Looking for some fun things to do in Fort Lauderdale? Fort Lauderdale is often overlooked due to its Miami neighbor just 30 miles south of the city. But, on your trip to South Florida it is one tropical metropolis that should be on your list to visit.
Fort Lauderdale has many beautiful sun-kissed beaches, exquisite restaurants, waterfront entertainment, and many prized galleries. This is the perfect spot for a weekend getaway or day trip.
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THINGS TO DO IN FORT LAUDERDALE
1|Las Olas Boulevard
One of the best places to go in Fort Lauderdale is the famous mile long street Las Olas Boulevard located in the center of Downtown.
Las Olas is known to be one of Fort Lauderdale’s most charming streets with its hints of Mediterranean decor.
If shopping is on your agenda Las Olas has over 100 retails shops and one of a kind trendy boutiques.
For art lovers Las Olas has some world class art galleries and museums deserving of your visit.
You will also discover the most amazing restaurants and cafes to satisfy your palette at places such as Royal Pig Pub & Kitchen or Gran Forno Bakery.
Fort Lauderdale is known to host popular festivals and events annually on Las Olas. One of the most famous is Las Olas Food and Wine Festival. You can find out which events will be available during your visit here.
If you are searching for some free things to do in Fort Lauderdale head to Las Olas for a stroll. You will definitely be satisfied with the scenery.
Address: Las Olas Boulevard
The focal point of Fort Lauderdale is the Beachfront Promenade along the wave wall on A1A.
It is filled with a lineup of buzzing retail shops, sidewalk cafes, restaurants, bars, and live entertainment to keep you busy.
Beachfront is one of the best places to go in Fort Lauderdale to explore and grab a snack after hanging out at the beach all day.
Address: S Atlantic Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
3|Fort Lauderdale Beach
Fort Lauderdale boasts about their expansive 23 miles of sugary sand beaches and clear turquoise waters. Most beaches are certified by the Clean Beaches Council of Washington DC as Blue Wave Beaches.
Most importantly you cannot come without visiting one of the many beaches in the Greater Fort Lauderdale area such as Dania, Hallandale, or Hollywood Beach as they will not disappoint you.
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The Flamingo Gardens spans over 60-acres of botanical gardens and wildlife sanctuary making it one of the top things to see in Fort Lauderdale for sure. It holds over 3000 tropical and subtropical plants and trees. The sanctuary houses more than 90 native species which is the largest collection in Florida. Flamingo Gardens even has the largest tree in all the sunshine state. Expect to see alligators, bobcats, eagles, peacocks, flamingos, and many more native Florida wildlife during your visit. Flamingo Gardens is open Monday thru Sunday from 9:30AM to 5PM, last entry is at 4PM. General admission for adults is $21.95 and children 3-11 $15.95. You can purchase additional exhibitions for an additional charge. Find more information and purchase tickets in advance here.
Address: 3750 S Flamingo Rd, Davie, FL 33330
5|Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale Museum
Get educated on the heroes who defended our country during World War II at the Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale.
This Florida Heritage Site from 1942 includes exhibits of recreated soldier’s barracks, many military artifacts, and history from Flight 19.
Opening hours are 11:30AM-3:30PM on Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday only. Best of all it is one of the free things to do in Fort Lauderdale.
Address: 4000 W Perimeter Rd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33315
6|International Swimming Hall Of Fame
This museum opened its doors to the public in 1968 as the focal point to educate and excite others on the history of swimming in the USA and worldwide.
If swimming excites you then you will be pretty impressed with the Swimming Hall of Fame. Exhibits available include art outlining epic moments in swimming history, civil rights, and artifacts from those who have made a contribution to aquatics.
You can learn about the history of everything and anything related to swimming such as swimsuits, swimmers, and swimming equipment.
International Swimming Hall of Fame is open everyday, except for Sundays from 9AM-5PM. Admission is $4 and no charge for children 6 and under.
Address: 1 Hall of Fame Dr, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
7|Stranahan House Museum
This house dates back to 1901 and is one of the oldest structures to survive in Broward County.
The Stranahan House Museum was the trading post before Frank and Ivy Stranahan restored the structure and made it their home.
Following renovation it is now open for the public. Here you can learn about its heritage and its significance to Fort Lauderdale.
The Stanahan House is open everyday 1PM-4PM. Tickets are $12 for adults and $7 for students.
Address: 335 SE 6th Ave, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
8|Young At Art Museum
Young At Art Museum has hands-on and interactive art exhibits which makes it one of the exciting things for kids to do in Fort Lauderdale.
Spend a day here and immerse yourself with impressive galleries that will spark anyones creativity. Make your own earth art, create recycled puppets, or go for an archaeological dig in a cave.
Opening hours are Monday-Thursday 10AM-5PM, Friday and Saturday 10AM-6PM, and Sunday 11AM-6PM. Admission for adults and children 1 year and up $15.
Address: 751 SW 121st Ave, Davie, FL 33325
9|Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment District
Go for a stroll along the New River for an array of stimulating entertainment options, exclusive galleries, and world class dining.
Address: 201 SW Fifth Ave, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312
Water taxis are a cool and scenic way to get around the city and one of the most unique things to do in Fort Lauderdale.
This fun excursion has 10 stops and along your route cruising the captains provide plenty of historical information as well. With the water taxi you are connected from downtown to the intercostal beach areas.
Some of the popular stops include the Las Olas Riverfront and the Shops at Las Olas. If you are looking for a bite to eat head to waterfront restaurants Pirate Republic Bar or Downtowner Saloon to dine with locals.
An all day pass costs $28 and $14 for children 5-11. Tickets allows you to hop on and off the entire day at all stops. You can get more details and purchase your pass here.
11|Fort Lauderdale Fire & Safety Museum
Historic Fire Station #3 was constructed in 1927 following the city recovery from the 1926 hurricane.
This museum is one of the things for kids to do in Fort Lauderdale and super fun, even for adults. Lots of hands-on activities that make learning about fire safety and prevention exciting.
Antique fire engines, alarms, and other firefighter equipment are a few of the entertaining things to see and a hit with children.
The firehouse is only open on Saturday 9AM-12PM and Sundays from 4PM
Address: 1022 West Las Olas Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312
12|Broward Center For The Performing Arts
Get some culture at Broward Center for the Performing Arts which accommodates over 700 shows annually in the city with ballets, musicals, operas, and musical performances.
You can view their website for events when you pay a visit to the city.
13|The Elbo Room
Located at the eastern most end of Las Olas is Elbo Room. This tiny dive bar was established in 1938 and gained its popularity in the 1960 movie Where the Boys Are. Now it is the prime location for the spring breakers.
If you’re into having buckets of ice cold beer, a beach view, and loud music then Elbo Room is the perfect spot.
You cannot visit Fort Lauderdale without making a stop to this legendary bar.
The Elbo Room opens at 11AM and it closes when the party ends.
Address: 241 S Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
14|Las Olas Gondola Tours
Fort Lauderdale is known as the “Venice Of America” and what better way to see it’s beautiful waterways than on a gondola tour!
Las Olas Gondolas Tours is owned by a father and daughter team who have been locals in the city for years- so they know all the best spots to see along the canals.
Many packages are available to choose such as a sunset cruise which is very romantic or you can tour New River. If you are visiting in December go for the Christmas Light Tour which is a favorite.
Gondola rides last for 90 minutes, so sit back, relax, and enjoy the most scenic canals of Fort Lauderdale.
If you’re looking for unique things to do in Fort Lauderdale, then I suggest booking a Las Olas Gondola Tour.
Address:1200 E Las Olas Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
15|Fort Lauderdale Antique Car Museum
One of the most unique things to do in Fort Lauderdale is visiting the antique car museum. Even if you are not impressed with cars this museum will spark your fancy.
After you visit you will have a new sense of appreciation for cars.
Fort Lauderdale Antique Car Museum holds the largest collection of Packards automobiles world wide!
You are able to visit Monday thru Friday 10AM-4PM. It is required you make a minimum contribution of $10 and $5 children 5-12. Little ones under 5 are free.
Address: 1527 SW 1st Ave, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33315
16|Museum Of Discovery & Science
If you are traveling with family and looking for things to do with kids in Fort Lauderdale then I suggest visiting the Museum of Discovery and Science.
This large museum is two floors with many interactive and hands-on exhibits that make learning about science super exhilarating for children and adults.
So if you are looking for fun things to do in Fort Lauderdale with the family this is a great museum to visit. You can travel to the moon, pretend to be a pilot, see an animal show, and go digging for dinosaur fossils.
Doors are open Sundays 12PM-5PM and Tuesday to Saturday 10AM-5PM. Mondays the museum is closed. Tickets can only be purchased at the box office or by phone reservation at 954.713.0930.
Address: 401 SW 2nd St, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312, 954-467-6637
17|Jungle Queen Riverboat Cruise
All aboard! One of the unique things to do in Fort Lauderdale is a boat tour.
Jungle Queen Riverboat cruise is one of the most popular in Fort Lauderdale and world. They have been around since 1935 providing tours for tourists and locals along the Millionaire’s Row.
There is a selection of packages to select from depending on how long you want to be on board. They even carry packages that include dinner and live entertainment within the vessel. See more details on their packages here.
Address: 801 Seabreeze Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
18|Bonnet House Museum and Gardens
Bonnet House Museum and Gardens has a history dating back to the early 20th century and is a little oasis amidst the city.
What makes the Bonnet House one of the great things to do in Fort Lauderdale is in 2008 it was listed as the 11 most endangered sites in America.
You can take a self-guided or grounds tour around the estate. Expect for the museum to take a few hours of your day. You want to make sure you have plenty of time to wander around the 35 acre property.
Bonnet House opening hours are from 9AM- 4PM Tuesday thru Sunday. Tickets range from $10-$20 depending on your selected tour. You can find more information regarding pricing and purchase your tickets advance right here.
Address: 900 N Birch Rd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304
19|Fort Lauderdale Beach Park
One of the popular spot amongst the locals is Fort Lauderdale Beach Park located near the Bahia Mar Resort.
Here at the park there are many grills and picnic tables, showers, and a playground for children.
You can stay active with the locals at Fort Lauderdale Beach Park by playing volleyball or shooting hoops on the basketball courts.
The park is open daily from 5AM to 12AM and no fee to enter.
Address: 1100 Seabreeze Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
20|Hugh Taylor Birch State Park
For nature and wildlife lovers, Hugh Taylor Birch State Park is a must-see during your visit to Fort Lauderdale.
Many local species such as marsh rabbits, turtles, and over 200 types of birds live here.
The park is also great for walking or a bike ride. It is one of the places to visit in Fort Lauderdale that is truly spectacular.
Hugh Taylor State Park is open daily from 8AM to sundown. Entrance fee is $6 for vehicles up to 8 people, single occupants pay $4. If you biked or walked it is a $2 charge.
Address: 3109 E Sunrise Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304
21|The Galleria At Fort Lauderdale
If you are wanting to do some shopping on vacation then I suggest visiting The Galleria at Fort Lauderdale.
Here you can find 120 of the best shops to appease any shopping addict. It is also one of the fun things to do in Fort Lauderdale to keep you cool from the heat.
After all that shopping you may develop an appetite. The Galleria at Fort Lauderdale has some amazing restaurants to dine and fill up your belly, such as Seasons 52 or Blue Martini.
Address: 2414 E Sunrise Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304
Ready to party? Best Places To Experience The Nightlife In Fort Lauderdale
22|YOLO (You Only Live Once)
YOLO is a much loved staple on Las Olas and often frequented by the locals. This sleek sophisticated lounge is known for their happy hour specials and snazzy atmosphere.
It is one of thee best places to go in Fort Lauderdale to grab a cocktail and socialize.
YOLO does have one impeccable New American menu that will bring every food lover joy. Dining at their restaurant is one of the most romantic things to do in Fort Lauderdale.
Address: 333 E Las Olas Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
23|Rhythm & Vine
For a one-of-a-kind experience venture off to Rhythm and Vine. No need to strap on those stilettos or wear a designer suit here.
Part lounge, part garden, and a whole lot of chill is what makes this bar one of the unique things to do in Fort Lauderdale.
If you’re looking for a comfortable spot, tasty alcoholic beverages, and rotating food trucks then I suggest you give this place a visit.
Bring your pooch along too this dog friendly joint. Dogs are allowed until 9PM.
Address: 401 NE 5th Terrace, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
24|McSorley’s Beach Pub
There is something for everyone at McSorley’s Beach Pub. Dancing, a game room, sports tv, and sundeck with stunning beach views makes it one of the fun things to do in Fort Lauderdale.
Located conveniently across the beach and a nice pit stop for a cold beverage after a day on the beach.
Address: 837 N Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304
25|Original Fat Cats
Anyone and their momma who has lived in Fort Lauderdale knows about the Original Fat Cats. This is an old-school dive bar that will keep you entertained until the wee hours of the morning.
Expect rocking live music from talented local artists, pool tables, and a selection of over 80 beers to choose from. It will make one memorable experience for your trip to Fort Lauderdale.
Address:320 Himmarshee St, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312
Time to play dress up sojourn to Blue Martini, a high-end bar. This classic spot makes the perfect way to end your night in Fort Lauderdale sipping on martinis and champagne.
Many locals love to catch the happy hours at this upscale bar. If you’re visiting Fort Lauderdale mid-week, catch Ladies’ Night where the cover is free and drinks are 1/2 off after 7PM.
Address: 2432 E Sunrise Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304
27|Funky Buddha Brewery
If you’re a hardcore beer geek, Funky Buddha Brewery delivers pints of frothy homemade crafts.
Sip on some bizarre concoctions such as maple bacon coffee, chocolate and coconut, or even a peanut butter and jelly sandwich flavored brew.
Funky Buddha Brewery has a game room with games such as bocce and an oversized Jenga.
Beer geek lovers can even tour the taproom on Saturday and Sundays for $5.
This brewery is one of the many unique things to do in Fort Lauderdale.
Address: 1201 NE 38th St, Oakland Park, FL 33334
28|Blue Jean Blues
For those who favor blues and jazz drop in at the lively Blue Jean Blues by Lauderdale Beach. With the beat of their tunes you will feel you’re in New Orleans.
Blue Jean Blues takes bar menus to the next level so don’t expect to find a bowl of peanuts on your table. Their elevated menu includes tasty items such as spinach feta salad, shrimp tacos, and stuffed tomatoes.
Address: 3320 NE 33rd St, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308
If you are wanting to get rowdy during your visit, party at Backyard Fort Lauderdale’s largest 21+ outdoor night club.
Located in the heart of Downtown Fort Lauderdale this lively bar has both DJs whipping it up on the turntable and live bands from local artist. Wear comfortable shoes because you will be doing plenty of dancing.
Address: 100 SW 3rd Ave, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312
30|The Riverside Market
The Riverside Market is a hidden gem tucked away in one of Fort Lauderdale’s historic neighborhoods.
It’s a casual spot that is safe enough to visit in your swimsuit coverup and flip flops are mandatory here.
The Riverside Market has an impressive beer selection with over 550 craft beers and an eclectic menu locals rave about. Most popular items here include their Reuben Sandwich and pepperoni pizza.
Do visit as it one of the funkiest places to go in Fort Lauderdale.
Address: 608 SW 12th Ave, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312
THINGS TO DO IN FORT LAUDERDALE CONCLUSION
Now you got the scoop on the top things to do in Fort Lauderdale. With this guide you will sure see the top attractions of the city. Use my step-by-step guide on how to use Google Maps to plan your trip with all these must-see places in Fort Lauderdale.
I do recommended taking a short trip to Miami during your visit to Fort Lauderdale. Check out my guides below for everything you need to know for an expedition to Miami.
- Top Things To Do In Miami Beach
- Miami’s Best Restaurants To Eat, Drink, And Play
- Ten Best Places To Take Pictures In Miami
- Where To Stay In Miami South Beach
Fancy a longer day trip? Check out my guides for other places to visit in the sunshine state!