restaurants.

Getting to Las Olas Boulevard is a breeze, with several transportation options available, including:

  • Street parking
  • Private lots
  • The Riverside Hotel parking lot
  • Water taxi’s No. 2 stop
  • The No. 11 bus
  • Sun Trolley’s Las Olas Link

So whether you’re a shopaholic or a foodie, Las Olas Boulevard is a must-visit destination when in Fort Lauderdale.

Flamingo Gardens Wildlife Sanctuary

Experience the wonders of Flamingo Gardens, a sanctuary spanning 60 acres, dedicated to the preservation and showcase of Florida’s native flora and fauna. Located just a short drive from Fort Lauderdale, this unique attraction offers visitors the opportunity to explore lush gardens and observe a variety of fascinating wildlife.

Home to injured and ill animals that cannot return to the wild, Flamingo Gardens provides a safe haven for:

  • black bears
  • Florida panthers
  • river otters
  • bobcats

As you wander through the sanctuary, you’ll also come across a diverse array of tropical and subtropical plants, creating a vibrant and picturesque landscape.

In addition to its wildlife and plant exhibits, Flamingo Gardens offers engaging educational programs, such as the Lorikeet Encounter, where visitors can hand-feed these colorful and friendly birds. This unforgettable experience offers an up-close look at some of Florida’s most unique and beautiful creatures.

Whether you’re a nature lover or simply seeking a serene escape from the city, Flamingo Gardens is a must-visit attraction that offers a glimpse into Florida’s rich and diverse ecosystem.

Water Taxi Tour

Take a water taxi to traverse Fort Lauderdale’s picturesque waterways, marvelling at the stunning mansions, yachts, and beautiful scenery that adorn the city’s canals. With convenient stops throughout Fort Lauderdale, a water taxi tour is a relaxing and enjoyable way to see the city from a different perspective.

As you cruise along the Intracoastal Waterway and New River, you’ll pass by opulent mansions and impressive yachts that showcase the city’s affluence and luxurious lifestyle. The water taxi also offers a unique vantage point to admire Fort Lauderdale’s beautiful beaches and lush parklands.

With knowledgeable guides providing interesting commentary along the way, a water taxi tour offers:

  • Informative and entertaining experience
  • Suitable for first-time visitors and locals
  • Fantastic way to experience the beauty of Fort Lauderdale from the water

Hugh Taylor Birch State Park Adventures

Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, a tropical oasis nestled between the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean, resides in the heart of Fort Lauderdale. This beautiful park offers a range of outdoor activities for visitors to enjoy, including hiking, biking, and kayaking.

Explore the park’s scenic trails, such as the Coastal Hammock Trail, which takes you through a lush, subtropical coastal hammock. As you walk, you’ll be surrounded by native trees, plants, and wildlife, creating a serene and picturesque atmosphere.

For a more adventurous experience, rent a kayak or paddleboard and navigate the park’s calm waterways, admiring the beautiful surroundings and spotting wildlife along the way. Hugh Taylor Birch State Park also offers bike rentals, allowing you to cover more ground and visit various points of interest within the park.

Whether you’re seeking an active outdoor adventure or a tranquil escape from the city, Hugh Taylor Birch State Park is a must-visit destination that showcases the natural beauty of Fort Lauderdale.

Art and Culture at NSU Art Museum

Experience the world of art at the NSU Art Museum, Fort Lauderdale’s premier venue for visual arts. Located in the heart of the city, this 85,000-square-foot museum houses an extensive collection of post-war, European Cobra, and Latin American artworks.

The museum’s most notable collection includes realist works by William Glackens, the largest of its kind in the nation. As you explore the various galleries, you’ll be captivated by the diverse range of artistic styles and cultural influences on display.

In addition to its permanent collections, the NSU Art Museum also hosts rotating exhibitions, events, and educational programs, providing a dynamic and engaging experience for art enthusiasts of all ages.

Whether you’re a seasoned art aficionado or simply looking to broaden your cultural horizons, a visit to the NSU Art Museum is a must when exploring Fort Lauderdale.

Historic Stranahan House Museum Journey

Travel back in time at the Historic Stranahan House Museum, Fort Lauderdale’s oldest surviving structure, and delve into the city’s fascinating history. Built in 1901 by Frank Stranahan, the founder of Fort Lauderdale, and his wife Ivy, this historic house museum offers a glimpse into the lives of the city’s early pioneers.

The Stranahan House Museum once served as the primary post office, town hall, and restaurant for the area, making it an integral part of Fort Lauderdale’s history. Today, it stands as a testament to the city’s past, offering visitors the opportunity to explore its well-preserved rooms, artifacts, and exhibits.

Guided tours of the museum provide fascinating insights into the city’s captivating history, and the lovely riverside setting adds to the charm of this historic attraction. For history buffs and curious visitors alike, the Historic Stranahan House Museum is a must-visit destination that reveals the rich heritage of Fort Lauderdale.

Museum of Discovery and Science Fun

The family-friendly Museum of Discovery and Science, one of the top Fort Lauderdale museums, invites you to engage in interactive exhibits and hands-on learning experiences. This popular attraction offers a wide range of exhibits that cater to visitors of all ages, providing a fun and educational day out for the whole family.

The museum’s permanent exhibits, such as Prehistoric Florida, the Florida Everglades, and Otters at Play, showcase the region’s unique natural history and wildlife. Interactive displays and experiences, like the Storm Center, airboat adventure, and outdoor Science Park, bring these topics to life and engage visitors in a hands-on learning environment.

In addition to its engaging exhibits, the Museum of Discovery and Science also offers special events, workshops, and programs throughout the year, ensuring that there’s always something new and exciting happening at this dynamic attraction.

Whether you’re a science enthusiast or simply looking for a fun day out with the family, the Museum of Discovery and Science offers:

  • Entertaining exhibits
  • Educational programs
  • Interactive displays
  • IMAX movies

It’s an entertaining and educational destination that’s not to be missed.

Broward Center for the Performing Arts Entertainment

Experience a play, concert, or ballet at Fort Lauderdale’s premier theater, the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. Located on the west side of the Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale, this world-class venue hosts over 700 performances annually, offering a diverse range of entertainment options for all tastes.

From Broadway musicals and ballets to rock concerts and performances by the Florida Grand Opera, the Broward Center for the Performing Arts showcases the best in local, national, and international talent. The state-of-the-art facilities and stunning architecture provide an unforgettable experience for both performers and audience members alike.

The Broward Center also offers public tours on the first Sunday of each month, providing an opportunity to explore the venue’s impressive facilities and learn about its history and operations.

Whether you’re a theater lover or simply looking for a memorable night out, the Broward Center for the Performing Arts is a must-visit destination in Fort Lauderdale.

Fort Lauderdale Fire and Safety Museum Visit

The Fort Lauderdale Fire and Safety Museum, which showcases vintage equipment and artifacts related to the city’s fire department, offers a fascinating insight into the history of firefighting and first responders. Located in the heart of Fort Lauderdale, this unique museum offers visitors a fascinating look into the past, chronicling the history of the Fort Lauderdale Fire Department since 1912.

The museum’s exhibits include a range of photographs, videos, and ancient equipment that illustrate the evolution of the fire department and the heroic efforts of its members throughout the years. A visit to the Fort Lauderdale Fire and Safety Museum provides a valuable opportunity to learn about the city’s firefighting history and the important role first responders play in our community.

In addition to its historical exhibits, the museum also offers a children’s fire prevention and escape program, engaging young visitors in a fun and interactive learning experience. Whether you’re a history buff or simply looking for an educational and interesting day out, the Fort Lauderdale Fire and Safety Museum is a unique attraction that shouldn’t be missed.

Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Extravaganza

At the iconic guitar-shaped Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Fort Lauderdale, you can experience the exhilaration of gaming, nightlife, and live entertainment. This lavish resort, one of the largest casinos in the United States, offers a wide range of gaming options, from slot machines and table games to high-stakes poker and exclusive VIP rooms.

In addition to its gaming facilities, the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino boasts a vibrant nightlife scene, with numerous bars, lounges, and live music venues to keep the party going all night long. And when it’s time to refuel, the resort offers a variety of dining options, from fine dining establishments like the Grand Lux Cafe and Cheesecake Factory to casual eateries such as Johnny Rockets.

For those looking to catch a show, the resort’s 7,000-seat arena hosts a variety of Vegas-style entertainment, including concerts, theatrical performances, and special events. Whether you’re a high roller or just looking for a night of fun and excitement, the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino offers an extravaganza of entertainment that’s sure to leave you wanting more.

Paddleboarding and Kayaking in the Venice of America

Admire the beautiful canals, mansions, and yachts of Fort Lauderdale as you navigate the city’s waterways on a paddleboard or kayak, exploring the “Venice of America”. With its 300 miles of navigable waterways, Fort Lauderdale is the perfect destination for water sports enthusiasts looking for a unique perspective on this picturesque city.

Paddleboarding and kayaking tours in Fort Lauderdale typically traverse the following waterways:

  • Canals of Las Olas Isles
  • Intracoastal Waterway
  • Middle River
  • New River

These tours offer a relaxing and enjoyable way to explore the city’s waterways. Along the way, you’ll pass by opulent mansions and impressive yachts, providing a glimpse into the luxurious lifestyle of Fort Lauderdale’s residents.

For those looking to learn more about South Florida’s ecosystem, consider a kayaking tour through the region’s mangroves, where you’ll gain invaluable insights into the area’s remarkable ecosystem and the importance of conservation.

Paddleboarding and kayaking in Fort Lauderdale offer a unique and memorable experience that’s perfect for visitors of all ages and skill levels.

Funky Buddha Brewery Tasting

At one of Florida’s largest breweries and taprooms, Funky Buddha Brewery, you can sample a variety of craft brews. Located in Fort Lauderdale, this popular brewery offers a diverse selection of beers, including:

  • Floridian
  • Tropical Floridian
  • Maple Bacon Coffee Porter
  • Last Snow Porter

Funky Buddha Brewery is more than just a place to taste great beer; it’s also a gathering spot for locals and visitors alike who appreciate the art of craft brewing. With a laid-back atmosphere and knowledgeable staff, it’s the perfect place to unwind and sample some of the finest brews that South Florida has to offer.

In addition to its extensive lineup of beers, Funky Buddha Brewery also hosts special events, tours, and tastings throughout the year, providing an immersive experience for craft beer enthusiasts of all levels. Whether you’re a seasoned connoisseur or new to the 🔗world of craft brewing, a visit to Funky Buddha Brewery is sure to be a memorable and enjoyable experience.

Ann's Florist and Coffee Bar Relaxation

At the charming spot of Ann’s Florist and Coffee Bar on Las Olas Boulevard, unwind and indulge in a delightful combination of fresh flowers, pastries, and coffee. This quaint establishment exudes a warm and welcoming atmosphere, making it the perfect place to relax and enjoy a delicious treat while strolling through Fort Lauderdale.

From fragrant bouquets to mouth-watering pastries, Ann’s Florist and Coffee Bar offers something for everyone. Savor a freshly brewed cup of coffee while admiring the beautiful floral arrangements, or indulge in a scrumptious dessert, such as the popular S’mores treat.

Located just steps away from the bustling shops and restaurants of Las Olas Boulevard, Ann’s Florist and Coffee Bar provides a tranquil oasis amidst the excitement of Fort Lauderdale. Be sure to stop by and enjoy the unique combination of flowers, coffee, and pastries during your visit to this vibrant city.

Cycle and Segway Tours

Embark on a guided bike or Segway tour to explore Fort Lauderdale’s landmarks and attractions, taking in historical sites, parks, and beaches. These tours offer a fun and engaging way to discover the city, providing a unique perspective on Fort Lauderdale’s most notable sights and attractions.

Segway tours, in particular, are a popular way to navigate the city, encompassing the Lauderdale Beach promenade, downtown and residential areas, and Hugh Taylor Birch Park. With knowledgeable guides leading the way, you’ll learn about the city’s history, culture, and natural beauty as you glide along the scenic streets and pathways.

For a more traditional approach, consider a guided bike tour that takes you through the city’s most iconic landmarks and areas, such as the waterfront, Central Park, and Hugh Taylor Birch State Park. With a variety of tours available, including comedy-themed Segway adventures and moonlight tours, there’s a cycling or Segway experience to suit every interest and skill level.

Butterfly World Wonderland

Step into Butterfly World, America’s largest butterfly house, home to over 20,000 butterflies and a stunning tropical paradise. Located just a short drive from Fort Lauderdale, this unique attraction offers visitors the chance to immerse themselves in a world of beauty and wonder, surrounded by fluttering butterflies and lush tropical gardens.

In addition to its impressive collection of over 50 butterfly species, Butterfly World also houses a variety of tropical birds and offers the opportunity to participate in the Lorikeet Encounter, where visitors can hand-feed these colorful and friendly creatures.

As you wander through the gardens and butterfly-filled aviaries, you’ll be captivated by the vibrant colors and delicate beauty of these fascinating creatures. With its tranquil setting and mesmerizing displays, Butterfly World is an unforgettable experience that’s sure to enchant visitors of all ages.

Sawgrass Mills Shopping Spree

Indulge in a shopping spree at Sawgrass Mills, America’s largest single-story outlet mall, which features 350 stores, a variety of dining options, and an IMAX theater. Located just a short drive from downtown Fort Lauderdale, Sawgrass Mills is a shopping paradise for both bargain hunters and luxury shoppers alike.

With a wide range of stores, including high-end boutiques like Prada and Tory Burch, as well as more budget-friendly options like Marshalls and J.Crew Factory, Sawgrass Mills offers something for every shopper. And when it’s time to take a break from shopping, the mall features a variety of dining options, such as the Cheesecake Factory, Grand Lux Cafe, and Johnny Rockets, to satisfy any craving.

Beyond its extensive shopping and dining options, Sawgrass Mills also offers entertainment for the whole family. Catch a movie at the on-site IMAX theater, or take advantage of the various events and activities hosted by the mall throughout the year.

Whether you’re in search of designer deals, unique finds, or simply a fun day out, Sawgrass Mills is the ultimate shopping destination in Fort Lauderdale.


From pristine beaches and lush parks to world-class shopping and vibrant nightlife, Fort Lauderdale offers a diverse and exciting array of attractions for visitors to explore. With its rich history, stunning scenery, and endless opportunities for adventure, it’s no wonder that this sun-soaked paradise continues to captivate the hearts of travelers from around the world. So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your unforgettable Fort Lauderdale getaway today!

Frequently Asked Questions

What to do in Fort Lauderdale in 24 hours?

Spend a day in Fort Lauderdale starting with breakfast at The Floridian, followed by an afternoon stroll at the beach and dinner at Rocco's Tacos. Don't forget to include a sightseeing stop at Bonnet House Museum & Gardens and a relaxing paddleboard session at sunset!

What is Fort Lauderdale best known for?

Fort Lauderdale is renowned for its beaches, arts, culture and events, as well as the 'Venice of America' with its historic riverfront and gondola rides along the canals. Shopping, dining and more can also be found along Las Olas Boulevard.

What are some must-visit beaches in Fort Lauderdale?

Beaches in Fort Lauderdale such as Fort Lauderdale Beach Park, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Loggerhead and Vista Park, and Las Olas Beach offer amazing sights and experiences - making them must-visit spots.

What activities can I enjoy at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park?

At Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, you can explore the outdoors with activities like hiking, biking, and kayaking.

What kinds of performances can I see at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts?

At the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, you can enjoy a variety of entertainment, such as ballets, rock concerts, Broadway musicals and performances by the Florida Grand Opera.