Despite its past as a rowdy spring break destination, Fort Lauderdale is actually closer in look and feel to its tony northern neighbors Boca Raton and West Palm Beach--with prices to match Miami. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find a deal. From dining to spa, here are some affordable ways to take in the local scene:
Happy Hour at Lobster Bar Sea Grille: Get a taste of this upscale restaurant, located on Las Olas Boulevard, during its weekday happy hour, Monday-Thursday from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Cocktails and spirits are half price, so you can score a lychee martini for $7 instead of the usual $14, plus domestic beers are $3 and a selection of wines, $5.50. The food menu includes a scaled-down version of its surf-and-turf items, including ceviche ($9.50), lobster and crab beignets ($10.95), and steak tartare ($9.50).
Brunch at Louie Bossi: A local favorite, this old-school Italian eatery on Las Olas Boulevard boasts a large brunch menu including pizza, pastas, salads, meats and cheeses, and avocado toast. Every Saturday and Sunday, Louie Bossi diners can imbibe on unlimited mimosas, Bloody Mary's, bellinis, or aperol spritzes until 4 p.m. with the purchase of an entree, which start around $10. Considering bottomless brunches usually cost about $20 to $25 bucks just for the drinks in cities like Miami, this weekend deal is a score.
Cocktails at the Rooftop @ 1WLO: Opened in October, the Rooftop @ 1WLO is the city's first rooftop bar and lounge, offering panoramic views of Fort Lauderdale’s skyline from above Las Olas Boulevard. Mixologists serve up a selection of handcrafted cocktails, including the Garden Party with vodka, Prosecco, cucumber, and strawberry; and the Apple Bottom Figs with bourbon, figs, and apple butter. Specialty drinks start at $12--a good deal for a high-end rooftop bar. Light bites such as buffalo chicken empanadas and pineapple guacamole are also available for nibbling.
Bliss Spa at the W Fort Lauderdale: Due to the hotel’s recent renovation, the Bliss Spa at the W Fort Lauderdale is currently located on the 17th Floor of the property’s Tower II until the lobby-level space is complete. But the same Bliss services are still available including massages, facials, manicures, and pedicures. For a limited time, spa-goers receive $10 off every $100 they spend. For example, a 75-minute massage runs $170, while a 60-minute “fabulous facial” is $135.
Sunset Cruise with Fort Lauderdale Charters: Known as the yachting capital of the world, Fort Lauderdale offers plenty of water-related activities, from paddleboarding to fishing to diving. For a more relaxing option, Fort Lauderdale Charters offers a Cast Away the Day Sunset Cruise. During the two-hour ride, the Spirit of Lauderdale catamaran sails past docked cruise ships and Millionaires Row, home to the city’s mega mansions. A Champagne toast is complimentary, but beer, wine, and soft drinks are also available on board for about $3-4. Tickets cost $50 for adults.