Located just west of the Atlantic Ocean and on the North Fork of Greater Fort Lauderdale’s scenic Middle River, Oakland Park is a small city with big ideas. Combine a dining scene that is flourishing and a downtown that’s growing, plus self-contained community perks, such as parks, athletics, a library and shopping, and you have a great place to live, play or stay.
You’ll find playgrounds, jogging paths, picnic areas and more at local parks. At Dillon Tennis Center, you’ll enjoy tennis and pickleball. And Oakland Park has plenty of outdoor spaces and special events that bring this community together for nearly every major holiday, and most of them are held at Jaco Pastorius Park.
Named after Oakland Park’s most famous son, the park is a tribute to who many consider was “The World’s Greatest Bass Player.” Jaco Pastorius is remembered for his tremendous skill and innovative techniques on the bass guitar as well as his incredible compositions that forever changed jazz and rock music.
You can see him larger than life via a spectacular pair of murals of the musician that were completed in 2010. The arched fountain at the park’s entrance creates a walking under water effect and is illuminated with colorful lights at night.
This charming little city with a population of about 43,000 is also a diverse community, peppered with residents who hail from Brazil, Haiti, Cuba, Colombia and Peru. This makes for some enticing authentic Jamaican, Haitian and Latin dining options, so you can satisfy your craving for Peruvian ceviche and lomo saltado or Caribbean oxtail stew, curry chicken and conch fritters. Try the Haitian Martini, Dark & Stormy or Calypso cocktail at Alberte’s while you enjoy live music on the patio on Fridays and Saturdays.
Enjoy a piece of South America at Bluegreen Cafe as you savor breakfast, brunch or lunch amid an atmosphere that feels like a backyard garden in the city, including placemats made by the co-owner’s Brazilian grandma. Ordering coffee is an event. The server uses a Portuguese pot called a “bule” to brew the freshly ground Brazilian coffee at your table pour-over style, the way its done on Brazilian farms.
Funky Buddha is a giant on the region’s brewery scene, so much so that you’ll find these locally brewed suds on menus and in stores across the U.S. Enjoy staples like Floridian Hefeweisen, Hop Gun IPA and Pineapple Beach as well as seasonal and regional flavors on tap while you savor their menu of innovative pub food or Sunday Brunch.
You can also schedule a tour of the brewhouse to learn about their techniques and history while you sample tasty beers along the way in a commemorative Funky Buddha Brewery glass.
Conveniently located across the street, Tenth Level Tavern is a cool concept that combines arcade games with an excellent selection of craft beers on draft and in cans, as well as wine. Play Mario Kart, Pac-Man, classic games on Nintendo 64 and more. They also host video game tournaments.
Journey into the past at Vintage Vault Furniture. You’ll find antiques, shabby chic décor and curiosities from all over the world. Each piece has been hand-selected to add character to your spaces and the owners certainly have an eye for curating an aesthetic that is “now” — but, also, “then.”
Replenish your energies at Mystik Sisters, a new age shop that sells crystals, jewelry, books, candles, clothing, music and more. As soon as you enter the shop’s purple door, you’ll feel serenity and tranquility wash over you.
Since Oakland Park is just minutes from the city of Fort Lauderdale, you really have your choice of beachfront resorts. Two of the closest luxury hotels are Residence Inn by Marriott Fort Lauderdale Intracoastal/Il Lugano and The Atlantic Hotel & Spa.
Oakland Park is the small city in the heart of everything. Get everything you need at Coral Square Mall or Galleria Fort Lauderdale, located nearby. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Port Everglades are also nearby, as well as the beaches to the east and Wilton Manors to the south. Take a closer look at all there is to love about Oakland Park, Florida.