Over the past two decades, Fort Lauderdale has transformed from a city known as a beer-stained spring-break mecca to the largest yachting center in North America. City streets and highways may be fine for the commoner’s transportation needs, but Fort Lauderdale adds another option: canals. Intricate waterways connect ritzy homes with the intracoastal waterway, and even mere mortals can cruise the canals via the Water Taxi, an on-the-water bus system. “The Venice of America” also has 23 miles of beaches where spring-break mayhem still reigns supreme, making Fort “Liquordale” fun even for those who can’t afford a yacht.
Fort Lauderdale is bigger than it looks. The city extends westward from its 23 miles stretch of beach to encompass nearly 450 sq. mi. Streets and boulevards run east-west and avenues run north-south. All are labeled “NW,” “NE,” “SW,” or “SE” according to the quadrant. The two major roads in Fort Lauderdale are Broward Boulevard and Andrews Avenue. The brick-and-mortar downtown centers on US 1 (Federal Highway) and Las Olas Boulevard, about 2 miles west of the oceanfront. Yachts fill the inlets of the Intracoastal Waterway between downtown and the waterfront. The Strip (a.k.a. Rte. A1A, Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., 17th St. Causeway, Ocean Blvd., or Seabreeze Blvd.) runs 4 mi. along the beach between Oakland Park Boulevard to the north and Las Olas Boulevard to the south. North-south I-95 connects West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami. Route 84/I-75 (Alligator Alley) runs 100 mi. west from Fort Lauderdale across the Everglades to small cities on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Florida’s Turnpike runs parallel to I-95.
Fort Lauderdale Beach doesn’t have a dull spot on it, but most of the action is between Las Olas Blvd. and Sunrise Blvd. Alongside the canal system is the Las Olas waterfront, where people stroll and enjoy the clubs, restaurants, shopping, and bars.
Don’t get distracted by the picturesque beaches and warm waters – Fort Lauderdale has so much more in store. Click the links to explore and book tours or local guides.
Locals and tourists alike flock to Las Olas Boulevard for a mix of casual and upscale restaurants and great people-watching. Though clubs along the strip offer massive quantities of free happy hour grub – wieners, chips and hors d’oeuvres come on surfboard-sized platters – most bars have hefty charges and drink minimums.
As any local will tell you, the real Fort Lauderdale nightlife action is in Old Town. Two blocks northwest of Las Olas Blvd. on Second St. near the Riverwalk district, the 300 ft. stretch of Old Town is packed with raucous bars, steamy clubs, cheap eats, and a stylish crowd. Considerably more expensive and geared specifically toward tourists, the Strip, along Rte. A1A and across from the beach, is home to several popular nightspots.