For those of us living in Miami, Fort Lauderdale can seem like a world away (especially with that infamous South Florida traffic). Because of the distance and road rage, it’s not often you’ll find us up in Broward. But thanks to Brightline, getting to the 954 is no longer a mission.
A few weeks back, we rode the new express train service to spend a day exploring Fort Lauderdale. There’s a lot to do in this beautiful city, and the Brightline and its partners make it easy to fill up your schedule with attractions and — of course — food. Here’s a rundown of our day in FTL.
Brightline and Sun Trolley
In case you’ve missed the news, the Brightline is an express train system that connects Miami, Downtown and West Palm Beach. Unlike other trains in the tri-county area, it doesn’t make a ton of stops. There are only those three, keeping ride times to a minimum and satisfaction to a maximum. The state-of-the-art stations are full of amenities, as are the trains: There is free WIFI onboard and outlets at every train seat, plus you have access to an assortment of snacks and beverages (adult and otherwise).
If you opt for Select — the premium ticket — the snacks and non-alcoholic beverages are free, and you also get one complimentary alcoholic beverage. Seats are also wider than the regular service (Smart), and you can chill out at the exclusive Select Lounge before your ride. Regardless of which ticket you choose, you’ll be traveling in comfort — so much so that before you notice, you’re already at your destination; it takes roughly 30 minutes to get to Fort Lauderdale and 60 minutes to get to West Palm Beach.
So what happens once you arrive? The stations are centrally located in each city, so there are a variety of transportation options available. In our case, we were dropped off at the doorstep of Downtown Fort Lauderdale, where it’s easy to order an Uber or rent a car. However, we suggest taking the scenic route with Sun Trolley.
The trolley offers seven different routes, which can take you to the beach, Las Olas and other local attractions for free or one low price. Most routes are free except the Las Olas and Beach links. A day pass will set you back $3, which is a steal. To hop on, all you need to do is wave and hop on. Once we boarded our trolley, it was time for lunch.
We loooooooooove Louie Bossi’s. We lavished them with praise way back in 2015, and we’re ashamed to admit it’s taken us this long to make it back. It’s just such a trek, but like we mentioned earlier, the Brightline makes it easy to visit (which we’ll be doing a lot more now). At Louie Bossi’s, expect hearty Italian fare galore. Pizzas like the Fungi Misti (wild mushroom and smoked buffalo mozzarella) are insanely good and filling, and pastas like the Strozzapreti (Italian sausage heaven) are perfect for sharing over a bottle of wine. It’s such a cool vibe, too, thanks to the bocce court and outdoor courtyard. If you’re checking out Las Olas, make sure to stop here.
Sightseeing Tour with Cycle Party
After you stuff your face at Louie Bossi’s, the best thing you can do is burn some of those calories. Enter Cycle Party: As the name suggests, it’s a party on wheels. Round up some friends, grab a seat and start peddling: Cycle Party offers several tours, including pub crawls, food crawls and scavenger hunts. Each vehicle holds up to 15 people and is powered by you and your party. Not only do you get to explore the city, but you get to do so in a unique and fun way. Prepare to feel like a celebrity, as pedestrians will stop to wave and take photos. We’re pretty sure we ended up on someone’s Instagram.
Water Taxi Tour
Prefer to give your legs a break? Hop aboard the famous Fort Lauderdale Water Taxi. Your wise-cracking guides will take you on a scenic tour through the waterways for a closer look at some fabulous celebrity homes. You’ll also discover firsthand why FTL is considered the Yacht Capital of the World and get a history lesson on some notable area attractions.
The Water Taxi is also a convenient way to just get around. There are multiple routes and stops that extend up to Oakland Park Boulevard and down to Hollywood. Did we mention alcohol is available for purchase onboard? Cheers!
Rooftop @1WLO and Township
What are you in the mood for: beer or liquor? With the 1-2 punch of Rooftop and Township, you get the best of both worlds. Take the elevator up to Rooftop and enjoy a dynamic city view with some of the city’s top cocktails like the Jammy Hendrick’s, a simple yet potent creation featuring Hendrick’s gin, ginger peach jam and fresh basil.
Downstairs, Township has a bevy of brews from local and national breweries to quench your thirst. Up the ante with Township’s signature Shot Ski, which is exactly what it sounds like: Four shots placed on a ski that are taken simultaneously. There are also bites like pretzels, chicken sandwiches and buns available to help soak up all the booze.
FATVillage Art Walk
Time your Fort Lauderdale trip right, and you’ll have the opportunity to check out Fort Lauderdale’s own Art walk. The FatVillage Art Walk takes place the last Saturday of every month from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Take a peek inside the neighborhood’s galleries or explore the GOODS Market, where you can find quirky tchotchkes for sale. Food trucks are also plentiful, so come hungry. You’re bound to come across live bands performing as well.
If it’s not apparent already, there’s no shortage of things to do in Fort Lauderdale. It’s just a matter of getting there that has been a big issue for us. Not anymore: Thanks to Brightline, the city is no longer a world away.