Fort Lauderdale revels in its natural setting, offering visitors enticing beaches, exotic botanical gardens and exciting boat tours. We did some digging beyond the top attractions, and these are a few of the hidden Fort Lauderdale gems that are sure to make your stay memorable.
The Yard in Wilton Manors
This lush and serene village-like area of Fort Lauderdale is a cluster of quirky boutique shops and restaurants tucked away from the bustling downtown. Local favorites in The Yard include The Alchemist cafe and coffee shop for a quiet breakfast or brunch (don’t miss their iced coffee) and Lola’s Bazaar Art and Music for original art, handmade jewelry and vinyl records.
Anglins Fishing Pier
If you’re looking for a bit of “vitamin sea” minus the sand, Anglins Fishing Pier is a great spot for panoramic views of the Atlantic. Pay a small fee to stroll the pier and watch local fishermen at work, then visit the nearby Aruba Beach Cafe for Caribbean food, tropical drinks and live music. If you want to try catching your own dinner off the pier, you can pay a little more for a fishing permit. The pier shop carries everything you might need, including fishing tackle and bait.
Broward County Main Library
If an afternoon thunderstorm has you seeking shelter or you just need a break from the Florida sun, consider visiting the Broward County Main Library in Fort Lauderdale. Its soaring atrium and fountain provide a refreshing place to relax with a good book or a game on the library’s oversized chess board. Little ones will love playing pretend in the Active Learning Center play area, while older kids and adults can check out the library’s real moon rock display or get creative in the Creation Station Lab and makerspace.
Yellow Green Farmers Market
Local vendors offer fresh produce, handmade goods, craft beer and more at the Yellow Green Farmers Market in Hollywood. Sellers also take this farmers market experience up a notch by getting creative with displays. Don’t be surprised if you come across some vegetable art or meat masterpieces amidst the colorful stalls.
Secret Woods Nature Center
Like its name suggests, the Secret Woods Nature Center is a hidden gem in Fort Lauderdale that many locals don’t even know about. Tucked between Marina Mile Boulevard and the New River, this 57-acre park has a nature trail, butterfly garden, and a kid-friendly nature center with hands-on exhibits. Stroll along the boardwalk through the forest, learn more about local wildlife, rest on the convenient benches scattered throughout the park and enjoy the public art installations along the trail.
15th Street Fisheries
Part restaurant, part entertainment, 15th Street Fisheries in the Lauderdale Marina offers a dining experience you won’t soon forget. The restaurant is literally on the water, with glass-bottom floors that let you see into the richness of the Intracoastal Waterway as you eat. At night, the floors are lit up and you can watch the restaurant feeding the local schools of tarpons. Menu items include fresh fish, chowder, gator, shrimp, crab and more.
For fine dining with a lovely water view, Coconuts is a surprisingly laid-back establishment along the Intracoastal Waterway. This pet-friendly restaurant offers dockside dining, a non-fussy dress code (as long as you’re wearing a shirt and shoes, you’re good) and complimentary valet parking. Watch boats as they pass by and view sunsets over the water while enjoying a delicious meal of fresh seafood and key lime pie for dessert.
Marando Farms and Ranch
Marando Farms and Ranch is an urban farm in Davie, just minutes from downtown Fort Lauderdale. The farm offers a petting zoo and pony rides on the weekends, and it operates its own organic “farm-to-fork” cafe called the Twisted Tomato. Need eggs? Marando Farms lets you collect your own, and you can also purchase fresh, locally grown produce from the farm market.
Milk Money Bar & Kitchen
If you’re not into the seafood scene, Milk Money Bar & Kitchen has you covered. Situated only a half mile from Fort Lauderdale Beach, this neighborhood cafe offers delicious comfort food, coffee and cocktails at any time of day. The industrial decor has an artsy flair, with crystal chandeliers adding an eclectic touch of elegance to the cozy, laid back atmosphere.
Lastly, we include Fort Lauderdale Beach, which isn’t exactly hidden! But the beach does have some hidden treasure. At certain times of day and with the right tide conditions, the beach is a great place to hunt for sea glass — remnants of broken glass worn smooth by the ocean’s shifting sands. Keep your eyes peeled and you might be lucky enough to discover some of Fort Lauderdale’s literal hidden gems!If you’re looking for other beach options, check out our list of the five best beaches in Fort Lauderdale.
Looking for a second home?
Now that you know where to find hidden gems in Fort Lauderdale, you’ll need a home base. Pacaso can help you find your dream second home in the Fort Lauderdale area. Start today by checking out our Fort Lauderdale listings.