Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Fort Lauderdale, FL

Florida

By Erica Silverstein

Located on the southeastern coast of Florida, Fort Lauderdale is a popular destination known for its beautiful beaches, vibrant nightlife, and stunning waterways. With its tropical climate and abundance of outdoor activities, it’s no wonder why millions of tourists flock to this city every year. From relaxing on the sandy shores to exploring the city’s unique cultural offerings, there is something for everyone in Fort Lauderdale.

One of the main attractions in Fort Lauderdale is its pristine beaches. With over 23 miles of golden sand and crystal-clear waters, it’s the perfect place to soak up the sun and enjoy the warm ocean breeze. Fort Lauderdale Beach is the most popular beach in the area, offering a wide range of water sports, beachfront restaurants, and lively entertainment. For a more tranquil experience, head to Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, where you can stroll along nature trails, have a picnic, or rent a kayak to explore the park’s scenic waterways.

In addition to its beaches, Fort Lauderdale is also known for its impressive network of canals. Often referred to as the “Venice of America,” the city is home to over 165 miles of picturesque waterways that are best explored by boat. Take a sightseeing cruise along the New River to admire the luxurious mansions and mega yachts that line the canals. You can also hop on the Water Taxi, a popular mode of transportation that allows you to explore the city at your own pace while enjoying breathtaking views along the way.

If you’re interested in art and culture, Fort Lauderdale won’t disappoint. The NSU Art Museum is a must-visit for art enthusiasts, featuring an impressive collection of contemporary art from around the world. For a glimpse into the city’s history, visit the Bonnet House Museum & Gardens, a historic estate built in the 1920s that showcases art, architecture, and tropical gardens. The Historic Stranahan House Museum is another significant landmark, offering guided tours that provide insights into the city’s pioneer days.

In conclusion, Fort Lauderdale offers a perfect combination of sun, sand, culture, and natural beauty. Whether you’re looking to relax on the beach, explore the city’s unique waterways, or immerse yourself in art and culture, this vibrant destination has it all. With its top-rated tourist attractions and endless opportunities for outdoor adventure, it’s no wonder why Fort Lauderdale is a favorite among travelers from around the world.

Sun-kissed Beaches

Fort Lauderdale, also known as the “Venice of America”, is home to some of the most beautiful and sun-kissed beaches in Florida. Tourists and locals alike come to these sandy shores to relax, soak up the sun, and indulge in various beach activities.

One of the most popular beaches in Fort Lauderdale is Fort Lauderdale Beach. This picturesque beach stretches over two miles and offers a wide range of amenities. Visitors can swim in the clear turquoise waters, build sandcastles, or simply lounge on the soft sand. The beach is also lined with palm trees and has a bustling promenade filled with shops, restaurants, and bars.

Another must-visit beach is Las Olas Beach, which is located adjacent to the famous Las Olas Boulevard. This beach is known for its vibrant atmosphere and lively crowds. Visitors can rent beach chairs and umbrellas, try their hand at various water sports, or stroll along the beachfront path to enjoy the stunning views.

If you’re looking for a more secluded and serene beach experience, head to Hugh Taylor Birch State Park. This beautiful park features a secluded beach, lined with mangroves and shaded picnic areas. Visitors can swim, fish, hike nature trails, or rent kayaks to explore the park’s waterways.

For those seeking a unique beach experience, make sure to visit Dr. Von D. Mizell-Eula Johnson State Park. This park is one of the few in Florida that allows visitors to drive directly onto the beach. With its pristine sandy shores and calm waters, it’s a perfect spot for picnicking, swimming, or simply enjoying a peaceful day by the ocean.

Whether you’re looking for a lively beach scene or a tranquil getaway, Fort Lauderdale’s sun-kissed beaches offer something for everyone. So grab your sunscreen and towel, and get ready to enjoy the warm Florida sun.

Las Olas Boulevard

Las Olas Boulevard is one of the most popular and vibrant attractions in Fort Lauderdale. With its charming mix of shops, restaurants, galleries, and nightlife options, it offers something for everyone.

This iconic street spans from downtown Fort Lauderdale to the beach, making it a convenient and enjoyable place to explore. Whether you are looking for a gourmet meal, unique boutiques, or art galleries, Las Olas Boulevard has it all.

Stroll along the tree-lined sidewalks and admire the beautiful architecture of the buildings that line the boulevard. The area is known for its Mediterranean revival-style architecture, which adds to the charm of the street.

For shopping enthusiasts, Las Olas Boulevard is a dream come true. The street is lined with upscale fashion boutiques, jewelry stores, and art galleries. You can find everything from high-end designer labels to local artisan creations.

If you’re looking for a bite to eat, Las Olas Boulevard is a food lover’s paradise. The street offers a wide range of culinary options, ranging from casual cafes to fine dining establishments. You can indulge in international cuisine, seafood, or classic American dishes.

After sunset, Las Olas Boulevard comes alive with its vibrant nightlife scene. There are numerous bars, lounges, and clubs where you can enjoy live music, craft cocktails, and dancing. It’s the perfect place to unwind and have a memorable night out.

Whether you’re a local or a visitor, Las Olas Boulevard is a must-visit destination in Fort Lauderdale. Its eclectic mix of shops, restaurants, and entertainment options make it a true gem of the city. Don’t miss the chance to experience the charm and energy of Las Olas Boulevard.

Bonnet House Museum and Gardens

The Bonnet House Museum and Gardens is a historic mansion turned museum that showcases the artistic legacy and breathtaking beauty of Fort Lauderdale’s Bonnet House estate. This unique attraction offers visitors a glimpse into the lives of the influential Birch and Bartlett families who inhabited the property.

Artistic Legacy:

The museum houses a remarkable collection of art, including paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts from various periods and styles. The walls of the house display works by renowned artists such as Frederic Clay Bartlett, who was known for his impressionist paintings, and Beatrix Farrand, a prominent landscape architect.

Historic Mansion:

The Bonnet House itself is a beautiful example of Florida’s early 20th-century architecture. The house features a unique combination of Mediterranean Revival and Caribbean plantation styles. Visitors can take a guided tour through the meticulously restored rooms, which are filled with original furnishings and decorative arts.

Lush Gardens:

The museum is set amidst 35 acres of lush, tropical gardens that are a sight to behold. The gardens are a blend of various ecosystems, including coastal dunes, mangrove wetlands, and a freshwater slough. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll through the gardens, explore the diverse plant life, and spot native wildlife such as birds and butterflies.

Events and Programs:

The Bonnet House Museum and Gardens host various events and programs throughout the year, including art exhibits, educational workshops, and cultural festivals. Visitors can also participate in guided nature walks, where they can learn about the diverse plant and animal species that call the estate home.

Visitor Information:

The Bonnet House Museum and Gardens is located at 900 N Birch Rd, Fort Lauderdale, FL. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday from 9am to 4pm, with guided tours offered every hour. Admission fees apply, and visitors are encouraged to check the museum’s website for the latest information on events and exhibits.

Museum of Discovery and Science

The Museum of Discovery and Science in Fort Lauderdale offers a fun and educational experience for visitors of all ages. With over 100 interactive exhibits, this museum showcases the wonders of science and technology in a captivating way.

One of the highlights of the museum is the 300-seat IMAX theater, which offers breathtaking 3D films on a huge screen. Whether you’re exploring the deep sea or flying through space, the IMAX theater provides an immersive experience that will leave you in awe.

The museum also features a variety of hands-on exhibits that allow visitors to learn about physics, biology, and other scientific disciplines through interactive displays. From building robots to experimenting with light and sound, there’s something for everyone to enjoy at the Museum of Discovery and Science.

Animal enthusiasts will also love the museum’s “Living in the Everglades” exhibit, which showcases the diverse wildlife of the Florida Everglades. You can see alligators, turtles, and a variety of bird species up close and learn about their ecosystems.

In addition to the exhibits, the museum also offers educational programs and workshops for both children and adults. From summer camps to astronomy classes, there are plenty of opportunities to expand your knowledge and have fun at the same time.

Overall, the Museum of Discovery and Science is a must-visit attraction in Fort Lauderdale. Whether you’re a science enthusiast or just looking for a fun way to spend the day, this museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the world of discovery and innovation.

Flamingo Gardens

Flamingo Gardens is a magnificent botanical garden and wildlife sanctuary located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Spread over 60 acres of lush greenery, it offers visitors a unique opportunity to experience the natural beauty of South Florida.

The highlight of Flamingo Gardens is its collection of beautiful flamingos, which are one of the main attractions of the gardens. Visitors can observe these vibrant pink birds up close and learn about their behavior and habitat through informative signs and exhibits.

In addition to the flamingos, Flamingo Gardens is home to a wide variety of other native Florida wildlife, including alligators, panthers, otters, and numerous bird species. The sanctuary provides a safe haven for these animals, many of which have been injured or orphaned and are unable to survive in the wild.

Aside from its diverse wildlife, Flamingo Gardens also boasts an impressive collection of tropical plants and trees. Visitors can explore the gardens on guided tours or simply stroll along the winding pathways, taking in the sights and sounds of nature. The gardens are particularly beautiful during the spring when many of the flowers are in bloom.

For those with an interest in history, Flamingo Gardens also has a historical museum that showcases the rich heritage of the area. The museum features exhibits on Native American culture, early settlers, and the agricultural history of South Florida.

Flamingo Gardens is a perfect place to spend a day with family or friends, immersing yourself in the beauty of nature and learning about the wildlife and history of the region. Whether you’re a nature lover, history buff, or simply looking for a peaceful retreat, Flamingo Gardens has something for everyone.

Address: 3750 S Flamingo Rd, Davie, FL 33330

Hours: Open daily from 9:30am to 5:00pm

Admission: Adults $19.95, Children (ages 3-11) $12.95

Note: Prices and hours are subject to change. It is recommended to check the official website before visiting.

Fort Lauderdale Antique Car Museum

The Fort Lauderdale Antique Car Museum is a unique attraction that showcases a stunning collection of vintage automobiles. Located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, this museum is a must-visit for car enthusiasts and history buffs alike.

The museum is home to over 25 vintage cars, all of which are meticulously restored and well-preserved. Visitors can explore the museum at their own pace and learn about the fascinating history of each car on display. From classic Cadillacs to elegant Packards, the collection is diverse and offers a glimpse into the golden age of automobile design.

In addition to the cars, the museum also features a variety of memorabilia and artifacts that highlight the rich history of the automotive industry. Visitors can see vintage license plates, gas pumps, and other items that add to the nostalgic atmosphere of the museum.

One of the highlights of the Fort Lauderdale Antique Car Museum is the Duesenberg Exhibit. This section of the museum is dedicated to the luxury cars produced by the iconic Duesenberg Automobile & Motor Company. Here, visitors can admire the sleek design and fine craftsmanship that made Duesenberg cars renowned for their exceptional quality.

The museum offers guided tours that provide in-depth knowledge about the cars and their historical significance. Friendly and knowledgeable staff members are available to answer questions and provide additional information. The museum also hosts various events and exhibits throughout the year, making each visit a unique experience.

Overall, the Fort Lauderdale Antique Car Museum is a must-see attraction for car enthusiasts and history lovers. With its exceptional collection of vintage automobiles and engaging exhibits, it offers a memorable experience for visitors of all ages.

Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment District

The Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment District is a vibrant cultural hub located along the New River in downtown Fort Lauderdale. This scenic district is home to a variety of attractions, including art galleries, theaters, museums, and dining options.

One of the highlights of the district is the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, a world-class venue that hosts a wide range of events, including Broadway shows, concerts, and ballet performances. The center is also home to the Parker Playhouse, a smaller theater that showcases more intimate performances.

For art lovers, the district is also home to the NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale, which features an impressive collection of modern and contemporary art. The museum regularly hosts rotating exhibitions and educational programs for visitors of all ages.

In addition to the cultural offerings, the Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment District is also a great place to enjoy outdoor activities. The district is part of the larger Riverwalk linear park, which stretches along the New River and offers scenic views, walking trails, and outdoor seating areas.

Visitors to the district can also enjoy waterfront dining options and boutique shopping. The district is conveniently located near downtown Fort Lauderdale, making it easy to explore other attractions in the area.

Whether you’re interested in art, theater, or simply enjoying the beauty of the outdoors, the Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment District is a must-visit destination in Fort Lauderdale.

Attraction Location
Broward Center for the Performing Arts 201 SW 5th Ave, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312
Parker Playhouse 707 NE 8th St, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33304
NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale 1 E Las Olas Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301

Hugh Taylor Birch State Park

Hugh Taylor Birch State Park is a beautifully preserved natural oasis located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. With over 180 acres of lush greenery, this park offers a peaceful retreat from the bustling city streets.

Named after Hugh Taylor Birch, who generously donated the land to the state of Florida in 1940, this park has become a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. It features a variety of outdoor activities and attractions that cater to all ages and interests.

One of the highlights of Hugh Taylor Birch State Park is its extensive trail system. Visitors can explore miles of scenic trails through forested areas, wetlands, and along the Intracoastal Waterway. Whether you prefer to hike, bike, or jog, there are options available for everyone.

For those who enjoy water activities, the park offers canoe and kayak rentals, allowing visitors to paddle through the park’s waterways and get up close to the local wildlife. Fishing is also a popular pastime here, with several spots for anglers to cast their lines and try their luck.

If you’re interested in learning more about the park’s natural and cultural history, be sure to visit the onsite visitor center. It features exhibits detailing the area’s unique ecosystem, as well as the park’s relationship with the Seminole tribe, who once inhabited the land.

For families, the park offers a playground and picnic areas where you can enjoy a leisurely lunch or a fun-filled afternoon with your loved ones. There is also a designated swimming area, perfect for cooling off on a hot Florida day.

Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventure, tranquility, or simply a break from city life, Hugh Taylor Birch State Park is a must-visit destination in Fort Lauderdale. With its natural beauty and diverse range of activities, it is sure to captivate visitors of all ages and interests.

Stranahan House

The Stranahan House is a historic home and museum located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It is one of the oldest surviving structures in the city and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The house was built in 1901 by Frank Stranahan, who is considered the founder of Fort Lauderdale. It was originally used as a trading post and ferry terminal, serving as a hub for the early settlers and Seminole Indians in the area.

Today, the Stranahan House is a popular tourist attraction that offers guided tours and exhibits showcasing the history and culture of Fort Lauderdale. Visitors can explore the beautifully restored rooms, including the original trading post and Stranahan’s office.

The house is also known for its ghost stories and is rumored to be haunted. Many visitors claim to have experienced paranormal activity and encounters with the spirits of Frank Stranahan and his wife Ivy, who both tragically died in the house.

In addition to its historical significance, the Stranahan House is surrounded by lush gardens and offers breathtaking views of the New River. It is located just steps away from the bustling downtown area and provides a peaceful retreat from the city’s modern developments.

If you’re interested in history, architecture, or simply enjoying the beauty of the Fort Lauderdale area, a visit to the Stranahan House is a must. It offers a fascinating glimpse into the early days of the city and provides a unique experience for visitors of all ages.

Fort Lauderdale Swap Shop and Thunderbird Drive-in Theater

The Fort Lauderdale Swap Shop and Thunderbird Drive-in Theater is a unique and popular attraction located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It is a combination of a massive indoor and outdoor flea market, a drive-in theater, and an amusement park, making it a one-of-a-kind destination for both locals and tourists.

The Swap Shop, which is one of the largest flea markets in the world, offers visitors a treasure trove of goods and merchandise. It features over 2,000 vendors selling everything from clothing and jewelry to electronics and collectibles. Whether you’re looking for a unique souvenir or a bargain-priced item, the Swap Shop has something for everyone.

In addition to the flea market, the Thunderbird Drive-in Theater is another major attraction at the Fort Lauderdale Swap Shop. This classic drive-in theater allows visitors to enjoy movies under the stars from the comfort of their own cars. It offers multiple screens showing the latest releases, providing a nostalgic and fun movie experience for families and couples alike.

Aside from shopping and watching movies, the Fort Lauderdale Swap Shop also boasts an amusement park. Visitors can enjoy thrilling rides such as roller coasters, water slides, and ferris wheels. The amusement park is perfect for families with children, offering a variety of age-appropriate attractions and games.

With its diverse offerings of shopping, entertainment, and rides, the Fort Lauderdale Swap Shop and Thunderbird Drive-in Theater is a must-visit attraction for anyone looking for a unique and fun experience in Fort Lauderdale. Whether you’re a bargain hunter, a movie lover, or an adrenaline junkie, there’s something for everyone at this iconic destination.

FAQs

What are the top tourist attractions in Fort Lauderdale, FL?

Some top tourist attractions in Fort Lauderdale, FL include the Fort Lauderdale Beach, the Bonnet House Museum and Gardens, Las Olas Boulevard, the Museum of Discovery and Science, and the Everglades Holiday Park.

Is Fort Lauderdale Beach worth visiting?

Yes, Fort Lauderdale Beach is definitely worth visiting. It offers beautiful sandy beaches, turquoise waters, and a vibrant atmosphere with restaurants, bars, and shops. Visitors can enjoy swimming, sunbathing, water sports, and stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean.

What can I see at the Bonnet House Museum and Gardens?

At the Bonnet House Museum and Gardens, visitors can explore the historic house filled with art and collections from the early 20th century. They can also stroll through the lush gardens, admire the beautiful tropical plants and flowers, and see various wildlife like monkeys, swans, and iguanas.

What is there to do at Las Olas Boulevard?

Las Olas Boulevard is a popular street in Fort Lauderdale with a variety of shops, boutiques, art galleries, and restaurants. Visitors can go shopping, dine at diverse eateries, visit the Riverside Hotel, enjoy live music, and explore the galleries showcasing local and international artwork.

Can I experience wildlife in Fort Lauderdale?

Yes, Fort Lauderdale offers various opportunities to experience wildlife. One of the top attractions is the Everglades Holiday Park, where visitors can take an airboat tour and see alligators, birds, turtles, and other wildlife in their natural habitat. They can also enjoy wildlife encounters at the Museum of Discovery and Science.

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Erica Silverstein

Erica, a seasoned travel writer with 20+ years of experience, started her career as a Let's Go guidebook editor in college. As the head of Cruise Critic's features team for a decade, she gained extensive knowledge. Her adventurous nature has taken her to Edinburgh, Australia, the Serengeti, and on luxury cruises in Europe and the Caribbean. During her journeys, she enjoys savoring local chocolates and conquering various summits.

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