Just 30 miles from the bumping beaches of Miami, life slows down a bit. Fort Lauderdale is like Miami’s laid-back sister, beachy, beautiful and every bit as glamorous. With long stretches of sand, chilled-out cafés and a thriving arts scene, there’s no need for sibling rivalry; Fort Lauderdale is in a league all its own. Here are some of our favorite ways to spend 48 hours in this spectacular South Florida city.
Sip on Some Citrus
As the country’s largest producer of OJ, Florida is to oranges as New England is to apples. So for a fresh fruit fix, head outside of downtown to Bob Roth’s New River Groves. This family-owned Fort Lauderdale mainstay has been growing oranges for nearly 60 years. Locals and tourists stop here for fresh-squeezed orange juice, coconut juice or a bag full of oranges and grapefruits. But whatever you do, don’t leave without picking up one of Terry’s award-winning key lime pies.
Collide With Arts & Culture
While Miami’s annual Art Basel may draw the crowds, Fort Lauderdale keeps art lovers busy year-round. The NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale has showcased thousands of works of art since 1958. With a new downtown location, Girls’ Club is an art gallery dedicated to showing pieces by local and international female artists. Book a tour of the Bonnet House Museum and Gardens to delight in its Art Deco design and priceless paintings. Looking for a night on the town? Broward Center For The Performing Arts puts on a huge variety of concerts, ballets, plays and musicals. FYI, the city’s famous FATVillage is open but currently undergoing major construction.
Bask in the Sun
When in Florida, the ocean comes calling. Kimpton Shorebreak is sandwiched right between two of the city’s best stretches of sand, Sebastian Street Beach and Fort Lauderdale Beach. Both are located on the Atlantic Ocean with soft white sand, clear waters, chairs, and umbrellas for rent (or included with your Shorebreak stay). Sebastian Street is beloved for its LGBTQ+-friendly reputation, and Fort Lauderdale for being family-friendly. If you’re a beach bum at heart, slather on some suntan lotion and try both.
A stunning state park is smack dab between the Atlantic and Fort Lauderdale’s waterways. Spend the morning strolling the grounds and admiring the ancient oaks at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park. Known as the city’s “Central Park,” people come here to traverse the Coastal Hammock Trail, rent a paddleboard and float in the coastal lakes or bike the nearly two-mile park drive. Keep an eye out for any baby tortoises crossing the road.
Cruise the Canals
Known as the “Venice of America,” 165 miles of canals snake through the city. Hop aboard a private cruise, water taxi (just $35 per person for a hop-on-hop-off ride) and even a gondola to explore these scenic waterways. Spend the late afternoon puttering around the canals, especially “Millionaire’s Row,” where you can admire the multi-million dollar mansions and corresponding yachts parked outside.
Eat, Drink and Be Merry
There’s no shortage of fantastic dishes and drinks in Fort Lauderdale. At Kimpton Shorebreak, Chef Michael Mayar crafts Italian classics using local ingredients and Florida flavors at La Fuga. Nearby is a local favorite, Coconuts. Its waterfront locale means you can watch the yachts sail by while digging into a casual menu of can’t-go-wrong local seafood. Drive down Las Olas Boulevard for the city’s restaurant row. Just down the street, Ya Mas is an Instagrammable go-to serving the city’s best Greek food. And if you’re in need of a pick-me-up, take a cab to Heritage for what’s considered the best espresso martini in the city.