From 24 miles of golden beaches to world-class cuisine, casinos, and cruises—not to mention natural beauty that extends from the sand to the swamps—Greater Fort Lauderdale offers couples a “choose your own adventure” type of Valentine’s Day experience. Whether you treat your valentine to a luxe stay along the beachfront or a lavish dinner for two on a private boat, Greater Fort Lauderdale offers plenty of recipes for romance sure to make Valentine’s Day—or weekend—a special one.
Start the evening on Las Olas Boulevard on the seventh floor Rooftop @1WLO, an open-air lounge overlooking downtown Fort Lauderdale’s stunning skyline. Take a seat at a high-top table where the centerpiece fire pits add to the romantic atmosphere—especially once the sun sets—and enjoy an eclectic selection of bar bites and handcrafted and custom-made cocktails.
Another local favorite for its sky-high views is Sparrow on the top floor of the 25-story The Dalmar. The trendy rooftop bar features sweeping views of Fort Lauderdale from its coastal-chic patio or through the floor-to-ceiling windows inside the bar’s buzzy, 60s-inspired space. Here, the Asian-style “bar snacks”—an expansive list of sushi, bao buns, lobster mac and cheese, and dumplings—are just as much part of the experience as the tropical-themed classic cocktails.
The speakeasy concept has made a mark on the city with sultry spots like Victoria Park’s No Man’s Land. With a parlor-like feel (think velvet booths, silk curtains, and statement-making chandeliers delicately dangling overhead), No Man's Land has a menu of playfully named libations, like the rum-and-black-rice-syrup-based Forbidden Cin.
For a scene out of “The Great Gatsby,” take a seat at one of the gilded bars at The Wilder or cozy up at a table on the tree-encased outdoor patio, where you can sip on Instagram-worthy drinks topped with gorgeous garnishes and snack on dinner plates. This is the place to get out of your normal gin and tonic comfort zone and go with the bartender’s choice of whimsical creations, like Bloom, an infusion of gin, creme de flora, jasmine honey, and sparkling rosé.
Fort Lauderdale has no shortage of seafood spots by the water that range from toes-in-the-sand casual to sophisticated and chic.
One of the newer additions to Riverwalk in Downtown Fort Lauderdale is Rivertail, the first local outpost of five-time James Beard Award-nominated chef José Mendín. Working with seasonal produce and sustainable seafood, the chef whips up dishes inspired by fish houses and oyster bars around the globe. Start with the daily selection of East and West Coast oysters before eating your way through an eclectic mix of fare, from yellowtail ceviche taquitos to Bahia-style Brazilian stew and clams carbonara bucatini.
On Fort Lauderdale Beach, acclaimed Japanese-Korean eatery Takato has stepped up its already elevated game with a new, hidden omakase room dubbed OKU that offers the ultimately culinary experience: a guided, hand-served 15-course meal.
You can also take your omakase on the water at Casa Sensei on Las Olas and dine on a spread of the eatery’s Latin-Asian fusion from the privacy of your own gondola dinner cruise, which weaves throughout Fort Lauderdale’s waterways.
Can’t make up your mind on just one spot to dine? Mix and match different dishes from the dozen of vendors at Sistrunk Marketplace & Brewery for a more casual date night, or spend the evening at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood, where the resort-like complex offers an array of entertainment and dining options—as well as luxe lodgings at The Guitar Hotel when you’re ready to call it a night.
Start your Valentine’s weekend on Friday evening with a sunset kayak or paddleboard tour on Dune Coastal Lake at Hugh Taylor Birch State Park. Tandem kayaks are available if you don’t want to split from your second half.
Greater Fort Lauderdale is a paradise for scuba divers since more than 76 artificial reefs are lining the ocean floor. It’s also the only place in the continental U.S. where you can snorkel and dive over living coral reefs just off the beach. A five-minute swim off the coast in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea and Hollywood places you right over the first reef.
If you really want an adrenaline rush but can’t quite fathom jumping out of an airplane, you can spend the day “flying” at iFLY Fort Lauderdale’s indoor skydiving facility in Davie.
Unwind at The Spa at Auberge Beach in Fort Lauderdale with a Couples Connection Package that includes a couples harmony massage featuring hot Himalayan salt stones and therapeutic CBD pedicures.
Book a Swedish side-by-side massage that ends with a glass of champagne at the St. Somewhere Spa inside the Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort. Turn the experience at Margaritaville into a staycation, checking into a sumptuous suite with a private balcony that opens up to ocean views that’ll have you instantly slipping into vacation mode—especially after that first margarita at one of the resort’s many bars and restaurants.
Couples who prefer a more Old World feel will fall head-over-heels (again) while staying at the Pelican Grand Beach Resort. With its private stretch of sand, you will feel like you’ve slipped away to an island in the Caribbean when cocktails and lunch are delivered straight to your beach chair.