What's New in Fort Lauderdale
• Fort Lauderdale will welcome the inaugural Pride of the Americas -- an event aimed at drawing attention to issues faced by LGBT+ individuals, families, youth and senior citizens in Latin America and the Caribbean -- next spring; taking place April 21-April 26, 2020, and hosted by Pride Fort Lauderdale with the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau serving as the presenting sponsor. Pride of the Americas is expected to bring together participants from 35 nations. Thought leaders will share their expertise at conferences and symposiums addressing human rights, education, business, travel, health and wellness. Social events -- including a parade, a beach party, an arts festival, A-list entertainment, sunset concerts and drag brunches -- are on the agenda, along with a fashion show featuring designs by alumni of the Bravo television network’s "Project Runway" and local designers. Opening ceremonies will be held in downtown Fort Lauderdale, and the event will end with epic beach festival and fireworks display.
• The first Away Spa to offer full-service beauty and body treatments opened at the W Fort Lauderdale as
part of the hotel's $55 million renovation. In addition to killer ocean views, the spa features an extensive menu of services in five categories: detox, massage, facial, body and "quick fix," which includes options like the Polish Up nail-polish change,
Beauty Boost 25-minute facial and 15-minute Bright Eyes eye-revitalizing treatment. Massage offerings range from the 10-minute Quick Fix Chair Massage to the 80-minute De-Stress Massage. All guests receive a detoxifying elixir in a shot glass; champagne
and wine are available for purchase.
• Commune with marine life and mammals and learn about ecosystems around the world at SeaQuest Fort Lauderdale. Opening at The Galleria mall in December, the attraction will feature hands-on educational activities, like hand-feeding sharks, stingrays, birds and exotic animals. For even more immersive experiences, stroll through one of several aviaries, take a behind-the-scenes tour, feed the caiman alligators, or snorkel with reef sharks, stingrays, and hundreds of tropical fish.
• The lively Las Olas Boulevard is bustling in the culinary corner. Sushi Shack, a contemporary bar and grill,
offers steaks, seafood, sandwiches and salads, as well as sushi. Located in the Riverside Hotel, the Boathouse is a "dock-and-dine" riverfront restaurant
that serves Mediterranean-style tapas and hearty main-course options. At El Camino, a Mexican soul food and tequila bar, diners can savor tacos, margaritas and 100 varieties
of mescal. New Orleans-style cuisine and live jazz are the order of the day at the Balcony, an upscale, two-story eatery with an open-air rooftop and balcony. Red Door Asian Bistro specializes in Thai, Chinese and Japanese favorites as well as hibachi-grilled fare, while ETARU,
in the Icon Las Olas, serves contemporary Japanese Robatayaki dishes cooked over scorching charcoal.
• Also new to Las Olas, a second location of Bombay Darbar -- long a favorite spot for Indian cuisine in Coconut Grove -- has arrived in Fort Lauderdale. The restaurant features the décor and atmosphere of a trendy South Beach nightclub. Signature dishes include tandoori chicken wings, mango chicken curry, and Saag Gosht, a lamb cooked with spinach, garlic, onion, tomato and spices.
• A branch of upscale steak-house chain Del Frisco's Grille has opened on East Las Olas Boulevard. Del Frisco’s Grille Fort Lauderdale features a beachy design with driftwood gray millwork, blue and white terrazzo floors, blue and "lifeguard orange" furniture, and ocean-blue Venetian plasterwork, along with floor-to-ceiling windows and an open kitchen. The menu includes prime steaks and seafood dishes, including house specialties like salmon with roasted asparagus, citrus and herb vinaigrette, and charred lemon; and pan-seared scallops with goat cheese polenta. The full bar menu features original quaffs such as a Mole Manhattan (Manhattan with mole flavoring) and an aromatic Spanish gin and tonic with a cardamom and juniper berry ice cube. Several private dining rooms accommodate groups.
Getting Active & Outdoors
• Fort Lauderdale offers a variety of after-dark activities: Treat your group to a private nighttime Red Eye Everglades tour at Sawgrass Recreation Park, to view nocturnal wildlife and native reptiles. When the moon is full, Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale unveils a moonlight poolside lounge, designated as "the party" in the destination by Conde Nast Traveler. Proceeds from the party food and beverage service are donated to a different charity each month. And for those visitors looking to dine in the dark, One Door East, serves its tasting menu to blindfolded guests (silverware optional).
• Year-round, the city offers a wealth of outdoor events. Among them are the Riptide Music Festival, Tortuga Music Festival, evening art walks in FATVillage and Hollywood, the Pegasus World Cup thoroughbred race at Gulfstream Park, and food and art festivals throughout the destination.
• Put your wheels on: The region is a hotspot for cycling, skating (including BMX), roller derby and go-kart racing. Head over to the Brian Piccolo Sports Park & Velodrome with a steeply banked oval track designed for professional and recreational cycling and in-line skating.
• The area is home to 69 miles of natural coral reef just offshore. Explore the briny deep via a scuba-diving excursion with companies like American Dream Dive Charters for an up-close view. For a closer-to-shore experience, Fort Lauderdale is the only place in the continental U.S. where you can snorkel and dive on a living coral reef straight off the beach.
Extending Your Trip in Fort Lauderdale
• Spread your wings: Butterfly World houses the largest aviary of the fluttery fauna in North America, plus an impelling insectarium and buzz-worthy hummingbird environment.
• Get wild: At Flamingo Gardens & Wray Botanical Collection, enjoy 60 acres of diverse native plants and trees, a Bird of Prey Center with
a free-flight aviary, and opportunities to view alligators, flamingos, bobcats and Florida panthers.
• Hit the beach: Among the area's best assets, Greater Fort Lauderdale's 23 miles of sun-kissed beaches are an easy walk from many hotels, restaurants and activities. Six beaches — Dania, Deerfield, Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Lauderdale-By-the-Sea and
Pompano — have been continuously certified as Blue Wave Beaches by the Clean Beaches Council of Washington, D.C., since 1999.
• Hail a "taxi": Its myriad of waterways and rivers lend a Venetian feel to Fort Lauderdale, and you can explore the city accordingly. Fort Lauderdale Water Taxi;
the boats offer narrated "hop-on, hop-off" tours with more than 15 stops at attractions and places of interest.
• Stroll and shop: Known as Greater Fort Lauderdale's Style Mile, Las Olas Boulevard features eclectic, independently-owned boutiques. Love a bargain? Don't miss
Sawgrass Mills, the world's largest discount and entertainment mall.
South Florida Sports Scene
It's all about the ice: The NHL Florida Panthers hockey team plays at BB&T Center.
Hot Cocktail Spots in FTL
• Unit B, a speakeasy-themed cocktail bar where guests require their own personal door code to enter, has opened at Flagler Village. Choose from a menu of eight Prohibition-inspired cocktails
with a twist.
• A rooftop bar that serves handcrafted margaritas is the centerpiece of the new Bar Rita, a casual restaurant featuring innovative Mexican fare like spicy tuna and mango guac, and
truffle street-corn guacamole.
• Steep yourself in Greater Fort Lauderdale's thriving beer culture: Follow the AleTrail to explore 500 different brews, from a Hefeweizen made with Florida-grown mangoes to malty imports from across the globe. The trail includes breweries, beer gardens and brewpubs (one with an open-air cigar patio) that
offer guided tours.
• The axe-throwing bar Chops and Hops features six enclosed axe-throwing lanes with wooden targets, all in a cozy, lodge-inspired setting.
Top 10 Restaurants in Fort Lauderdale
Be sure to wash down that mojito at one of the area's best dining locales.
- 3711 Beach Side - Italian, American
- Premiere Cafe & Bar - Gastropub
- Dolce Salato Pizza & Gelato - Italian
- La Dolce Vita - Italian
- Lona - Mexican, Latin
- Cafe Seville - Spanish
- Wild Sea Oyster Bar and Grille - Seafood
- Gilbert's 17th St. Grill - American
- Canyon Southwest Cafe - Southwestern
- Casa D'Angelo - Italian
The Stella Awards Winner 2019
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Guest Rooms - 650
Meeting Rooms - 20
Largest Conference Room - 14,900 sq. ft.
Total event space - 49,053 sq. ft.
Room Rate Range - $181-$625
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Guest Rooms - 432
Meeting Rooms - 46
Largest Conference Room - 10,192 sq. ft.
Total event space - 40,000 sq. ft.
Room Rate Range - $127-$1,095
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Guest Rooms - 384
Meeting Rooms - 19
Largest Conference Room - 7,500 sq. ft.
Total event space - 30,000 sq. ft.
Room Rate Range - $130-$750