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Fort Lauderdale | © sgd / Pixabay
Fort Lauderdale | © sgd / Pixabay
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20 Must-Visit Attractions in Fort Lauderdale

Picture of Karina Castrillo
Updated: 11 December 2017
Fort Lauderdale may be the smaller South Florida city when compared to Miami, but this cultural hub is pulsing with an array of museums, galleries, shopping, casinos and its fair share of mangrove-covered parks. Read our guide to the must-visit attractions while in the city.
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Las Olas Boulevard

You can’t tick Fort Lauderdale off your bucket list without a stroll down the famous Las Olas. The long strip offers an excellent dining scene, bars, and a handful of art galleries.

Insider Tip: Break for lunch at Rocco’s Tacos for a hearty Mexican meal with killer tequila shots.

Rocco’s Tacos, 1313 E Las Olas Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA, +1 954 524 9550

It's #brunch time! #RoccosTacos

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NSU Art Museum of Fort Lauderdale

Make a pit stop at the NSU Art Museum while on Las Olas. Boasting one of the most extensive collections of 19th- and 20th-century paintings by the American surrealist William Glackens, this art museum contains more than 6,000 works by international artists as well as those by post-World War II avant-garde artists, all in a modernist building designed by renowned architect Edward Larrabee Barnes.

NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale, 1 E Las Olas Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA, +1 954 525 5500

Airboat ride in the Everglades

Get an adrenaline rush with a full-speed boat ride through the swamps of the Everglades. Just a short drive from Downtown, the tour offers a look at the national park that boasts a lush ecosystem and up-close encounters with Florida wild birds, alligators, and, if you’re lucky, the Florida panther.

Everglades Holiday Park, 21940 Griffin Rd, Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA, +1 954 434 8111

airboat everglades
Airboat ride | Courtesy of Everglades Holiday Park
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Hugh Taylor Birch State Park

A treat for nature lovers, this mile-long freshwater lagoon is perfect for kayaking, canoeing, and fishing. The park also features two hiking trails and picnic areas.

Insider Tip: Access the beach easily via the pedestrian tunnel under the A1A.

Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, 3109 E Sunrise Blvd, Fort Lauderdale FL, USA, +1 954 564 4521

Fort Lauderdale Beach

Take a dip in the warm waters of the Atlantic Coast. Go roller-skating along the winding sidewalk. Go souvenir shopping along the boulevard, or enjoy some waterfront dining. Fort Lauderdale Beach is too stunning to pass up.

Fort Lauderdale Beach
Fort Lauderdale Beach | © Miami2you / Shutterstock
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Stranahan House

Stroll the grounds of the historic waterfront Stranahan House along the New River. The landmark, built in 1901, was home to one of Fort Lauderdale’s founding fathers, Frank Stranahan. The stunning structure, complete with a wraparound veranda, features a wooden porch where Mrs. Stranahan sat with the children of the Seminole tribe to give them English lessons during the settlement.

Stranahan House, 335 SE 6th Ave, Fort Lauderdale, FL USA, +1 954 524 4736

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Butterfly World

Take the family for an afternoon of butterfly gazing. Butterfly World boasts three acres of butterfly aviaries, botanical gardens, and a farm and research center. They keep 20,000 butterflies on display, and you can spot up to 50 species at any time.

Insider Tip: Don’t miss the aviaries for rainbow birds!

Butterfly World, 3600 W Sample Rd, Coconut Creek, FL, USA, +1 954 977 4434

Courtesy of Butterfly World

Courtesy of Butterfly World

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Topeekeegee Yugnee Park

Literally meaning “meeting and gathering place” in Seminole, the Topeekeegee Yugnee Park is home to Castaway Island Water Park. Take the kids to swim in the pool with a waterfall or the kiddie pool for children five and under. There’s also an expansive RV Campground with Wi-Fi for those looking to enjoy nature without completely disconnecting (though you should).

Topeekeegee Yugnee Park, 3300 N Park Rd, Hollywood, FL, USA, +1 954 357 8811

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Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale Museum

Visit here for a look at aircraft models, vintage ships, and World War II artifacts, along with medals and uniforms that represent all branches of the military. Don’t miss the memorial dedicated to the infamous Flight 19 that flew out of the station in 1945 and disappeared while in the Bermuda Triangle.

Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale Museum, 4000 W Perimeter Rd, Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA, +1 954 359 4400

Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale

Just along the banks of the New River, the Riverwalk snakes through rows of sprawling mansions, the Stranahan House as well as numerous bars and restaurants, making for a fun night out in Downtown Fort Lauderdale.

Riverwalk along the New River | ©Don Ramey Logan / Wiki Commons
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Museum of Discovery and Science

Indulge in a family-friendly activity with a visit to the Museum of Discovery and Science. Test your pilot skills in a simulated cockpit or pet some alligators and iguanas while learning about species that inhabit the Everglades. Visitors can also see the largest Atlantic coral reef in captivity at the museum.

Museum of Discovery and Science, 401 SW 2nd St, Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA, +1 954 467 6637

2016 Museum side

Exterior View of Museum | Courtesy of Museum Discovery & Science

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International Swimming Hall of Fame

A shrine to renowned swimmers and water polo players, the International Swimming Hall of Fame features a collection of memorabilia and Olympic Gold medals of famous swimmers.

International Swimming Hall of Fame, 1 Hall of Fame Dr, Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA, +1 954 462 6536

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Bonnet House Museum & Gardens

Boasting 35 acres of land on a coastal barrier island, the Bonnet House sits on five ecosystems, including the Atlantic Ocean beach, mangrove wetlands and forest, among others. The 20th-century house was home to two American artists and boasts a generous art collection.

Bonnet House Museum & Gardens, 900 N Birch Rd, Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA, +1 954 563 5393

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Go Paddleboarding

Rent a paddleboard and take a tour of the Fort Lauderdale Beach or the Middle River. Sunrise Paddleboards offer rentals for $25 for one hour or $40 for two hours.

Sunrise Paddleboards, 2520 N Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA, +1 954 440 4562


Paddleboarding | © Wonderful Nature / Shutterstock

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Antique Car Museum

Car enthusiasts rejoice. The Antique Car Museum hosts a collection of historic automobiles from the Packard Motor Company. Peruse their models and engine pieces as well as their pre-war memorabilia; there is even a gallery dedicated to the late President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Antique Car Museum, 1527 SW 1st Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA, +1 954 779 7300

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Hillsboro Inlet

Aside from its iconic lighthouse, the Hillsboro Inlet in Pompano is known for its deep sea fishing. Book a charter at the Hillsboro Inlet Fishing Center and be prepared to catch Mahi, Wahoo and more.

Hillsboro Inlet, FL, USA

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Sebastian Street Beach

Are you looking for an LGBT-friendly beach? Drive to Sebastian Street Beach and enjoy a relaxing, low-key vibe. Lounge chairs and umbrellas are available for rent.

Sebastian Street Beach, N Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA

#awesomeday with an awesome guy #sebastianstreetbeach #beach #blueskyes #southflorida

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Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

Try your luck at Hollywood’s Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. With over 2,000 popular slot machines and 100 poker tables, plus rowdy karaoke bars, this is the place to be any night.

Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, 1 Seminole Way, Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA, +1 866 502 7529

hardrock hotel and casino 2

Courtesy of Hardrock Hotel & Casino

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West Lake Park

Home to the largest mangrove ecosystem in the urban coastal zone between Miami Beach and Palm Beach, this park is famous for its waterway route to the east known as Whiskey Creek, where bootleggers would smuggle in liquor during the Prohibition era. The park offers fishing on Tarpon Lake, kayak rentals, and long hikes in the wild. Pets are allowed while on a leash, but beware of alligators, snakes and other animals in the area!

West Lake Park, 1200 Sheridan St, Hollywood, FL, USA, +1 954 357 5161


Alligator in the Everglades National Park | © Dennis W Donohue / Shutterstock

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Taste LauderAle Beer

End your Fort Lauderdale adventure with the local’s favorite, LauderAle beer. Settle in for some beer tasting at their lounge at LauderAle Brewery & Tap Room. The brewery also offers a complimentary tour of the site so that visitors can learn the ins and outs of the beer-making process.

LauderAle Brewery, 3305 SE 14th Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA, +1 954 653 9711