Fort Lauderdale, Florida, US.
Bordered by picture-perfect Palm Beach and seriously sexy Miami,
the no-frills coastal city of Fort Lauderdale has long served as a
pit-stop destination. Recently, however, thanks to a fresh breed of
creatives setting up shop, the city has undergone something of a
renaissance. With independent galleries, boho beach shacks,
design-driven hotels and edgy art studios cropping up along its
sun-kissed coastline, this is fast becoming a go-to destination for
switched-on, sun-seeking Americans and savvy travellers alike.
While Fort Lauderdale’s full-time population hovers at around
200,000, the city feels more akin to a close-knit village than a
fast-paced city. Stroll beyond the tourist-friendly Las Olas
Boulevard and you’ll find a slew of art-drenched districts to
explore. Start by visiting the historic Sistrunk Market – a hip
gathering space packed with food and retail options – before
swinging by the quieter Victoria Park neighbourhood to check out
some classic 1930s architecture, then make a beeline for the former
industrial warehouse district Flagler Village, now home to
galleries, street murals and indie shops and cafés galore.
Art enthusiasts will want to carve out time to visit Sarah Glass
Ceramics, a woman-owned pottery studio dedicated to creativity
and community. Those looking to get their hands dirty should book
onto one of the studio’s workshops. Our favourite is the sunset
yoga class – a session that allows you to both create two pinch
pots and perfect your plank pose. We can confirm that it’s just as
magical as it sounds.
Where to stay?
Settle in at Pillars Hotel, where airy bedrooms showcase art deco
furnishings and sparkling sea views. Find a space at the
palm-fringed pool, which is flanked by plush, pin-striped loungers,
before moving onto cocktails at the sultry in-house Secret Garden
Where to go for dinner?
Ask any seafood lover where the best spot in the city is for
freshly caught fish and they’ll likely tell you Coconuts – and give
you a run-down of the entire menu. Serving up shrimp sharing
platters, crispy oysters and lobster salads, this is the kind of
place you’ll want to make a daily pilgrimage to.
And for a drink…
Skip to Stache Drinking Den. The shabby-chic speakeasy,
centrally located in downtown Fort Lauderdale, is a favourite among
locals. Exposed-brick walls, dark wooden details and seductive
furnishings make for a sexy and sophisticated set-up. As do its
killer cocktails. Come at the weekend to experience one of its
Who to take with you?
That friend who’s always on the hunt for a fresh creative scene.
They’ll appreciate Fort Lauderdale’s fiercely artistic
Essentials to pack
If there’s one shoe that marks peak summer season, it’s the
sandal. Wave goodbye to the rubbery, grandad-style sole and snag
yourself a pair of buckled Birkenstocks – they’ll take you from
poolside posing to streetside strolling.
How to get there
Take a direct flight from London Heathrow to Miami International
Airport, from where Fort Lauderdale is just a 32-minute drive