Experience the enchantment of the holiday season in Greater Fort Lauderdale. The Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Boat Parade is a must-attend holiday event that helps make the season merry and bright. Now in its 52nd year, the “Best Show on H20” has wowed spectators from near and far with a dazzling parade of boats and yachts decorated in illuminated lights, tinsel, and decor.
Taking place on December 16, this year’s theme, “Reflections Afloat,” will commemorate the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood and Winterfest. The legendary R&B group Boyz II Men will serve as the grand marshals. Whether you vacation in Greater Fort Lauderdale every year for the holidays or if this is your first time in our slice of paradise, be sure to witness this festive spectacle.
When: Saturday, December 16, 2023
Time: 6:30 p.m.
This year, keep your eyes peeled for a new addition to the water as Visit Lauderdale debuts its Everyone Under the Sun float. Showcasing Greater Fort Lauderdale pride, the float will transform the double-decker Water Taxi boat, featuring alligators, palm trees, sea turtles and more.
You’ll hear South Florida based Emmy® nominated songwriter, performer and impact artist Alexander Star perform his debut song, "Color Out Loud," an homage to the region. The upbeat tune embraces the idea that everyone can express themselves freely and proudly. It also highlights Greater Fort Lauderdale in a melodic blend that paints a picture of the tropical paradise. When you spot the float, snap a photo and share it on social media using the hashtag #VisitLauderdale!
One of the best spots to catch the show is at the official Winterfest viewing area at Las Olas Intracoastal Promenade Park near Fort Lauderdale beach. Adult tickets are priced at $30, while those for children 10 or younger are $25. Your ticket guarantees you a performance by The Shane Duncan Band pre-parade on the City of Fort Lauderdale Stage, followed by a post-parade show by Southern Blood. Seating is available for everyone, and doors open at 4 p.m.Guests arriving by car can park at the Las Olas Parking Garage adjacent to the park, though Winterfest encourages ride-sharing.
If you don’t snag tickets to the official viewing area, you can always gather along the Intracoastal with your own lawn chair.
WHERE TO STAY
We recommend making the most of your visit to Greater Fort Lauderdale by booking a hotel with access to some of the best views of the Winterfest Boat Parade. The Riverside Hotel is a historic hotel located in the heart of Fort Lauderdale, offering a prime location along Las Olas Boulevard. It's within walking distance of the vibrant downtown area, shopping, and dining options. The best part? Its classic charm and picturesque views of the New River make it a must for parade viewing.
Located on Fort Lauderdale beach, Bahia Mar Fort Lauderdale Beach - a DoubleTree by Hilton offers easy access to the beach, as well as being adjacent to the Bahia Mar Marina. It's known for hosting the annual Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, so it’s a no-brainer to watch the boat parade in a relaxed, coastal atmosphere.
At Kimpton Shorebreak Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort, post up on the rooftop for an awesome parade view. The hotel usually hosts a viewing party complete with bites and libations for guests. There’s not a bad seat in the house. Check their website for official event details.
WHERE TO DINE
The best thing about visiting “The Venice of America” during the Winterfest Boat Parade is that you will never be too far from a delicious restaurant along the Intracoastal. Book a reservation in advance to ensure prime seating for the best show on the water.
Coconuts near Fort Lauderdale beach offers a beautiful view of the Intracoastal and a relaxed, Florida Keys-style ambiance. Known for its lively nightlife scene and sophisticated ambiance, Salt7 in downtown Fort Lauderdale is an excellent choice to catch the parade with friends. Farther north, you’ll find classics like Shooters Waterfront, Kaluz Restaurant, and Mastro’s Ocean Club. All are excellent options and have a great selection of juicy steaks and fresh seafood to keep you full while passing boats entertain you all night.