If you’re imagining a tropical beach destination that also offers an unbelievable variety of world-class shopping, dining and entertainment, then look no further than Greater Fort Lauderdale.
This sunny South Florida getaway offers year-round temperatures of around 18 degrees Celsius, kilometers of stunning Atlantic beaches and plenty of unique boulevards, malls and markets to satisfy any shopaholic.
Historic Las Olas Boulevard
The minute I arrived at the beautiful Riverside Hotel, my shopping, dining and entertainment adventures began. The hotel was perfectly situated, right on the historic and oh-so-charming Las Olas Boulevard, which is the heart of downtown Fort Lauderdale. All along Las Olas, restaurants tempt shoppers with their beautiful outdoor terraces and diverse food options. This is a great place to dine al fresco, watch people and even listen to some local musicians. We settled on some delicious sushi, right on the banks of one of Fort Lauderdale’s many canals. On the way back to the hotel, we stopped in for some gelato and browsed the many stores and galleries. Clothing, art, books and gifts – it’s all here in one of the most beautiful shopping settings you can imagine.
Patio dining at the Riverside Hotel on Las Olas Boulevard
The Village at Gulfstream Park
The following day, we checked out The Village of Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, a quick drive south of Las Olas Boulevard. This is South Florida’s newest outdoor shopping and entertainment destination, a pristine place to shop until you drop. You can outfit yourself, your family and your home all in one spot, all while enjoying the mild subtropical climate and blue skies. Once again, the outdoor dining was fantastic. You'll find amazing tapas and cocktails. Yard House, with its variety of craft beers, was really happening at happy hour.
Strolling toward the beach in Fort Lauderdale
Festival Flea Market
Our third day began at the Festival Flea Market Mall in Pompano Beach. This shopping hot spot offers nearly half a kilometer of merchants and stores, so be sure to wear some comfortable shoes. Considering the number of bargains at the farmers market and amazing deals on antiques, shoes, jewelry, clothes, electronics, home décor and more, you might want to bring an extra suitcase to check on the way home. Aside from the great finds, I also loved chatting with all the friendly vendors in their booths.
Outdoor shopping in Fort Lauderdale
JB’s on The Beach
After so much shopping, I had worked up an appetite, which made it perfect timing to head over to Deerfield Beach, north of the Festival Flea Market, for lunch. We got a table right on the beach at the aptly named JB’s on the Beach. Between the refreshing breeze coming from the gorgeous blue water and JB’s decadent strawberry daiquiri, there’s no better way to relax and enjoy a meal. Be sure to try my favorite, the shrimp salad, with its plump, super-fresh shrimp and refreshing citrus vinaigrette.
Fort Lauderdale proved to be both a high-end and bargain shopper’s paradise, and at the end of the day, I’ve never seen a city with so many fantastic outdoor dining options. It’s just minutes or less from the sandy shores of the Atlantic Ocean.
Casual outdoor dining in Fort Lauderdale