Fort Lauderdale Introduction Walking Tour (Self Guided), Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale is known for beautiful beaches and tourism. As part of the Miami metropolitan area, Fort Lauderdale offers the advantage of city culture and convenience along with warm weather, sand and sea.

Fort Lauderdale was originally inhabited by the Tequesta. Like many other native people, they faced disease and expulsion when European explorers made their way to the Florida shores.

Prior to being called Fort Lauderdale, the area was known as the New River Settlement. This is due to the number of settlers who built their homes along the New River, which now bisects the city. Most of those settlers left their homes and relocated to the Florida Keys in 1836. Two years later, a fort was built in the area and named after Major William Lauderdale.

It wasn't until the late 19th century that organized development began to take hold in what would become Fort Lauderdale. The city was incorporated in 1911 with a population of about 150. The Florida land boom led to the city's rapid growth in the early 20th century, though that was delayed by the Great Depression and world wars. Today, Fort Lauderdale has over 186,000 people in the city proper and a metropolitan population of more than one million.

Fort Lauderdale is a popular and important boating destination. Yachting is a primary leisure activity and sport in the region. It also boasts the country's third busiest cruise port. Spots like Las Olas Boulevard and the Fort Lauderdale Riverwalk are major tourist areas that see more than 13 million visitors each year.

Take this self-guided walking tour to enjoy the beautiful city of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
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Fort Lauderdale Introduction Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: Fort Lauderdale Introduction Walking Tour
Guide Location: USA » Fort Lauderdale (See other walking tours in Fort Lauderdale)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 7
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 Km or 1.6 Miles
Author: christine
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Woman's Club
  • Museum of Art
  • Bryan Building
  • Fort Lauderdale Riverwalk
  • Fort Lauderdale History Center
  • Stranahan House
  • Las Olas Boulevard
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Woman's Club

1) Woman's Club

Many visitors associate Fort Lauderdale with beaches and spring break festivities. While these are certainly not to be overlooked, there are also a great many historic buildings in this south Florida city. One of these is the Fort Lauderdale Women's Club.

The building was constructed in 1916 and dedicated in 1917. It was designed by prominent architect August Geiger who used the Mediterranean Revival style. The Women's Club was the first architecturally designed building in the city, which is one of the reasons it was included on the National Register of Historic Places. The building is also noted for its role as a social club that gave women a place to learn and talk about politics, education and literature.

The Women's Club wasn't just a social club. It also served as the location of the city's first Red Cross headquarters. The first Girl Scout Troop was founded in this building. Even the planning of Fort Lauderdale by city planner Richard Schermerhorn, Jr. took place in this building. Today, the Women's Club is a popular location for festivals, meetings and arts & crafts shows.

Visitors to Fort Lauderdale can enjoy the history of the Women's Club while also exploring the adjacent Stranahan Park. The botanical park includes mature trees, a butterfly garden, a tropical garden, a succulent garden and over 500 varieties of plants.
2
Museum of Art

2) Museum of Art

The Museum of Art, also known as the NSU Art Museum of Fort Lauderdale, is an 83,000 square foot space with a focus on modern art.

The museum was first established in 1958. The building itself is nearly as interesting as the works inside. The modernist style is indicative of the time it was designed. Architect Larrabee Barnes left his signature style on the building. Likewise, the exterior features murals, a fountain and an outdoor plaza that can be explored by anyone without entering the museum.

Inside the Museum of Art, visitors will find photography, paintings, prints, sculptures and mixed media. Among the many notable artists are CoBrA artist Corneille, Haitian painter Robert Saint-Brice, Spanish abstract expressionist Jose Guerrero and Diego Rivera. Also featured is the Glackens Wing, which is a 2,000 square foot gallery with over 500 works from William Glackens.

The museum offers special events, such as food and wine tastings, film screenings and programming specifically designed for families.

Operation Hours: Tuesday - Saturday: 11 am - 5 pm; Sunday: 12 pm - 5 pm.
3
Bryan Building

3) Bryan Building

The historic Bryan Building is located in central Fort Lauderdale. It is an important historical building in the city. The building represents the Masonry Vernacular style due to its sourcing of local materials. It is unique for this area due to its brick facade, which is rare in southern Florida.

The Bryan Building was built by Thomas Bryan and was completed in 1914. Placed in the heart of the Fort Lauderdale commercial district, the Bryan Building held a US Post Office and the Fort Lauderdale Bank. It also served as a hotel over the years.

Tourists can plan to walk by the Bryan Building as they explore the many other interesting places in the city. It is located near the Fort Lauderdale Riverwalk and only one block west of the NSU Art Museum.

The Bryan Building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1997.
4
Fort Lauderdale Riverwalk

4) Fort Lauderdale Riverwalk (must see)

Fort Lauderdale Riverwalk is one mile of pure entertainment. The New River cuts through the city and brings with it a series of places to see and things to do.

The Fort Lauderdale Riverwalk stretches across the city from the Sailboat Bend neighborhood to the Federal Highway. Visitors can walk the length of the Riverwalk in less than 30 minutes, but many will stop along the way to enjoy the numerous attractions.

The pedestrian walkway allows tourists to appreciate the beauty of the New River on one side and the bustling metropolis of Fort Lauderdale on the other. Along the way, visitors can stop at one of the Riverwalk district parks. Bubier Park offers 10 exercise stations for those who want to stay fit while they explore. Visitors traveling with children will want to plan a stop at Hardy Park or Peter Feldman Park, which contain play equipment for the young and young at heart. Stop to relax at Smoker Family Park, which has built-in chess tables.

Riverwalk offers multiple recreation activities for visitors. They can stop to rent a kayak, practice yoga or brush up on their photography skills.

Near Riverwalk are many spots to stop to dine and shop. Tourists can also explore History Fort Lauderdale and the Historic Stranahan House Museum.

This Riverwalk is rare in that it can be enjoyed during the day or night. The lighted path allows visitors to explore on foot whenever they wish with no rush in case stops along the way take more time than they had planned.

Why You Should Visit
- To explore the banks of the New River on foot
- To safely walk through a mile where nature and development meet

Tips
Look for special events that regularly take place at the Riverwalk. Visitors may wish to plan their trek during the monthly jazz brunch, an outdoor arts exhibit or a pop-up farmer's market.
5
Fort Lauderdale History Center

5) Fort Lauderdale History Center (must see)

The museum formerly known as the Old Fort Lauderdale Village and Museum is now the Fort Lauderdale History Center. Also known as History Fort Lauderdale, the primary museum is located at the western entrance of the Fort Lauderdale Riverwalk.

The New River Inn is the site of History Fort Lauderdale. It was constructed in 1905, built by Edwin T. King and commissioned by United States Senator Nathan Philemon Bryan. Visitors can explore the grounds of History Fort Lauderdale or take a guided tour. This museum details the history of Fort Lauderdale.

There are a number of other buildings that are open for exploration. The Pioneer House Museum, or the King-Cromartie House, is a fully preserved home that showcases the early days of Fort Lauderdale. The 1899 Schoolhouse Museum offers a glimpse into turn-of-the-century education. The Hoch Research Library offers newspaper clippings, photos, maps and blueprints.

The Philemon Bryan House is part of the Fort Lauderdale History Center as well. This house is the oldest example of residential masonry architecture in the city. It is also reputed to be haunted by Lucy Catherine Bryan, which makes it a popular spot for ghost hunters and those who simply enjoy spooky stories.

Opening hours: Monday - Sunday: 10:00- 16:00
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Stranahan House

6) Stranahan House (must see)

Stranahan House is a must-see for all visitors to Fort Lauderdale who want to immerse themselves in the history of this city. Stranahan House is the oldest surviving structure in the city, build in 1901.

The house was originally not a home at all but a trading post. Frank and Ivy Stranahan constructed the building to be used as a community center as well as a center for trade. It also soon held a general store and bank. Eventually, in 1906, the Stranahans constructed a new building closer to the railroad for their business ventures and transformed this one into a home.

After Frank's suicide, Ivy chose to remain in the house while renting rooms to Fort Lauderdale visitors. She also leased the lower portion of the house to restaurants, which remained in place even after Ivy's death in 1971. She left the house to the Seventh Day Adventist Church, which sold the property to the Historical Society of Fort Lauderdale.

Visitors can now tour the Stranahan House Museum where they can learn more about the history of the home and the Stranahans themselves. They will also learn about horticulture and agriculture of the region, Native American history and culture, literature and geography.

Stranahan House is located at the east end of the Fort Lauderdale Riverwalk. The home, once at the forefront of development in the area, is now nestled between condominiums, restaurants and a large parking garage. However, it still looks out over the New River as it did when it was first constructed over 100 years ago.

Why You Should Visit
- To learn about the earliest European settlers in Fort Lauderdale
- To see the oldest surviving structure in the city

Tips
Visitors should plan their trip to Stranahan House in advance. Tickets are sold online and all tours of the home's interior are guided. There are only three tours each day. They are available from 1 to 3 PM. Each guided tour lasts one hour.
7
Las Olas Boulevard

7) Las Olas Boulevard (must see)

Visitors to Fort Lauderdale can walk the length of Las Olas Boulevard, from Bubier Park to Las Olas Beach, in about an hour. That is, of course, assuming those tourists don't stop along the way at one of the many exciting and interesting spots. The pedestrian-friendly sidewalks line this main thoroughfare in Fort Lauderdale, making it the perfect way to see the city on foot with a beach destination in mind.

Dining is often on a tourist's mind when visiting a new city. Las Olas Boulevard offers dozens of restaurants in cuisines and styles to fit every taste. Visitors can choose from pub food, sushi, vegan, smoothies, fine dining and much more. There are many restaurants that are influenced by Central and South America, but tourists can also find Indian, Middle Eastern, Greek and Italian restaurants among the many offerings.

Stopping to shop is something that visitors enjoy along Las Olas Boulevard. Tourists will see art galleries, gift shops, jewelry stores, apparel and specialty shops. This is an excellent place to find souvenirs or to simply browse while walking through the city.

There are also a number of entertainment venues along Las Olas Boulevard. Visitors love the NSU Art Museum, which is a destination in and of itself. Live music is regularly found in restaurants or at clubs along the boulevard.

The draw to Las Olas Boulevard isn't just what can be seen now but also what can be learned from the history of the city. The boulevard was built in 1917 as a path to the beach. After World War II, it became the commercial district of the city. It also became home to a number of notable people. Some of the previous residents of Las Olas Boulevard include Sonny and Cher, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, Lee Majors, Connie Francis and Gloria Vanderbilt.

Why You Should Visit
- To shop, dine and people watch
- To walk the more than 100 year old path to Las Olas Beach

Tips
Take your time! There is so much to see and do along Las Olas Boulevard that you could plan a day around the trek. Don't forget that at the end of the street is a beautiful beach where you can relax while taking in gorgeous views of sand and sea.

Walking Tours in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Create Your Own Walk in Fort Lauderdale

Create Your Own Walk in Fort Lauderdale

Creating your own self-guided walk in Fort Lauderdale is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Downtown Historical Buildings

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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.4 Km or 2.1 Miles
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Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
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