I had been to Fort Lauderdale, Florida once before, in the summer of 2004 for the Water Polo Junior Olympics. I was 14 then, and hardly remember much other than swimming in the ocean and the actual tournament itself. When I got the opportunity to ditch the rainy weather that Northern California has fell victim to as of late, and head back to the sunshine state for a long weekend, all expenses paid, I was pumped.
Being that this was a work trip, and my schedule was pretty jam-packed with athlete appearances and press events, I had little-to-no expectations when it came to exploring the city—but I was excited to be somewhere warm and tropical regardless.
Fort Lauderdale was different then I remembered, but also kinda the same. I walked down Fort Lauderdale Boulevard upon my arrival, and was instantly reminded of Cabo San Lucas. It’s very clubby, and geared towards spring breakers (think Hooters and Fat Tuesday type places). Not really my scene (I’m old), ya know? I ate at the same Italian restaurant all three nights, because it was the classiest, quietest establishment within walking distance from my hotel on the strip. If you’re in the hood, check out Spazio— it’s really yummy and they have (tasteful) live music.
My hotel was right on the main, beachfront street, so I mostly hung around there and avoided the drunk 20 year olds whenever possible. On Friday, when I had a break from work, I spent the afternoon across the street at the beach, swimming in the ocean. On a wind-free day, the ocean is warm, clear and calm— AKA, perfect. I made a point to walk on the beach every morning with my fresh coconut water, and every evening before dinner, to really get my ocean fix. This was easily the highlight of the trip.
Come Sunday, I had a free-day to explore before my flight, so I walked (four miles, round-trip) to the infamous Las Olas Boulevard, which is essentially Fort Lauderdale’s downtown district. This was way more my speed. Las Olas has a ton of cute boutique shops and restaurants with outdoor patios, sans rowdy college kids. I got a glass of rosé at Vino on Las Olas and ate at Trava Greek Taverna, both of which I highly recommend. My only regret is that I wish I had gone down to Las Olas earlier in the trip.
Now that I’m home, and gearing up for the rest of my spring trips to Nashville and Paris, I have one final thought on Fort Lauderdale, Florida: it has me craving a real, tropical vacation. Tulum, anyone?
Dress c/o Olive + Pepper. Shop the new arrivals here.