When you hear Florida art scene you might think of the city of Miami first, but nearby Fort Lauderdale is expanding the sunshine state’s arts and culture offering too. More than a beach destination, the greater Fort Lauderdale area now encompasses a mix of art galleries, museums, bohemian street art, and trendy restaurants without the price or crowds of Miami.
Below are some must-see spots for art lovers, foodies and those looking to blow up their Instagram feed with eye-catching urban backdrops.
Fort Lauderdale Instagram Worthy Art Sites
Downtown Hollywood Mural Project
While not as big as Wynwood Walls, you’ll be able to find parking here at least as you take in a bite and pose in front of large-scale street art. I enjoyed the funky vibe and following the Downtown Hollywood Mural Project map to discover the different murals. My favorite being this Mona Lisa one.
Originating in 1958, this 75,000-square-foot modernist building is both welcoming and accessible. The exhibits are always rotating, but we got to take in the colorful works of Frank Stella and listen to a lecture in their auditorium on Chihuly. Also worth noting is the museum’s director and chief curator is Bonnie Clearwater, an influential leader who played a major role in Miami’s emergence and development as an international arts center.
The last Saturday of the month (except December) food trucks, street performances, local vendors, live music, interactive exhibitions and more come together on the streets and in the galleries of FATVillage from 6 to 11 p.m.
Art Fair on the Water
For a true one-of-a-kind experience visit Fort Lauderdale in January and grab tickets to the Art Fair on the Water. Housed in vacant multimillion-dollar homes along the waterway, you can only access these pop-up art displays via water taxi or private yachts. It combines boating, art and interior design all in one! While touring jaw-dropping homes, you can take in works from Picasso and new up and coming artists too. What an experience and super chic too! Purchase tickets at artftlauderdale.com.
Girl’s Club Foundation Warehouse
The mission of Girls’ Club is to educate the public, nurture the careers of female artists, and to serve as a resource for art students and scholars, curators and practicing artists on the contributions of women to the field of contemporary art. A special commitment is made to expose the work of local artists to a broader national and international audience. 723 NE 2 Avenue. TIP: Next door’s Montce Swim shop boutique is worth visiting too.
Instagrammable Fort Lauderdale Restaurants and Bars
Funky Buddha Brewery
This craft brewery is HUGE and chill. Located in the heart of Oakland Park’s new Culinary Arts District, the 110,000 sq-ft facility is South Florida’s largest craft microbrewery. They offer tours of the facility, scratch-made grub, and dozens of beers on tap daily.
For a unique dining experience, head to the famous Wreck Bar inside the B Ocean Resort. This historic destination is one of the few places in the world where you can enjoy the beauty of mermaids performing a burlesque underwater show from a porthole view while enjoying a tropical cocktail and dining on fresh seafood. Made famous in the film Analyze This, this show has been around since the Rat Pack days and is a fun kitsch night out. See for yourself in my Mermaid Show Aqua Burlesque Facebook Live video.
One Door East
Chef Jeremy Bearman created a global tapas menu in collaboration with owner and Chef Giovanni Rocchio. His cuisine has been well received in South Florida, and is featured in many rave media reviews. The inside decor is hip and trendy and the food is delicious. His menu has me loving Brussel Sprouts now!
The downtown historic warehouse district, is burgeoning with productivity, coffee shops and art galleries. Techies, artists, designers, and creative professionals call the four block district home. A must-see spot is there is BREW Urban Cafe Next Door – combining my love for tea and books, I couldn’t stop photographing this hidden gem. TIP: Go to the bathroom before you leave BREW, it’s decorated kray! Graffiti walls can be found out back too. Also, railroad tracks run behind the coffee shop, which is great for that rustic look.
This seafood restaurant has an amazing high-ceiling chandelier made of oars that my iPhone couldn’t do justice too. Boatyard’s 80-seat dockside patio lounge provides a prime view of the scenic Intracoastal. It’s the perfect setting to grab a bite or drinks in the company of friends while enjoying an afternoon or evening watching the boats cruise by. Add to that an open kitchen and expansive raw bar cart that is worth a stop for lunch or dinner.
Did we miss some of the hotspots in Ft. Lauderdale? Let us know YOUR favorite Instagram spots or better yet, tag us on Instagram (shesonthegotravel).