It doesn’t get as much praise as Miami, but with its arts scene, award-winning restaurants and idyllic beaches (76 in the city limits), Fort Lauderdale is secret a rival to its neighbor to the south. Here are some of the best-kept reasons to visit.
It’s a hub for urban farming and community gardens
Most of us don’t think about coastal Florida being an ideal place for farming, but Fort Lauderdale puts out so much produce that the city publishes maps of community gardens and farmer’s markets. Marando Farms sells produce to both restaurants and the public and has a juice bar inside for your wheatgrass pick-me- up. Flagler Village also has their own gardens on 3rd Avenue, where they also hold events like the Night Owl Markets.
Craft is king when it comes to beer and cocktails
Breweries and brewpubs have been popping up over Broward County in the last few years, delighting craft beer enthusiasts. The Native Brewing Company is one of the oldest, but LauderAle and Khoffner are also worth a try, and Brew Bus tours bring you to all the high spots in an afternoon. For evening drinking, Fort Lauderdale boasts several speakeasy-inspired bars, like Stache and Apothecary 330 (which shares an address with grown-up pizzeria, Pizzacraft), where you can get your classic and elaborate cocktail fix. If you’re looking for something less fancy, Kreepy Tiki is a tattoo parlor and lounge that serves rum drinks and hosts live music.
You can get around without a car
In fact, you may be better off without a car, since parking can be so steep. Much of the city is walkable, especially Ocean Boulevard, but there are many forms of transportation. Public buses run down Ocean and Las Olas boulevards as well as throughout downtown, where a ride will only cost you $2 each way. Access the canals while seeing the city’s most expensive homes aboard the Water Taxi, which makes stops from Oakland Park Boulevard to the north to 17th Street to the south via the Intercoastal Waterway. B-Cycle has an outpost here, where you can borrow a bike and drop it off at another station.
Las Olas Boulevard is way more than shopping
As the city’s answer to Rodeo Drive, there are certainly some upscale stores on Las Olas, but there’s more to this famous road than retail therapy. The neighborhood hosts an annual art fair that brings in visitors, and the participating galleries are open year-round. The NSU Museum of Art and the Museum of Discovery and Science are located nearby.
For a bite, you can’t go wrong with any of the restaurants on Las Olas. You can play a round of bocce between courses of your Italian feast at Louie Bossi’s, or sample the Mediterranean flavors of Trata Greek Taverna, but if you can’t make up your mind, there’s always the Las Olas Food Tour, which visits half a dozen restaurants in one afternoon.