Heading to Fort Lauderdale? Be sure to carve out time to saunter along Las Olas Boulevard! Renowned for its beautiful beachfront, delicious food, and fabulous boutiques, this picture-perfect boulevard is the heart of Downtown Fort Lauderdale.
With winding canals on one side and a vibrant urban scene on the other, it offers the perfect way to experience the “Venice of America.” Stroll alongside the scenic Intracoastal Waterway for spectacular views of palatial homes and stunning yachts. Explore the Boulevard’s eclectic array of vibrant shops, art galleries, and restaurants. Savor a vivid sunset as you dine alfresco.
Ready to discover the heart of Fort Lauderdale? Check out our complete guide to Las Olas Boulevard, and do it right!
What to see & do along Las Olas Boulevard
Las Olas Beach
Looking for a family-friendly, sun-and-surf destination? Las Olas Beach fits the bill. Just a mile east of downtown Fort Lauderdale, this beautiful spot at the eastern end of Las Olas Boulevard is a world away from South Florida’s beach party scene.
There’s a lot to love at Las Olas Beach. Relax and stretch out on the sugary sand. Rent a beach chair and umbrella, and watch the world go by. Take a stroll along the palm tree-lined shore, and enjoy amazing views of the coast. Want to cool off? Splash in the crystal clear water or check out the local water sports equipment rentals.
When you’re ready for a break from the sun, head back over to fabulous Las Olas Boulevard, just steps away. Shake off the sand, stake out a spot on an outdoor patio, and sip on something frosty.
Riverfront Gondola Tours
Ever dreamed of cruising the canals of Venice? Treat yourself to the American version courtesy of Riverfront Gondola Tours. Hop aboard for an incredible private tour of the stunning waterways and canals of Fort Lauderdale, centered upon none other than Las Olas Boulevard.
These aren’t your average gondolas, though! They’re electric – meaning no noise, vibrations, emissions, or fumes – very eco-friendly! Sit back and relax in these super-comfy vessels for a leisurely 90-minute tour that gives you dazzling views of luxurious yachts and jaw-dropping mansions, along with entertaining bits of local lore provided by the crew.
Want to make a meal of it? Get in on the dinner cruise option. Place your order with the Casa Sensei restaurant before boarding, and you’ll be able to savor a delicious Latin Fusion meal as you take in the sights. What more could you want?
Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale
Want to meander along Florida’s “most beautiful mile”? Wind your way to the Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale, a green waterfront oasis just steps away from trendy Las Olas Boulevard. Combining waterfront charm with urban energy, the Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale is a community hub that hums with life.
Stretched over the banks of the New River, this inland gem boasts a lush landscape, winding walkways, and a slew of tempting shops and restaurants.
Worked up an appetite? Take your pick of everything from classic American comfort food to zesty Caribbean treats. Savor a craft beer or crisp cocktail on a breezy patio.
Make sure to check out Riverwalk’s roster of group activities and cultural attractions. Take a tango class, or teach Fido to fetch. Maybe get in on family-friendly festival fun. Chill out at the park’s Jazz Brunch on the first Sunday of each month. Spread out a blanket and get in the groove!
Historic Stranahan House Museum
Ready for some time-traveling? Enter the Historic Stranahan House Museum just off of East Las Olas Blvd to step back in time. If you want to see where it all began for Fort Lauderdale, you’ve come to the right place.
Built in 1901 by Frank Stranahan, considered the city’s founding father, this site is Fort Lauderdale’s oldest and most historically significant building. The unique wood-frame structure is graced with sweeping porches and a remarkable view of the New River.
Take a guided tour and pay your respects to this lovingly preserved grande dame of Fort Lauderdale architecture. You’ll be rewarded with a fascinating glimpse into life from a century ago when Las Olas Boulevard was nothing more than a one-lane dirt road.
Seeking a serene spot amid the downtown buzz? Make your way to Huizenga Plaza, otherwise known as Bubier Park. Set in the heart of Fort Lauderdale, this is a lush green oasis.
Pack up the picnic hamper and gather the gang to savor some sweet relief. Stake out a picnic table, spread out a blanket, unpack the hamper, and dine alfresco.
Stroll through this 2.1-acre riverfront park and take in the vibrant greenery around you. Enjoy direct access to the beautiful Riverwalk and the scenic New River. Be sure to take in the Plaza’s star attraction: a mesmerizing interactive fountain with a light show on the dancing water as mellow recorded music plays.
Want a cultural hit? Check out notable neighbors like NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale and the nearby Broward Center for the Performing Arts. Time it right, and you might catch a music festival or another local event!
NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale
Craving a deep dive into the local arts scene? Then you’re due for a visit to the NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale. Perched on the western terminus of East Las Olas Boulevard, this lively cultural hub sits at the heart of Fort Lauderdale’s arts and entertainment district.
Explore this distinctive, modernist building and its vast array of outstanding exhibitions. Discover 6,000 works of art, including substantial avant-garde European and Latin American collections. The museum also hosts special programs ranging from live music to lectures by prominent artists and curators – so check out their schedule!
Inclined to pick up a brush? Pop into the AutoNation Academy of Art & Design, home to state-of-the-art studios and classes taught by professional artists. Browse the museum’s bookstore for the perfect addition to your shelf at home, then enjoy a break and a bite at the cozy onsite cafe.
Looking for someplace off the beaten path where you can simply chill out? Give yourself a time-out in Esplanade Park. Although about 10 minutes west of the end of the West Las Olas Boulevard, this stop along the lovely Riverwalk is a family-friendly downtown gem. Featuring waterfront gardens, sculptures, and a glass pavilion, it’s a visual delight.
The green open spaces invite you to stretch out, picnic, read, and watch the boats drift by. Stroll the Riverwalk to take in splendid river views. Want to cruise the shoreline? Take to the water in a rented paddleboat. When hunger strikes, hit up one of the many local food trucks for a delicious meal on the go.
RELATED: Top-Rated Fort Lauderdale Day Trips
When the sun goes down, the lights come on, and the nightlife begins to hum. The park hosts loads of festivals and community events throughout the year. Planning a visit? Check out the South Florida Finds website to catch the action.
Where to eat & drink
Feeling hungry after a day of sunning, shopping, and sightseeing? When it comes to dining choices, Las Olas has you covered with a fantastic mix of restaurants.
Looking for something contemporary and upbeat? Head to Wild Sea Las Olas, a chic seafood restaurant on trendy Las Olas Boulevard. Menu options include a wide range of fresh seafood specialties along with burgers, pizza, and steaks.
If you like high energy and authentic Italian cuisine, Louie Bossi’s Ristorante Bar Pizzeria will be a surefire hit. Choose from a mouthwatering selection of homemade pastas, wood-fired Neapolitan pizza, and Chef Louie’s renowned house-cured meats.
Got a hankering for some Latin spice? El Camino Fort Lauderdale will hit the spot. This airy, modern restaurant offers classic Mexican meals and margaritas. Choose from their wide selection of house-made tacos, burritos, and quesadillas. Quaff a delicious signature cocktail, agave spirit, or craft beer.
Looking for an upscale yet relaxed dining experience? Find it at the American Social Bar and Restaurant. Catch a game as you chow down on classic American fare. Quench your thirst with one of the bar’s signature cocktails, or choose from their huge menu of craft beer.
If tacos and tequila are your thing, Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar is your place. This lively Mexican hot spot offers classic Mexican meals and snacks, as well as over 200 varieties of tequila. Enjoy freshly-made corn tortillas. Dip into a tailor-made batch of guacamole prepared tableside. Wash it all down with a deliciously frosty Margarita.
If you’ve got a taste for the old school, drop into Big City Tavern. This stylish, classic American eatery features beloved classics like dry-aged steaks, burgers, fresh seafood, and homemade pasta of the day. Hit up the impressive Grand Bar and make a selection from its long list of wines and craft beers.
Craving a low-key wining and dining experience? Slip into Vinos Wine Bar & Cocktail Lounge. Savor the intimate atmosphere of this European-style lounge. Choose from an array of fine wines and craft beer. Complement your libations with delicious cheese plates, pate, tapas, and other small plate crowd-pleasers.
Where to stay
After a day of sightseeing along Las Olas, end your evening at the Riverside Hotel. Right on The Boulevard, this 3-star hotel dishes out spacious and comfortable rooms in a central location without breaking the bank.
Cool down with a dip in the heated outdoor pool before delighting your tastebuds with a meal at the on-site Wild Sea Oyster Bar and Grille or The Boathouse at the Riverside. Or imbibe in a nightcap at the on-site Golden Lyon Pub or Prestons Lounge.
With its fantastic East Las Olas location, the Hyatt Centric Las Olas is one of the city’s top hotels. Sink into soft linens in the sleek, modern rooms, some offering spectacular skyline views.
Bask in the South Florida sun on the terrace before taking a dip in the outdoor pool, surrounded by colorful murals. Enjoy a delicious meal at the on-site Harborwood Restaurant & Bar or a refreshing drink in the fresh air at the ELEV8 Pool Bar.