‘Tis the season for magic and wonder. The holidays are upon us, and we're here to help you make the most of it during your stay in Greater Fort Lauderdale. From a gleaming new ice-skating rink near the beach to festive celebrations, brace yourself for a whirlwind of adventures. We've rounded up all the best events in one comprehensive guide to ensure you have a merry time in Greater Fort Lauderdale.
AROUND TOWN FESTIVITIES
Every year, The Bonnet House Museum & Gardens in Fort Lauderdale magically transforms into a gorgeous spectacle during its annual Holiday Magic Soirée. For five nights beginning December 1, walk around the decorated estate and historic house museum while enjoying a full bar, bites, and live music., All the decorated trees, wreaths, and centerpieces throughout the house will be available for purchase, with proceeds benefiting The Bonnet House.
Take your holiday photos to the next level during Cookies with Santa at The Historic Stranahan House. Book a family photo session with Santa Claus on December 9 for a memorable photo opp(Online reservations are recommended.) If you’re in town later that month, stop by for the Victorian Christmas Tours available December 14, 15, 21, 22, and 23. Choose between a group tour or exploring on your own. You'll learn about holiday traditions, see how the pioneers of Fort Lauderdale celebrated the season, and finish with some Christmas shopping at the gift shop.
One of the most exciting additions to Fort Lauderdale this holiday season is The Wonderland RINK at Las Olas Oceanside Park (The LOOP) in Fort Lauderdale beach. The eco-friendly, technological marvel brings the thrill of ice skating seaside to The LOOP as part of the park’s Wonderland series happening November 13 through January 1. Enhance the experience by ordering hot chocolate, iced coffees, and other holiday treats. Additionally, The LOOP is offering a full schedule of holiday events and experiences, like “Season Screenings — Holiday Movie Nights,” where visitors can lay out a blanket and enjoy a favorite film with snacks and drinks.
Another favorite of the season is Christmas on Las Olas — a.k.a., the most exciting time of the year for the boulevard. This year’s free public event on November 28 promises to bring the winter season to locals and visitors alike with holiday performances, food vendors, kid-friendly activities, and even fake snow.
Catch one of the many tree lightings in Greater Fort Lauderdale by stopping by Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach for its Symphony in Lights. From November 11 to December 31, families can check out the seasonal lights display in the open-air lifestyle center. If you’re in the area on November 11, be sure not to miss its kickoff event, featuring an expanded music program, 250,000 illuminated lights, and a visit from Santa with dazzling snow.
PARTY ON THE WATER
One of the most epic events this holiday season is the 52nd Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Boat Parade, known as the “Best Show on H2O.” Watch as a parade of elaborately decorated boats and yachts cruise along the Intracoastal to the theme of “Reflections Afloat," with the R&B group Boyz II Men serving as Grand Marshals. You can view the spectacle anywhere along the 12-mile route, which begins at the New River, continues on the Intracoastal, and ends at Lake Santa Barbara in Pompano Beach.
Pompano Beach will host The Greater Pompano Beach Holiday Boat Parade on December 9 at Sands Harbor Resort & Marina. View over 50 illuminated boats adorned with a kaleidoscope of colorful lights, festive decorations, music, and more along the scenic Intracoastal.
Entertainment will come a plenty this holiday season in Greater Fort Lauderdale. Not sure what to check out? You don’t want to miss “Darren Criss: A Very Darren Chrissmas” at The Parker in Fort Lauderdale on November 28. The award-winning actor, singer, and songwriter will perform with music ranging from Christmas classics to novelty tunes to modern-day folk-pop ballads.
Over at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, you can catch “A Christmas Carol” on November 30 through December 2. The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood is also offering festive events, ranging from Sarah Brightman: A Christmas Symphony (December 9) to Pentatonix: The Most Wonderful Tour of the Year (December 14) to Derek Hough: Symphony of Dance (December 10).
It doesn’t get much better than buying gifts for loved ones in Greater Fort Lauderdale. Whether exploring malls and outlets or seeking hidden treasures in flea markets and quaint local boutiques, the shopping choices are endless.
Sawgrass Mills in Sunrise is home to more than 350 stores, including luxury outlets in The Colonnade, and is a great place to start for everyone on your list. Plus, you can relax afterward with a great meal at one of the many restaurants onsite. Another great option is The Galleria Fort Lauderdale. The two-story mall offers popular retailers, like H&M, Free People, Banana Republic, Dillards, and Macy’s.
Las Olas Boulevard in downtown Fort Lauderdale is home to a mix of businesses that have called the boulevard home for decades. Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach is renowned for its horse racing, but it also beckons visitors as a shopping haven, boasting an array of stores dedicated to fashion and home furnishings. And there’s no forgetting our locally-owned businesses. A few favorites include swimwear and accessories brand Montce, The Wander Shop in Oakland Park and Radio-Active Records in Fort Lauderdale. Uncover a treasure trove of vintage albums, fresh vinyl releases, plus T-shirts and mugs, making it a one-stop destination for music enthusiasts and collectors.