. 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.

Why 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 Fort Lauderdale

The Wharf Fort Lauderdale, an open-air, pop-up event venue, has opened in Las Olas on the banks of the New River. Features include 54,000 square feet of event space and 480 feet of dock space, along with four bars and communal dining tables. Entertainment includes live music, and a rotating roster of food vendors offer fare that ranges from seafood and Chino-Latino tapas to pizza, pasta, and "boutique" donuts.

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.

FTL Airport Update

Rocco’s Tacos and Tequila Bar has opened at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. The eatery serves its signature guacamole, corn tortillas and more. HMSHost, which operates Rocco’s airport location, will open another dining spot, Whisky River Beer & Wings, in the airport in 2020. The restaurant will feature country and western-style décor and live music performances from local musicians on the Whisky River stage. The Whisky River Beer & Wings concept was developed by superstar NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., who owns several locations of the chain in North Carolina and South Carolina.

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: 230,000 square feet; number of meeting rooms: 31; (954) 765-5900


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    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 Fort Lauderdale 

    • The141-room, 12-story Hotel Maren Fort Lauderdale Beach, a Curio Collection by Hilton property, is slated to open in June 2020. The hotel will span 229,500 square feet of space and stand 12 stories tall. Features will include a VIP lounge, a fifth-floor pool and pool bar, and a fitness center. Meeting and event space will also be available; stay tuned for more details.

    • Fort Lauderdale will be home to two new AC Hotels by Marriott properties by the end of 2020. 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 170-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.

    • June 2020 is the projected opening date of the Fort Lauderdale Beach Curio Collection by Hilton. The 12-story property will have 136 guest rooms with oversized balconies and ocean views. Amenities will include a VIP lounge, a fifth-floor pool and pool bar, and a state-of-the-art fitness center, plus meeting space. 

    • A Hyatt Centric hotel will be part of the new 100 Las Olas building, set to open in 2020. The property will have 238 guest rooms, 6,000 square feet of meeting and event space, and a ground-level restaurant/bar with indoor and outdoor seating. The hotel will occupy the first 15 floors of the building, which at 46 stories will be the tallest structure in the city. In addition to the hotel component, 100 Las Olas will have 8,500 square feet of retail and fine-dining establishments.

    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.

    • An accelerated timetable has been set for the Broward County Convention Center expansion’s convention-district enhancement initiative. Plans originally called for the project, which includes the expansion of the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center along with the construction of an 800-room convention headquarters hotel, to be wrapped up by 2023. The new plan will see the convention center close from February 2020 to November 2021, with work on the west and east sides of the facility slated for completion in October 2021 and January 2023, respectively. The expanded convention center will offer more than 1.2 million square feet of indoor and outdoor event space, including 350,000 square feet of contiguous exhibit space, a new 65,000-square-foot waterfront ballroom, new technology, new dining concepts, improved water-taxi access and a waterfront plaza. An additional 73,000 square feet of meeting space will be available at the hotel, which is scheduled to open in May 2023 and will be managed by Omni Hotels & Resorts.

    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.

    • Opening early 2020 in 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. 

    • The Dalmar, a member of Marriott's Tribute Portfolio, is open in downtown Fort Lauderdale. Guest accommodations include 209 rooms and suites equipped with iPads (which 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. Opening later this spring 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.

     

    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 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.

    1. 3711 Beach Side - Italian, American
    2. Premiere Cafe & Bar - Gastropub
    3. Dolce Salato Pizza & Gelato - Italian
    4. La Dolce Vita - Italian
    5. Lona - Mexican, Latin
    6. Cafe Seville - Spanish
    7. Wild Sea Oyster Bar and Grille - Seafood
    8. Gilbert's 17th St. Grill - American
    9. Canyon Southwest Cafe - Southwestern
    10. Casa D'Angelo - Italian