This tour covers the major highlights of this resort city once known as the spring break capital of the United States.
This perennial... more » party town is best known for decades of wild spring break antics. It was where the boys were in the 1960s and where girls went wild in the 1980s— by then known by many as Fort Liquordale, for its non-stop happy hours, bawdy bars, and Bourbon Street quality to its beachfront.
Fort Lauderdale has grown up a lot since those days. New upscale restaurants, boutiques, galleries and a beautiful waterfront arts and entertainment district now make this a good vacation choice for more than just the college crowd.
First stop on this tour is the jewel in the crown of Fort Lauderdale's efforts to attract more family-friendly tourists: its beautiful waterfront park, the Riverwalk. Located along the historic New River, the 1.5 mile Riverwalk has revitalized Fort Lauderdale’s downtown. As of October, 2012, there’s a free outdoor jazz concert on the first Sunday of every month, a great way to enjoy this scenic tropical oasis.
This walking tour continues over to Las Olas Boulevard, the Rodeo Drive of Fort Lauderdale. This posh pedestrian shopping area is also home to Fort Lauderdale's earliest home, Stranahan House, now a historic museum. Pioneer and trader Frank Stranahan is considered the grandfather of Fort Lauderdale. His turn of the century home and business headquarters provide a peak into Fort Lauderdale's past. Original Victorian furnishings, photos and other memorabilia, plus enthusiastic volunteer guides make Stranahan House a worthwhile stop.
Fort Lauderdale is often called the “Venice of America” for its many canals and waterways. Unless you have your own boat, the best way to explore these waterways is aboard a water taxi. While the taxi serves as a mode of public transportation, it's also the best way to get a glimpse into the lifestyles of Fort Lauderdale's rich and famous. Glimpse into the backyards of the mega-mansions that overlook the Intracoastal Waterway and get up close with the multi-million dollar yachts sailing these waters.
It wouldn't be a tour of the best of Fort Lauderdale without stopping at a couple of bars. The first stop sounds like a dive, but it's a family-friendly affair. Catch the live mermaid show on a Friday night at Sheraton Fort Lauderdale's Wreck Bar and you'll be submerged in Fort Lauderdale kitsch. Peer through portholes inside this bar directly into a glass enclosed pool. Built in the 1950s, the Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Beach, originally named and still known by most as the Yankee Clipper, is a nautical novelty. The aquatic theme is found not just in the bar, but the entire hotel, built to resemble a ship.
The final stop is the dive immortalized in the 1960 film, "Where the Boys Are." For decades, the Elbo Room was party central for rowdy college students on spring break. Although college kids no longer descend on Fort Lauderdale each spring, the spirit of spring break lives on year-round at this crowded beachfront bar, where it's often tough to find any actual elbow room. less «