Four ways to experience Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Punita Malhotra


Fort Lauderdale has earned the tag 'Yachting capital of the world' for its 300 miles of navigable waterways. The sun-drenched coastal city is a refreshing blend of contemporary chic and traditional charm, filled with cultural treasures and a thriving community spirit. Here are four ways to embrace the rhythm of Fort Lauderdale like a local.

A mosaic of neighbourhoods

Fort Lauderdale is a treasure trove of hidden enclaves overflowing with fascinating stories. Step beyond the typical tourist spots to encounter Wilton Manors, a vibrant hub celebrating diversity and inclusivity. The area is home to the Pride Center, a community centre with "safe space" meeting groups, activities and support for the LGBTQ community in Florida, the annual Pride Parade and the Stonewall Street Festival. Stroll along the rainbow-flagged main drag, go boutique-hopping for art, and kayak down the seven-mile blue trails loop.

At Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, learn about the history of a strategic watchtower and defence point location for the Coast Guard during World War II. The nostalgic character of the retros-style pier and mid-century low-rise buildings is reminiscent of a vintage postcard. Wander through the streets, following the aroma of fresh seafood, stopping to chat with the friendly locals. Explore the lush greenery and historic residences of Victoria Park, a former site for World War II barracks.

In the art-adorned streets, you can relax at a local craft brewery, pamper your palate at hip cafes and stroll in green spaces. Head to the artsy Flagler Village, a former industrial area reincarnated as a contemporary space for art galleries, breweries, and trendy eateries. Base yourself at the Conrad Fort Lauderdale Beach on North Beach for a touch of exclusivity and immaculate hospitality. 

Marketplaces bursting with flavour

Community and culinary artistry collide at The Yellow Green Farmers Market in Fort Lauderdale. Spanning 190,000 square feet, it hosts over 600 vendors, including over 200 food and beverage stalls, offering an array of farm-fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, freshly baked goods, organic fruits and vegetables, exotic spices, locally produced honey, and handcrafted soaps. Expect to be greeted with live music, infectious energy and a cheerful, communal atmosphere.

You can find the region's artisanal, handmade creations and fresh produce in a vibrant tapestry of colours and aromas. This melting pot of diverse cultures is a deep dive into Lauderdale's rich culinary heritage. Sample everything from sizzling street food to gourmet delights, from Latin American delicacies to Asian street food and European pastries. Slip into the hustle and bustle, laughter and conversations, and interact with vendors and locals.

Rhythm of festive events

With a broad spectrum of annual events year-round, Fort Lauderdale is a culturally vibrant destination for visitors and locals. Pride Fort Lauderdale, the oldest Pride celebration in the state, tops the charts. Other popular happenings on the city calendar are the Tortuga Music Festival, the Fort Lauderdale Air Show, and the globally renowned Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. Look forward to lively music, fireworks, and boat displays in the 4th of July Spectacular and the Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Boat Parade.

Bookmark the Lauderdale Food & Wine Festival and the Las Olas Wine & Food Festival if you are a food enthusiast. Family-friendly concerts and movies are hosted in the summer at Oakland Park and Hollywood. Those with music in their veins can find endless entertainment options, from beachside performances like Friday Night Sound Waves to significant events at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Sports fans, prep for football matches at DRV PNK Stadium and hockey games at the Amerant Bank Arena.

Aquatic paradise

Greater Fort Lauderdale is a haven for lovers of aquatic adventures. You can start by exploring the biodiversity of South Florida at Broward County Park, a system of over 50 regional parks, nature centres, neighbourhood parks, natural areas, and speciality parks. Families can look forward to hours of excitement and kid-friendly fun in the water playgrounds of C.B. Smith Park's Paradise Cove, T.Y. Park's Castaway Island, and Splash Adventure.

If you care to venture deeper, consider an airboat excursion guided by experienced captains at Everglades Holiday Park. Listen to stories of the marshes and their vibrant wildlife and history. For those who prefer the adrenaline rush of watersports, there is wakeboarding, skiing, and kneeboarding in Ski Rixen, USA. 

Fort Lauderdale is an underwater wonderland of coral and artificial reefs. Sign up for a snorkelling and scuba diving experience tailored to your preference and skill level. And that's not all. From stand-up paddleboarding to personal watercraft rentals and sailing excursions, choices abound in this aquatic paradise. What will you explore?

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