If you’re planning a trip to Fort Lauderdale, there are plenty of things to see and do. Known as the ‘Venice of America’ due to its canal system, this beachside city is also home to thriving art and culture scenes, gorgeous parks and amazing animal attractions.
Take a break from sunbathing on the beaches with a tour of the inland waterways or hop aboard a boat to experience the glitz and glamour of this yachting capital.
Las Olas Boulevard
Las Olas Boulevard, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, is a stretch of shopping, dining and nightlife. This main thoroughfare is a magnet for locals, tourists and business professionals alike.
A stroll along this pedestrian-friendly street is a great way to take in the sights and sounds of downtown Fort Lauderdale. Grab a drink at one of the trendy bars and restaurants on the boulevard, such as Wild Sea Oyster Bar + Grille or The Boathouse at the Riverside Hotel.
You can also visit the Historic Stranahan House Museum, which is a landmark of Fort Lauderdale history. The unique wood-frame structure is graced with sweeping porches and a magnificent view of the New River.
Broward Center for the Performing Arts
Broward Center for the Performing Arts is a top destination in South Florida that hosts numerous shows, performances and events. Its four theaters host a range of events, including operas, ballets, concerts, plays, and lectures.
Stranahan House Museum is a historic site in Fort Lauderdale that was constructed in 1901 by Frank Stranahan, one of the city’s pioneers. Here, you’ll find fascinating stories about how the town developed and what life was like for its residents.
If you want to get away from the city, Hugh Taylor Birch State Park offers a tranquil oasis for nature lovers. You can spot gopher tortoises in the wild and take in beautiful views of the Intracoastal Waterway.
Bonnet House Museum & Gardens
With an eclectic collection of art, furnishings and decor, Bonnet House Museum & Gardens is a whimsical subtropical estate and house museum. A shell museum and a greenhouse with one of the finest orchid collections in the Southeast are just two of its many attractions.
A 1920s plantation-style home built on 14 hectares (35 acres) of gardens between the Atlantic Ocean and Intracoastal Waterway, Bonnet House was once the winter retreat of artists Frederic Clay Bartlett and his wife Evelyn Fortune Bartlett. Now owned by the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation, the Bartletts’ artwork and decorative accents can be seen at every turn of this magical 35-acre tropical island oasis.
The fanciful blend of art, history and ecology makes this an iconic South Florida attraction that draws residents, visitors and day-trippers of all ages. Enjoy a tram tour of the garden, see the shell museum and stroll through an orchid greenhouse.
Flamingo Gardens and Wildlife Sanctuary
If you love animals, then Flamingo Gardens is the perfect place to visit. This Fort Lauderdale attraction is home to a wide range of creatures, from black bears to Caribbean flamingos, and they all live in a safe environment where they feel comfortable.
One of the oldest botanical gardens in South Florida, Flamingo Gardens is located around 60 acres of lush tropical beauty. It boasts over 3,000 rare and exotic plants, including some of the state’s largest trees and orchids.
The botanical garden also has a wildlife sanctuary that houses native Florida wildlife, including alligators, bobcats, otters, eagles, and panthers. The sanctuary is the largest in Florida, and visitors can explore many of its habitats on foot or by tram.
If you’re in the market for an attraction that enchants, look no further than Butterfly World. Located in Tradewinds Park in Coconut Creek, this ten-acre paradise features aviaries and unusual gardens that showcase thousands of butterflies.
- Guests can spend a whole day admiring these delicate creatures, which form a symphony of colors in the aviaries. Other highlights include the Vine Maze, Lorikeet Encounter, Swinging Suspension Bridge, and more.
- The Historic Stranahan House Museum is another Fort Lauderdale treasure that you won’t want to miss. This Victorian-style home is the former residence of Frank and Ivy Stranahan, and it teaches visitors about the history of Fort Lauderdale and the Stranahan family.
- Hugh Taylor Birch State Park is another lovely slice of wilderness that’s just steps from the heart of the city. It’s a favorite of locals and travelers alike for its hiking trails, picnicking, and swimming.