With a population of almost 5.5 million people, Fort Lauderdale is a huge Florida city—arguably the most famous in the state—located in Broward County. Named after Major William Lauderdale and the forts he commanded in the Second Seminole War, Fort Lauderdale is sometimes now also dubbed the “Venice of America” due to its large and complex system of canals.
Naturally, Fort Lauderdale is a major tourist destination, and though it originally gained its reputation as a spring break spot for college students, it has now become a place that attracts a crowd both rich and sophisticated. Nautical recreation—it is a major center for yachting—and cruise ships are Fort Lauderdale’s most prominent pastimes. The boating industry, in fact, makes up much of the city’s revenue. It is home to around 100 marinas, and is also a major center for yacht manufacturing and maintenance.
Special annual events include the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, the largest of its kind in the world, and an annual festival of music, Langerado.
Unlike most cities, Fort Lauderdale officially recognizes distinct neighborhoods under its Neighborhood Organization Recognition Program. A recent tally has Fort Lauderdale neighborhoods at a number of at least 60 and growing.
Fort Lauderdale is also proud to be home to a large, thriving gay population and vacation spot, which actively seeks them out. Its own visitor’s bureau calls it “America’s top gay resort,” and PlanetOut, a gay website, labeled the city the “best gay resort town.” It is also the location of the largest LGBT library in the southeastern portion of the country, The Stonewall Library & Archives.
Fort Lauderdale has more than 4100 restaurants for its citizens and tourists’ dining pleasure, including Asian places such as Mai-Kai, Jade Garden, Lemon Grass, Musashi Sushi Café, and Galanga, Italian places like Vincent! Restaurant and Wine Bar, Serafino Waterfront Bistro, Café Martorano, Big Louie’s, Casa d’Angelo Ristorante, and Ponte Vecchio, Latin places such as Café Seville, Zona Fresca, Canyon, Cabo Blanco, and Jalisco, and steak and seafood places like Morton’s, Charlie’s Crab, Aruba Beach Café, the Capital Grill, and Shula’s on the Beach. In addition, Discovery Cruises offers dinner cruises, for a fun dining option.
It also has a bustling nightlife, with over 120 night clubs, including Culture Room, Revolution Live, Blue Martini, Club Premiere, The Poor House, a jazz and blues club, and Casablanca Café. Gay and lesbian clubs include Club Boom, Scandals, and Manhattan South.
Fort Lauderdale also has a thriving arts and entertainment community. Running along Las Olas Boulevard, the district has such famous theatres as the Broward Center for the Performing Arts.
Other attractions include the beaches (of course), museums such as The Museum of Discovery and Science, The Antique Car Museum, and The Young at Art Children Museum, the Fort Lauderdale Swap Shop—a huge flea market and a 13-screen drive-in movie theatre complex, the largest in the world—the International Swimming Hall of Fame, the Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, the Henry E. Kinney Tunnel, and the James Randi Educational Foundation.
Fort Lauderdale has 23 public schools, as well as 7 colleges, namely The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, Broward Community College, City College, Florida Atlantic University (satellite campus), Florida International University (satellite campus), Nova Southeastern University (satellite campus), and the University of Phoenix (Cypress Creek Learning Center).
As far as transportation goes, Broward County Transit provides local buses, along with connections to the Metrobus in Miami-Dade and Palm Tran in Palm Beach. Meanwhile, Tri-Rail connects Fort Lauderdale to Florida’s other major cities, and Amtrak connects it to other cities up and down the Atlantic. Airplane transportation is provided via the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. Ship transportation is also available from Port Everglades, one of the country’s busiest cruise ports.
Fort Lauderdale (pronounced /fɔrt ˈlɔːdərdeɪl/) is a city in the U.S. state of Florida, along the Atlantic Ocean. It is the county seat of Broward County. According to 2007 U.S. Census Bureau estimates, the city had a population of 183,606. It is a principal city of the South Florida metropolitan area, which is home to over 5,413,212 people.
The city is a popular tourist destination, with 10.35 million visitors in 2006. Fort Lauderdale is sometimes known as the "Venice of America" because of its expansive and intricate canal system. The city is a major yachting center, with 42,000 resident yachts and 100 marinas and boatyards. The city sits 28 miles north of Miami, Florida. Fort Lauderdale and the surrounding area host over 4100 restaurants and 120 nightclubs.
Fort Lauderdale is named after a series of forts built by the United States during the Second Seminole War. The forts took their name from Major William Lauderdale, who was the commander of the detachment of soldiers who built the first fort. However, development of the city did not begin until 50 years after the forts were abandoned at the end of the conflict. Three forts named "Fort Lauderdale" were constructed; the first was at the fork of the New River, the second at Tarpon Bend, in what is now known as the Sailboat Bend neighborhood, and the third near the site of the Bahia Mar Marina.