Perhaps one of the most intriguing travel destinations for anyone would be Venice Italy. The renowned canals, the gondolas and the essence of culture that abounds draw millions to this island every year. Such an imaginative place has inspired many European cities to claim the title Venice of the North and taking this name on as an appellative shows just how great the fame of Venice truly is. While Fort Lauderdale may not live up to an exact measure, this “Venice of America” offers more to tourism than meets the eye. The system of canals, culinary and cultural venues are about where the similarities stop and the uniqueness begins.
Fort Lauderdale hosts an unparalleled volume of tourists every year. The range is about 10.3 million tourists which is quite respectable due to its proximity to Miami and other major attractions such as the Everglades. The attractiveness becomes clear once one has entered the city: easily navigable cityscapes, luscious parks, an impeccable beachfront and limitless hotels, restaurants and entertainment.
The climate like much of Florida tourism is the first major draw. Sunny days and subtropical humidity set this city in a rainforest type climate which differs from the prevalent drier air conditions of the nearby Everglades. Part of the city’s international flare and appeal comes from its high foreign-born population. The two biggest groups are immigrants from Latin America and Europe. As far as transport goes the city is near the Miami National Airport which has many flights coming and going from all over the world. Also the Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood airport offers many connections across the United States. There are many good rail connections to major cities on Florida’s East coast and Interstate 95 is a major thoroughfare for vacationers. The city is also pioneering a new mode of transport for its future. A project called “the wave” operates downtown streetcars on electricity. As with any Florida city be sure and keep an eye out for “Snowbirds” in the winter months. This is a local term for the many vacationers who arrive in winter months to enjoy the mild temperatures. This causes a doubling of the population and slows down activity, traffic and free time due to crowding. The city used to be inundated with riotous spring break vacationers, but has cleaned up much of its beaches and nightlife by instituting more active legislation against the revelry.
In the vein of culture and the arts there is no better spot here than The River walk arts and entertainment district. This area features everything from opera to live pub music and a beat can always be heard echoing down a long alley. Many music festivals grace its streets and the Elbo Room Bar crowns the district as a nostalgic gem of the city’s swinging nightlife history. More unusual perhaps is the nearby International Swim Museum which is a one of a kind pedestal to the world winning men and women of this graceful water sport. True fans and curious parties alike have lots to browse through and learn from this exhibit. It includes some amazing water facilities, research library and theater. The impeccable weather, which is enjoyable year round makes southern Florida a great place to experience a variety of professional sports. The Sunlife stadium is home to the famed Florida Marlins baseball team and the Miami Dolphins American Football team. The Miami Heat basketball team play in the American Airlines arena and Miami Fusion bring old world football to new heights. For the historian and architect inside you or someone you know its recommended that you check out the famous Stranahan House.
Florida has always been on the pioneer front and in many ways still is so today. But unlike the dime a dozen developments one sees today old homesteads are true museums of frontier life and boast an ingenious design for braving the elements and living in very basic conditions. The Stranahan house is the oldest building in Fort Lauderdale still standing and it once served as a home and trading post. It served as a post office and other government posts for much of the infancy of this historic city on the beach. Speaking of the beach, don’t forget to stop along any point of the city’s eastern coast. Beautiful stretches of white/golden sand and nice average surf dotted with various peers make for a relaxing stroll any time of day. The best grilled fish tacos and eateries for sea fare can be found along the great drive along the beachfront route A1A.
Fort Lauderdale is a truly great slice of Floridian life. It possesses all the amenities of great outdoor and beach dining, it has nonstop entertainment and music for the party seekers and it has enough old Florida charm to make it one of the historical towns worth seeing. Be sure and make this a destination in the sunshine state for your next tour, you will enjoy all the comforts of life and find your special place in the sun too.