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48 Hours in Fort Lauderdale: A Weekend Itinerary

Written by Staff Writer

This blog post was updated on May 7, 2020.

With its inviting sunshine, its glamorous yacht-filled coast, and elegant buildings on the water, the city of Fort Lauderdale carries the motto of being “The Venice of America.” While this pristine city is famous for the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, you don’t have to be on a fancy boat to make the most of your time there.

If you’re traveling here for a short weekend, you’ll have plenty to do and see, and we’ve put together the perfect itinerary that will help you have the best time possible.

Ready for 48 hours in Fort Lauderdale? Let’s go!

DAY 1 in Fort Lauderdale

Once you’ve got some rest, make sure to start the day off with a great breakfast at The Floridian right on Las Olas Boulevard, an old-school diner that’s one of the city’s most favorite breakfast joints. Savor made-to-order French toast, pancakes, and omelets while watching the rest of the city wake up (or sober up!) early in the morning.

fort lauderdale

Once you’ve fueled up for the day, walk around Las Olas Beach and Boulevard. With restaurants, 3 museums, 10 international art galleries and plenty of high-end boutiques, you can easily spend a few hours on this stretch.

Later head towards the Stranahan House Museum, which is the city’s oldest house that now stands as a museum to showcase the life and style of early Floridians. Guides will share a wealth of information about the owner and the interesting history of the building (once a trading post as well as a private residence), which is intertwined with Florida’s history as a burgeoning state. The museum is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m, with adult admission at $12.

Make sure you find a place to break for lunch at Riverside Market Café, where you’ll have an amazing selection of craft beers and an eclectic menu in a setting that has a cozy beach vibe – Dig into their selection of tacos, burgers, and sandwiches.

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fort lauderdale itinerary

Image via Flickr CC – Doug Waldron

Make your way after lunch to Hugh Taylor Birch State Park   (situated between the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean), where you can hike, bike, kayak, or experience Fun Center FL’s Famous Guided Segway tour (ranked the #2 tour in Ft. Lauderdale and the #1 ‘Thing To Do!‘) and enjoy some time close to nature. General adult admission to walk into the park is only $2.

As evening draws near, head to the trendy cocktail bar that is The Pelican Landing. With great views of the ocean and a chilled out atmosphere, you’ll be able to soak up the sea breeze along with a few choice cocktails. Don’t forget to nibble on their tasty fish tacos and conch fritters!

If you’ve worked up an appetite head on over to Coconuts, right on the Intracoastal overlooking the ocean. Indulge in their local fish of the day and wash it down with some wine or beer of your choice.

You can continue imbibing at the legendary Elbo Room, where you can enjoy live music all day every day.

Get some rest and get ready for Day 2!

DAY 2 in Fort Lauderdale

Now that you’re up a bit late after sleeping in, make sure that you start your day off at Tap 42 Bar & Kitchen, where a solid shrimp mac and cheese and a few beers should kick-start your motor.

Next, head on over to the Fort Lauderdale Antique Car Museum. You can see some great automobiles made by the Packard Motor Co from the early 1900s.

Make your way to the Bonnet House – a well-preserved plantation home and garden from about 1920 that has a rich history and romantic story behind it. You can learn more by paying $20 for a guided tour. If you want to just walk in the gardens it’s just $10. The house is open Tuesday – Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Bonnet House Ft. Lauderdale

Bonnet House. Image via Flickr CC-Ilyse Whitney

Make your way further inland to the Sawgrass Recreation Park, where you can take an airboat tour of the Florida Everglades and see the diverse animals and plants that make it their home. Also, it’s a great chance to get up close and personal with wild gators (remember to keep those feet in the boat!) and watch them play around with their human handlers. You can also check out a bunch of other animals including Florida panthers, caracals, bobcats, and foxes.

TIP: If you’ve got the kids in tow, take a break from the Florida heat (or the rain) at The Museum of Discovery and Science – they’ll have a lot of fun with their hands-on exhibits!

As evening encroaches, head to Funky Buddha Brewery – a large brewery and beer hall with a wide selection of brews that’ll help you beat the heat and quench your thirst after your near-death gator experience.

If you’re getting a bit hungry, then now’s the time to hit ROK:BRGR – where you have to try any one of their decadent burgers – they’re sure to be a mouthful and something you’re not likely to forget!

Fort Lauderdale itinerary

After that great burger, head to Stache, a 1920s-style speakeasy that’s one of Fort Lauderdale’s most highly rated cocktail bars and one of America’s best whiskey bars, where you should try their Voodoo Child –  the perfect concoction after a heavy meal.

If you’re looking for the perfect way to close out the night, make your way to Big City Tavern, where a few beers and a raucous good time with the locals is guaranteed.

There you have it — 48 hours in Fort Lauderdale!

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