Top-Rated Food and Cultural Spots
in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

A stunning blend of gorgeous scenery, exciting activities and delicious food, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, makes a perfect holiday for couples, families, and even friends. Despite being known for its miles of white sandy beaches and weaving canals, this sunny vacation spot is more than meets the eye and bears surprises for all.

For foodies, history buffs and vacation seekers, the city holds a certain allure and charms its visitors year after year. With large crowds of travellers exploring the city’s beauty and learning about its rich history, more and more Floridian eateries are also emerging, looking to fill the bellies of the city’s guests with hearty fare.

So here’s a quick guide on where to go and what to eat. We explore the endless offerings that the Venice of America has in store.

What to Do

1. Hugh Taylor Birch State Park

Hugh Taylor Birch State Park offers scenic picnic spots for families to enjoy a delicious meal overlooking the stunning water channels of Fort Lauderdale.

Hugh Taylor Birch State Park offers scenic picnic spots for families to enjoy a delicious meal overlooking the stunning water channels of Fort Lauderdale. Photo from Shutterstock.

Once you’ve filled your tummies up with Fort Lauderdale’s yummy fare, embark on an easy walk through the history-filled Hugh Taylor Birch State Park. Located conveniently in the middle of the bustling city, this park offers respite from the busy city life.

Catch the sunrise from the peak of Fansipan Mountain.

Catch the sunrise from the peak of Fansipan Mountain. Photo from @parkandocean via Instagram.

Lined with scenic biking and hiking trails, Fort Lauderdale's own “Central Park” was gifted to the city by Hugh Taylor Birch after whom this urban oasis is named. Perfect for a family day out, this park offers a sanctuary for people who wish to relax and enjoy the area’s natural and cultural history.

2. Bonnet House Museum & Gardens

The whimsical Bonnet House Museum & Gardens is an eclectic mix of art, history, and nature.

The whimsical Bonnet House Museum & Gardens is an eclectic mix of art, history, and nature. Photo from Shutterstock.

A spot for the history buffs, the Bonnet House Museum & Gardens spans 35-acres and is perfectly preserved in its 1930's and 40's period of significance, housing delightful surprises. Upon entering, be whisked away to the days of gracious living, charm and whimsy when Florida was one of the nation’s last frontier outposts.

The main house is based on self-taught architect Frederic Bartlett’s interpretation of Caribbean plantation-style architecture.

The main house is based on self-taught architect Frederic Bartlett’s interpretation of Caribbean plantation-style architecture. Photo from Shutterstock.

3. NSU Art Museum of Fort Lauderdale

The NSU Art Museum wears public art on its walls, with murals by Miami-born artist, Jen Stark.

The NSU Art Museum wears public art on its walls, with murals by Miami-born artist, Jen Stark. Photo from @1.kbb via Instagram.

The NSU Art Museum of Fort Lauderdale is a treasure trove of more than 6,000 works by artists from all around the world, from leading Latin American visionaries as well as post-World War II avant-garde artists.

An iconic modernist building designed by renowned architect Edward Larrabee Barnes, the exterior of the museum provides a peek into the stunning art pieces it houses.

4. Stranahan House

The Historic Stranahan House Museum is the oldest and most historically significant home in Broward County.

The Historic Stranahan House Museum is the oldest and most historically significant home in Broward County. Photo from @meehrerleben via Instagram.

A jewel in Fort Lauderdale, the Stranahan House is the oldest surviving structure in the city.

In 1901, Fort Lauderdale's founding father, Frank Stranahan and his wife Ivy Cromartie Stranahan, the area's first school teacher, built the Stranahan House. Through the years, the house served as a trading post, post office, community centre, town hall and home to the Stranahans.

A significant place in the hearts of locals, couples choose to hold their weddings in the iconic Stranahan House.

A significant place in the hearts of locals, couples choose to hold their weddings in the iconic Stranahan House. Photo from @beautiful.kreations via Instagram.

A jewel in Fort Lauderdale, the Stranahan House is the oldest surviving structure in the city.

5. Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale

The Historic Stranahan House Museum is the oldest and most historically significant home in Broward County.

Take a walk along the Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale and witness a community brimming with shops, historical structures, and greenery. Photo from Shutterstock.

A charming park along the river, the Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale is home to a wide array of galleries, museums, shops & eateries. Discover historic attractions such as the 1907 King-Cromartie House and the 1899 Replica Schoolhouse as you stroll through the 1.6 kilometre stretch along the water.

Save the Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale for last, and remember to grab souvenirs, gifts and trinkets from the shops lining the Riverwalk!

What To Eat

1. Louie Bossi's Ristorante Bar Pizzeria

Louie Bossi’s Eggs al Forno with Pancetta and San Marzano Sauce on their oven-roasted Polenta, for a hearty yet wholesome brunch.

Louie Bossi’s Eggs al Forno with Pancetta and San Marzano Sauce on their oven-roasted Polenta, for a hearty yet wholesome brunch. Photo from Louie Bossi’s via Facebook.

Walk by Louie Bossi’s famed restaurant any day of the week, and you’ll be greeted by a snaking queue down Las Olas Boulevard.

Trust us when we say: Some good things are worth the wait. If the aroma of roasted garlic and freshly made pasta, pastries and pizza do not convince you, take a peek at their raving Yelp reviews. Try not to salivate at the delectable creations Chef Bossi whips up.

It’s hard to miss this high-energy Italian eatery when you stroll down Las Olas Boulevard.

It’s hard to miss this high-energy Italian eatery when you stroll down Las Olas Boulevard. Photo from Louie Bossi via Instagram.

Tip: If you’re coming as a group of six or more, ask to be seated in their lush “secret garden” back terrace.

2. Coconuts

Chill by the water and enjoy fresh seafood while watching the yachts sail by.

Chill by the water and enjoy fresh seafood while watching the yachts sail by. Photo from Coconuts via Facebook.

For a stunning meal by the water, Coconuts offers the best views of Fort Lauderdale’s intercoastal waterways.

Dine by the weaving canals of the city with food to match your beautiful view. Coconuts pride themselves on serving up fresh seafood seven days of the week, to go with their fun and relaxed ambience.

Be sure to start off your meal with the fan-favourite “Scoobies”, an appetiser featuring fresh crab claw tips served in buttery garlic sauce.

3. Java & Jam

Java & Jam gives you a perfect Fort Lauderdale downtown experience, filling you up with a caffeine boost and wholesome meal before you begin your day.

Java & Jam gives you a perfect Fort Lauderdale downtown experience, filling you up with a caffeine boost and wholesome meal before you begin your day. Photo from Java & Jam via Facebook.

If you’re in a rush, Java & Jam’s the place for you. Serving up convenient but power-packed meals for people on-the-go, this leisurely coffee house provides a speedy J&J Coffee Bar, as well as a Grab-and-Go counter for flaky buttery pastries.

Java & Jam comes through when you’re in a pinch for time, offering quick to-go breakfast and caffeine boosts.

Java & Jam comes through when you’re in a pinch for time, offering quick to-go breakfast and caffeine boosts. Photo from Java & Jam via Instagram.

Guests who dine in, get to enjoy an expansive spread of made-in-house dishes and delights such as Eggs Benedict on Herb Biscuits, or their hearty Taco Eggs--two sunny-side-up eggs topped with bacon, avocado, and roasted salsa verde.

4. New York Grilled Cheese Co.

Say cheese: New York Grilled Cheese Co. brings you one of the best American food experiences with their own little twist.

Say cheese: New York Grilled Cheese Co. brings you one of the best American food experiences with their own little twist. Photo from New York Grilled Cheese Co. via Facebook.

For the midnight munchies or the comfort-food seeking foodie in you, New York Grilled Cheese Co. offers up their creamy, crunchy grilled cheese sandwiches till late in the night.

Grilled in a waffle press and served with a cup of tangy Creamy Basil Tomato Bisque (we recommend dunking your sandwich in for a surprise twist), this joint ensures a grilled cheese experience to remember.

New York Grilled Cheese Co. is sure to pull at your heart (cheese) strings!

New York Grilled Cheese Co. is sure to pull at your heart (cheese) strings! Photo from New York Grilled Cheese Co. via Instagram.

For the midnight munchies or the comfort-food seeking foodie in you, New York Grilled Cheese Co. offers up their creamy, crunchy grilled cheese sandwiches till late in the night.

Grilled in a waffle press and served with a cup of tangy Creamy Basil Tomato Bisque (we recommend dunking your sandwich in for a surprise twist), this joint ensures a grilled cheese experience to remember.

5. B Square Burgers & Booze

B Square Burgers and Booze serves up fresh and sumptuous seafood spreads to satisfy every hunger pang.

B Square Burgers and Booze serves up fresh and sumptuous seafood spreads to satisfy every hunger pang. Photo from B Square Burgers and Booze via Instagram.

At B Square Burgers and Booze, the restaurant definitely lives up to its name. Treat yourself to decadent gourmet burgers, paired with a quality wide selection of craft beers, specialty cocktails, and boozy shakes.

Look out for the daily specials from their menu.

Look out for the daily specials from their menu. Photo from B Square Burgers and Booze via Instagram.

The casual-chic restaurant is famed for their B-dogs, like the Decadent Dog with truffle oil and sauteed lobster, and constantly surprises fans by launching insanely indulgent creations like their Scallop Po’Boy with Fried Scallops on Brioche topped with Chipotle Aioli.

Getting Around

The easiest and most convenient way of getting around the city is by car. However, if you choose not to drive, the city is still easily accessible by water taxi, trolley (also known as tram) or bus.

Water Taxi

Being the Venice of America, it wouldn’t be a complete trip if you did not explore the waterways and travel via the winding canals of the city. The web-like waterways provide a unique way of getting around and sightseeing. The water taxis stop along 14 points of interest in Fort Lauderdale, and get you to all the must-see areas.

Each trip costs $28 per adult and $14 per child aged 5 to 11; reduced rates are available for seniors, members of the military and for passengers traveling after 5 p.m. Water taxis depart from each stop on the main routes every 25 to 35 minutes. They operate daily between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m., with extended hours on Fridays and Saturdays.

Trolley

We’re not talking about supermarket trolleys here! If your destination is not along any of the stops that the water taxi visits, fret not, as the Sun Trolley offers routes down the famed Las Olas Boulevard and along the beach.

All routes are free except for the Beach Link and Las Olas Link routes. Visit the Sun Trolley Routes, Schedules and Fares page to plan your ride.

Bus

Another alternative to the trolley is the Broward County Transit’s commuter buses at $2 per person. A day pass is available at $5 and offers unlimited rides for the whole day. Find the bus schedules on the Broward Couny Transit’s Maps and Schedules page here.

Where to Stay in Fort Lauderdale

Lauderdale by the Sea

A charming seaside community, Lauderdale by the Sea flaunts an old Florida charm with their low-rise downtown buildings and mid-century modern architecture.

The area is popular for its quiet charm, iconic pier and beautiful beach. Lauderdale by the Sea is widely acknowledged to be the South Florida Shore Diving Capital. Snorkelers and divers come from all over to swim from the beach to reefs alive with tropical fish, turtles and even lobsters.

Consider: Windjammer Resort & Beach Club (#1716) and Costa del Sol Resort (#1784)

Central Beach

Known for its miles-long beach, high-energy nightclubs and more, this area is popular with vacationers for a good reason.

Consider setting up base in Central Beach as it offers accessibility to the places of interest in Fort Lauderdale. The area is a short 3-minute drive from the famed Hugh Taylor Birch State Park and an 8-minute drive to the bustling Las Olas Boulevard.

Consider: Silver Seas (#0160) and Merriweather Resort (#0808)

 
Featured Properties

Windjammer Resort & Beach Club #1716
Lauderdale by The Sea, Florida, USA

Costa del Sol Resort #1784
Lauderdale by The Sea, Florida, USA

Silver Seas #0160
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA

Merriweather Resort #0808
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA