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Ft. Lauderdale is Florida’s Best City for Things to Do, Here’s Why

John Ghost

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Fort Lauderdale is a vibrant and beautiful beach city on the southeastern coast of Florida. The city is known for its beautiful scenic beaches, fascinating art district, and excellent shopping. But there’s also a whole lot more to explore here. Because there is so much, feel free to use this comprehensive guide to the best things to do in Fort Lauderdale.

Free Things to Do in Fort Lauderdale

1. Fat Village Urban Arts District

Artists painting are walking through Fat Village art walk in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Fat Village is a unique urban art district featuring a variety of galleries, musical performances, live theatre, and much more. On this amazing art walk, you’ll encounter beautiful art expressing diverse aspects of urban culture.

The Fat Village Urban Art Walk is open on the last Saturday of every month.

2. Downtown Hollywood Art Walk

Night time shot of a busy moment at the Downtown Hollywood Art Walk in Florida.

Every third Saturday you’ll find the Downtown Hollywood Art Walk bustling with shoppers and artists alike. This massive event is the perfect place to soak in the South Floridian culture as well as shop for unique items and delicious food.

Also, during the art walk patrons are given a free tour of the Downtown Hollywood Mural Project. The DHMT is an amazing mural installation featuring two dozen murals at various spots in Downtown Hollywood.

Boat Tours

3. Fort Lauderdale Water Taxi

Fort Lauderdale Water Taxi | Photo credit: John Jackson via Flickr

The best way to experience the various waterways, as well as the coastline in Fort Lauderdale, is by taking an expertly guided tour on the Water Taxi.

The Water Taxi makes 10 stops in Fort Lauderdale and 1 stop in Hollywood at the Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort and the Historic Hollywood Broadwalk. But that’s not all the Fort Lauderdale Water Taxi offers, it also operates as a complimentary water trolley that makes 8 stops along the river.

4. Jungle Queen Riverboat

Jungle Queen Riverboat | Photo credit: Chip Mayhugh

The legendary Jungle Queen Riverboat has been in operation since 1935. There is simply no Fort Lauderdale experience more unique than taking a cruise on this riverboat. There are a variety of different cruises including an early morning cruise as well as afternoon and evening cruises that offer meals, guided tours, and sight-seeing.

You simply must take a cruise on the Jungle Queen Riverboat the next time you visit Fort Lauderdale.

5. Billie Swamp Safari

The rich history of the Seminole Native American tribe makes the Billie Swamp Safari possible. The safari operates in the Florida Everglades on the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation. You can either take an airboat tour of the 2,200 acres of the majestic Everglades. But that’s not all, you can also take a tour on a swamp buggy and go places you could never get to see otherwise. Still, that’s not all! The Billie Swamp Safari offers unique shows featuring local wildlife like alligators and snakes.

When all of the excitement has been experienced, you then can have a meal at the Swamp Water Café.

Museums and Gardens

6. Explore the Grounds of the Bonnet House

Exterior shot of the courtyard at the Bonnet House in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Bonnet House | Photo credit: Marmontel via Flickr

There is no better place to learn about the unique history and culture of Fort Lauderdale than the Bonnet House. This 35-acre estate offers exhibits of important Florida artifacts as well as unique architecture and gardens. The courtyard is especially gorgeous. To truly get to know the region, you simply must visit the Bonnet House.

7. Flamingo Gardens

Flamingos in the Flamingo Gardens in Fort Lauderdale.
Flamingo Gardens | Phot credit: mdrake001 via Flickr

This gorgeous 60-acre not-for-profit attraction in Fort Lauderdale is a breathtaking botanical garden and wildlife sanctuary. Flamingo Gardens harbors thousands of different species of flowers, plants, and trees native to the region. Also, you can visit over 90 species of native animals including,  alligators, eagles, otters, panthers, bobcats, a black bear, and flamingos.

There is also a small house that acts now as the Wray House Museum. Artifacts from the 1930s are exhibited throughout the house.

The Flamingo Gardens is open 9:30 am-5 pm seven days a week. 

Fort Lauderdale Shopping, Dining, and Night Life

8. Take in the Sights Along the Fort Lauderdale River Walk

The Fort Lauderdale River Walk is one of the excellent things to do in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Fort Lauderdale River Walk | Photo credit: Joseph Hollick via Flickr

The Fort Lauderdale River Walk is the perfect way to get to know the sights and sounds of the city in a unique waterfront setting. This river walk covers 22-acres and features a variety of attractions including the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, Florida Grand Opera, Fort Lauderdale History Center, NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale, Bonnet House, and the Stranahan House.

9. Shop and Explore Las Olas Boulevard

Las Olas Bouledvard is a popular shopping district in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. It is often featured as one of the best things to do in Fort Lauderdale.
Las Olas Boulevard | Photo credit: Visit Florida via Flickr

High-end shops, galleries, restaurants, and popular nightlife locations abound along the magnificent Las Olas Boulevard. This boulevard is in the heart of downtown Fort Lauderdale.

The Las Olas Boulevard is also home to the 1900s preserved Stranahan House. Antiques from the early 20 Century are exhibited through the beautiful house.

Las Olas Boulevard also connects to the River Walk District.

10. Stroll Down the Beachfront Promenade

The beachfront Promenade is one of the absolute best things to do in Fort Lauderdale.
Beachfront Promenade in Fort Lauderdale | Photo credit: Wally Gobetz

The signature white wave wall and brick-paved path are unique to the glorious beachfront promenade. 5-star restaurants and hotels, as well as high-end shops, abound along the promenade. A trolley will take you around to all the hot spots, or you can just take your time and enjoy the beachfront sights at your own strolling pace. Whatever you decide, you simply must visit the beachfront promenade.


Fort Lauderdale is the perfect place for a family vacation, newlywed honeymoons, or a friends-only getaway. The beautiful beaches and waterways as well as exotic wildlife, make this a place that you simply must visit at least once in your life. So, come on down, the water is perfect!

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