Fort Lauderdale Beach 2022 — Photo courtesy of Marla Cimini
On South Florida’s scenic East Coast, the city of Fort Lauderdale is known as a tropical paradise, with warm temperatures, indoor and outdoor dining, and plenty of activities for all ages. A popular beach destination, Fort Lauderdale is often called the “Venice of America” for its many canals along the Intracoastal Waterway.
The area is also famous for its long stretch of beautiful seaside lined with swaying palms, attracting year-round visitors who adore the golden sands and sparkling turquoise waters.
But there’s more to explore in this sun-drenched beach town. During my recent visit to Fort Lauderdale in early 2022, I was pleasantly surprised to find fascinating cultural attractions, often hidden in plain sight – and it was delightful to combine a relaxing beach vacation with a dose appreciation of art and history.
Fort Lauderdale offers several ways to combine art and unique historical tours – plus lots of fun in the sun – with several diverse activities to ensure an exciting and memorable visit.
Stranahan House Historical Museum
Historic Stranahan House — Photo courtesy of Marla Cimini
Experience a taste of “Old Florida” by stepping back in time while touring the Stranahan House Historical Museum, the oldest surviving house in Broward County. This quaint historic home, located on the Intracoastal Waterway and overlooking the New River in the heart of the city, was built in 1901 by Fort Lauderdale’s “Founding Father”, Frank Stranahan.
Originally, this wood-framed structure with sweeping views and shaded wrap-around porches was originally a trading post, but over the years it has also been transformed into a post office, town hall, and private residence. This captivating tour, led by a local historian, traces the history of the house from the early 1900s to the present day and offers a truly intriguing insight into local community life in South Florida.
Visits are by turn only and visits must be booked in advance. Admission / visit tickets: adults $12 and students $7. Visit the website to see the other types of tickets available.
NSU Art Museum
Interior of the NSU Art Museum — Photo courtesy of Marla Cimini
An incredible destination for contemporary art, the NSU Art Museum is located in the city center and features an outstanding range of original paintings, sculptures and other fascinating works by notable artists. The museum also invites art lovers to attend events throughout the year, featuring speakers and special guests.
The building itself is a work of art: modern and spacious, with multiple rotating and permanent exhibitions, focusing on innovative and meaningful works. Although visitors may find the museum an unexpected destination, local art lovers know it is a treasure trove of artistic abundance.
The museum’s current standout exhibit is “Confrontation: Keith Haring and Pierre Alechinsky,” a brilliant exhibition highlighting the relationship of artists and insightful pieces, was developed specifically for NSU by curator Bonnie Clearwater. It is on display until October 2022. The museum offers free admission and extended hours on the first Thursday of each month.
Water Taxi Adventures
View from the water taxi — Photo courtesy of Marla Cimini
An optimal way to experience the best views of Fort Lauderdale is to take a leisurely cruise by Gondola, arguably the best way to get around town, day or night. With many stops along the famous Intracoastal Waterway, water taxi cruises are scenic, relaxing and fully narrated, so you can enjoy the surroundings and learn some historical facts about the stunningly beautiful mansions and other landmarks. along the way.
In addition to waterfront homes, you’ll pass a state park, marinas, hotels, restaurants, bars, and other notable local businesses. Cruise passengers can settle in and stay for the entire loop, which lasts about three hours, or disembark at any stop to explore the area and resume cruising later.
For a more comfortable cruise, choose the larger water taxi and sit on the upper deck for panoramic views, or relax inside in the air-conditioned shade. The best part? The water taxi offers drinks, snacks, and restrooms, so you can cruise around all day taking in the views in style. Ticket price: adults $35 and children $15, with several other passes available on the website.
Easy and windy beach day
Fort Lauderdale beach and pool view — Photo courtesy of Marla Cimini
Beach lovers who want a stress-free day at the beach can stay at Ritz Carlton Fort Lauderdale, a beachfront property that offers easy and direct access to the beach. No need to haul your beach chairs and gear across the sand. Instead, hotel guests get beach amenities on request — free chairs, umbrellas, and towels for daily use that are set up for you by the hotel’s helpful staff.
And later, when you decide to take a break from the sand and waves, stroll over to the spacious pool deck overlooking the ocean and enjoy a refreshing dip in the water, or sip a cocktail artisanal at the outdoor bar which offers a panoramic view. beachfront. Towel and beach chair service is free for guests and is available from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Fort Lauderdale’s food scene
Plates at Evelyn’s restaurant — Photo courtesy of Marla Cimini
Dining in Fort Lauderdale is a wonderful adventure, and you can find nearly every cuisine within walking distance of the beach. The lively Coconuts, located on the waterfront, is one of the most popular. This legendary establishment houses a fun bar serving tropical drinks and offers an extensive seafood menu with fan favorites, including their popular “Scoobies,” a delicious crab appetizer.
In the Las Olas neighborhood of the city, the Harborwood Urban Kitchen and Bar is a stylish and spacious indoor-outdoor restaurant with modern small plates perfect for sharing. For a premium experience, by Evelynelocated in the new Four Seasons Hoteloffers a variety of Eastern Mediterranean specialties by Chef Brandon Salomon in an elegant and relaxed atmosphere overlooking the pool and the Atlantic Ocean beyond.