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The Perfect Weekend

Fort Lauderdale once garnered a reputation as a raucous spring break mecca, but now it’s a major draw for visitors who appreciate upscale shopping and dining, in addition to museums, gardens and, of course, that big, beautiful Atlantic Ocean. And although there are many options for adventure, Fort Lauderdale is also a wonderful place to unwind, thanks to a laid-back atmosphere, beautiful scenery and open spaces.

Day

1

MORNING
  • Hit the Pool.

    The nautical design of The Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale — it resembles a cruise ship of sorts — celebrates water, and the seventh-floor, ocean-view pool deck is no exception. Take to the water early to watch the sunrise, then enjoy a mimosa from the Club Lounge.

MIDDAY
  • Browse Bonnet House.

    This museum and garden was once home to American artist Fred Bartlett and his wife, patron Evelyn Bartlett. Tucked into 35 acres on a coastal barrier island, the property retains the same whimsy and charm it had when it was built in the early 20th century. In addition to being open for public tours, the property also hosts outdoor concerts and an annual orchid festival.

  • Lunch at a Local Favorite.

    Some of the reviews for Gilbert’s 17th Street Grill read like this: “The 17th Street Grill made me the best hamburger I’ve ever eaten in my life” and “All I can say is, ‘Wow.’ Perhaps the best burger I’ve had in years.” You get the idea. This lunch spot is a favorite among Fort Lauderdale residents and visitors alike.

AFTERNOON
  • Hail a Water Taxi.

    Given Fort Lauderdale’s location right on the water, a water taxi is a great way to get a feel for the city. With stops along Las Olas Riverfront, the (reportedly) haunted Stranahan House, the 15th Street Fisheries and a handful of bars and restaurants, a coastal cab affords you a lot of scenery in a little time.

  • Get an Afternoon Pick-Me-Up.

    Should you need a light bite or an iced coffee, try Warsaw Coffee Company. This Fort Lauderdale favorite specializes in delicious daily sweets (try the guava and cheese pastelito), as well as freshly brewed coffee and tea.

EVENING
  • Rum Coast.

    Return to The Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale for a signature rum dinner at Burlock Coast, where multi-course dinners paired with specialty rums are a wonderful way to end the day. Chef de Cuisine Gavin Pera and Beverage Director James Camp have carefully collaborated on a menu of fresh, local, seasonal fare paired with sensational rums.

  • Have a Nightcap.

    Wrap up your day at Apothecary 330 Cocktail Club, where the motto is Carpe Noctum. At this speakeasy-style bar, tucked inside Pizza Craft restaurant, bartenders create custom cocktails and only ask one thing: “Please be patient. Quality cocktails take time and love.”

Day

2

MORNING
  • Load Up.

    At Old Fort Lauderdale Breakfast House (O-B House, for short), the servings are plentiful, the space is airy, and the food is top-notch. Consider the “vacationer” breakfast: two fresh eggs cooked to order and served with a freshly baked muffin and a cup of fresh fruit topped with a dollop of cultured, organic Vermont yogurt.

  • Watch for Gators.

    No trip to South Florida would be complete without a trip to the Everglades, and an airboat tour makes that possible. Hourlong tours are inexpensive and accessible and include hotel pickup and return.

MIDDAY
  • Get Beachy.

    Known for its expanses of pristine sand, Fort Lauderdale has more than eight beaches to explore. Consider Hollywood Beach for a dose of retro cool. Its boardwalk runs 2.5 miles along the water and includes cafés, a dog beach, shops and more.

AFTERNOON
  • Walk the Boulevard.

    Although the water taxi makes a stop along Las Olas Boulevard, there’s no better way to explore it than on foot. As it runs from the business district to Fort Lauderdale Beach, this road is packed with shops, galleries, restaurants, boutiques and Mediterranean-inspired architecture.

  • Time Out.

    Traveling can be exhausting — we understand. Return to The Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale and relax at The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Fort Lauderdale. Opt for the Intuitive Ocean treatment, which harnesses the benefits of the ocean to nurture and relax.

EVENING
  • Have a Mai-Tai.

    Fort Lauderdale’s Mai-Kai restaurant is considered a landmark, both for its décor and its cuisine. Plus, it’s home to a Polynesian floor show that garners rave reviews. The extensive menu includes Chinese dishes as well as island-inspired barbecue. For dessert, try the Florida classic Key lime pie or the Polynesian Surprise, an ice volcano covered in fresh tropical fruit and set ablaze tableside.

  • A Final Toast.

    At American Social, people are encouraged to celebrate together — whether it’s a vacation, a birthday, an engagement or retirement. This gastropub features “pull your own” beer taps and is a great place to say salud to South Florida.