History of Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale may be just a stone’s throw outside of the party palace of Miami, but its history runs much deeper than the bar tabs of South Beach.  Fort Lauderdale was named after several forts that were built during the Second Seminole War—a series of wars many Americans probably aren’t even all that familiar with. The city was inhabited by the Tequesta Indians until the late 1700s — around the time that the Spanish ceded Florida to the British (who, as we know, later ceded it to the U.S.!) For a time, the area was known as the “New River Settlement,” until it was renamed after William Lauderdale. Major William Lauderdale was a commander in the army during the Second Seminole War and he built the very first fort for his army in 1838. This war occurred after The Indian Removal Act forced all the Seminoles out of Florida, and obviously some of them resisted. After the three Seminole Wars, Fort Lauderdale was used primarily as a base — specifically for expeditions into the Everglades. Fort Lauderdale began developing more and more during the 1920s. Still, the population and attraction of the city has grown over the course of the last several decades, and it is now a major yachting center and is also known for being a popular tourist destination.

Things to do in Fort Lauderdale

Of course, while in Fort Lauderdale, the easiest and cheapest kind of fun can be found basking in the sun (the city boasts over 3,000 hours of sunshine every year) on Fort Lauderdale beaches or dipping your toes into the Atlantic. There are over seven miles of public beaches and nearly 1000 acres of public parks — so if you don’t have enough outdoors time at the festival you can stop by the beach or the park when the music stops. While in downtown Fort Lauderdale, you can visit the Florida Grand Opera, see a show at the Broward Center for Performing Arts, or take the kids to the Museum of Discovery and Science. The museum is home to over 200 exhibits and an IMAX theater! Both the Broward Center and the Museum of Art can be found on the Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment District — a totally walkable neighborhood with a myriad of dining, drinking, shopping and entertainment options. Plus, the festival will be located directly on the Riverwalk. Or, grab a nightcap at one of Fort Lauderdale’s local pubs, like Original Fat Cat’s — a bar that has (more) live music, a great draft list and lot of local selections. No matter what you choose to do, Fort Lauderdale has something to offer the whole family.

Places to See in Fort Lauderdale

Some (really, just some) people have dubbed Fort Lauderdale the “Venice of the America” because of its extensive canal system, so make sure you check out the Intracoastal Waterway or at least get a glimpse at some of the major canals around town. If you’re looking for a fun way to do public transportation, try the Fort Lauderdale Sun Trolley, which can get you around downtown and out to the beaches for only 50 cents a ride. Plus, it’s a great way to see the city. Just outside the festival grounds is the historic Las Olas Boulevard, home to eclectic and beautiful architecture, as well as a plethora of different shops and boutiques. There’s also the Stranahan House, which is the city’s oldest building and now home to a museum.  Need a new outfit for the concert? Check out Sawgrass Mills Mall in Sunrise, the largest designer outlet mall or the Galleria Mall near the beach. Get back to nature at Holiday Everglade Park and take an airboat ride through the “river of grass.”