Social distancing has left us longing for special hugs from friends and family, meeting for coffee or dinner/drinks at our favorite restaurants and bars—most served with gorgeous views—and gathering at parks, beaches, and entertainment venues. Living in the paradise of Greater Fort Lauderdale is a dream, and we’re all missing so much right now.

For me personally, I miss my morning coffee at Ann’s Florist on Las Olas, where I often meet my friends to sip together by the beautiful flower wall, smelling all the coffee-flower goodness around us. I dream about long walks with my dog Colby at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, where there’s a new meditation garden tucked away along the Intracoastal Waterway, something I think we’re all going to need when this is over. I can’t wait to book staycations at hotels like the beachy-chic Plunge Beach Resort in adorable Lauderdale-By-The-Sea; or a spa day at the Pelican Grand Beach Resort, where my husband and I often get a couple’s massage in the suite that overlooks the water and then hop in their lazy river to float the day away.

Here, Greater Fort Lauderdale residents and local leaders reveal what they’re missing and can’t wait to do again. Locals may uncover new favorites while visitors may discover under-the-radar gems to put on their travel list—something to look forward to when we can all be together again.

Melissa Sweredoski, Fort Lauderdale Resident

“I’ve been fantasizing about an afternoon at The Dalmar. There is no place I feel more at home than in the lobby bar with a glass of happy hour rosé, wrapping up emails for the day, and watching golden hour kiss the Downtown Fort Lauderdale buildings. I am absolutely craving my favorite neighborhood brewery vibes from Gulf Stream Brewing. I can’t wait to have Mack and Mauricio serve up a cold Le Beer that pairs perfectly with a Pizzeria Madaggino Nutella pie. (In the meantime, I’ve been loving their drive-thru pizza and beer option!) While I’ve loved being able to paddleboard in less crowded waters, I can’t wait for a weekend on the water with friends. The Intracoastal Waterway is the heart and soul of our pretty city. Sunday mornings aren’t quite the same without a foamy Electric Shock from Sip Java. I love that I can still get my fix to-go, but I’m counting down the days until I can bring a book to sip and listen to the banter of regulars chit chat on a Sunday morning.”

Dawn Read, Dania Beach Resident & Event Director of Winterfest Boat Parade

“My happy place is a sun-kissed, toes-in-the-sand beach day on Dania Beach near the pier, it’s a little slice of heaven; and I can’t wait to watch the full moon rise with a bottle of wine on the beach. I’m craving an afternoon at Southport Raw Bar eating clam chowder and drinking an ice-cold beer with a view of the water and some type of Jimmy Buffet-type entertainment in the background. (Locals know the drill—if you don’t put extra crackers and Tabasco in your chowder, you aren’t doing it right.) I’m also missing happy hour on Las Olas Boulevard at Timpano where I always order their famous mussels and a lemon drop martini. Best quarantine find: Tropical Acres, the oldest steakhouse in Broward, where a butcher shop was born during the pandemic. They plan to keep it open after regular dining service resumes, so I’ll continue to shop there.”

Earl Bosworth, Pompano Beach Resident & Pompano Beach Assistant City Manager

“Playing golf on the city's Greg Norman Signature Pines Course on a Friday afternoon, and ending the day at Galuppi’s for some good food and great music. Walking or biking over to Old Town on a Thursday evening to catch a Taste of Jazz at BaCA (Bailey Contemporary Arts), or to view the latest visual art exhibits in the BaCA galleries. After catching the live jazz, I usually sneak across the street to the Odd Breed Wild Ales brewery to see what’s on tap. I also miss lunches and happy hours at Beach House Pompano with staff or friends, and just taking in that great view of one of the nicest beaches in Florida. And, I look forward to the day when I can once again walk the dog over to Old Town Untapped the first Friday of every month for beer tastings, live music, food trucks, art, and more!”

Carmen Ackerman, Plantation Resident & Director of Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment District

“I can’t wait to meet a friend and sit for a leisurely lunch and long-awaited catch-up session at Plantation’s Ella Café, while enjoying their bacon skillet and hot café mocha. I also miss getting on my bike and heading to Plantation Heritage Park to play a game of disc golf with friends. Dinner would consist of a few friends gathering for a great meal at Il Baretto on University Drive in Plantation, where I would start with their margherita pizza and follow with their succulent branzino entrée. My evening would conclude with a performance at the Broward Center, sipping a martini at intermission.”

Amanda DeRoxtra, Hollywood Resident & Singer

“Quarantine has really reminded me of how lucky I am to live in a place of endless summer. I look forward to getting back to singing at the Riptide Hotel where locals meet travelers for local happy hour on the beach. I can’t wait to order a huge slice of Mauro’s Pizza in downtown Hollywood after a wonderful Saturday spent at the Hollywood ArtWalk. I can’t wait to dance under the night sky as bands light up the Hollywood Broadwalk at the best bandshell in South Florida. Mostly, I miss seeing people soaking up the sun on the beach while making memories with new and old friends. I love my town and I can’t wait to experience it with new appreciation when this is behind us.”

Lisa Siegel, Fort Lauderdale Resident & Partner at Tarpon River Brewing & Co-Founder of Riverside Market

“We miss our boating and water lifestyle. A normal weekend for us would be a bunch of friends on the boat, a stop at 15th Street Fisheries for supplies and beer, then out fishing for a few hours, and back to the sandbar for a swim. We celebrate birthdays at Boatyard, and we will miss having a special loved one’s birthday there during the quarantine.” 

Visit Greater Fort Lauderdale Staff

Here, staff from the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau tells us what they miss the most:

Richard Gray, Senior Vice President, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
“Walking along the beach to Park & Ocean for live music, craft beer, and good vibes.”

Angella Lopez, Regional Sales Executive, Multicultural Business Development
“I can’t wait to have breakfast or lunch at OB House.”

Dawson Pritchett, Manager, Sports Business Development
Outdoor adventures and sporting events.”

Johana Davila, Project Coordinator, Marketing & Communications
Community events and a boat ride down the New River.”

From all of us here at Visit Lauderdale, we look forward to welcoming you back to Greater Fort Lauderdale, Florida.