Quality of Life
Greater Fort Lauderdale offers an attractive lifestyle for just about everyone with downtown live-work-play 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. In Greater Fort Lauderdale, a typical weekend might include these kinds of inviting cultural and recreational options:
• Taking in a Broadway musical at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts or enjoying musical and cultural performances at the Pompano Beach and Miramar Amphitheaters or Lauderhill and Pembroke Pines Performing Arts Centers.
• Visiting the many colorful murals in Hollywood, Fort Lauderdale's FAT Village, and beyond.
• Exploring the many craft breweries along the Ale Trail.
• Strolling through the Riverwalk Sunday Jazz Brunch along the New River, listening to live bands and sampling local fare.
• Taking part in a 5k run, or competing in a half marathon, marathon, triathlon or other sporting event.
• Enjoying an art walk at galleries or mural districts in Coral Springs, Fort Lauderdale, Wilton Manors or Hollywood.
• 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 at the BB&T Center in Sunrise.
• Biking to the beach, around town or in Everglades National Park.
• Heading out to the Gulf Stream for deep-sea fishing.
• Enjoying live music every night of the week at many local hotspots.
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 magazine. 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 (Frot 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 fast-growing 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.
On a municipal level, many Broward cities have signed the U.S. Mayors Climate Protection Agreement to reduce greenhouse gases. Other recent “green” initiatives being embraced in area communities include:
- City incentives to encourage residents to adopt energy-saving practices
- Creation and preservation of public green spaces and wetlands
- Earth-friendly building designs
- Energy-efficient programs
- Environmentally friendly town centers
- Green city advisory boards
- Incentive programs for developers of sustainable buildings
- LEED-certified office buildings and residential properties
- Mandatory environmentally friendly standards for building construction and renovations
- Municipal hybrid car fleets
- Projects receiving Florida Green Building Coalition Certification
- Recycling requirements
- Solar-powered lighting requirements
- Trees, shrubs and planting projects and requirements
- Water reclamation programs
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!
The Broward County Parks and Recreation department (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 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).
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 in the world, 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 Venues Today and holds a consistent place in the top ten rankings by Pollstar.
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 and 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 concert-goers.
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 to the largest movie screen in South Florida.
Broward Cultural Division
The Broward Cultural Division enhances Greater Fort Lauderdale's cultural environment by providing financial, technical and marketing assistance to artists, organizations and programs. The division supports the area's creative industries, including, media, design and technology as well as cultural arts districts.
The Cultural Division includes the county's Public Art & Design program, a national leader in developing public art policies and practices, producing exemplary public artworks synthesizing design excellence. It also offers 9 grant programs, operating and capital, designed to promote the development of Broward-based cultural organizations and artists, by providing more than $4.5 million in annual funding.
Another directive of the division is engaging 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
ArtsCalendar.com is South Florida's online resource for events and happenings in the local arts, culture and entertainment scene. It offers and 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 their website.
Supporting the Arts
Greater Fort Lauderdale has facilties 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 Cinemain Fort Lauderdale and Cinema Paradiso in Hollywood. For more information, visit www.fliff.com.
There are many monthly art walks located throughout 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.
- Downtown Hollywood ArtWalk is held on the third Saturday of each month from 5:00 to 10:00 p.m. For more information, call 954-924-2980 or visit www.floridashollywood.org/ArtWalk/.
- East Village Uncorked in Pompano Beach is a monthly Art & Wine walk on the First Friday of each month in the Harbor Village Shoppes. For more information, call 954-786-5535 or visit www.pompanobeachfl.gov/pages/cra/cra.
- The Flagler Village Arts District ArtWalk in downtown Fort Lauderdale is a showcase for arts, community and neighborhood collaboration. It is held the last Saturday of the month (except December) and is connected by free trolleys with a hop-on/hop-off system. For more information, call 954-760-5900.
- MASS District Art Walk showcases local, unique artists and vendors during the neighborhood art walk every final Saturday of the month. For more information, visit www.massdistrict.com.
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, Broward County Library places a strong emphasis on literacy, after-school programs and electronic access.
The Place for Entertainment!
Top acts and shows appear regularly in Greater Fort Lauderdale at venues such as the BB&T Center, Hard Rock Live and the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. Following are a few recent examples:
- Sara Barielles
- Tony Bennett
- The Black Keys
- Cirque du Soleil
- Disney on Ice
- The Jonas Brothers
- King Princess
- The Neighborhood
- Ozzy Osbourne
- Post Malone
- Riptide Music Festival
- Tortuga Music Festival
- Trans-Siberian Orchestra
- The Who
- WWE Live
The 2019-2020 lineup of Broadway shows at Broward venues includes:
- Les Miserables
- Escape to Margaritaville
- Disney's Aladdin
- Mean Girls
- Come from Away
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. 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.
Charitable and Community Involvement
Greater Fort Lauderdale is known for being highly engaged in supporting nonprofit organizations and various causes through a variety of festivals, fundraising events, 5K runs and walks, galas and more. There are year-round events benefiting a wide spectrum of organizations that members of the community are invited to attend.
Area nonprofits, foundation and community service clubs also rely on the assistance of volunteers and donors to carry out their respective missions. Individuals wishing to get involved in the community have extensive options and groups to explore.