Fort Lauderdale is sometimes referred to as the "Venice of America" for its approximately 165 miles of waterways. It is also the county seat of Broward County... the heart of South Florida's Gold Coast.
Originally attracting Spring Break college students by the droves (inspired by the 1960 movie Where the Boys Are), Fort Lauderdale has been attracting a more sophisticated and affluent population in recent decades. For those that enjoy the boating lifestyle, Fort Lauderdale is a wonderful place to call home. The extensive network of canals throughout the Greater Fort Lauderdale area lead to the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) which leads out to the Atlantic Ocean via inlets. As I write this, the 47th Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (dubbed as "the world's largest boat show") is happening from October 26th-30th and features more than $1.6 billion worth of boats, yachts and boating related items, encompassing more than 3 million square feet of space (on land and in the water) and spanning six locations.
Without a doubt, if you enjoy the water, the Greater Fort Lauderdale area is the place to be. Divers can even explore a living coral reef accessible from shore and attend the annual Ocean Fest Expo. Fishing enthusiasts can visit the 60,000 square foot International Game Fish Association's Fishing Hall of Fame and Museum or take part in their events. Several restaurants even offer dockside dining (Shooters Waterfront Cafe, 15th Street Fisheries, Shirttail Charlie's and more) as well as beachside dining (Casablanca Café, Shula's on the Beach and more). Fort Lauderdale also offers a water bus service, operated by Water Taxi, which for $10 (as of this writing) offers unlimited rides all day! You can also take sightseeing and dinner cruises.
The Greater Fort Lauderdale area experienced a considerable increase in property values in recent years as well as a boom in new construction. Fort Lauderdale, in particular, has had many new luxury condo buildings constructed over the past five years especially in the downtown/Las Olas area and along the beach. Many of these new luxury condos were purchased as second homes. Condo-Hotels (or Condotels) were also introduced to the area during the recent hot market and there was also an increase in timeshare-style properties. If you want to enjoy water views all year round, many Fort Lauderdale condos, townhouses and homes can be found along the Intracoastal Waterway and the many canals off the ICW as well as along the New River. Depending on where you purchase, you may be lucky enough to be along the annual Winterfest Boat Parade route and enjoy a 'front row seat' from your lawn or balcony!
Many visitors like to stroll Fort Lauderdale's Riverwalk as it allows them to enjoy viewing the sailboats and yachts that glide along the New River. Riverwalk is a linear park with brick-paved, lighted winding walkways with many benches along the way as well as pavilions, gazebos and picnic tables. There are many locations along Riverwalk to stop, sit and enjoy the surrounding views. Just off the western end of Riverwalk is the Broward Center for the Performing Arts which is located in Fort Lauderdale's Arts and Entertainment District. This venue hosts Broadway style shows as well as a variety of concerts and dance performances. It also offers a wonderful view of the "Sailboat Bend" along the New River.
Other stops along Riverwalk include the Museum of Discovery and Science/Blockbuster IMAX Theater, with over 200 interactive exhibits and a five-story high theater screen. It is a great place for kids and adults that are young at heart! The Fort Lauderdale Historical Society's Old Fort Lauderdale Village and Museum is located where Flagler's East Coast Railway crosses the New River and offers a guided tour of exhibits in the museum as well as guided walking tours of the historic district. The Las Olas Riverfront is a shopping, dining and entertainment center in the heart of downtown Fort Lauderdale which hosts a monthly arts & crafts festival as well as the monthly SunTrust Jazz Festival along the Riverwalk.
About mid-way down Riverwalk and around the corner from the Las Olas Riverfront center is the historic SW 2nd Street (also known as the Himmarshee Street Entertainment District) where you can take a relaxing break and enjoy a meal at one of the outdoor cafes in a laid-back atmosphere by day. The area comes alive on Friday and Saturday nights due to it's many restaurants and bars which regularly feature live bands and some have dance floors.
At the eastern end of Riverwalk is Stranahan House (pictured on the right), the restored riverside home of Fort Lauderdale's founder. Just east of this historic structure is the very popular and fashionable Las Olas Boulevard, an area full of tree-lined streets with dozens of boutiques, art galleries, restaurants and even horse-drawn carriages! Las Olas Boulevard is also home to the historic Riverside Inn Hotel. This district is also home to the well-attended Las Olas Art Fair and Christmas on Las Olas events. If you're in the mood to shop, you can also check out The Galleria mall, which recently underwent an extensive renovation. This upscale shopping center is located in Fort Lauderdale's Coral Ridge area.
Cultural attractions in the Greater Fort Lauderdale area are many and include the annual Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival, the Museum of Art which was the proud host of the King Tut exhibit in early 2006 (one of only two stops in the U.S.), the Florida Grand Opera, the Fort Lauderdale Children's Theater, the Fiesta Fort Lauderdale (with performances by Latin jazz bands), and much more.
For a weekend in the Spring, people from near and far come for Fort Lauderdale's annual Fleet Week USA and the Air and Sea Show (McDonald's National Salute to America's Heroes™). If you're coming from far away, be sure to make your hotel reservations early as this is one of the Spring season's most popular events.
Nature lovers can visit the numerous Fort Lauderdale area parks and even bring their dog to some parks. Outdoor sports enthusiasts also have several Fort Lauderdale tennis centers and swimming pools to pick from.
If you like horse riding, there are places nearby (Bar-B-Ranch & Condee Farm to name two) where you can do that, too!
Golfers should not feel left out because they have 40 Fort Lauderdale area golf courses to choose from for players of all skill levels.
As you can see from the information on the image to the right, Fort Lauderdale's year-round average temperatures and general climate is a draw for residents and visitors alike!
If you're thinking about buying or selling a home in
the Greater Fort Lauderdale area, please contact:
Leanne Paynter, Broker-Associate at 954-846-1600
or fill out our Home Search form to let me know what you're looking for.
Most images and all content on this page are copyright 2006-2012 Leanne Paynter. All rights reserved.
No portion of this web site, including graphics or text, may be reproduced without prior written consent..