Thanks to its beaches, wetlands, world-class dining, and cultural institutions, Greater Fort Lauderdale is a tourist destination for travelers around the world. But where do the locals go? Here are some of our favorite haunts.
Sistrunk Marketplace in Fort Lauderdale continues to expand, and that includes the opening of Dream State Brewing. The 6,000-square-foot brewery will include the brand’s catalog of galactic beers like Moonlight, Dream Dream Dream and Jurassic Planet. Want more brews? Get your Visit Lauderdale Ale Trail Passport, which grants you discounts at more than a dozen breweries throughout Greater Fort Lauderdale, including Dream State Brewing.
There’s fun for the whole family at Paradise Cove Water Park in Pembroke Pines’ CB Smith Park, with four different experiences filled with water slides and rides. Paradise Pipeline has four five-story-tall water slides for a thrilling corkscrew ride. Parrot’s Point and Sharky’s Lagoon are great options for smaller children, with 12-inch and 18-inch pools, respectively. Finally, Crazy Creek is made for those who want to lounge in the sun, with a 410-foot-long tube ride. The water park is open seven days a week in the summer and on weekends in the spring and fall.
What’s in a name? The Small Wine Shop tells it all. The cozy wine bar in Flagler Village offers a menu of small-production wines, particularly from natural, organic and biodynamic wineries. Oenophiles should check out their wine club, and there are always engaging events like wine specials on Wednesdays, tastings and pairings, and seasonal soirees.
Skate like your favorite Florida Panthers player and hit the ice at the Panthers IceDen in Coral Springs. When the team isn’t using the rink, it’s open to the public from Friday to Sunday as well as skating and hockey classes. Little ones who could use a little help skating can use gliders or an adorable Bobby the Seal skate aid. On Friday nights, adults are invited to a night out on the ice with a live DJ and disco lights.
It’s a one-stop-shop for fun at Dania Pointe in Dania Beach, with dozens of stores, restaurants, a bowling alley, comedy club, and movie theater in one walkable area. Get your shop on at Urban Outfitters, Sugarboo, Anthropologie, or Foot Locker, then rest your feet while dining at Cooper’s Hawk, Bento, or Firebirds. Or, you can grab a bite to eat at Bowlero — fit with black lights, lounge seats and an arcade — or Regal Cinemas while watching the next Oscar-worthy film.
Get your fix for authentic Korean food at Gabose and Pocha in Lauderhill, sister restaurants featuring both traditional and contemporary dishes made over a charcoal grill. All the dishes are great to be paired with Korean beers and an array of flavored sojus — and if you’ve got a large party, try out the watermelon punch bowl at Pocha. It’s just the bit of liquid courage you’ll need for karaoke on Friday and Saturday nights.
Beer fiends, look no further than local favorite, The Riverside Marketplace. The family-run business has locations in Fort Lauderdale and Plantation, all serving hundreds of craft beers as well as a menu of sandwiches, burgers, salads, pizzas, and snacks. The beer cave also hosts open mic nights, trivia, fitness classes, and other fun events, so be sure to check out their calendars.
Looking to meet local makers and artists? There’s sure to be a craft fair or farmers market scheduled somewhere in Greater Fort Lauderdale. The Indie Craft Bazaar features more than 100 vendors, and they also organize the Hollywood Artwalk and Dania After Dark events. The Sunny Side Up Market on Fort Lauderdale beach and Flamingo Flea at Tarpon River Brewing are also great places to shop for unique gifts you won't find just anywhere else. In Pompano Beach, Old Town Untapped is a growing fair with live music, food trucks, creators, and craft beer.
We’re in the presence of baked greatness here in Greater Fort Lauderdale. Archibald’s Village Bakery is helmed by LGBT+ owners Chef Justin and Christopher Mathys-Archibald, a part of the growing North Beach Village neighborhood. The scratch-made bakery cranks out fresh bread, sandwiches, pastries, and decadent cinnamon rolls (on the weekends). You can also get your caffeine fix from local roaster, Blooming Bean Coffee. It’s no wonder the bakery earned the No. 3 spot on Yelp’s Top 100 list!
Rustic Inn in Fort Lauderdale offers a casual, canal-side dining experience that’s been drawing locals for decades. The seafood restaurant is known for their “world famous garlic crabs,” served over the dining table for you to crack open with a mallet while donning a bib. It’s the uniform while eating at Rustic Inn, as dinner here is meant to be a little messy.