Top 20 Tourist Attractions and Sightseeing in Fort Lauderdale
Sea the City
Top 20 Tourist Attractions and Sightseeing in Fort Lauderdale
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Fort Lauderdale is one of America’s most popular vacation destinations because the beautiful city offers visitors so much. Many people visit Fort Lauderdale to laze on its beaches and enjoy its amazing weather, but the city also has plenty of attractions for vacationers who like to pack their trips with places to see and things to do. In this blog post, we will take a look at Fort Lauderdale’s most popular and interesting tourist attractions. We will also give you some useful tips that could help you to get the most out of your next Fort Lauderdale vacation.
Fort Lauderdale Tourist Attractions
Fort Lauderdale was once known primarily as a spring break destination, but the city has now shed its party reputation and established itself as a vacation destination with something to offer visitors of all ages. Whether you want to soak up the sunshine, enjoy nature, shop till you drop or dance until the sun comes up, you will find what you are looking for in Fort Lauderdale.
1. Fort Lauderdale Beaches
Of all the Fort Lauderdale places to visit, its beaches are by far the biggest draw. More than 13 million people visit Fort Lauderdale each year, and the vast majority of them spend at least a day or two relaxing on one of the city’s amazing beaches. Fort Lauderdale has seven miles of beach backed by a beautiful pedestrian walkway and overlooked by glistening luxury condo buildings.
This means there are more than a few places to enjoy a day in the sun, but Fort Lauderdale Beach Park is our recommendation. You can find this amazing stretch of sand near the shopping and entertainment attractions on Las Olas Boulevard, and you should have no problem finding a place to park. You will also find:
- Basketball and volleyball courts
- BBQ grills and picnic tables
- A playground
2. Flamingo Gardens and Wildlife Sanctuary
If you love nature, a trip to the Flamingo Gardens and Wildlife Sanctuary should definitely be one of the tourist attractions in Fort Lauderdale you do not miss. There are 11 gardens filled with tropical and subtropical plants, including thousands of orchids, and there is an arboretum that is home to some of Florida’s most majestic trees.
If you prefer critters to flowers and plants, you will not want to miss this attraction’s wildlife sanctuary. It features a flamingo pond where you can feed these wonderful birds by hand, and the sanctuary also has eagles, alligators, bobcats and bears. When you have had your fill of nature, you can end your visit by exploring a fully-restored 1930s mansion.
3. Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show
Monaco has its Formula 1 Grand Prix race, New York City has its Thanksgiving Day parade and Fort Lauderdale has one of the world’s most important boat shows. The Florida International Boat Show, which is usually held in October, is an event that draws visitors from all around the world, and it provides a great way to see how the other half live. There are more than 1,000 boats to see, and you will be able to board most of them. You can take a look around luxury yachts that cost as much as a private estate, or you could score a great deal on a Jet Ski or power boat.
Sight Seeing in Fort Lauderdale
There are plenty of interesting things to see in Fort Lauderdale, and there are also must-see destinations scattered around the city. You can go sightseeing in Fort Lauderdale on foot, or you can see what the city has to offer from the deck of a boat or a seat on a tour bus. Whatever sightseeing option you choose, you are bound to have a great time.
4. Fort Lauderdale Riverwalk
The Fort Lauderdale Riverwalk is a two-and-a-half-mile trail that winds its way along the banks of the New River and past historic homes and gleaming condo towers. There are 10 parks on the scenic route, and they all have something to offer. There are playgrounds for kids and outdoor gyms for visitors who want to squeeze a workout into their vacations, and you won’t have to pay a penny if you want to enjoy the Riverwalk experience from a seat on the Riverfront Water Trolley. There are plenty of cafes and restaurants on the trail to enjoy a leisurely meal or refreshing drink, and you can take a Segway or e-bike tour if you don’t feel like walking.
5. Everglades Holiday Park
If you have ever watched “Gator Boys” on TV, you will already know what to expect if you visit Everglades Holiday Park. The show’s hosts enthrall visitors with daily gator shows, but this venue offers much more than reptilian predators. The Everglades is home to some of the world’s most unusual plants and animals, and an airboat tour is a perfect way to see the ecosystem. The tour guides know just where to find the raccoons, tortoises, skunks, snakes and pigs that live in the Everglades, and there is an Animal Encounter area for visitors who want to see them up close.
6. Hot Tub Boat Tour
The only thing better than relaxing in a hot tub is relaxing in a hot tub on a boat, and relaxing in a hot tub on a boat while enjoying the sights of Fort Lauderdale takes things to a whole new level. The Sea the City hot tub boat tour provides breathtaking views of the Fort Lauderdale skyline and Riverwalk from a vantage point that no other tour can match. The hot tub boat does not serve alcohol, but you can bring your own bottle of bubbly if you want to enjoy the full movie star experience.
Shopping and Entertainment in Fort Lauderdale
If you think that a vacation has to include great shopping, exciting nightlife and amazing food, Fort Lauderdale will not leave you wanting. Shopping options include eclectic boutiques and luxury retail outlets, and dining options range from casual eateries to gourmet restaurants. When the sun goes down, you can party at a local nightclub, gamble at a Vegas-style casino or take in a show.
7. Las Olas Boulevard
Las Olas Boulevard is the beating heart of the Fort Lauderdale entertainment scene. There are more than 100 stores, cafes and restaurants dotting Las Olas Boulevard between Tarpon Drive and SE 15th Avenue, and many of them offer merchandise that you will not be able to find anywhere else. You could grab a meal at one of the boulevard’s numerous sidewalk bistros and enjoy some people-watching, or you may prefer to cap off a day’s shopping with an alfresco dining experience under the glow provided by illuminated palm trees.
8. Sawgrass Mills
You will have to drive about 14 miles out of Fort Lauderdale if you want to visit Sawgrass Mills, but the trip will be worth it if you love to shop. With more than 350 retail stores and boutiques, Sawgrass Mills is the largest outlet mall in America. This is a place to find deals on designer swag adorned with Italian and French labels, and it also offers a multitude of options to shoppers with more modest budgets. One of the busiest stores sells suitcases to visitors who suddenly find themselves needing a little more luggage space on the trip home.
9. Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
No guide to entertainment in Fort Lauderdale would be complete if it did not mention the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. This is one of the largest casinos in the United States, and a $1.5 billion refurbishment completed in 2019 has made it one of the best. You won’t be able to miss the casino as you approach because its main tower is shaped like a huge electric guitar, and you will have plenty to do when you arrive even if you don’t play any slots or table games. There are steakhouses, restaurants and, of course, a Hard Rock Café, and there is a 7,000-seat arena where you can enjoy Vegas-style entertainment.
Ft Lauderdale Points of Interest
If you like to wander off the beaten track when you take a vacation, you will love Fort Lauderdale. There is a canal network that has led to the city becoming known as the Venice of America, and there are mansions, racetracks and entertainment venues that whisk visitors back to a bygone era. When you have enjoyed plenty of sun, sand and sea and fancy something a little different, there are plenty of places to visit in Fort Lauderdale that will surprise and delight you.
10. Broward Center for the Performing Arts
The Broward Center for the Performing Arts is the place to go if you want to fit some spectacular entertainment into a Fort Lauderdale visit. This venue hosts more than 700 performances every year that more than 600,000 patrons watch. That fact makes it one of America’s 10 most popular theaters. The eclectic entertainment choices include ballets, rock concerts and Broadway musicals. The venue also hosts performances by the Florida Grand Opera. If you want to see what performers experience, you can take one of the behind-the-scenes public tours that are offered on the first Sunday of every month. Once the tour is over, you can head outside to hear some soothing jazz.
11. Butterfly World
Butterflies are beautiful and fascinating creatures, and you can see 20,000 of them at Butterfly World. There are six screened aviaries filled with incredible butterflies and amazing birds, and you can feed some of them by hand. The butterflies will flitter all around you as you stroll through the tropical gardens, and the birds will be happy to use your arm as a resting place if you let them. If you are visiting Fort Lauderdale with kids, this is an attraction that you should not miss.
12. Gulfstream Park Racetrack
Hallandale Beach is just a short 15-minute drive from Fort Lauderdale, but you will feel like you have passed through a time portal if you take this trip to visit Gulfstream Park. This great American racetrack looks much the way it did when it opened in 1939, and that’s a good thing if you are looking for a taste of the past. Top thoroughbreds race here every Sunday and Wednesday between December and September, and admission won’t cost you a dime. If you arrive early, you can enjoy a breakfast buffet for $10 and eat while you watch the horses prepare for the upcoming action.
Museums in Fort Lauderdale
History buffs who visit Fort Lauderdale often choose to visit the city’s museums instead of its beaches. There are majestic homes that provide a glimpse of what life was like when roads were built for horses, and there are museums that reveal the wonders technology could have in store for us. There are also museums that explore the rich history of Fort Lauderdale and celebrate the diversity of its people.
13. Bonnet House Museum & Gardens
If you want to know what Fort Lauderdale looked like before property developers turned the area into a major vacation destination, you can visit the Bonnet House Museum & Gardens. Its 36 serene acres are an unspoiled oasis with commercial developments all around, and the main house is an architectural wonder filled with fine furniture and a wonderful art collection. The Orchid Display House is the focal point of the beautiful formal gardens, but most visitors prefer to spend their time exploring the five ecosystems that surround the property.
14. Stranahan House Museum
Florida’s oldest standing home is also one of its most interesting attractions, but you will not be able to visit on Sunday or Monday because of nearby construction. The Stranahan House Museum was originally built in 1901 and has been expanded several times. After you take in its wide verandas, expansive bay windows and beautiful ocean view, you will be shocked to learn that this amazing home once served as the area’s main post office. The property has also been used as a town hall and restaurant, but it has now been restored to its former glory.
15. Museum of Discovery and Science
The Museum of Discovery and Science is a Fort Lauderdale attraction where kids and adults can learn about the wonders of nature and marvel at how technology may change the future. The displays include real dinosaur fossils and a massive coral reef, and the Storm Center experience lets visitors know what it feels like to be caught in a powerful hurricane. There is also an airboat adventure experience and an IMAX theater. Young children will fall in love with this museum’s two-story otter habitat, and they will learn as they play in its Discovery Center.
Top Places to Eat in Fort Lauderdale
Fort Lauderdale has some of the best restaurants in South Florida, and you will find eateries that can please your palate without emptying your wallet. There are amazing cafes where you can enjoy sandwiches, rich coffee and pastries, seafood restaurants with delightful local flavors and waterfront restaurants that serve delicious cuisine amid amazing views.
16. Shooters Waterfront Café
Shooters Waterfront Café is a great place to enjoy seafood, steaks and other delicious entrées you can enjoy while admiring the boats that pass by on the Intracoastal Waterway. The restaurant is located in a beautiful old house, and its outdoor patio offers an unrivaled view of Fort Lauderdale’s sunsets. The restaurant offers a full-service bar to toast your meal with an exotic tropical cocktail. It also has a patio that overlooks the water and offers a great view of seagulls and passing ships.
17. 15th Street Fisheries
This upscale restaurant located in the Lauderdale Marina has been providing fresh seafood to Fort Lauderdale residents since 1976. The menu at 15th Street Fisheries includes an extensive wine list and local favorites such as grouper, snapper, mackerel and mahi-mahi and imported items like South African lobster tail. Dining upstairs at the restaurant is a delight, and you can enjoy a panorama of yachts and boats passing by below. It is the perfect spot for a memorable meal before or after spending time at one of Fort Lauderdale Lauderdale’s lovely beaches.
Coconuts is a casual waterfront seafood eatery that serves up simple and delicious local cuisine. The atmosphere is relaxed and laid-back, and the food is fantastic. From the fresh seafood tower on their loaded bar to flame-broiled steaks to crab cake entrees, this restaurant will not disappoint. They also have signature creative cocktails, such as Save the Whales with Save the Whale Gin and fresh mint-containing Blackberry Mojitos. If you’re looking for a delicious seafood meal and cocktails in Fort Lauderdale, Coconuts is the perfect place to stop.
19. The Rusty Hook Tavern
The Rusty Hook Tavern is just north of Ft. Lauderdale at Pompano Beach, and it is a great place to enjoy some of the area’s best beer and wine. It is a cozy bar that caters to locals, so it has become a popular spot for socializing. The menu offers a daily fresh fish selection and thick steaks with a Mediterranean influence. Don’t miss their Moroccan Tuesdays, which offers delectable three-course Moroccan Dinners like their popular tagine.
20. Edelweiss German Bakery & European Cafe
For a change of pace, you can try hidden gem in Fort Lauderdale. The Edelweiss German Bakery & European Cafe offers authentic German and Eastern European cuisine. They feature dishes such as German sausages, Bavarian meatloaf, goulash, schnitzel, strudels and apple streusel. Breakfast is served until noon, and the lunch menu features a variety of soups, salads and sandwiches. In addition to their savory meal options, they offer an array of custom-made breads, cakes and pastries fresh from the oven.
The Best Way to See Fort Lauderdale
Fort Lauderdale is best known for its amazing beaches, but the city has so much more to offer. If you want to experience this vacation destination from a truly unique perspective, park your rental car and book a place on a Sea the City hot tub boat tour. You will never be seated with people who are not in your group, so you can relax and enjoy the sights. If you want to learn more about our one-of-a-kind tour experience, you can use our online form to ask us a question or call us at (954)890-4912.