Old Fort Lauderdale/ Riverwalk/ Riverfront
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Old Fort Lauderdale is the historic part of town where you can find turn-of-the-century homes, a shady Riverwalk promenade along the river, and sidewalk cafes along 2nd Street. It's lovely to be in an area of mature trees and history in otherwise built-up and fairly tacky Fort Lauderdale.
Come for lunch or to enjoy a warm evening at the sidewalk cafes on 2nd Street and then go for a walk amongst the tropical plants and beautiful old trees, taking in the quaint atmosphere of the historical homes.
The houses are beside the Historical Society, right where 2nd Ave meets the river. Riverwalk is here- a promenade the goes west to Esplanade Park (across the street from the exceptionally good Museum of Discovery and Science) and east to Las Olas Riverfront, an outdoor mall with gorgeous architecture and a Spanish fountain. Unfortunately this mall is quite empty now but there are still some casual cafes (a pita place, pizzeria, and an empanada bakery) where you can enjoy a meal. To get to Las Olas Riverfront you cross train tracks that raise up for boats and lower when a train comes- impressive to see!
In the white gazebo at Riverwalk by the Historical Society is a large checker board table that someone has made themselves. Checkers are there and you can play a game! Young kids will be quiet for a while just rearranging the checkers while you enjoy the views of the water! It's fun to watch the flashy speedboats go by. There are quite a few homeless people around the Riverwalk area. Fancy lampposts, pretty picnic tables, flags, and a wide walkway make this area pleasant for a stroll. I wouldn't come alone at night though.
2nd Street looks like it's a happening party place at night. For lunch, it's great to eat at Tarpon Bend Restaurant. It is nicer inside than it looks from the outside. The huge windows, wide wooden booths, and exciting decor make it interesting for kids, so they'll be happy while you enjoy the yummy, inexpensive food! Afterwards, spend a few hours at the Museum of Discovery and Science- you can't go wrong here- it is so much fun for kids, colorful, and interesting.
The Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale (NSU Art Museum) is also in this area, with its interesting paint-splashed building. Inside the modern architecture is spacious and filled with light, and you can have a coffee in their gift shop/cafe which is in the foyer. Their collection of art by Mexican artists is great. The Indigo Room, a magical and imaginative installation by Haitian artist Edouard Duval-Carrie, downstairs to the right of the ticket desk beside the restrooms is a do-not-miss!
Another picturesque park on the river in Fort Lauderdale is Colee Hammock Park.
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Old Fort Lauderdale and Riverwalk are located around 2nd Street (Himmarshee St) and 2nd Ave (Moffat Ave), Fort Lauderdale FL 33312.
Exit Highway 95 at Broward Blvd (exit #27) and head toward the ocean. Turn right on 4th Ave and park in one of the lots on the right. Parking is about $5 a day, higher during popular times.
Tarpon Bend Restaurant, 200 SW 2nd Street, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301, call (954) 523-3233.
Fort Lauderdale Historical Society, 219 SW 2nd Avenue Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301, call (954) 463-4431.
The Pita Pit, 200 SW 1st Avenue #103, Fort Lauderdale FL 33301, call (954) 617-7482.
Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale, 1 E. Las Olas Blvd, Fort Lauderdale FL 33301, call (954) 525-5500. Open Tues-Sat 11-5, with extended hours on Thurs till 8pm, Sun 12-5. Closed Jan 1, July 4, Thanksgiving (fourth Thurs in July), and Dec 25, and closes at 2pm on Dec 31. Admission is $12 for adults, $8 for seniors and military, $5 for students, and free for children 12 and under and NSU students.
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Overall Visitor Rating: Unrated.