Some say Las Olas is the soul of Fort Lauderdale. Nowadays it connects the Central Business District to Fort Lauderdale Beach, but Las Olas Boulevard has been there from the very beginning, nothing but a dirt road, when Fort Lauderdale became a city.
The east side of Las Olas Boulevard is interlaced with canals, with views to beautiful homes and yachts, access to tours and the famous Fort Lauderdale water taxi. Closer to downtown Fort Lauderdale, Las Olas Boulevard becomes more commercial, lined with palm trees, featuring cool, sub-tropical breezeways. Here you will find courtyards with bars and restaurants, as well as elegant boutiques and specialty retail shops. There are art galleries for the art lovers, jewellery stores, bistros, spas and museums. At night, Las Olas becomes electric with activity, from exotic dining and belly dancing performances, to live music and nightclubs.
Many are of the opinion that Las Olas is a must see destination.
What to do at Las Olas Boulevard
Las Olas Boulevard is one of those places that have it all. From dining to shopping, from partying to history. In fact, Las Olas features three world class museums: the historic Stranaham House Museum, with a beautiful garden, the Museum of Discovery and Science, and the NSU Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale.
Every year, Las Olas hosts the Annual Las Olas Art Fair, where artists and art lovers mingle, showcase or enjoy hand crafted works of arts. Other festivals include the Annual Las Olas Wine and Food Festival, the Annual Clueless on Las Olas — a street party where participants have to solve mysteries, the Chanukah Festival at the Jewish center, and (why not?) Las Olas own Oktoberfest.
There is an IMAX nearby, if you’re looking to disconnect from the world for a little while. If disconnecting is what you’re looking for, another option is visiting one of the many SPAs, such as the Planet Massage and the Tiffany Beauty Spa.
There are always ways of treating yourself that don’t involve long hours inside a spa or an IMAX theater. Belgium chocolate at the Galler, for example. Or ice-cream and even more chocolate at Kilwin’s. Oh, look: there is more chocolate at Shakolad. Afterwards, you can take a walk at the Colee Hammock Park, or Stranaham House Gardens to take a break from all the chocolate and ice-cream.
If you have time on a Sunday, take a look at the Las Olas Sunday Market, where you can meet local producers and find locally grown, organic products, as well as baked goods and artistinal crafts. Las Olas is great to visit by water taxi, so a good suggestion is to buy the all-day ticket, and enjoy the ride on the Intracoastal canals.
Las Olas is a great place for people watching, car watching, yacht watching.
Eating out at Las Olas
Las Olas Boulevard has just too many options to list. Whether you’re looking for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even treats, Las Olas won’t let you down.
Choose a sidewalk table, and watch beautiful people come and go while tasting something delicious at one of the many bakeries, cafés or restaurants. From Italian baked goods at the Pan’e Dolci, to crepes at Cafe la Bonne; from brunch at the beach at Beauty and the Feast to great family environment at Mom’s Kitchen, the Floridian, Lester’s Diner, creative breakfast at the Steak 954, the Riverside Market (where you can also find good beer at happy hour time), St. Bart’s Coffee company, the Original Pancake House, and the Old Fort Lauderdale Breakfast House. This is only a sample of the options Las Olas has to offer.
Dining at Las Olas Boulevard
Many restaurants offer indoor and outdoor sitting. Again, the options vary from Chima Brazilian Steakhouse to vegan food at the Falafel Time, from Thai and Japanese cuisine at Sky Thai Sushi to tenderloin filet at Mangos Restaurant and Lounge (one of Las Olas icons); casual dining at the Big City Tavern, the KavaSutra Kava Bar, romantic dining at the Serafina or the 15 th Street Fisheries.
There are so many options between budget restaurants and chic dining that it’s hard to choose.
If you have dogs, most restaurants with outside sitting will welcome your pet, and even offer it a bowl of water.
Happy hour and night life Most places offer a few choice drinks for happy hour. One of Las Olas Boulevard’s favourite spots is Mangos, but there are several other options, such as the Vibe, YOLO, Solita or Timpano.
Shopping at Las Olas Fort Lauderdale
Las Olas Boulevard is the fashion-lover’s dream come true. The majority of the shops on Las Olas is independently owned, therefore offering a variety you won’t find anywhere else. You’ll find here bridal stores, fashion stores, antiques, decor, artwork, children’s clothes and toys, chic swim and beachwear, jewellery, modern and traditional furniture, in short: everything.
And don’t forget that Las Olas connects downtown to the beach. Las Olas means, after all, “the waves” in Spanish.