A Locals Guide to Ft. Lauderdale

Summary:

As many of you may already know, my parents have a place in Ft. Lauderdale so whenever I’m not working or going on another type of vacation, I am soaking up the sun in Florida. Fort Lauderdale and Miami are basically a staple in every American human’s vacation diet, so why not share my “expertise” of the area.

Let me start by saying, there is always something going on. Its one thing to go to Florida and relax on the beach but Las Olas, Downtown Fort Lauderdale and Lauderdale-by-the-Sea are always popping with events, street fairs and happy hour specials… so why not take advantage? I am half crediting this article to my parents and our apartments concierge, George because they showed me the ropes.

Okay, if you’re like me, when you’re on vacation, part of you wants to be active and take everything in while the other part of you just wants to sleep bake in the sun until you take form of the true baked potato that lives within. So here’s a solution, grab some friends or whoever you’re with and go rent a boat! You can switch off driving, so you can bake and wake. Boat rentals on the intracoastal are really cheap plus you get to play iSpy with the celebs that live in the houses on the water. The company we rented from was Aquatic Boat Rental but Fort Lauderdale Boat Rentals is good too. Check for the best rates. These two rental locations are right across from the beach so you can just walk over to the beach when you’re done boating.

Another relaxing day time activity is motorized or old fashioned paddle boarding, kayaking etc. For this you can stay in Ft. Lauderdale or take a quick trip by water taxi, Uber or drive to Hollywood’s Margaritaville. I suggest if you haven’t been to Margaritaville to take a quick trip over for a change of scenery. They also have the Flo Rider surf contraption, live music and cute shops. So you could spend a few hours there. Just a warning, if you do try to do the motorized paddle board and you’re barely 5ft and don’t weigh a lot, learn how to stop the motor before starting. I made the mistake of not knowing how and I crashed into the boardwalk. So this is my apology for denting their board. I’m referring more people to go because it is fun, I’m just challenged. Visit Waterway Adventures for more info. I also recommend going to our local shop in Ft. Lauderdale to rent kayaks and paddle boards and those party bikes; the owner is sweet and has the cutest little bulldog. Visit Riverwalk Activities for more info.

So you might make fun of me because I made fun of everyone when they suggested snorkeling. But what the heck, it was cool. Bring, buy or rent a pair of goggles and snorkels and dive in. I just go to our local beach and see little schools of shiny fish, but apparently if you swim by the dock at Lauderdale-by-the-Sea there are tons of exotic looking fish and sharks to see. Supposedly they’re not the dangerous kind but I’m not so daring.

A little further north of Beach Place you can rent jet skis. This is always fun too! No need to reserve, just show up but if you’d like call their number: 954- 689-6607.

By the beach or along Las Olas you can rent lime scooters and bikes to enjoy a quick ride!

If you just want to chill and take a walk, mosey down the Riverwalk, which runs along the intracoastal. Every first Sunday of the month there is a Jazz Brunch with live music at Riverwalk Park. Bring your own picnic set up and listen to some good ole Jazz. There are often art festivals on Las Olas Blvd so check to see if they’re having an art fest when you’re there. The pieces they have are so unique.

Once nightfalls, theres a whole other element of Fort Lauderdale that is as I like to call it the classier, less flashier, Miami. There are so many amazing places to grab a drink enjoy a happy hour or have a sit down dinner, (which I will mention below) but whether you want a chill night or a club night, you’re in the right location. For a more relaxed evening, grab dinner and walk down Las Olas Blvd, check out the many art galleries especially my favorite, Nat Geo! Take a walk along the beach or head down to Himmarshee Street/ Downtown Ft. Lauderdale for a night out. Some places I like are Rooftop- for a calm drink with a view, Briny Pub- for a more bar feel (but oh you can dance if you want to), Balcony- for a cool indoor/outdoor experience and Sway- if you’re trying to get crazy (don’t put your phone in your back pocket here they have a pick pocketer problem). I’m not the crazy going out type so I love Rooftop.

Ok, now to preface my food recommendations, lets just say there are so many amazing options that you really can’t go so wrong but these are my all time favorites. Also I’m allergic to fish so I unfortunately don’t have any fish dish recommendations, which stinks, I know.

Restaurants I Highly Recommend:

Shooters: This is my favorite favorite place ever, worth the drive or water taxi over. Great food and an even better view. From their calamari to their ribs to their Impossible Burger, I’m dead, so good.

Boat House: This Restaurant is fairly new, by the Riverside Hotel and I love it. They serve mostly tapas style and all of their dishes are so unique and everything is yummy. The Spiced Chicken Sausage with chickpeas, curry and raisins and the Duck fat potatoes are so delicious.

YOLO: My fathers favorite place ever. Steak on a stick is my favorite here, I would get a meat with whatever their veggie special is. Theres always live music and firepits outside its fun to just have a drink and hang out for a while. They also have great happy hour specials Monday thru Friday from 4:30pm to 7:30pm.

Roccos Tacos: An all time favorite of everyone ever. Theres always something going on there just get the guac and tacos.

El Camino: In neck and neck competition with Roccos Tacos. El Camino is a little more upscale still great Mexican food in the heart of Las Olas

Sky Thai Sushi: I love this place, its not very “Florida” but its great Thai food. I had their Wonton Soup when I was sick once and it saved my life.

Big City Tavern : Your run of the mill American food, I like this one the best because its never crazy crowded like American Social or Louie Bossi

Aruba: In Lauderdale-by-the-Sea again they have amazing fish dishes but I love their Chicken Teriyaki and get the Bimini Bread!

Itinerary:

I would suggest staying for 5 nights or more.

Day 1: Get settled just relax at the pool or beach

Day 2: Rent that boat! Aquatic Boat Rental or Fort Lauderdale Boat Rentals

Day 3: Head to Margaritaville Waterway Adventures or paddle board/ kayak locally at Riverwalk Activities

Day 4: Snorkel and visit Lauderdale-by-the-Sea go to diamonds and doggies to check out the cute pups too

Day 5: Ride your lime scooter and go jet skiing

Day 6: Hasta la vista

Hotel Recommendations:

On the Water:

Marriott Harbor Beach

Hilton Fort Lauderdale

W Fort Lauderdale

On Las Olas:

Riverside Hotel

Coming Soon- Hyatt Centric Hotel

Definitely keep checking prices on: 

http://www.momondo.com

http://www.booking.com

http://www.travelzoo.com

and the hopper app

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