Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale: Attractions, Dining & Activities

Are you planning to immerse yourself in the eclectic buzz of Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale? Steeped in history and brimming with contemporary charisma, Riverwalk is the lifeline of Fort Lauderdale’s social scene. From arts to eateries and lush parks to live performances, this guide will walk you through the must-see attractions and local favorites that define the area’s unique spirit.

Riverwalk has changed a bit post-pandemic, with a lot of turnover in the restaurants and bars, but it also invited a lot of new venues to the area, and the future is very bright!

What to Know About Riverwalk

  • Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale is a historic, mile-long hub in Downtown, combining arts, entertainment, and tropical scenery, and has spurred over $1.5 billion in investment since its establishment.
  • Food, festivals, and performing arts thrive at Riverwalk, with standout venues Sushi Song, the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, and a range of year-round events catering to diverse interests.
  • Riverwalk is family-friendly and shopper’s paradise, featuring 10 parks, events like the Sunday Jazz Brunch, and shopping hotspots like Las Olas Boulevard, making it an excellent destination for visitors and locals.

Discovering Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale

Aerial view of Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale

The Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale concept was first proposed in 1926, signifying its enduring significance in the city’s history. The development of this vibrant urban space started in earnest after a successful bond issue in 1986, with the first section opening to the public in 1990. It’s fascinating to know that the Riverwalk’s location has historical roots as a traditional trading route used by Native Americans and early settlers.

Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale’s development showcases successful investment, as state, local, and private funding combined to create a hub for:

  • arts
  • history
  • entertainment
  • business

Seed funding from a General Obligation Bond in 1986 paved the way for over $1.5 billion in subsequent investments, substantiating Riverwalk’s integral role in the city’s evolution since 1988.

Stretching over a mile, Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale spans the heart of Downtown, lining both the north and south banks of the New River. It serves as a connector in the city’s urban fabric, linking the Sailboat Bend neighborhood with historic sites near the Stranahan House. Known as ‘Florida’s Most Beautiful Mile,’ Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale encapsulates the city’s enchanting history, arts, and lush tropical scenery, making it a serene haven amidst the cityscape.

The Scenic Route: Riverwalk Linear Park

Lush green spaces along Riverwalk Linear Park

Riverwalk Linear Park, a picturesque 2.5-mile walking path along the New River, winds its way through downtown Fort Lauderdale’s heart. Its mission? To connect the community and enhance its vibrancy. The park boasts 10 picturesque green spaces, offering lush, tropical waterfront vistas and ample opportunities for rest and rejuvenation amidst an urban setting.

As you stroll along the New River canal in Fort Lauderdale FL, don’t miss the chance to delve into the city’s history at Himmarshee Village. It recalls a time when locals fished and trapped blue crab in these river waters of Ft Lauderdale.

Riverwalk Park, located in the downtown riverwalk district, goes beyond being a scenic walk; it serves as a center for local interaction and entertainment. Hosting a myriad of activities year-round, the park fosters a vibrant community atmosphere that keeps the city’s spirit alive.

Satisfy Your Cravings: Dining & Drinks

You can get food at many venues in the Riverwalk area.  Rivertail offers casual seafood, Pizza Craft offers a wide variety of pizza, and my favorite, the Wharf, offers drinks, live music, and a number of food truck options – including oysters!

Update:  RokBrgr is now closed.

Entertainment & Performing Arts

Welcome to Broward County’s urban core, the Riverwalk District in Fort Lauderdale. Designed to be a cultural hub, the district offers a mix of:

  • Performances
  • Galleries
  • Dining
  • Entertainment

for a vibrant city experience. At the heart of this cultural landscape is the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, hosting a range of events from comedic acts like Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding to musical performances by artists such as Spyro Gyra and Nickel Creek.

Exclusive show series enhance the diverse programming at the Broward Center. Expect events like the Allegro Fort Lauderdale Mosaic Series, TD Bank Jazz Series, and concerts including ‘The Voice of Romance Tour’ by Johnny Mathis. Each event promises a unique experience, captivating audiences with their performances.

If you’re still craving more live entertainment, head over to Fort Lauderdale’s The Parker. With events such as ‘Adrian Vandenberg – Performing Vandenberg & Whitesnake Classics’ and unique experiences like ‘Napoleon Dynamite Live!’, you’ll be spoilt for choice.

Shopping & Leisure

Chic boutiques along Las Olas Boulevard

Las Olas Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale’s premier destination for shopping, is home to an array of chic shops and boutiques. Some of the shops you can find on Las Olas Boulevard include:

  • Lilly Pulitzer Las Olas, which offers vibrant resort wear
  • LUXE By The Sea, which offers empowering fashion
  • South Moon Under Las Olas, which offers a unique selection of eclectic clothing, swimwear, and accessories for both men and women.

There’s something for every shopper on Las Olas Boulevard.

One shop that stands out is Ann’s Florist Coffee & Wine Bar. Imagine a place where the enjoyment of fresh flowers meets the pleasure of coffee and wine. It’s a distinctive shopping escapade that you won’t find elsewhere. For those seeking luxury, Carroll’s Jewelers and Coomi Jewelry offer exquisite collections of designer jewelry, custom designs, and unique artistic pieces.

Art enthusiasts can appreciate museum-quality artwork at New River Fine Art Gallery, and marine wildlife art admirers can visit the Guy Harvey Gallery & Shop. And let’s not forget the sweet-toothed shoppers! Hof’s House of Sweets and Kilwins Las Olas offer delectable treats with premier desserts and handcrafted chocolates and ice cream. As you stroll through this beautiful area, the district, you’ll be charmed by its atmospheric allure, with old-fashioned street lamps, palm-lined pathways, and fragrant flora contributing to a pleasant, leisurely shopping experience.

Attend Exciting Events

Crowd enjoying the Sunday Jazz Brunch at Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale

A variety of vibrant events keep Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale bustling all year round. Among the recurring events is the Sunday Jazz Brunch, a free concert held at Riverwalk Park on the first Sunday of every month. It’s the perfect way to unwind as you enjoy the music and soak in the riverside vibes.

For foodies, the Riverwalk International Food Festival is a must-visit. Featuring popular local international restaurants and food trucks, it’s an opportunity to savor flavors from around the world. Esplanade Park hosts various events, including the Annual Stone Crab and Seafood Festival, which draws families and food enthusiasts alike.

Beyond these, numerous other attractions enrich Riverwalk’s cultural tapestry. Expect events like the Boat Show, Riverwalk Burger Battle, and an array of live music performances that keep the spirit of the Riverwalk alive.

Family-Friendly Fun

Family-friendly park at Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale

Families touring Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale will find 10 parks in the area, including:

  • Bubier Park
  • Esplanade Park
  • Hardy Park
  • Huizenga Plaza
  • Peter Feldman Park
  • Laura Ward Plaza
  • Sistrunk Park
  • Smoker Park
  • Stranahan Park

Each provides family-friendly play areas and green spaces, perfect for a day out with the kids.

Hardy Park, for instance, offers a covered playground designed specifically for toddlers and young children’s needs and safety. Sistrunk Park invites families with a newly installed playground that supports family enjoyment, ensuring there’s something for everyone.

For families seeking a versatile recreational experience, Smoker Park is the place to be. From exercise stations for adults to built-in chess tables that children can enjoy, it enhances the family experience, fostering fun and bonding moments.

Staying Nearby: Hotels & Vacation Rentals

If you’re considering staying near Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale, rest assured that the area boasts a variety of vacation rental properties to suit different styles and preferences. Whether you’re looking for luxury, a city view, or a cozy space, you’ll find it here.

Guests can choose from the following options, all of which offer close proximity to the Riverwalk attractions in Las Olas:

  • 1-bedroom city view property in Las Olas
  • Luxury condo on Las Olas Blvd
  • Studio apartment with a balcony at Sonder at Riverwalk
  • Modern penthouse condo in Downtown Las Olas

This ensures you won’t miss out on any of the fun while attending events.

With these accommodations, you’ll enjoy convenient amenities like parking, making it easy for those driving to the area. Plus, being so close to Riverwalk means you’ll have quick access to all the attractions, dining, shopping, and events it has to offer.

Local Tips & Tricks

For an optimal visit, consider touring Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale on weekdays or outside peak holiday seasons. You’ll avoid crowds and enjoy a more relaxed pace, allowing you to thoroughly explore and savor each moment.

Don’t limit yourself to just the main attractions. Exploring the side streets and lesser-known waterfront areas may reveal hidden cafes and quiet retreats beloved by locals. These hidden gems add to the charm and allure of Riverwalk, making your visit all the more memorable.

>> Official Site of Riverwalk

Summary

To sum up, Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale is a vibrant urban oasis that offers a rich blend of history, culture, gastronomy, entertainment, shopping, and family-friendly fun. Whether you’re strolling along the scenic Riverwalk Linear Park, indulging in gourmet dining, attending exciting events, or exploring chic boutiques, you’ll find something to delight in every corner. As you plan your visit, remember to explore hidden gems and savor each moment. After all, the magic of Riverwalk lies in its unique blend of experiences waiting to be discovered!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most walkable area in Fort Lauderdale?

Las Olas Boulevard is considered the most walkable area in Fort Lauderdale, with its vibrant atmosphere, shops, and dining options. Enjoy exploring the area on foot!

Can you walk around Fort Lauderdale?

Yes, you can walk around Fort Lauderdale on the Riverwalk, which offers a pedestrian walkway with views of the New River and the city. You can easily stroll the length of it in less than 30 minutes, but you may want to stop and enjoy the attractions along the way.

What is the most famous street in Fort Lauderdale?

The most famous street in Fort Lauderdale is Las Olas Boulevard, known for its numerous bistros, clubs, and restaurants, making it a must-visit destination for food lovers. Check it out next time you’re in town!

What popular dining options are available at Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale?

At Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale, you can enjoy a variety of dining options, including ROK:BRGR American Kitchen and Cocktails, known for its gourmet burgers and craft beers. Plus, there are numerous restaurants and cafes with outdoor seating for a great dining experience.

What types of events does Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale host?

Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale hosts a variety of events such as the Sunday Jazz Brunch, Riverwalk International Food Festival, Annual Stone Crab and Seafood Festival, Boat Show, and Riverwalk Burger Battle. Join in the fun and enjoy these exciting events!

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About 

Tim Schmidt is a 20+ year Entrepreneur and Digital Marketer. A Fort Lauderdale-based "Digital Nomad," he enjoys traveling as much as possible with family and friends. AllWorld is his escape to document all of his adventures, including being a hardcore "foodie." He has property in Costa Rica and visits several times each year and is happy to offer his expert advice for planning your trip.

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