. Fort Lauderdale | Northstar Meetings Group

Guide to Meeting & Event Planning in

Fort Lauderdale

Learn why you should host your next meeting, event or conference in Greater Fort Lauderdale.

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Why Greater Fort Lauderdale for Your Next Meeting or Event?

With its vibrant art scene, welcoming and diverse culture, sunny beaches and sophisticated hotel and dining scene, Greater Fort Lauderdale impresses at every turn.

Only in Greater Fort Lauderdale

• The Dalmar, a member of Marriott's Tribute Portfolio, opened in December 2018 in downtown Fort Lauderdale. Guest accommodations comprise 209 rooms (including 44 suites) equipped with iPads that guests can use to order room service, and Amazon Alexa automation. The 25-story property offers 14,000 square feet of meeting and event space, including 9,000 square feet of interior space that accommodates 10 to 300 people. Outdoor function space spans 5,000 square feet and includes an area nicknamed The Garden, which can hold up to 200 people for events. All five of the hotel's dining outlets have indoor and outdoor components. Its signature restaurant, the Terrace Grill, serves classic American fare with subtle Italian influences and can be reserved for group functions. Rose's Coffee Bar offers coffee drinks and a selection of baked goods. The Lobby Lounge and Bar has a specialty cocktail menu and live music on weekends, while the Sip 'N Dip bar serves libations poolside. Opened in April 2020 on the property's 25th floor is Sparrow, the city's highest rooftop bar. Other amenities include an infinity pool with cabanas and a state-of-the-art sound system, a fitness center and a yoga studio, as well as complimentary shuttle service to and from the beach and Fort Lauderdale's city center.

Transportation

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, about six miles from downtown Fort Lauderdale. Transfer cost by taxi, $15 to $25; the airport is also served by Uber and LYFT.

Greater Fort Lauderdale Travel Essentials

Taxes: Room tax: 6%; state and local tax: 7%; total tax on hotel rooms: 13%

CVB: Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, (954) 765-4466 or (800) 227-8669

Municipal Makeup: Greater Fort Lauderdale comprises 31 municipalities: Coconut Creek, Cooper City, Coral Springs, Dania Beach, Davie, Deerfield Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Hallandale Beach, Hillsboro Beach, Hollywood, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, Lighthouse Point, Pompano Beach, Sea Ranch Lakes, Lauderdale Lakes, Lauderhill, Lazy Lake, Margate, Miramar, North Lauderdale, Oakland Park, Parkland, Pembroke Park, Pembroke Pines, Plantation, Southwest Ranches, Sunrise, Tamarac, West Park, Weston and Wilton Manors.

Total Number of Hotel Rooms: 34,000 in Greater Fort Lauderdale

Convention Center: Greater Fort Lauderdale Broward County Convention Center; total space: 600,000 square feet; exhibit space: 262,198 square feet; number of meeting rooms: 31; (954) 767-2459


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2019 Stella Award Winners

2018 Stella Award Winners

    Meeting & Event Venues

    Looking to Plan a South Florida Meeting?
    Learn everything you need to know about this sunny locale at Destination Southeast, Northstar's premier event for meetings and incentive pros looking to book biz in the area.

    New & Coming Soon to Greater Fort Lauderdale 

    • Many hotels, tourist attractions, restaurants and businesses throughout the city and county are taking Visit Lauderdale’s Safe + Clean Pledge, which provides a unified message that health and safety standards, and protection against the spread of COVID-19, are a top priority. Businesses that sign the pledge agree to follow CDC cleaning protocols, practice and promote mask-wearing, provide hand sanitizer, practice social distancing, train staff on how to be Safe + Clean, and work to incorporate contactless payment in day-to-day interactions.  

    • Taking up the first 15 floors of 100 Las Olas Blvd., the Hyatt Centric Las Olas, Fort Lauderdale, opened in April with 238 guest rooms offering city-skyline views. The hotel has 15,000 square feet of flexible meeting and event space. For dining, the lobby-level Harborwood Urban Kitchen and Bar serves classic modern American cuisine from a kitchen helmed by award-winning executive chef Greg McGowan, while on the rooftop, Elev8 has a pool deck and bar overlooking downtown.

    • The 136-room, 12-story Hotel Maren Fort Lauderdale Beach, a Curio Collection by Hilton property, is slated to open in December 2020. The property will have a VIP lounge, a fifth-floor pool and pool bar, and a fitness center. Stay tuned for details on meeting and event space.

    • Greater Fort Lauderdale will soon be home to two new AC Hotels by Marriott properties. The AC Hotels by Marriott Fort Lauderdale Beach will have 1,000 square feet of meeting space, an open kitchen for specialty culinary events, a library, an expansive a pool with cabanas and ocean views. The 174-room AC Hotels by Marriott Fort Lauderdale Sawgrass Mills/Sunrise will open adjacent to the Sawgrass Mills shopping center. Spanning eight stories, the property will offer 5,000 square feet of meeting and event space; a library and a lounge serving tapas-style fare, craft beers, and craft cocktails. Other amenities will include a health and fitness center.

    • A South Florida icon for more than 50 years, the Pier Sixty-Six Hotel & Marina is undergoing a thorough transformation that will result in 345 guest rooms and suites, a multi-level pool experience with family and adult areas, a new lobby lounge, a spa, a fitness center, marina promenade and more. The property is officially closed for the work, expected to be completed in 2022, but the marina and the eateries Pelican Landing and Grille 66 remain open. 

    Beat The Heat
    Northstar's downloadable white paper, "The Off-Season Advantage", profiles 10 U.S. cities -- Fort Lauderdale included -- and their off-season group offerings. Get all the insight on the benefit of planning a "slow-month" meeting by accessing your copy here.

    •  A $1 billion expansion of the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center is underway. The project will add 532,000 square feet of meeting space and an 800-room headquarters hotel. Phase one is set to open in October 2021 with expanded exhibit space; by 2024, the venue will span a total of 1.2 million square feet, including 350,000 square feet of contiguous exhibit space (up from 262,198 square feet) and a 65,000-square-foot waterfront ballroom, plus new original dining concepts, enhanced water-taxi service and a new expansive waterfront plaza with public access.

    The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino debuted a $1.5 billion property-wide expansion on October 24, 2019. The property now sports an iconic guitar-shaped hotel tower, increasing the number of guest rooms to more than 1,200. In addition, the casino has double in size to hold more than 3,000 slot machines and nearly 200 table games, plus a new poker room. A newly rebuilt Hard Rock Live entertainment venue, new food-and-beverage venues, 120,000 square feet of meeting and convention space, and a 41,000-square-foot spa round out the list of amenities.

    • Coming soon to downtown Fort Lauderdale’s Flagler Village is the dual-branded Tru by Hilton and Home2 Suites by Hilton. Rising 19 stories, the hotel will offer two distinctive lobbies, each with its own breakfast bar, lounge and other brand-specific amenities; other features include an outdoor pool deck with bar, a fitness center and 4,823 square feet of private event and conference space. Accommodations will include 112 Tru guest rooms and 106 Home2 Suites guest rooms. 

    More Event Venues

    • A hub for local galleries, studios and other creative businesses, Flagler Arts and Technology Village (FATVillage) lies within the heart of Fort Lauderdale's Arts District. Choose from one of two repurposed warehouses: The Projects, spanning 8,000 square feet, and Building 517, with 6,800 square feet for gatherings. Another option is the Artsup Building, with 5,880 square feet of indoor space crowned by an artwork-embellished ceiling, the indoor Far Gallery and an outdoor courtyard. Furniture, artwork and lighting rentals are available for an even more unique touch.

    • The Bamboo Gallery offers a tropical setting with authentic tiki huts and waterfalls. On 2.5 acres of lush landscape, the venue accommodates 400 people for receptions and up to 180 for seated meals.

    • On two floors and accommodating groups of 3,000 guests, the Museum of Discovery and Science features more than 200 interactive exhibits. Displays include live animal habitats, flight simulators, a Wall of Wind hurricane exhibit, a Florida ecoscapes exhibit and an airboat ride simulator.

    • Take to the water in style aboard an Anticipation Yacht Charters luxury vessel; the largest of the outfit's three vessels can host 350 guests. The ships offer state-of-the-art sound systems, plush carpeting and elegant furnishings.

    • The Mary N. Porter Riverview Ballroom, in the new Huizenga Pavilion at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, has breathtaking views of the New River, Esplanade Park and the meticulously landscaped Wendt Terraces. The venue offers 3,600 square feet of event space.

    Hotels



    Things to Do in Fort Lauderdale

    What's New in Greater Fort Lauderdale

    • Fort Lauderdale’s first food hall, the 40,000-square-foot Sistrunk Marketplace & Brewery, opened in the FATVillage district in late August 2020. This “foodie village” has 11 food purveyors offering a range of international cuisine, including Asian-fusion tapas, French crepes, Nashville-style hot chicken and more. The place is further enlivened by live music, cooking classes, brewery tours, local art, a retail boutique selling local wares, and even a professional DJ academy. Other features include a central island bar and a speakeasy-style lounge, with a brewery and spirits distillery coming soon.  

    • The newly reconstructed Pompano Beach Fishing Pier, now called the Fisher Family Pier, opened in May 2020. The pier is open for sightseeing and fishing and includes shade structures, benches, marine-related artwork, WiFi and an underwater camera for watching fish. 

    • The Old Riverhouse Vegan Village opened in the heart of the historic district on Fort Lauderdale’s Riverwalk in August 2020. Originally built in 1903, the Old Riverhouse is the second oldest building in the city (behind the 1901 Stranahan House). The restaurant serves vegan comfort food and will soon include a sushi bar, a coffee bar and an outside juice bar, tapas bar, vegan full liquor bar, ramen bar and tea café.

    • The Primadonna Ristorante e Bar opened in August 2020, serving traditional and inventive twists of Italian classics paired with a curated all-Italian wine list. The same restaurateurs run Canyon, a local favorite for more than 25 years and which recently relocated next door. 
     
    • The lively Las Olas Boulevard is bustling in the culinary department. Case in point: The Boatouse, located in the Riverside Hotel, 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.

    • 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.

    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. 

    • One of the great attractions in this part of the country is Florida’s pristine Everglades, and a tour of this protected natural resource can be had via Everglades Holiday Park, whose fleet of vessels are roomy and protect passengers from the elements (and each other in the spirit of social distancing). You’ll zip across the “River of Grass” at top speeds while learning all about alligators, assorted snakes, egrets and other denizens of the wetlands.

    • 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 Greater 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.

    South Florida Sports Scene

    It's all about the ice: The NHL Florida Panthers hockey team plays at BB&T Center.

    Top 10 Restaurants in Greater Fort Lauderdale

    Be sure to check out some of the area's best dining locales.

    1. GG’s Waterfront Bar & Grill  - Seafood
    2. Beach House Pompano - Surf 'n' Turf
    3. Foxy Brown - Comfort food
    4. Burlock Coast - Seafood
    5. Lona - Mexican, Latin
    6. The Cook and the Cork - Mexican
    7. Wild Sea Oyster Bar and Grille - Seafood
    8. Terra Marre - Mediterranean
    9. Casablanca Cafe - American, Mediterranean
    10. Steak 954 - Steak House