Quality of Life
Year-round outdoor activities and a long list of cultural, shopping and dining options make Greater Fort Lauderdale ab outstanding place to enjoy life. There are inviting residential options for just about everyone with downtown communities, family-friendly suburban homes, LGBT-friendly neighborhoods, waterfront condominiums and expansive ranches.
With many miles of sandy beaches, hundreds of parks, golf courses and tennis courts, gardens, festivals, as well as miles of waterways and the Atlantic Ocean for boating, diving, paddle boarding and other waterborne activities, residents of Greater Fort Lauderdale can enjoy the outdoors any time of the year.
Located at the center of a cosmopolitan urban region, Greater Fort Lauderdale also offers an abundance of music, art, culture, sports, theater, dance and multicultural attractions. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some of the following activities have shifted to a virtual format, while others may be postponed, rescheduled or subject to closures. Greater Fort Lauderdale's many signature festivals, cultural and entertainment events and venues are looking forward to resuming in-person activity when safely possible.
In Greater Fort Lauderdale, a typical weekend might include these kinds of inviting cultural and recreational options:
• Taking part in a virtual/self-paced 5k run or walk.
• Spending time at the pool.
• Jogging along the Atlantic Ocean in an oceanfront community.
• Shopping and dining along Las Olas Boulevard.
• Spending “family time” at a favorite bistro in Coconut Creek, Coral Springs, Weston or Plantation.
• Playing a challenging round of golf.
• Watching the Florida Panthers National Hockey League team.
• Biking to the beach, around town or in Everglades National Park.
• Heading out to the Gulf Stream for deep-sea fishing.
• Visiting renowned nature-focused venues such as Butterfly World, Everglades Holiday Park or Flamingo Gardens.
In Greater Fort Lauderdale, it’s easy to pursue favorite leisure-time pursuits or explore new and exciting activities.
Many Broward cities have been recognized nationally for their high quality of life, "family friendliness", top schools, recreational programs and housing programs, including the following:
- Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Lauderhill, Pembroke Pines and Pompano Beach have all been named “All-American Cities.”
- Fort Lauderdale was named one of the top 25 best places to live and as having one of the top 10 downtowns in the U.S. by Livability.com. The city was named one of the country’s “100 Best Places to Live and Launch a Business” by CNN Money and the "2nd Happiest City for Young Professionals in the U.S." by Forbes. It also ranked number #1 in the nation for relocations by MoveBuddha.
- Weston and Lauderhill ranked in the top 15 best small cities to start a business by Verizon.
- South Florida (Fort Lauderdale/Miami/West Palm Beach) ranked top 10 in nation for women to start a business by Business.com.
- Pembroke Pines and Fort Lauderdale were named to Happiest Cities in America by WalletHub.
- Cooper City was been named “One of the Ten Best Towns for Families” by Family Circle.
- Coconut Creek, Fort Lauderdale, Hallandale Beach, Lauderhill, Margate, Oakland Park, Parkland, Sunrise, Tamarac and West Park have all been named a "Playful City USA," an honor for cities and towns that make play a priority and use innovative programs to get children active, playing, and healthy.
- Hollywood has been ranked among the best places to live in Florida, according to Livability.com.
- North Lauderdale and Plantation were named among the “100 Best Communities for Young People” by America’s Promise Alliance, the nation’s largest organization dedicated to children and youth.
- Pembroke Pines, Coconut Creek and Coral Springs were named among the top 100 cities to live in America by Money magazine. The magazine also ranked Coral Springs, Miramar and Weston as among the 100 best small cities in America.
- Pembroke Pines, Tamarac and Sunrise were recognized by Businessweek magazine as best places to raise children.
One of the priorities of the Broward County Board of County Commissioners is the Greenways System. This is a countywide network of safe, clean bicycle and equestrian paths, nature trails and waterways that connect each neighborhood, from the Everglades to the Atlantic Ocean to conservation lands, parks and recreation facilities, cultural and historic sites, schools and business areas.
Another transportation initiative is Broward B-cycle, a bike-sharing service with multiple rental stations. For a modest enrollment fee, members can use Broward B-cycle for an unlimited number of short trips. For more information, go to www.bcycle.com.
Parks in Greater Fort Lauderdale
With year-round sunshine and an average daily high of 78°F in the winter, it’s almost always a great day to go to a park in Broward County. Local municipalities – as well as county government – operate hundreds of parks offering a wide range of activities including aquatics, nature walks, batting cages, boat rides, racquet centers, water skiing, horseback riding, target ranges, skate parks — you name it!
Broward County Parks and Recreation (www.broward.org/parks) manages almost 6,500 acres, encompassing nearly 50 regional parks and nature centers, neighborhood parks, and natural areas at various stages of development. Facilities include water parks, campgrounds, a target range, a stadium, a skate park, an observatory, mountain bike trails, an educational farm with stables, and a velodrome and other sports facilities.
The Parks division is a past winner of the National Gold Medal Award for Excellence in Park and Recreation Management. The division also offers classes for many leisure activities.
Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale
Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale (www.goriverwalk.com) is a nonprofit organization that oversees Riverwalk Linear Park, a lush tropical oasis in the city's downtown center with a year-round calendar of events and activities.
Golfers of all skill levels can choose from more than 40 courses, including exclusive private clubs, premier municipal facilities and leading resort courses. For more information, visit www.sunny.org.
Each year, Greater Fort Lauderdale residents can enjoy hundreds of local festivities including the Winterfest Boat Parade (winterfestparade.com), Las Olas Art Fair (artfestival.com), the Seminole Tribal Fair & Pow Wow (semtribefairandpowwow.com) and Wilton Manors Stonewall Pride parade and street festival (wiltonmanorsstonewall.com). The area is also home to two beachfront music festivals, Riptide - featuring alternative rock music, and Tortuga - featuring a blend of country, pop and rock music.
ARTS AND CULTURE
Broward Center for the Performing Arts
The Broward Center for the Performing Arts (www.browardcenter.org) is a large, multivenue arts and entertainment complex featuring the 2,700-seat Au-Rene Theater, the intimate 590-seat Amaturo Theater and the flexible 250–400-seat Abdo New River Room. The Broward Center is home to the nation's largest arts-in-education program of its kind, where public school children have opportunities to attend educational performances. Internationally recognized as one of the nation's most-visited theaters, the Broward Center is ranked high among its peers in terms of ticket sales according to leading industry trade publication surveys, with a recent #4 ranking by VenuesNow and holds a consistent place in the top ten rankings by Pollstar. In recent years, the Broward Center hosted several blockbuster traveling Broadway shows including Hamilton, Escape to Margaritaville, Aladdin and Mean Girls.
Among the area's performance venues managed by the Broward Center for the Performing Arts is Fort Lauderdale's Historic Parker Playhouse, which is undergoing a $25 million renovation. When complete, the 52-year-old venue, which hosts a variety of concerts and shows will feature an elegant new lobby, enhanced food and beverage options, upgraded systems, equipment and more. To learn about the project, visit www.parkerplayhouse.com.
South Florida Symphony Orchestra
Led by music director and conductor Sebrina María Alfonso, the South Florida Symphony Orchestra (www.southfloridasymphony.org) brings world-class musicians and performances to the region. Founded in 1997, the orchestra provides an enriching cultural experience and provides educational programs that build an appreciation of classical music in the next generation of performers and concertgoers.
Symphony of the Americas
Founded in 1987, Symphony of the Americas (www.symphonyoftheamericas.org) brings the best of classical music blended with new Latin compositions to the multi-cultural population of South Florida.
NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale
Founded in 1958, NSU Art Museum (www.nsuartmuseum.org) is a premier destination for exhibitions and programs in the visual arts. Located in Fort Lauderdale's, Arts & Entertainment District, the museum is a short walk to the shops, restaurants and galleries of vibrant Las Olas Boulevard as well as the Riverwalk waterfront promenade. Highlights include the country's largest collection of 19th and early 20th century paintings and drawings by the American realist William Glackens, and the most extensive holding in the U.S. of works by post-World War II, avant-garde CoBrA artists from Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam.
Museum of Discovery and Science
The Museum of Discovery and Science (www.mods.org) provides experiential pathways to lifelong learning in science for children and adults through exhibits, programs and films. Founded in 1976, the nonprofit museum includes an airboat simulator, an otter exhibit, an aviation exhibit and the AutoNation IMAX Theater, home of the largest movie screen in South Florida.
For details about other art venues and events, including a list of museums in Greater Fort Lauderdale, visit www.broward.org/arts or www.artscalendar.com.
Broward Cultural Division
The Broward Cultural Division actively promotes and supports the growth of Broward County's creative economy, a significant driver of the region's economic success. It advances the impact and creation of arts and culture throughout Greater Fort Lauderdale by investing in the creative sector and providing capacity building opportunities for artists, organizations and creative talent through events and activities that fuel Broward's creative infrastructure.
The Cultural Division includes the county's Public Art & Design program, which is nationally recognized for its excellence in public artworks, projects and policies. It also offers grant programs that provide over $4.5 million in annual support for Broward-based cultural organizations and artists.
The division actively engages the community in education and advocacy initiatives that support arts education at the local, state and federal levels. For more information on programs, grants, calls-to-artists and more, visit www.broward.org/arts.
Arts and Culture Calendar
The Cultural Division produces ArtsCalendar.com, South Florida's leading online resource for events and happenings in the local arts, culture and entertainment scene. The site offers an easy access, mobile-ready platform for interactive navigation. Event postings for artists and organizations, and access for the public, are free. To stay current with arts scene, please visit ArtsCalendar.com.
Virtual Programming and Workshops
The Cultural Division also promotes the development of arts and culture in the community through a range of new digital programs and resources for artists, organizations and the public - ranging from videos showcasing the work of local filmmakers, writers and performers - to online workshops such a Business Skills for the Modern Creator, a multi-part series designed to help creatives flourish and grow their practices. Information is available at www.broward.org/arts or @BrowardArts on all social media channels.
Supporting the Arts
Greater Fort Lauderdale has many facilities and enclaves that support artists and other creative professionals. Bailey Contemporary Arts (BaCA), located in the heart of Pompano Beach's Creative Arts District, is a place for artists, residents and businesses to come together and use the power of the arts to uplift, revitalize and build a stronger community.
The City of Hollywood is home to Art in the Park at Young Circle, the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood, Hollywood Central Performing Arts Center and the Hollywood Boulevard monthly art walk. The Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival promotes independent film at its annual festival and through year-round screenings at Savor Cinema in Fort Lauderdale and Cinema Paradiso in Hollywood. For more information, visit www.fliff.com.
Monthly art walks are a popular activity in Greater Fort Lauderdale, where residents and visitors can explore artists’ studios and galleries, attend theater productions, enjoy spoken word poetry or experience an art installation.
Broward County Library
As the ninth-largest library system in the United States, Broward County Library (www.broward.org/library) touches the lives of the public once every second during its regular operating hours. With 38 locations, more than 3 million items and 2,000 computers for public use, the Broward County Library system places a strong emphasis on literacy, after-school programs and electronic access. Numerous books, audiobooks, movies and other content are available for download from home with a library card.
Leading Shopping Venues
Shopping is a favorite activity for Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County residents and visitors. While every neighborhood has its retail centers, the largest mall in the region is Sawgrass Mills in Sunrise, one of the state’s most popular shopping destinations. Other major suburban centers include Coral Ridge Mall, Westfield Broward Mall, Pembroke Lakes Mall, Weston Town Center and the Pompano Square Mall. In the eastern part of the county, The Galleria at Fort Lauderdale is an upscale shopping center, while Las Olas Boulevard is a favorite location for outdoor dining, shopping and entertainment.
Professional and Spectator Sports
Professional football, baseball, hockey, and basketball are readily accessible to Greater Fort Lauderdale sports fans. In Sunrise, the BB&T Center is home to the National Hockey League’s Florida Panthers. Additionally, the BB&T Center is home to numerous concerts and live events. In 2019 and 2020, entertainment included The Black Keys, Cirque du Soleil, Disney on Ice, Post Malone, The Who and more.
Just to the south, the National Football League’s Miami Dolphins play at Hard Rock Stadium. A short drive down I-95 in downtown Miami is American Airlines Arena, home court for the Miami Heat, who captured the 2006, 2012 and 2013 NBA championships. Fans can also enjoy the Miami Marlins baseball team (World Series champions in 1997 and 2003).
Greater Fort Lauderdale residents and guests can enjoy harness and thoroughbred racing, as well as jai alai, “the world’s fastest sport,” in a variety of pari-mutuel facilities. In addition, these venues, including the Seminole Hard Rock Casino, offer fast-paced gaming action, including slot machines, table games and poker.