6 Hours in Fort Lauderdale
September 27, 2016
Beginning next summer, Brightline will offer commuter rail service with frequent day and evening train departures from Miami to West Palm Beach. A convenient stop in Fort Lauderdale makes it easy to explore the “Venice of America.”
So in the second in our series of getaway suggestions, we offer things to do in Fort Lauderdale.
Starting at the Brightline train station in Fort Lauderdale, you can easily explore Old Fort Lauderdale, the Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment District and famous Las Olas Boulevard. The activities here are all a quick walk, bike ride or rideshare from the Brightline station.
Hour 1: A DOSE OF CULTURE
A short walk from the Fort Lauderdale station, the acclaimed NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale keeps art lovers happy with its more than 6,200 permanent works including large collections of Picasso ceramics and contemporary Cuban art. If your workday isn’t quiet finished the museum also has a café with free Wi-Fi. History buffs may want to make a beeline to The Historic Stranahan House Museum, built in 1901, listed on the National Register of Historic Places and chock full of period antiques (guided tours available). For a deeper dive into the history of Fort Lauderdale, visit the History Museum Complex, comprised of six historic structures. They are located at the intersection of the FEC railroad and the New River and the complex includes: the New River Inn (History Museum) originally a hotel dating back to 1905 and the first building in Broward County to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Inn today houses exhibits on the history and development of Fort Lauderdale.
You can also visit the Hoch Heritage Center that keeps archives of more than 300,000 images, maps, architectural drawings and ephemera. And if you want to see what family life was like in Fort Lauderdale at the beginning of the century, head over to the King-Cromartie House, a 1907 historic house museum that served as the home of two early pioneer families.
Hour 2: HAVE FUN WITH SCIENCE
Just a few blocks west of the train station, the Museum of Discovery and Science is a must-do if you’re in the company of kids, but adults too will find themselves enthralled with the high tech exhibits. While you’re there, catch a flick in the museum’s five-story IMAX 3D Theater.
Hour 3: STRETCH YOUR LEGS
Take a scenic stroll or bike ride along the Riverwalk, where a tree-lined, red brick path follows the New River through downtown, passing residential high-rises and boats and yachts heading to sea. Thanks to the Broward B-Cycle bike-sharing program you can pay as you go, picking up bikes at locations around the city.
Hour 4: LET’S GO SHOPPING
Now that you’ve had your workout, reward yourself with a visit to the eclectic boutiques and top-notch art galleries on Las Olas Boulevard. Shop for everything from the latest fashion to fine art by International and American artists on the so-called “style mile.” Or just sit at a sidewalk café and watch all the beautiful people pass by.
Hour 5: WHAT’S FOR DINNER?
and top area chefs showing off their skills. Try the tasty American cuisine at YOLO or go for something casual like meatballs (and even veggie balls and dessert balls) paired with craft beer or draft wine at Fork & Balls. Popular spots also include Louie Bossi’s (ask for a table in the beautiful courtyard area) and Mango’s Restaurant & Lounge (check the calendar online for $6 margarita or mojito nights).
Hour 6: THE NIGHT’S STILL YOUNG
A few blocks from the Brightline station the riverfront Broward Center for the Performing Arts is one of the top places in the country to see Broadway shows, opera, ballet, plays and concerts. If a nightcap is in order, go for an old-fashioned served in a 1920s speakeasy atmosphere and with live entertainment at Stache Drinking Den + Coffee Bar. The nearby Revolution Live is the place to catch local and national music acts. When the party’s over, Brightline will be ready and waiting to whisk you safely back home by train to Miami or West Palm Beach.
Brightline is scheduled to begin train service in mid-2017.