I was recently approached by United Airlines to film a segment called “Three Perfect Days in Fort Lauderdale,” which will air on all United flights on August 1. As a Fort Lauderdale native and self-appointed expert, I was absolutely THRILLED. First off, I feel incredibly honored that they asked me to be their hostess for the day. Secondly, there’s nothing I love more than sharing all of the amazing spots our city has to offer. Between our pristine beaches, boating canals, luxury hotels and restaurants, there truly is no other city like Fort Lauderdale (if I should say so myself).
When not I’m not at work, I tend to be more introverted, which a lot of people don’t really know about me. I enjoy doing things geared toward home, and health and wellness play a huge part in my everyday life. In this city guide, I tried to include all the best that Fort Lauderdale has to offer while also showing a bit of my personal side.
Here’s how it all went down!
1. The day started off at the store where we spoke about my experience owning a local boutique for more than nine years. It was very special to speak to the cameras (and the world) about why this passion turned project holds a special place in my heart.
2. We then headed over to my favorite coffee digs, Brew Urban Café. The funky space has a sprawling, Instagram-worthy book collection and is hands down the best coffee shop in Fort Lauderdale. Not only do they serve locally grown ingredients sourced daily from vendors within the community, but the quality of their coffee and pastries is simply unparalleled. It’s the perfect place to come, sit back and listen to local music while getting some work done. My go-to order? A vegan muffin and cappuccino. It does not disappoint!
3. Following my religious caffeine fix, we headed east to the Bonnet House Museum & Gardens. Here, we were greeted by Denyse, the curator, who graciously gave us a tour of the whimsically-designed house and the owner’s private art studio. She also gave us a tour of the beautiful gardens, including one of the finest orchard collections in the U.S. This was such a treat as I’ve never come across so many orchid variations in my life! We also encountered some resident wild monkeys roaming freely on the grounds, which was an experience in and of itself!
4. After Bonnet House, we went to the NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale on the one and only Las Olas Boulevard. Here, I spoke to the museum curator about their new exhibit, which highlights Paris and New York City from the 1890s to the 1920s through breathtaking photographs and art. It’s no secret I love the city of lights, so this was an absolute dream. The exhibit shows how the invention of electricity impacted artists, which you can actually see in the paintings. Pretty cool! The exhibit won’t be there for much longer, so I highly recommend seeing it before it’s too late!
5. We then headed south to the recently opened brewery, Tarpon River Brewing. Tarpon River is actually located in the historical 1920s stable belonging to the Snyder family of Fort Lauderdale. As a result, the brewery has a distinct Old-Florida design with reclaimed and restored barn wood. I got to interview the owner and we tasted a variety of beers, including clean lagers, mixed-fermentation sour beers and barrel-aged ales.
6. After working up an appetite, we grabbed a bite to eat at El Vez, a Mexican restaurant on the first floor of the W Fort Lauderdale Hotel with stunning hand painted murals. Created by renowned restaurateur Stephen Starr, El Vez showcases classic Mexican fare with an emphasis on Baja-style cooking that celebrates the fresh seafood of our city. I got to chat one-on-one with Executive Chef Steve Menter, and he had us try some of the restaurants signature dishes including the most delicious guacamole, tacos and nachos.
7. Perhaps what makes Fort Lauderdale so special and has given it the name “Venice of America” are the numerous intercostal waterways. I wanted to make sure this was included in my tour, so we hopped aboard the super convenient Water Taxi. Not only did we have a front-row seat to mega yachts and mansions (what a treat!), but we avoided traffic and got to the other side of town in record time.
8. My tour of Fort Lauderdale ended at Rooftop 1WLO, Downtown Fort Lauderdale's first ever rooftop bar, which is elevated above Las Olas Boulevard and the New River. My girlfriends met me here for some hand-crafted cocktails made by the BEST mixologists. My favorite drinks are the “What the Matcha” (New Amsterdam Vodka, matcha powder and green chartreuse) and the tropical “Kiwi AF” (Mount Gay Rum, kiwi, mint, rosemary and Cointreau), which is especially refreshing on a warm summer night. There truly was no better way to end my Fort Lauderdale tour than toasting to this beautiful city!