What is Fort Lauderdale Known For? (17 Things It’s Known For)

Fort Lauderdale is a coastal city in Florida’s Broward County. It is located on Florida’s southeast coast. With roughly 184,261 estimated residents and a total area of 38.6 square miles, Fort Lauderdale is the second-largest city in the Miami metropolitan area. The city is 25 miles away from Miami, Florida, and it faces the Atlantic Ocean. 

Fort Lauderdale is known for its intricate inland waterways within the city. Its seal boasts that the city is the “Venice of America.” In addition, the city is well known for its tourism, film and television production, and many more. Fort Lauderdale also sits in a perfect climate with an average of 75 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Sustainable Seas

Since this is a city whose economy predominantly relies on its natural resources and attractions, locals make sure to do what they can to protect their environment. Six of the city’s beaches are Blue Wave Certified, which recognizes beautiful beaches in America that can meet specific standards for cleanliness and sustainability. Fort Lauderdale Beach, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Dania Beach, Deerfield Beach, Hollywood Beach, and Pompano Beach have all received a certificate from the Clean Beaches Coalition. 

Spring Break!

Every year, college students look forward to one of the biggest party events of the year; Spring Break! Students enjoy their week-long break by visiting the coastal cities to enjoy the beaches, drinks, and music with their friends. Spring break began as early as 1938 when students would meet in Fort Lauderdale for a swim meet. In the 60s, more and more students started traveling down for spring break, and nearby coastal cities also started catering to the spring break crowd. Since then, the city has tried to become more family-friendly and move away from the spring break image.

Shopping and Dining by the Stables 

Gulfstream Park, located in Hallandale Beach, is a great place to experience world-class horse races, outdoor shopping, and high-quality dining all in one place. The racetracks are friendly for both experienced bettors and first-timers. There are numerous dining choices within the area, and you can also find a casino. Gulfstream Park also hosts the Florida Derby every Spring. 

Once in a Lifetime Snow

It is very rare to see snow in Florida. And if you do get the chance to see some flurries, you’ll probably only see them in the state’s northern cities. It might be hard to imagine snow by the beach, but Fort Lauderdale recorded one day of snow. On January 19, 1977, residents of South Florida experienced something they never thought could happen – snow!

The Venice of America

Fort Lauderdale’s defining characteristic is its intricate inland waterways. The Intracoastal waterways stretch as far as 300 miles within the city. Catching a water taxi ride from the Birch State Park to the 15th Street Fisheries is one of the best and most convenient ways to experience the beauty of the city’s waterways quickly. If you want a more immersive experience, you might want to drop by the Everglades Holiday Park. Here, you can take a ride in an airboat to see some Florida gators and other wildlife in the area as tour guides share a lot of interesting facts.

The Yachting Capital of the World

With roughly 23 miles of beaches and 300 miles of canals within the city, great weather for sailing conditions, and numerous establishments, it is no wonder why Fort Lauderdale was named the yachting capital of the world. The city has more than 100 marinas and 50,000 yachts registered in the area. Every October, the city also hosts one of the biggest boat shows in the world – the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. 

Vegas by the Beach?

Outside of the beach and the intricate canals, Fort Lauderdale has become the epicenter of gambling in Florida. The state is ranked as the third most active gambling state in the country. Gamblers can experience the thrills of slot machines, horse racing, dog and harness racing, Jai alai, simulcast gambling, and many more. You can visit Gulfstream Park, Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood, The Big Easy Casino, and the Isle Casino Racing Pompano Park within the city.

Swimming World Records

Fort Lauderdale is home to the International Swimming Hall of Fame and Museum. The museum exhibits original pieces and reproductions of ancient art that show the great swimming moments, including the swimwear used, throughout the years. It also houses the Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Complex, equipped with competition pools and a diving well. The complex has seen ten world records achieved, including the 400m individual medley set by Michael Phelps in 2002 and the 100m breaststroke set by Catie Ball in 1966.

Fort Lauderdale Beaches

Back in the 60s, the beaches of Fort Lauderdale hosted some of the wildest college spring break parties the country has seen. Ever since the city could no longer control the crowds, they imposed rules and fines that would prevent college students from partying in the city. Now, the beaches of Fort Lauderdale have been taken care of by its locals. They are considered some of the best beaches in Florida, and they have become hubs for great family fun. Some notable beaches to visit are Sebastian Street Beach, Fort Lauderdale Beach, and Las Olas Beach.

Las Olas Boulevard

Las Olas Boulevard is a stretch that starts from downtown Fort Lauderdale to the ocean. It is a great route to get to the beach. You’ll find hundreds of different stores along the boulevard, including high-end boutiques and jewelry stores. Many restaurants and art galleries can also be found along the stretch. 

The Museum of Discovery and Science

The Museum of Discovery and Science is an excellent place for educational family fun. The museum has a wide array of exhibits which include alligators and prehistoric animals such as megalodons, Imperial Mammoths, and Sabre-toothed tigers. You can also experience the museum simulation of a boat ride in the Everglades.

Let’s Scuba!

Fort Lauderdale is pretty serious when it comes to its beaches. Ever since the city rebranded its image from the country’s spring break capital to one of the cleanest beaches in Florida, its beaches have been able to breathe and prosper. This is one of the reasons why the city is such a great place for scuba diving. Enthusiasts can dive into the city’s beaches and swim by a living three-tiered coral reef near the coast. They can also enjoy the city’s 76 different artificial reefs and shipwrecks. 

Romantic Dinner Cruises

Fort Lauderdale is home to many establishments that offer dinner and show cruises for visitors and locals. So when it comes to a romantic date when you drop by the city, nothing will beat a luxurious meal as you sail along Millionaire’s Row while watching the sunset.

From Romance to Comedy

Leslie William Nielsen is a Canadian-born actor who made the world laugh through cult classic comedies such as The Naked Gun franchise, Airplane!, and Dracula Dead and Loving It. After retiring from acting, Leslie decided to reside in Fort Lauderdale with his wife, Barbaree Earl. Unfortunately, on November 28, 2010, the beloved actor passed away in his sleep due to pneumonia at 84 years old. His final resting place is at Evergreen Cemetery, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where his gravestone reads, “Let ‘er rip.”

Three Forts in Lauderdale?

Before the 20th century, Fort Lauderdale was called the “New River Settlement.” It refers to the New River that runs through Broward County. During the Seminole War, three forts were built and named after Major William Lauderdale and his younger brother Lieutenant Colonel James Lauderdale. They served as military forts and trading posts. The city was named after these forts in 1911.

Research Gone Wrong

As the city was rebranding itself and rehabilitating its beaches, something went wrong. In the 1970s, roughly two million tires were dumped into the ocean off the coast of Fort Lauderdale to create artificial reefs for marine life. Though the city was flooded with good intentions, they didn’t know that tires weren’t the best option as materials for artificial reefs. Now, the city is making up for it by launching a marine debris removal program to get rid of the tires for a cleaner ocean.

Fort Lauderdale Riverwalk

The Fort Lauderdale Riverwalk is a 2.5-mile trail that follows the New River toward the ocean. The trail cuts through 10 different parks with playgrounds, gardens, and exercise stations. If you don’t want to walk, you can also try renting a segway or riding the Riverwalk Water Trolley.