Fort Lauderdale has grown up from its rowdy spring break days. It's now a sophisticated seaside resort area, and its culinary scene... more » reflects that. You'll still find early bird specials that attract the surf-and-turf crowd of seniors. But restaurants featuring contemporary seafood sprinkled with Florida accents are helping Fort Lauderdale make its way onto the culinary map.
This tour starts out visiting spots along the scenic and trendy Las Olas Boulevard shopping district. In a world where most shopping is done in malls that have the exact same stores, Las Olas remains an oasis for independent shops and restaurants. Of course, there's a Tommy Bahama store, but there are plenty of vintage shops, art galleries and sidewalk cafes. This tour highlights a couple stops that food lovers will enjoy, from breakfast at the historic Riverside Hotel to a stop at the quaint Kilwins Chocolate Shop and coffee at the local favorite, Caffe Europa.
The tour then hops on the visitor-friendly Sun Trolley public bus. No need to figure out a bus schedule or bus stops. If you see one of these brightly colored yellow and red trolley buses, just wave and it will pull over and pick you up. For 50 cents it will drive you to the beach, where the drinking and happy hour scene is alive and well.
Although throngs of college kids no longer descend on Fort Lauderdale for spring break, the party atmosphere continues at local bars every night, and sometimes during the day.
The final stop is a late lunch at one of Fort Lauderdale's most popular waterfront restaurants, Bimini Boatyard Bar & Grill. Again, you can take a unique form of public transportation to get here — the water taxi that transports visitors along the Intracoastal Waterway. It picks up at Bahia Cabana and drops off right at Bimini Boatyard.
The Bimini Boatyard Bar & Grill is typical of the casual elegance Fort Lauderdale embraces. Fort Lauderdale sees itself as more relaxed than its spicy neighbor to the south, Miami. Fresh seafood with Florida and Caribbean accents is on the menu at this dockside restaurant. Save room for dessert, because the Key Lime pie is legendary. If you want, you could also drink your dessert. The restaurant has a Key Lime martini! less «