Fort Lauderdale welcomes more than 13 million visitors every year, making it not just one of Florida’s top tourist destinations but one of the most popular places for travelers in the United States. Year after year they return, lured by the warm year-round climate, beaches, restaurants, cultural venues, and so much more. Make sure you don’t miss the following attractions while you’re in the Venice of America.

Early Morning: Try a Unique Coffee

A good coffee is always the best way to start the day. Fort Lauderdale has several cafes that take coffee seriously with unique concoctions to satisfy your early morning cravings. Head to Sip Java Co. for signature drinks like Good Karma, a coffee with vanilla and caramel sauce, and the crack smoothie, with doppio espresso, iced coffee, mocha, and two frozen bananas. You’ll also love Undergrounds Coffeehaus, a café and used book store serving unique drinks like peanut butter cup cappuccino and the choc/mint grasshopper latte.

Museum discovery science
The Museum of Discovery and Science in Fort Lauderdale.

Midmorning: See Some Gators

If you don’t get to see gators while you’re in town, have you ever really been to Florida? Everglades Holiday Park offers one-hour airboat tours, perfect for squeezing in before lunch. The Gator Boys, from Animal Planet’s hit TV series, will take you out on the river where you’ll get up close and personal with these majestic reptiles. All tours include photos with your tour group and a baby gator.

Noon: Enjoy Seafood by the Water

Fort Lauderdale’s coastal location is made for lunch by the water. And what’s better than seafood fresh from the ocean? 15 Street Fisheries is famous for its peel and eat shrimp, Lauderdale lobster salad rolls, and fried cod. The Caribbean vibes of the Blue Moon Fish Company have seen it delighting patrons for more than 20 years. 3030 Ocean, inside the Marriott Harbour Beach Resort and Spa, is another local favorite.

Stranahan house
The Historic Stranahan House Museum.

Afternoon: Hit Las Olas Boulevard

With three museums, 10 art galleries, and more than 65 stores, Las Olas Boulevard is the perfect place to spend an afternoon in Fort Lauderdale. Popular attractions Historic Stranahan House Museum, the Museum of Discovery and Science, and NSU Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale are all worth a look. Or you could spend your time strolling around the stores. Las Olas Boulevard tends to attract independent boutique retailers rather than chain stores, so it’s a fantastic place for finding unique souvenirs for yourself or loved ones back home.

Fort Lauderdale Beach.

Late Afternoon: Head to the Beach

A Fort Lauderdale vacation wouldn’t be complete without time on the beach. While you’ve probably been itching to get on the sand, it’s worth waiting until the late afternoon when crowds have started thinning out.

If you’ve got children in tow, hit Deerfield Beach. Its calm waters are perfect for nervous swimmers. The reef’s position keeps most of Fort Lauderdale’s beaches sheltered, but if you’re going to find waves they’ll be at Pompano Beach. Hillsboro Beach is one of Fort Lauderdale’s quietest and most beautiful beaches. Keep your eyes peeled for turtles nesting on the sand from March to October.

Dinnertime: Savor a Steak

After a busy day sightseeing, you deserve a hearty meal at one of Fort Lauderdale’s best steakhouses. The Historic Downtowner has a great atmosphere, mouth-watering meals, live music, and trivia nights. Chuck’s Steak House has been a family favorite since the 1970s. Chima Steakhouse is known for its generous meals served with Brazilian spices.

Downtown Fort Lauderdale.

Late Night: See a Show

Fort Lauderdale is a delight for culture vultures, so make sure you take in a show while you’re in town. Hosting more than 700 performances every year, The Broward Center for the Performing Arts is a great choice for an evening out. Depending on the time of year you’re visiting, you could secure a seat to a Broadway musical, the opera, a well-known ballet, a multicultural performance, or another type of cultural event. Check the Broward Center for the Performing Arts website for announced shows. Book early, as the best seats sell quickly.

If you love modern music, Fort Lauderdale has you covered. The city has several great live music venues including the Culture Room, Original Fat Cats, Blue Jean Blues, and the intimate Parker Playhouse

With average year-round temps of more than 75 degrees and 3,000 sunny hours every year, Fort Lauderdale has the right conditions to help you enjoy all the city offers no matter what the season. As one of Florida’s most popular destinations, expect Fort Lauderdale’s best hotels to sell out during peak season. Book yours early to enjoy the best accommodation deals.