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(2017 - Fall/Winter Issue)


More than 480 kilometres of winding inland waterways in Greater Fort Lauderdale connect the famous beachfront to the lesser-known, urban culture that is currently undergoing a renaissance.

This “Underground Lauderdale” network of grassroots art, local music and boutique shops is easy to access by land or by traversing its tranquil waterways. It’s time to venture past South Florida’s sandy surface where places like carefree Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, family-friendly Hollywood, and trendy downtown Fort Lauderdale are reshaping the conventional, sun-soaked image with creativity and style.


Greater Fort Lauderdale’s organic art scene is rapidly expanding, and has even made its way onto the walls of hotels like the W Fort Lauderdale and the new Plunge Beach Hotel in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea. Visitors will find urban art neighbourhoods, galleries, unique museums and countless art-themed events—if they know where to look (check the calendar at sunny.org).

FATVillage (Flagler Arts and Technology) is a developing art district born out of warehouse spaces that border the railroad in downtown Fort Lauderdale. Once a month, artists host the Flagler ArtWalk, which showcases their finest artwork as well as live performers and fantastic food trucks. Visitors can stop by the neighbourhood anytime to check out the galleries and wall murals, catch a weekend show at Andrews Living Art Studio or grab a cup of coffee at Brew Urban, an imaginative gathering space with vintage decor, a floor-to-ceiling bookshelf, and an airstream shop selling handmade items.

Hollywood is embracing its artists with the Downtown Hollywood Mural Project, a display of wall paintings on the streets neighbouring Young Circle—the home of ArtsPark. This signature, four-hectare roundabout is the buzzing, artistic hub of Hollywood that offers free mural tours during the monthly ArtWalk celebration. On Fridays, ArtsPark hosts family-friendly entertainment with face painting and music, followed by an evening outdoor movie. A number of art galleries and studios surround Young Circle, including the Art and Culture Center/Hollywood and Hollywood Hot Glass, an interactive space where visitors can create their own dazzling glass pieces to take home.


With more than 6,000 permanent works of art, downtown Fort Lauderdale’s NSU Art Museum should not be missed. In addition, just across from Fort Lauderdale beach is the Bonnet House, a historic artist estate with peaceful, tropical gardens and a private art collection.

For a different art medium, the Wiener Museum of Decorative Arts opened in Dania Beach in 2014, displaying thousands of stunning works including British porcelain and glass from the art nouveau and art deco eras.


Hop aboard the Water Taxi to three prime shopping areas: Beach Place for souvenirs and beach-themed attire, the Galleria Mall or Las Olas Boulevard—a hub filled with art galleries and boutique clothing stores. Or, if you’re an adventurous shopper, get off near the North Beach shopping district, a small, but growing, collection of independent shops and galleries near the Shooters Waterfront restaurant stop.

If you prefer to explore by land, head to Hollywood Boulevard, another lovely, peaceful street for window shopping and dining. No visit is complete without a taste of South Florida’s tropical fruits so swing by Marando Farms for fresh produce, an urban farmers’ market in downtown Fort Lauderdale.


Fort Lauderdale is blessed with warm weather, so travellers can enjoy outdoor concerts in colourful parks and open-air restaurants any time of the year. Stroll along the fabulous Hollywood Beach Broadwalk to the Hollywood Beach Theatre at Margaritaville Beach Resort (a stop on the Water Taxi’s new express route) for free live music five nights a week.

On the first Sunday of every month, locals pack picnic blankets, head to the scenic Riverwalk, and enjoy a laid-back afternoon with a 30-year-old tradition: jazz brunch, a free outdoor event featuring local jazz artists and food vendors. Or, you can check out “Kegs and Eggs” at LauderAle, a warehouse brewery that serves bottomless mimosas, live jazz and an outdoor food-truck brunch every Sunday.

For indoor entertainment, check the schedule at Revolution Live nightclub, a sprawling event space in downtown Fort Lauderdale that hosts big-name bands as well as sizzling, up-and-coming performers.


South Florida has some bizarre crime stories, and the new South Florida Crime Museum takes you through its “twisted history” for a fun and educational look at mysteries, gangsters from the 1920s and ’30s, and other unusual criminals. A visit to this cosy, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea museum unravels legends like the missing 13th hotel floor and the gold scandal of the 1980s, but taking a tour provides a more in-depth experience with lively storytelling and transportation to historical stops. 

In 2014, the Broward Center for the Performing Arts underwent a massive expansion project and has become a focal point for Fort Lauderdale’s Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment District. The centre ranks among the most visited theatres in the world for ballets, concerts and multicultural performances, and is just steps away from another Water Taxi stop. Many live performances are also hosted in the Parker Playhouse, an opulent, 1,168-seat theatre that has been a cherished part of the community for more than 50 years.

Fort Lauderdale became famous for the film Where the Boys Are, but its film prowess goes deeper. Built as a church in the 1940s, Savor Cinema is now a charming theatre for indie and foreign films, where concession-stand snacks are less than your admission price, and the emphasis is on quality filmmaking. The throwback concept caught on, and a second location (Cinema Paradiso) opened in Hollywood. Together, the two host the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival each November, a two-week celebration of the art of film. 

As Greater Fort Lauderdale’s artistic side awakens, there has never been a better time to uncover the thriving local lifestyle that exists beyond the beach.

Travel Planner

Keep up with “Underground

Lauderdale” events at sunny.org and artserve.org


November 1–5

Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show showmanagement.com/fort_lauderdale/event

November 3–19

32nd Annual Fort Lauderdale Film Festival fliff.com/

December 2–3

Riptide Music Festival riptidefest.com

December 9

Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Boat Parade winterfestparade.com

January 6–7

30th Annual Las Olas Art Fair, Part 1 artfestival.com/festivals/las-olas-art-fair-part-i

January 13

Stone Crab and Seafood Festival goriverwalk.com/greater-fort-lauderdale-events/6th-annual-stone-crab-seafood-festival

January 25–28

Art Fort Lauderdale artftlauderdale.com

January 27

Pegasus World Cup pegasusworldcup.com

January 27

Riverwalk Chili Cook Off goriverwalk.com/greater-fort-lauderdale-events/riverwalk-chili-cook-off-2

February 10–11

Taste of Little Italy ftlauderdaleitalianfestival.com

February 14–March 4

Wicked (at Broward Center for the Performing Arts) browardcenter.org/events/detail/wicked-2018

February 21–25

SOBEWFF CraveGFL Series corporate.sobefest.com

March 10

Fort Lauderdale St. Patrick’s Parade and Festival stpatsftl.com

March 31

Caribbean Art and Music Festival caribbeanartandmusicfestival.com/press

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