. 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.

PARTNER CONTENT

Why Greater Fort Lauderdale for Your Next Meeting or Event?

Known as the “Venice of America” because of its more than 300 miles of inland waterways, Greater Fort Lauderdale provides a diverse and beautiful backdrop for meetings and events. From the 23 miles of Atlantic coastline beaches to the wild expanses of the Everglades, there are endless opportunities to find unique experiences; diverse, culturally infused dining; wide-open spaces, and beautiful natural areas for memorable team-building experiences

Only in Greater Fort Lauderdale

Getting from one place to another doesn’t always require ground transportation. Found only in Fort Lauderdale, the Water Taxi offers an extensive network of public routes to waterfront restaurants, shops and hotels, and has a fleet of both large and small craft available for private group transportation and tours.

Transportation

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, about five 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: Visit Lauderdale, (954) 767-2459 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.

Convention Center: Greater Fort Lauderdale Broward County Convention Center; total exhibit space upon completion of expansion: 1.2 million square feet; number of meeting rooms: 31; (954) 767-2459


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2020 Stella Award Winners

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 

    • More than 1,000 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. Visit Lauderdale and its meetings team put the safety and health of attendees and event suppliers as its top priority.

    •  A South Florida icon for more than 50 years, the Pier Sixty-Six Hotel & Marina is undergoing a thorough transformation that will result in 376 guest rooms, suites and villas; a multi-level pool experience with family and adult areas; a new lobby lounge; a spa; a fitness center; a marina promenade, and more than 40,000 square feet of meeting and event options. The property, officially closed for the work, is expected to be completed in 2022, while the marina remains open.

    • A trio of AC Hotels by Marriott are coming to Greater Fort Lauderdale in 2021. The 171-room AC Hotel by Marriott Fort Lauderdale Beach, just steps away from Sebastian Street Beach, will feature an open kitchen for European‐style breakfast and specialty culinary events, a library, an expansive resort‐style pool with cabanas and dining services, and approximately 1,000 square feet of meeting space. Every room will have water views overlooking either the Atlantic Ocean or the Intracoastal Waterway. The AC Hotel Fort Lauderdale Airport will open at the Dania Pointe shopping, dining and lifestyle center in Dania Beach. The city’s famed beach and fishing pier are nearby, and the site is just three miles from Fort Lauderdale‐Hollywood International Airport. The 174-room AC Hotel by Marriott Sawgrass Mills, adjacent to the Sawgrass Mills outlet shopping and includes an arts‐focused library, a lounge with a tapas‐style menu and craft beers and cocktails, a health and fitness center, a rooftop restaurant and 2,500 square feet of meeting space.

    • The 101-room Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Boca Raton-Deerfield Beach opened in late 2020.

    • The 137-room Courtyard Fort Lauderdale Downtown has opened with two meeting rooms and an outdoor rooftop pool. The hotel is in the city’s trendy arts-oriented Flagler Village neighborhood.

    • The 141-room, 12-story Hotel Maren Fort Lauderdale Beach, a Curio Collection by Hilton property, has debuted. Celebrity chef Fabio Viviani has introduced the signature restaurant Riviera on the hotel’s lobby level, with outside ocean-view seating. The pool deck and pool bar provide indoor/outdoor event options.

    • The Hyatt Centric Las Olas, Fort Lauderdale, opened in April 2020 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.

    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 fall 2021 with expanded exhibit space; upon completion, 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.

    • Now open to downtown Fort Lauderdale’s Flagler Village is the dual-branded Tru by Hilton and Home2 Suites by Hilton. Rising 19 stories, the hotel offers 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 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.



    Things to Do in Fort Lauderdale

    What's New in Greater Fort Lauderdale

    • Fort Lauderdale’s first food hall, Sistrunk Marketplace & Brewery, has opened in the trendy FATVillage district. The 24,000-square-foot indoor foodie village features 12 unique food purveyors offering an eclectic range of international cuisine, including Asian-fusion tapas, poke bowls, Taiwanese shaved ice, tacos and ceviche, French crepes, empanadas, pizza, vegan-raw selections, Nashville-style hot chicken, brisket-blend burgers and more. There’s also a center snack bar, a speakeasy-style lounge and the Khoffner Brewery. The Shady Distillery offers craft spirits including Shady Vodka and 12 Mile Rum. The marketplace offers live music, cooking classes, brewery tours, local art, the Sistrunk Collective — a retail boutique featuring local wares — and even a pro-doing academy. The facility is available for private events with a unique selection of spaces, along with full event-management services.

    • 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 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-based Denison Yachting provides luxury yacht charters for special corporate and social events as well as private cruises perfect for incentives.

    • Saddle up for horseback-riding fun at the Bar-B Ranch, in the nearby town of Davie. Here, riders of every skill level can enjoy a leisurely ride on-property or at nearby Robbins Open Space Preserve, a beautiful 160-acre park featuring one of the last remaining hardwood and palm forests in Broward County. Accompanying trail guides are most friendly and knowledgeable, and the ranch takes every precaution to keep things clean, safe and socially distant

    • 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 Sea Experience 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. Engage even novice team members for a safe experience by Private Scuba & Snorkel.

    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.

    • 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 - New American
    7. Wild Sea Oyster Bar and Grille - Seafood
    8. Takato -  Japanese/Korean fusion
    9. Casablanca Cafe - American, Mediterranean
    10. Steak 954 - Steak House