Labor Day is right around the corner, and you’ve got a long weekend ahead. Greater Fort Lauderdale has the perfect collection of ways to indulge. With eight beaches spread among 24 miles of golden sand, it’s a no-brainer that this is the place to be. Beyond the beach, you’ll find there is just as much fun to be had. Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, food adventurer, craft beer aficionado, fashionista, dog lover or art connoisseur, you’ll find the perfect holiday experience in Greater Fort Lauderdale.
1. Wander among a tropical park
You love the great outdoors. Venture into Tree Tops Park in Davie for winding nature trails and horseback riding. Take a hike on the Live Oak Trail, Seminole Trail or Pine Island Drive. Then climb up into the canopy of a 28-foot-tall observation tower and check out a bird’s eye view of the lush scenery. Ride horses in this oasis of ancient live oaks, tropical hammocks and wetlands. Enjoy some other nearby outdoor activities that are perfect for animal lovers and budding environmentalists.
2. Connect with wildlife
You like nature and sun, so head on over to Flamingo Gardens. In this botanical garden in Davie, you'll get up close to birds (including flamingoes of course), tortoises, playful sea otters, snakes, alligators and more. This is a wildlife sanctuary where they rehabilitate animals and serve as an oasis for those that cannot be released back into the wild. Kids and adults alike will enjoy the narrated tram tour and a visit to the new butterfly conservatory. You'll also find daily animal shows and rotating exhibits among the sprawling garden. Through Labor Day Weekend, Flamingo Gardens is featuring Nature Pop! This award-winning exhibit from Artist Sean Kenney features 44 sculptures made from more than 800,000 LEGO® bricks.
3. Cruise on a floating tiki bar
You like to bar hop. Charter a Cruisin' Tiki for your squad (up to 6 people). Enjoy a cruise along Fort Lauderdale’s renowned New River on a one-of-a-kind floating tiki bar. They’ll provide a cooler with ice and water, so just bring your own food and drinks. Take in the waterway views, nice breeze, tunes, and a unique, special experience.
4. Snap the ultimate selfie
You’re looking for the perfect Instagram-worthy backdrop. How about 30 walkable options all mapped out for you? Take a self-guided tour of the Downtown Hollywood Mural Project in Florida's Hollywood, just about 15 minutes south of Fort Lauderdale. Curated, contemporary murals from international and domestic artists adorn the streets of this colorful district. Artists include Tatiana Suarez, Evoca1, Rone, The London Police, Jessy Nite, Ernesto Maranje, Logan Hicks and Kenny Scharf. Choose from flamingos, turtles, mermaids, portraits of notable personalities and more for a postcard-worthy snap. In downtown Fort Lauderdale, stop by the 30-foot-tall Thrive statue, located near the Riverwalk. Artist/sculptor Daniel Popper encourages his audiences to contemplate diverse themes while taking in the scenery.
5. Dock & dine
You are all about the water culture. Stay waterside and work your along the New River to Las Olas Boulevard, also known as Fort Lauderdale’s Style Mile, for delectable dishes and sidewalk seating, shopping and art galleries. Drop into Ann’s Florist & Coffee Bar for macaroons, Panther coffee, antiques and sweet mementos. While on Las Olas, pick up a new outfit for the long weekend from Lilly Pulitzer and Tommy Bahama, and then grab the perfect cooler or tumbler from YETI to enjoy the balmy days under the sun. Hop on the Water Taxi from the Las Olas stop and work your way to the beach or dock and dine at 15th Street Fisheries or Shooters Waterfront.
6. Dance away
You go where the music goes. Get your crew on over to DAER nightclub at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood for great DJ sets and celebrity appearances. The club is open during the day and night, poolside too. For a view and a groove, Fort Lauderdale's rooftop gems, Rooftop @1WLO and Sparrow, are the places to be.
7. Savor local brews
You consider yourself a craft beer aficionado. We’ve got that frosty glass you’ve been craving. Take your pick among nanobreweries, industrial microbreweries, beer gardens and brewpubs as you work your way through the Ale Trail. Make your way to Gulf Stream Brewing Company and try the exclusive Hefeweizen, named after Visit Lauderdale's new tagline, Everyone Under the Sun. Blending the traditional Bavarian and American styles, it has notes of banana, vanilla and bubble gum with a fresh citrus finish that comes from additions of freshly peeled orange zest. Take a guided tour of Funky Buddha Brewery in Oakland Park or show off those axe-throwing skills at Chops + Hops. Whether you order a sampler or a pint, pair your favorite beer with fresh dishes as you sit back in taprooms and open-air patios with your friends, family and even your best four-legged friend.
8. Satisfy your palate
You are a foodie. Head on over to Fort Lauderdale’s MASS District for locally-owned boutiques, fresh-pressed juices, art galleries, bars, coffee shops and food made to look just as good as it tastes. Inside the honeycombed, mural-splashed Hive warehouse district, you can enjoy avocado toast and acai bowls at JB&C. For craft beer, cocktails and classic arcade games, visit Glitch Bar. If you're looking for a speakeasy vibe, you won't want to miss Mama Hank's, located behind a 400-pound vault door. Next, head on over to Sistrunk Marketplace & Brewery food hall, a 5-minute car ride away, to discover cuisine from around the world and shop for local wares inside the Sistrunk Kollective.
9. Discover designer bargains
Got shopping on the mind? In nearby Sunrise, you’ll find the nation’s biggest luxury and designer outlet destination. The 2.1 million-square-foot Sawgrass Mills features more than 350 stores. The Colonnade Outlet at Sawgrass Mills features an open-air, palm-tree-lined promenade including GUCCI, Burberry, Jimmy Choo, Prada, Salvatore Ferragamo Company Store, Tag Heuer, Versace, David Yurman, Ralph Lauren, and Saks OFF 5th. Love red-soled heels? You'll be thrilled to know that Christian Louboutin recently opened its only outlet shoe store in Florida – and only the second nationwide. Fuel up between the bargains at many on-site eateries, such as Shake Shack, Seasons 52, Texas de Brazil and Yard House.
10. Explore hidden gems
You want to do what the locals do. This Labor Day weekend indulge in a hotel stay in this tropical paradise and pair it with culture-rich experiences, fun attractions, incredible dining options and some off the beaten path discoveries. There are quaint, picturesque coffee shops and bookstores, like the Old Florida Book Shop. Treat yourself to a lovely brunch tucked along the New River at the former historic home turned waterfront restaurant - The House on The River. Visit the historic, family-owned Jaxson's Ice Cream for its beloved Kitchen Sink special.