Fort Lauderdale has more to offer than warm weather and beautiful beaches! We traveled there for a weeklong vacation and had a wonderful time visiting a variety of restaurants, shops, museums, and fun activities. Here are some of our favourites that are definitely worth trying out if you are in the Fort Lauderdale area and want to mix things up on non-beach days.
Downtown Shopping Area
If you like shopping, or just want to bounce between restaurants and bars testing out delicious drinks and food, then check out Fort Lauderdale’s downtown shopping area. The street runs adjacent to the beautiful Riverwalk, where you can hop on a river cruise (the Carrie B Tour is a 90-minute, affordable option) after your appetizers and daiquiris. Also, don’t miss out on the Cheese Cake Factory along the main strip, it’s always a good day when you can indulge in a decadent slice of cheesecake.
Visit the Historic District
If you walk along the Riverwalk you’ll find the Stranahan House Museum, one of the first buildings in Ft Lauderdale and features a beautiful garden. The Stranahans founded Fort Lauderdale and Mrs. Stranahan was the first school teacher in the town. Walk 15 minutes south of the Stranahan house and you’ll find the Historic Fort Lauderdale Museum, where you can go on another fun tour of the first inn and school house. The Fort Lauderdale Museum also features in-house artists who love to show off their new artwork, just ask reception for an artist guided tour for access to the third floor.
Try out these great places to eat in Fort Lauderdale
First Watch is an amazing innovator of deliciousness, and for a great price. I found myself wanting to try everything on their menu! They come out with new specialty dishes, and juices, every week. My guy ordered four strips of the “Million Dollar Bacon” as an appetizer, followed by a mega delicious (and healthy) quinoa power bowl. I opted for the breakfast pancake with fresh orange, beet and pomegranate juice, which I only wish I could have finished!
The Ft Lauderdale First Watch is a must for brunch!
Sea Watch On The Ocean
Sea Watch, just down the road from First Watch, is a super fresh seafood specialist. Sea Watch is everything seafood, straight out of the ocean, in ridiculously delicious ways. The restaurant is everything you could expect from a high end, ocean view, wedding venue. Delicious food, a beautiful ocean view, great service and a decadent ambiance. Perfect for date night!
Mai Tai Tiki Restaurant and Polynesian Show
The Mai Kai has frequently been voted the best Tiki restaurant in the world. The restaurant can seat a whopping 650 guests. The sections are named after different Polynesian islands, and features a beautiful Tiki styled garden to walk through in between courses. There are waterfalls, tikis, bridges, flowers, and a great jungle themed soundtrack to top off your journey. The Mai Kai also features an incredible Polynesian show. We found the show both educational and entertaining, as these professional dancers performed the traditional dances from each of the Polynesian islands. At one point we sat in awe as 3 performers literally placed the fiery batons directly on their bare feet. This place would make a great girl’s night out! Just make sure to make reservations as it gets super busy! Definitely check this place out!
This amazing little ice cream gem features specialty Oreo ice creams made in-house. My hubby loved topping off the day with a walk on the beach for a Razzleberry milkshake. In the week visiting Fort Lauderdale we got to try the Razzleberry Dark Chocolate Oreo, Mocha Oreo, and Red Velvet Oreo. The Red Velvet Oreo blew our minds!
Butterfly World is an incredible array of butterflies, flowers and greenery. A trip to this garden will make you appreciate nature just a little bit more. We found the garden to be a refreshing escape from the hustle and bustle in the downtown area.
Escapology features a 6 different escape rooms for you puzzle-lovers. In each room you will play a different role, maybe a Western Sheriff, or maybe a Chemist. With a variety of themes and difficulties, I’m sure you’ll find something that suits your fancy. An hour of solving (or not solving) mysteries like the Scooby-Doo gang is super fun!
Ski Rixen Park
Another fairly extreme activity on our list is the Ski Rixen wakeboarding park. The park pulls you across a half mile of jumps, rails and wipe outs for a super fun and exhilarating wake boarding ride! Seriously though, be careful with this one, water can hurt!
Xtreme Action Park
Super go karts, glow-in-the-dark Nerf gun battles, rope course, bowling and arcade, Xtreme Action Park has covered all of the varying degree of extreme. The go karts range from baby to super, with the super carts reaching up to 65 MPH and required 3 training sessions on the Pro Karts to be used. The Nerf gun battles, on the Xtreme menu as Bazooka Blast, are fun for you competitive types, and the rope course is the largest obstacle course in Florida. And if those activities are too Xtreme for you… you could always bowl?
Fort Lauderdale is full of fun things to do! These were some of our favourites during our vacation. We encourage you give them a try and enjoy the beautiful city of Ft. Lauderdale to its fullest! Our biggest regret was we didn’t have enough time to check out more, but we will definitely be back!
Find out more ways to experience Fort Lauderdale on their website: Sunny.org
A big thanks to Ivonne Macmillan and the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau for making our time exploring the city so wonderful!