Most of us travel lovers know what Fort Lauderdale is all about. Or at least we think we do. Relaxing white-sand beaches, arts, shopping on Las Olas Boulevard, gondola rides on the canals, the historic riverfront and plenty of leisure. All of this is true about Fort Lauderdale, and they are all pretty good reasons to fall in love with the city. But beyond all these touristic wonders, there’s a different, and perhaps unknown side of Fort Lauderdale we should all get to experience at least once in our lives.
From music festivals and full moon parties to live mermaid shows and craft beer scenes, Fort Lauderdale hosts a whole world of entertainment that’s unknown to most visitors. So, if you are into exceptionally fun activities, it’s time to plan your next trip to the “Venice of America”, book a rental car, and start exploring the hidden marvels and unique things to do in Fort Lauderdale!
Unique things to do in Fort Lauderdale
A night excursion through the everglades
If you think a ride through the everglades is a thrill in general, imagine doing it at night. There are several companies in Fort Lauderdale that offer these kinds of tours and if you happen to be in the city you just can’t miss one.
The Sawgrass Recreational Park, for example, offers you the Red Eye Exclusive Nighttime Airboat Adventure where you’ll be able to hear the sound of the wildlife as you explore exclusive everglades locations and see a variety of reptiles, insects, and amphibians as the airboat’s captain use a flashlight to search the waters for the telltale glow of the alligator’s eyes.
You can also check out the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum set in the heart of the Everglades right on the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation where you can not only explore the several reservation ecosystems at night but you can also learn more about the Native American Big Cypress Seminole Tribe and be amazed by their arts and crafts, and different animals on exhibit!
#2 Go on a ghost walk
Believe it or not, but Fort Lauderdale is actually quite known for its many haunted locations where it is said paranormal activity takes place. There’s the History Miami Cemetery Tour where you can take a stroll through the eerie gravestones of Miami’s founders, such as Julia Tuttle; the resting place of Jack Tigertail, the Native American whose murder was never solved; and
a tomb of a woman buried in the concrete.
You can also take an evening walk through the supposedly haunted waterfront state of the late Charles Deering, an American businessman and art collector who settled in South Florida. A guide will tell stories of previous ghost sightings or you can pay a visit to Broward County’s oldest home. A 1900s Victorian-style Stranahan House is hosting the Spirits of Stranahan House Tour, where visitors can learn about those who passed away at the home. There are some bold companies in the city that offer you a walk around this ghostly side of downtown Fort Lauderdale (yes, there are people who would pay to have the paranormal experience of their lives, and you can count me in!) In these tours you can see creepy haunted houses and graveyards with lingering spirits of the past, you can easily get spooked at any of these tours.
#3 Meet a mermaid (they’re real!)
What would you think about enjoying the beauty of living mermaids from a porthole view while enjoying a tropical cocktail and dining on fresh seafood? Sounds dreamy right?
Well, this is possible in Wreck Bar at the B Ocean Resort Fort Lauderdale on Friday and Saturday nights! This bar is mostly known for its exceptional live mermaid’s performances that include the original MeduSirena and her pod of Aquaticats, a family-friendly show every Friday and Saturday, the Sirens & Sailors is a series of underwater tangos and duets between solo figure swims and ensembles, the he Aquamen Underwater Burlesque Show adds a one-of-a-kind splash of macho to the underwater line-up (the only underwater male burlesque show in the United States, and the Aqua Burlesque Show an adult-only show produced by MeduSirena every Friday and Saturday night. This is definitely something you cannot miss if you are in Fort Lauderdale!
#4 Enjoy a Craft Beer
Fort Lauderdale hosts a big craft beer community with Nano breweries, microbreweries and bars on pretty much every corner. If you love the foam of a freshly served beer, the city offers you endless options where you can savour the original and delightful brews produced here. However you’ll need to look beyond the beach, boulevard or port to find them, that’s why a car rental might be your best option (you can check Miles Car Rental where you will find the best online car rental deals). Of course,
make sure one of you is a designated driver.
Some of the best spots to enjoy Fort Lauderdale craft beer include LauderAle, located near both Port Everglades and the Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport, it boasts 1,500 square foot tasting room to explore over 30 beers on draft produced on-site; Invasive Species Brewing, a must-visit spot Established in 2017 by Phil Gillis which offer over five-barrel, 10 beers on rotation, many of which leverage local Florida ingredients like their Bleubird Saison; or Khoffner Brewery set at 1110 NE 8th Ave, this is a successful family business dedicated to German-style beer, featuring 20 styles of beer at his Fort Lauderdale brewery.
Howl at the moon
There’s no better way to recharge your body with energy and good vibes than enjoying a full moon, and even better if it is at a full moon party!
The whole full moon party idea originated in Thailand in the ’80s when a group of friends decided to throw a birthday party on the beach for their friend on the night of the full moon. It was such a great experience that they kept doing until the word spread out, attracting more and more people every year. Nowadays, The Full Moon Party is a giant festival-like party filled with music, drinks, bonfires, and of course the energy-filled full moon.
Of course, this event was rapidly copied by many other countries in their own manner and Fort Lauderdale is not the exception. There are many places where you can enjoy a full moon party in Fort Lauderdale including beach-bars, beach residences and even famous hotels. Here are some of the events for the upcoming full moon:
The monthly full moon party on the beach at Bamboo Beach Tiki bar where you can enjoy great food, music, 14 flat screen tvs, and half-priced Blue Moon.
The Full Moon Dinner Party – November Edition at The Atlantic Hotel & Spa Fort Lauderdale, an Oceanfront Rooftop Terrace featuring a prix-fixe dinner menu, live music and a fire dancer performance.
The Full “Beaver” Moon Paddle Party at Sunrise Paddleboards, LLC. and Kayaks, Fort Lauderdale, an awesome fun full moon paddle and party with music, kayaks, and stand up paddle boards glowing in the night under moonlit canals.
Music for the soul
Maybe Fort Lauderdale is not the first place that comes to mind when we think about music festivals, but let me tell you that this city hosts a diverse live music scene as eclectic and exuberant as the area itself.
The Riptide Music Festival, for example, is a yearly signature event featuring two days of fashion, culinary demos, art displays, and the very best in alternative rock right on Fort Lauderdale beach and guess what, it comes back this year (November 23 and 24 2019) on its 4
th edition with bands like The Killers, The 1977 and Jimmy Eats World!! You can miss it if you are around.
Rockfest 80’s is also two-day music festival celebrating 80’s rock music and pop culture every November-December, right in Fort Lauderdale. This is one of the most prominent rock festivals in south Florida developed by executive producer and founder Roy Anthony whose mission is to keep rock music alive in south Florida. You can also enjoy the Tortuga Music Festival held every April on Fort Lauderdale beach. This is Florida’s largest country music festival featuring three days with the best of the genre and best of all, it was created to generate awareness and raise funds for ocean conservation.
Fort Lauderdale has everything for everyone so next time you visit the city and you want to experience something different than just lying on the beach all day (which is not at all a bad idea by the way) you can try any of the previously mentioned options and get in touch with the unknown side of this magic location.