Planning a weekend trip to Fort Lauderdale? You're going to have a great time. First, though, take a look at this list of ten things that we think you should do during your getaway. Don't get us wrong - relaxation should be the priority! But if you'd like to add a couple of fun activities while you're there, definitely take a look at these options.
Enhance Your Fort Lauderdale Weekend Getaway With These 10 Things
10. Explore Hugh Taylor Birch State Park
The Spanish-moss-draped-trees and unique hiking trails are just the start of the attractions that bring people to Hugh Taylor Birch State Park. The $6 admission fee is well worth it, as you can expect to enjoy a perfect view of the Atlantic Ocean, walk around a fresh water lagoon, fish and canoe in Long Lake, and so much more. Take a trip here and spend some time outdoors in the sunshine.
9. Visit the Nova Southeastern University Art Museum
Located in downtown Fort Lauderdale, the NSU Art Museum was founded in 1958 to display all facets of civilization’s visual history. That means if you visit, you’ll get a chance to see over 6,000 works of art exemplifying the different perspectives of life and civilization as we’ve know it. Current exhibits include Chuck Loose photographs, African Art: Highlights of the Permanent Collection, and Five Centuries of Prints from Rembrandt to Picasso: Drs. Walter and Mildred Padow Collection. Immerse yourself in the wonders of art and see unique perspectives from renowned artists.
8. Catch a Game at Historic Lockhart Stadium
Lockhart Stadium, home to the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers, is the original stadium the Strikers began in some 35 years ago. Although the place was renovated in 1998, history remains in this space. The original Strikers team folded in 1997 and did not return to Lockhart Stadium until 2011 when the Miami FC announced its intentions to pay homage to the original Strikers and bring the team back to Ft. Lauderdale. The Strikers’ season spans from early March to late October, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities through your vacation to catch a game. Grab a beer and a some popcorn and get ready to cheer on the Strikers.
7. Stroll Along Las Olas Boulevard
Beachfront dining, luxury shopping, and live entertainment? Check. Las Olas Boulevard is a palm-tree-lined oasis ideal for visitors looking to buy some new clothes, check out some art galleries, or grab a bite on the waterfront. The boulevard is home to many local artist galleries, not to mention over 30 bar and restaurant options. BAO Bar + Asian Kitchen is a great spot for some evening dining, as it sits right on a canal waterway, giving visitors a quaint and peaceful view of the water. The nightlife on Las Olas Blvd. is also a main attraction, so if you’re in the mood for a night out, swing by O Lounge at 333 Last Olas Blvd. where a live DJ will spin tunes to have you dancing the night away.
6. Wander through Bonnet House Museum and Gardens
Established in 1895, the Bonnet House’s history dates back much further, some 4,000 years in fact. Archeologists discovered a shell on the grounds of the house that indicate the Tequesta people had inhabited the land all the way back in 2,000 B.C. The house’s modern history, though, began in 1919, when Hugh Taylor Birch gave the property to his daughter and her husband, Chicago-based artist Frederic Clay Bartlett, as a wedding gift. The couple began building what is now known as the Bonnet House, but after Birch’s daughter died in 1925, Bartlett left and didn’t return until 1931 when he re-married and continued construction on the house. The Bonnet House is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was declared a historic landmark by the City of Ft. Lauderdale in 2002. A visit to the house will provide guests an intimate look at some of Frederic and his third wife’s art and art studio. The garden is another sight to see. With 5 different ecosystems displayed on the property, the gardens have everything from desert plant life to tropical vegetation to. In addition, the property has one of the largest collections of orchids in the Southeast United States and is even home to squirrel monkeys, manatees, and Amazon parrots.
5. Museum of Discovery and Science
If you’re traveling with kids or just have a love of science yourself, this museum is the perfect place to spend the day. The museum is an official interpretive site for the Greater Everglades Restoration Project, meaning you can get some hands-on educational experiences from one of the most reputable resources. The museum also houses an exhibit on the miracle of the human body and an aviation exhibit with a state-of-the-art 7D capsule flight simulator theater. There is so much to see at the museum, so get there early and don’t miss a thing.
4. See a Show at Broward Center for the Performing Arts
The Broward Center, which now also manages nearby Parker Playhouse, has provided the city of Ft. Lauderdale with 25 years of entertainment. From musical artists to opera performances, dance showcases to Broadway plays, it won’t be hard to find something you like. The center overlooks the New River in Fort Lauderdale and makes the cut for one of the top 10 most-visited theaters in the world. Want an up-close look? The center gives visitors a peek backstage during their free tours on the first Sunday of every month.
3. Surround Yourself with Butterflies
Yes, lots of butterflies. Butterfly World, just a half hour’s drive north from Ft. Lauderdale, is an amazing experience for visitors to the area. The first of its kind in the Western hemisphere, Butterfly World also holds another title of being the largest butterfly park in the world. Walk through screened-in aviaries made to resemble tropical rain forests and you’ll encounter over 2,000 caterpillars and butterflies. This truly unique and breathtaking environment is complete with a waterfall, a misting “cave” that resembles a greenhouse, and and English rose garden.
2. Step Foot in the Oldest House in the City
The Stranahan House Museum is indeed the oldest residence in Fort Lauderdale. Ohio native Frank Stranahan originally built the house to be used as a trading post where Seminole Indians in the area would meet and do business with Frank. Eventually, frank and Ivy moved into the residence and made it their permanent home. Visitors and locals come to experience the rich history preserved in the home, a gem that has remained virtually untouched amidst an assortment of new skyscrapers and business developments. The museum provides visitors free tours daily, and also operates the only River Ghost Tour in Ft. Lauderdale for just $25. Hop aboard a water taxi and let your guide tell you spooky tales of ghosts and their connection to the house.
1. Spend the Day at the Beach
Fort Lauderdale boasts some 23 miles of sun kissed beaches, so there are plenty of options to suit your needs. Visit Pompano Beach and check out the fishing pier, home to the annual Pompano Seafood Festival and Fishing Rodeo. Not into fishing? Head over to Lauderdale-by-the-sea for that old fashioned, small town beach vibe, where snorkeling is among the more popular activities to do. This beach town also hosts a live music show every Friday night, inviting visitors to the main street where musicians entertain on a stage. Hollywood Beach runs about 2.5 miles long and its boardwalk gives people the option to rid a bike, rollerblade or simply walk along it, with an idyllic view of the clear, calm waters just feet away. Ft. Lauderdale also boasts 5 additional beaches, so you’re sure to find what you want out of your beach experience.
This article was written by Julianne Aiello.