Fort Lauderdale is located in the southeast coast of Florida, just 30 miles north of Miami. Known as the “Venice of America” because of its extensive canal system, the city is the eighth largest city in Florida, with over 300 miles of waterfront, including beaches (23 miles), rivers and canals.
With an average annual temperature of 75.55°F (24°C), Fort Lauderdale gets over 3000 hours of sunlight a year.
The city is served by Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport and Port Everglades, one of the most diverse seaports in the United States.
Quality of Life
The main reasons people choose the city, either to spend the season, or as a full-time place of residence, is the water (the Atlantic Ocean, the Intracoastal and the canals). Apart from its natural beauty and semi-tropical climate, Fort Lauderdale offers a lively downtown, with performing arts centers, museums, restaurants, and live music.
Fort Lauderdale is also an attractive business environment with an outstanding quality of life, accessible education, cultural and healthcare amenities. Less agitated and noisy than Miami, Fort Lauderdale has its own array of nightlife opportunities.
Many residents choose to live aboard their yachts, perpetuating the city’s ocean and river heritage. Fort Lauderdale is home to more than 100 marinas and six of its beaches have been “Blue Wave” certified by the Clean Beach Council.
Fort Lauderdale Beach
As mentioned above, Hollywood, Dania Beach, Deerfield Beach, Pompano Beach, Lauderdale-by- the-Sea, and Fort Lauderdale have been “Blue Wave” certified by the Clean Beach Council. These beaches offer a range of activities, such as Ski Rixen, one of America’s first cable water ski parks; the lovely old-fashioned hamlet of Lauderdale-by- the-sea, or the living coral reef system just off its shore; sports of all sorts and the annual seafood festival at Pompano Beach; people watching at Fort Lauderdale Beach; the retro boardwalk on Hollywood, with enough space to walk, ride a bicycle, or just sit by a café and watch the surf; and even turtle nesting for the nature lovers at Hillsboro beach, which also offers views of the most powerful light on the east coast, the Hillsboro lighthouse.
Fort Lauderdale Beach itself went through a major make-over in 1988, when the local government built the signature beachfront promenade in order to turn the spring breakers favourite spot into a beach chic destination. It seems to have worked, considering the elegant properties that face the ocean from the other side of the promenade.
Fort Lauderdale’s investment on growth
Fort Lauderdale is known as an important tourist destination, with 11 cruise lines operating from Port Everglade, but the city’s economy is more strongly based on the marine and the yachting industries. It also hosts an annual event, the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. With easy access by road, train, ship or plane, Fort Lauderdale was ranked one of the “100 Best Places to Live and Launch” a business by CNN/Money in 2008, and has its own financial district with a working downtown area.
Shopping in Fort Lauderdale
For those who enjoy shopping, the city offers a great variety of options. From antiques at the Dania Antique Row to high-brow and affordable stores, from eclectic vendors to glamorous shopping venues at The Galleria and, of course, the famous Las Olas Boulevard, which has been part of the city since the 1900s, when it was just a dirt road.
Las Olas Boulevard is said to be the very heart of the city, with one-of-a-kind stores and many events, such as the annual Las Olas Food and Wine Festival , and the Las Olas Art Fair, where locals and visitors mingle with gallery owners and artists. Old-fashioned light posts, Mediterranean architecture, black olive trees and palm trees give it a unique ambiance, and its sternmost section is laced with canals and waterfront homes. The boulevard runs from Andrews Avenue in the Central Business District to A1A and Fort Lauderdale Beach. Day and night, people stroll in and out of boutiques, art galleries, restaurants, nightclubs, and live entertainment venues.
The Intracoastal Waterway
The Intracoastal is the reason why Fort Lauderdale was nicknamed “The Venice of America”. It is made up of beautiful canals, lined by palm trees, high-end real estate, hotels, restaurants and attractions. There is a hop on hop off water taxi service with twelve stops, including Las Olas.
Eating out in Fort Lauderdale
From sushi to Italian meatballs, from craft beer to Dom Pérignon, inside the many malls, at Las Olas Boulevard, at the beachfront or the Intracoastal, Fort Lauderdale has it all. Those who wish to spend a quieter night have the choice to avoid the livelier locations and find little treasures such as a Japanese Thai Tapas restaurant in Oakland Park Boulevard. Meat lovers just can’t miss Chima Brazilian Steakhouse at Las Olas. For a more casual athmosphere there is always the ever-popular Mango’s. Check out in this post the best restaurants in the area.
Fort Lauderdale is also famous for its proximity to the Everglades, a balanced wetland ecosystem that stretches from Orlando to the southern tip of Florida. It is home to alligators, Florida panthers, and other wild animals in their natural habitat. Imagine experience all that in the comfort of a covered airboat? The National Park is still home to the Seminole Indians, who are willing to teach tourists about their ancient culture.
Fort Lauderdale was named after a series of forts built in Florida during the Second Seminole War, a conflict that resulted from the American government’s attempt to force the local natives (the Seminoles) to move west of the Mississipi. After the war, in 1842, the fort was abandoned, and the city would be incorporated only in 1911, due to the development brought south by the Florida East Coast Railway, which built its tracks in the mid 1890s.
However, archaeological evidence indicates that the history of Fort Lauderdale began long before the 1800s, and that the first natives who occupied the area arrived there approximately 4000 years ago.
In more recent days, more specifically in 1988, Fort Lauderdale went through a revitalization project (the building of its signature beachfront promenade) to reduce the city’s association with the masses of spring break and to re-establish the city as a world-class destination resort.