What to Do in Fort Lauderdale for Free
If you’re visiting the Venice of America, don’t be intimidated by the luxury of South Florida. There are plenty of things to do in Fort Lauderdale for free.
When you think about South Florida tourist locations like Miami Beach or Fort Lauderdale, the term “free” isn’t the first one that comes to mind.
But the fact is that Fort Lauderdale is a lively, colorful city that’s welcoming to all visitors, regardless of how thick their wallets are. Check out our list of the best things to do in Fort Lauderdale for free.
1. Antique Car Museum
This museum is an authentic local attraction that showcases the history of the automobile industry. The central pieces of the exhibit are the 22 Packard Motor Company cars produced in the first half of the 20th century.
All of the displayed vehicles are unique, gorgeous, and fully functional, so you’ll have a hard time directing your attention away from them.
But don’t think that this is a place you can skip out on. There are many other things on display that are sure to intrigue you, like customized dashboard clocks, hood ornaments, and more.
2. Buehler Planetarium and Observatory
If you wish to get lost among the stars, look no further than the spectacular Buehler Planetarium and Observatory.
It’s located in Broward College in Weston, a beautiful neighborhood that’s intricately carved with canals and waterways that’s close to where Fort Lauderdale meets the Everglades National Park.
The planetarium is among the most advanced in South Florida and its high-tech telescopes will offer spectacular sights and transport you high into the night sky that you’ll feel like stars are within arm’s reach.
You can get a fantastic experience for free every Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday evenings.
3. African-American Research Library and Cultural Center
The grand library that houses a detailed record of African-American history in the U.S. is one of four of its kind in the country. The African-American Research Library and Cultural Center has an impressive collection of over 85,000 books and documents.
But that’s not all.
The center is also home to an expansive gallery and an auditorium where you might catch a comedy, music, or theater show.
If you’re eager to learn more about the rich history of the African-American community and Fort Lauderdale, this is the best place to do so.
4. Everglades Holiday Park
You can find the Everglades Holiday Park by taking a short ride to the west of Fort Lauderdale. Once there, hop on an airboat and marvel at the sight of the beautiful Everglades, colorful wildlife, and alligators in the waters.
You can even get the chance to see a live gator show and take photos with a young gator – if you dare to hold it.
As an entryway to the Everglades National Park, the Holiday Park is exciting, fun, and educational. While it isn’t completely free, those 16 or under will be admitted without an entrance fee.
5. Fort Lauderdale Beach
Fort Lauderdale Beach is a certified Blue Wave Beach, which means it’s clean, responsibly managed, free of litter, and of exceptional overall quality.
The beach is four miles long, with a wonderful sidewalk following it for the whole stretch. You’ll see the stunning ocean water on one side and colorful shops, cafes, and entertainment venues on the other, and it’s up to you to decide which view is more inviting.
Since its renovation, Fort Lauderdale Beach has become a peaceful, family-friendly area whose clear waters welcome swimmers, divers, snorkelers, and even jet skiers.
But if you’d rather take a walk instead of a swim, you can enjoy strolling down the promenade, with slick palm trees keeping you under the pleasant shade.
6. Las Olas Boulevard
At first, it might seem that going down Las Olas Boulevard would be the exact opposite of a free good time in Fort Lauderdale, what with its high prices and luxurious environment.
However, the atmosphere and the boulevard’s looks offer an experience you shouldn’t miss.
There are many delights for those taking a casual walk to enjoy while traversing the lively street, with beautiful restaurants, galleries, and retail shops peppered along Las Olas Boulevard. Even a casual walk along the stretch of the entire boulevard can make for a fun activity.
You can easily reach the street by car, bus, or trolley, but the most authentic way to get there would be to catch a water taxi.
7. Secret Woods Nature Center
As a natural refuge in the middle of the urban environment, the Secret Woods Nature Center is an attraction of Fort Lauderdale that makes every visitor fall in love with it the first time they set foot in the park.
On this location, the parkland and the impressive oak forest surrounding it meet the swampland, creating a mesmerizing area with a unique look.
Within the grounds of the Secret Woods Nature Center is where you can see a butterfly house, a reptile habitat, and an active beehive. There are two scenic trails that take you around the center and walking along, you’ll forget the urban environment lurking just beyond the trees.
8. Sunday Jazz Brunch
If you love jazz, make sure to be in Fort Lauderdale on the first Sunday of the month. That’s when you can come to the SunTrust Sunday Jazz Brunch, a mini jazz festival held at Riverwalk Park.
This is the perfect chance for you to hear some of the area’s best jazz musicians in an outdoor setting. There are four stages and you can hear the concerts while resting on a chair, blanket, or even while walking down the walkway.
This concert series is something you shouldn’t miss, as the music’s great, the atmosphere very pleasant, and the Jazz Brunch is as authentic an experience as they come.
Best of all, it’s completely free of charge.
The Best Experiences are Priceless
Now that you’ve learned of all the amazing things to do in Fort Lauderdale for free, you’ll likely find a visit to the fascinating city much more enticing.
And once you get there, you’ll discover even more wonderful sights and activities that reveal the city’s warmth and the soul hiding among its streets and canals.
With all the experiences awaiting there, Fort Lauderdale is a place you shouldn’t miss.