A Hotel Insider on Where to Meet Singles, Get a Cup of Coffee and Get Into Trouble in Fort Lauderdale
All the best Fort Lauderdale recs in one place, from morning walks to sunset drinks
Looking to make the most of a trip to Fort Lauderdale? This city-by-the-beach has tons to offer, if you know where to search — which is why we asked Philipp Drachenberg, guest experience manager at the gorgeous Four Seasons Fort Lauderdale for all his best recommendations. Just opened in March, the chic new hotel has interiors by Tara Bernerd, whose portfolio suitably emphasizes her experience with yachts — think gleaming wood, soft colors and lots of warm textures. (It’s beautiful.)
Whether you’re flying in from out of state or Ubering up from Miami, consider this your cheat sheet for a superlative Fort Lauderdale experience.
InsideHook: Where do singles hang out?
Philipp Drachenberg: The Wharf Fort Lauderdale is a casual open-air space on the Las Olas Riverfront and a popular spot to mix and mingle all day and all week long. Locals gather for holidays celebrations, happy hour and themed events, with a lively bar, eats, live music and DJs.
How about a restaurant where only locals go?
Sistrunk Market & Brewery is an up-and-coming, hip food hall located in Fort Lauderdale’s art district and a great place to visit with a group for unique food, craft beer, artisan coffee, local art and live music…it’s all you need for a locals hangout.
What’s a unique service that Four Seasons Hotel Fort Lauderdale offers that I won’t find elsewhere?
With Fort Lauderdale Beach being a popular ocean stretch for visitors to the city and beachside hotels, our Beach Concierge and dedicated beach area directly beyond our steps ensure our guests’ comfort with lounge chairs and umbrellas. They can also offer assistance in planning the perfect day of leisure and activities for the whole family.
Late night spot where I can get into a bit of trouble (but not too much trouble)?
Speakeasy bar No Man’s Land — touted as an elevated-but-never-pretentious, vibey cocktail parlor and eatery — is focused on great service, craft cocktails and a small menu of shareable plates. The menu takes you on an adventure, and the hideaway environment with live jazz and blues and late-night hours is a perfect sensory experience.
Best cheap eats in town?
For tasty appetizers and drinks at a great price, Primanti Brothers is a close walk from the hotel, and an ideal stop known for its sandwiches piled high with coleslaw and french fries, and it serves New York-style pizza 24/7. The team is friendly and the atmosphere welcoming.
Where can I go for the best dessert?
Gelato&Co, located on Las Olas Boulevard, serves authentic Italian ice cream and sorbets along with great coffee. They make their own gelato from scratch and use organic produce direct from local farmers whenever possible. It’s a great stopover after dinner at one of the many restaurants on Las Olas.
Where can I get a cup of coffee near the hotel and go for a good walk?
Begin the morning with gourmet coffee creations at our own Honey Fitz café, or at neighboring Archibalds Village Bakery, before taking a breezy stroll down the shores of the beach. I recommend getting up bright and early to enjoy your coffee while marveling at the rising sun — the golden rays in the first hours are just amazing!
Where should I go in the area for a day spent outside?
Outdoor leisure is abundant on Fort Lauderdale beach. Take a tour around the community with one of our complimentary bicycles, and ride to nearby Hugh Taylor Birch State Park to explore wildlife, canoe or kayak and enjoy nature activities. Then head to landmark estate Bonnet House Museum & Gardens to spend the afternoon on the plantation looking at art and its tropical character. The beach strip is a perfectly relaxing ride that offers plenty of viewing points to stop, take a break and soak in the oceanside surroundings.
Where’s a good spot to snap an Instagram-worthy photo?
During the winter holidays, Fort Lauderdale organizes a Light Up the Beach celebration, when a 20-foot beach snowman is set up on [Highway] A1A and Las Olas Boulevard on the beach and is a larger-than-life attraction for onlookers and visitors to snap their Insta moments.
Where to head if I want to get acquainted with a more “authentic” side of the city?
Fort Lauderdale is known as the “Yachting Capital of the World,” with a celebrated yachting history. One of the perfect opportunities to explore the unique character of the city is to enjoy a private cruise or water taxi. Tour along the picturesque Intracoastal where you’ll see boats of all types surrounded by high-rise architecture, lined with exquisite mansions and surrounded by the beauty of the tropical environment. And afterwards, continue the day on Las Olas Boulevard for a late lunch and sunset cocktails.
What’s the easiest way to get around town, in terms of transportation?
Depending on your plans for the day, there are a few ways to discover the area. Ride-share services are easily available and convenient to go anywhere from the beachside to downtown and beyond. Our complimentary Four Seasons bikes are a leisurely way to go soak in the beach strip, nearby activities, restaurants and parks. And if waterway exploration is in sight, the Fort Lauderdale water taxi is a fun and interactive mode of transportation.
What’s a lesser-known cultural institution worth visiting?
Housed in a nearly 100-year-old church built in 1926, Savor Cinema is a unique venue that showcases independent, international and local films year-round, located near Las Olas Boulevard, across the New River in downtown Fort Lauderdale.
What’s something that tourists tend to do that really annoys locals?
Fort Lauderdale is a heavily populated, pedestrian-friendly community that allows for easy and safe crossings along the strip lined with ocean leisure, restaurants, bars and hotels. Pedestrians have the right of way when strolling around the area, but do not always access the designated crossings. To help keep traffic flowing smoothly, and people safe around vehicles, it is recommended to use the pedestrian crossings along the beach.
Best place to eat a meal or have a beer outside when the weather’s better?
Coconuts is a local favorite. The casual, beachy hangout is situated right on the Intracoastal Waterway with beautiful views, seafood fare and Sunday brunch. Watch yachts cruise by while dining in an open-air, entertaining and casual environment. The restaurant is a great spot for friends, couples and families to reconnect over a sunset cocktail.
What’s the one thing everyone forgets to pack?
Fort Lauderdale beach is best enjoyed from the warm, sandy shores or in the blue, glistening waters. Plan to pack your beach essentials by remembering to bring your flip-flops and plenty of sunscreen.
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