the Definitive guide to
Moving To & Living in Fort Lauderdale
Southern Florida is a beautiful destination for a getaway, but it's quickly becoming an ideal place to relocate. Fort Lauderdale is where the city meets the ocean, offering a balanced lifestyle for residents in paradise. Known for the quality of life it affords, Fort Lauderdale provides a nice blend of beach living and suburban communities among a big city backdrop. Relocating to this beautiful city involves many decisions like where to work, live, and play. Here's the complete guide to moving to and living in Fort Lauderdale.
Where is Fort Lauderdale?
Fort Lauderdale is a coastal city located in the southeastern part of Florida. It's situated between Palm Beach and Miami. The city spans 33 square miles and has just over 180,000 residents. It's the largest city in Broward County and the seventh-largest in the state.
There are several suburban cities just beyond Fort Lauderdale, such as Davie, Plantation, Coral Springs and Weston, that make up the Greater Fort Lauderdale area. Fort Lauderdale has plenty of job opportunities, a strong economic climate, and plenty of things to do. There are some pretty incredible beaches to enjoy with the coastal location.
This gorgeous city has it all. Known as the 'Venice of America,' there are more than 300 miles of inland waterways that are just the cherry on top of the already immense beauty of the shoreline. Fort Lauderdale is home to a strong economy that goes beyond tourism, and there are plenty of opportunities for newcomers.
The greater Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach metropolitan area is home to nearly 5.5 million people. Since Miami is about two times the size of Fort Lauderdale and an extremely popular destination for tourists, the city has long lived in the shadow of Miami. With the expansive growth it's seen recently, it's become a desirable option for those who don't want to pay Miami's rising real estate prices.
River banks in 1838. Major William Lauderdale was the head of a detachment of volunteers from Tennessee that came to Florida's east coast to capture the agricultural lands.
Three forts were constructed and named after Major William Lauderdale: one at Tarpon Bend, one at Bahia Mar, and one at New River, though these forts no longer exist today. The city was incorporated in March of 1911 and has grown to be one of Florida’s most well-known destinations.
Cost of Living
Generally, Ford Lauderdale's cost of living is slightly higher than the national average, although it's certainly not the most expensive spot in Florida. It’s give and take in this city. For example, many Fort Lauderdale residents have swimming pools, which accounts for a larger average gas or electricity bill, though reports state that locals spend less on health than other major Florida cities.
Fort Lauderdale has a diverse housing market with every kind of property, from oceanfront condos to luxury estate homes for sale. The median listing price for homes in the city is $640,000, ranging from $70,000 to $40 million. There are 72 neighborhoods and a few of the most popular are Galt Mile, Coral Ridge Country Club, and Victoria Park.
There are also various condos in the area. Many of these condos have beautiful views of the beach, particularly along Galt Ocean Mile. The median condo pricing in these areas is around $750,000.
It's no surprise that Fort Lauderdale has an outstanding climate that is well known in Florida. Many people choose to relocate to this area solely for the weather. The humidity is wonderful for the skin, though residents do love their air conditioners during the summer! Summertime is hot & humid, with afternoon showers fairly common. There’s almost always a nice sea breeze, so if you have a pretty palm tree or porch to sit under, even the summers can be quite nice. But what brings many people to Fort Lauderdale are our wonderful winters! Mild temperatures, cool breezes–cool enough for a sweater at times, but warm enough for shorts during most afternoons.
Fort Lauderdale's average temperature ranges from 61 degrees to 89 degrees. May to October is considered the rainy season, and the area sees about 134 days of rain each year. There are over 3,000 hours of sunshine each year and combined with the salty ocean breezes, you'll want to spend all your time outside.
On top of the natural beauty, quality of life, and weather, Fort Lauderdale has a rich culture, lively entertainment scene, and educational resources. Being a tourist destination means that there are world-class amenities, activities, and a thriving hospitality industry that residents can take advantage of and enjoy.
The Riverwalk is the home of the arts, cultural, historical, and science districts. It’s where you can find the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, Museum of Art, Museum of Discovery and Science, and Old Fort Lauderdale Village and Museum.
Las Olas Boulevard is the place to be if you're looking for the best shopping, fine dining, and premier entertainment. The thoroughfare hosts annual events, festivals, and markets.
All the benefits of city life are available in Fort Lauderdale. Residents can access healthcare, grocery stores, pharmacies, convenience stores, and more across the city. Regardless of where you decide to put down roots, you won't be far from the necessities.
Fun Facts About Fort Lauderdale
Business & Jobs in Fort Lauderdale
It's no surprise that Fort Lauderdale has a bustling tourism industry and that hospitality is a massive part of the economy. However, there are times during the year that aren't as busy with tourism, but the city has other thriving industries for the times when the population dips.
Average Salaries in Fort Lauderdale
The average salary is just under $60,000 annually. On the low end of the spectrum, salaries are around $20,000, and on the high end, they can top off at $150,000. Some of the average salaries for specific professions are:
The top employers in Fort Lauderdale include:
The Best Schools in Plantation Fort Lauderdale
The Broward County Public School District is home to some of the top schools in Florida.
Bayview Elementary School
Bayview Elementary School is in the top 100 elementary schools in the state. The school aims to create lifelong learners at an early age. Their core values are creativity, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration.
St. Thomas Aquinas High School
St. Thomas Aquinas is another excellent school. As a private Catholic high school, it has a rich history dating back over 84 years. The school has over 20,000 alumni.
"St. Thomas Aquinas heads the list of high schools with the most NFL Draft selections over the last 10 years. No other high school since 2012 has had more alumni chosen in the NFL draft than St. Thomas."
Florida Atlantic University
In downtown Fort Lauderdale, there are a few post-secondary options. Florida Atlantic University has a campus and offers the Institute for Design and Construction (IDaC) and the Small Business Development Center Fort Lauderdale (SBDC) as separate centers and institutes. Broward College and Florida Atlantic University are both located in the nearby town of Davie, with smaller campuses within Fort Lauderdale.
New River Middle School
New River Middle School aims to prepare students to succeed in social and academic endeavors. They offer a rigorous curriculum that promotes critical thinking and positive traits. New River is a magnet school for marine science, teaching students hands-on about marine life and how it impacts our world. Student field trips have even included swimming with manatees.
A.D. Henderson University School & FAU High School
A.D. Henderson University School & FAU High School is located in nearby Boca Raton, but many Fort Lauderdale students make the drive to attend this prestigious school. It is ranked number two in the state and serves kindergarten to grade 12 students.
Nova Southeastern University
There is also Nova Southeastern University. While not located directly in Fort Lauderdale, many who attend this Davie university live in Fort Lauderdale. In fact, medical and business students come from all over the country to attend this prestigious school.
Where to Live in Fort Lauderdale
With over 70 communities in Fort Lauderdale, there are plenty of options for housing and choosing your ideal neighborhood. Some of the best areas include Victoria Park, Tarpon River, Coral Ridge Country Club, Harbor Beach, Riverland, Lauderdale Isles, Colee Hammock, and Sunrise Intracoastal. choosing your ideal neighborhood. Some of the best areas include Victoria Park, Tarpon River, Coral Ridge Country Club, Harbor Beach, Riverland, Lauderdale Isles, Colee Hammock, and Sunrise Intracoastal.
Las Olas is home to Las Olas Isles, Seven Isles, Idlewyld, Riviera Isles, and Nurmi Isles. These historic communities contain upscale homes and canals, just minutes away from the open ocean. If you’re looking for mega-yachts, Las Olas is where you’ll find them. The rich and famous are also more likely to reside in this part of town.
Properties in the popular community range in price from $3 million to $24 million. There's an excellent mix of property types that include condos, single-family homes, and luxury properties.
The famous Las Olas Boulevard is the heart of this community, so it takes just a few minutes to walk there. You can visit art galleries, experience festivals, go shopping, or grab dinner at an incredible restaurant. Colee Hammock Park is further a place where plenty of locals gather for picnics, walks, or sitting in the shade while watching the boats in the river.
Even if you don’t live in this community, you can take a ride on the Jungle Queen and catch a glimpse of some of these outstanding homes along the New River.
Well-known as one of the most desirable communities in the city, Victoria Park is a downtown community with a dense residential area and many historic homes and new construction properties, including single-family homes, condos, and townhomes. The architecture is very much influenced by Mediterranean, Spanish, Contemporary, and Mid-Century Modern styles.
Interested buyers have a diverse market to find their new home—house prices in Victoria Park range in price from $789 000 to $4.2 million. There are waterfront properties along the eastern part of the community, where canals border the area. The tree-lined streets create the perfect atmosphere and set the stage for a wonderful community to call home.
Croissant Park is the perfect place to live if you're looking for a family-friendly neighborhood with plenty of green space and easy access to the downtown core of Fort Lauderdale. With homes selling anywhere between $420,000 and $1.6 million, this charming part of the city is a great option for families who are looking to live near downtown without breaking the bank.
Along with diverse housing to suit all budgets, Croissant Park also has a park with the same name perfect for those who enjoy spending time outdoors. Croissant Park has a public pool, water playground, recreation center, soccer and baseball fields.
Within Coral Ridge, there are various smaller communities including Coral Ridge, Coral Ridge Country Club and Coral Ridge Isles. Coral Ridge Country Club holds the prestigious title of the only Golf Community in Fort Lauderdale. This particular neighborhood is the epitome of resort-style living. With plenty of waterfront homes and the Robert Trent-created golf course, it's one of the most desirable areas in the city.
Coral Ridge has access to some of the best schools in the county. The Coral Ridge Yacht Club is a great social club for everyone to bond over boating, yachts, and Florida waters. The club has been around since 1947, and it's a great community to be part of for all ages.
There are over 3000 single family homes in Coral Ridge, Coral Ridge Country Club & Coral Ridge Isles, in addition to several condominiums. It's located close to the beach, restaurants, excellent schools, stores, Las Olas, the airport, and the vibrant nightlife. Coral Ridge Country Club is a must-see if you're in the market for a waterfront, Intracoastal, or deepwater home in Fort Lauderdale. Homes in the community range in price from $750,000 to $8 million.
The exclusive community of Harbor Beach is the ultimate in luxury living. Ultra-luxe condo buildings and enormous mansions make up the gated community. The homes are stunning and start at $2 million, and can cost as much as $20 million.
Most of these properties are in deep waters, so you'll see plenty of boats and large yachts parked outside incredible homes.
Minutes from the community is Pier 66, which features some incredible restaurants and views of the water. It's an excellent spot to watch the sunset. Currently, Pier 66 is under construction with expected completion by 2024. The reconstruction will feature villas, suites, a marina, various dining venues, bars, a spa, fitness center, and more.
The affluent community is home to The Club at Harbor Beach. The club provides exclusive members with a private beach, luxury fitness center, European spa, tennis courts, water sports, and many social events. The club is located inside the Harbor Beach Marriott Resort and Spa.
Established in 1942, the Harbor Beach Surf Club offers residents a private marina and beach access. There are many social events held at the club, and it's full of privacy and serenity.
Riverland is a true hidden gem among the neighborhoods in Fort Lauderdale. It is among the most affordable communities but also offers waterfront properties for significantly lower prices than other areas. The well-priced homes are a bit older, but many are spacious and have immense value for the price tag.
Riverland is frequently cited as the “Coconut Grove of Fort Lauderdale.” It’s very unique and just minutes from the downtown core and the Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International airport (FLL). With a country feel and tree-lined streets, you can find various small starter homes, properties with acreage, and waterfront homes that offer canal access.
With the wide range of homes and lot sizes in the Riverland area, homes tend to vary in price within this community. They range from $400,000 for starter homes (not waterfront) upwards to $2.3 million.
Next door to Riverland is Lauderdale Isles, another desirable waterfront property community. Located along New River, the community is ideal for boaters because the clean waterfront is protected. Waterfront properties in Lauderdale Isles range in price from $600,000 to $1.6 million.
The area is loved by boaters due to the ocean access canals which lead from the New River to the Intracoastal and out to the ocean. The area is known as a safe haven, as it’s inland and offers more protection to boats from hurricanes, than dockage you’ll find to the east. With no fixed bridges, it’s an ideal spot for boaters looking for affordable housing with dockage and it has ample clearance for most sailboats.
Sunrise Intracoastal is a small luxury community located off of Sunrise Blvd and has a mix of waterfront and non-waterfront properties. Within the community, properties on Intracoastal drive are along the Intracoastal waterway. Properties on Middle River Drive are along the Middle River.
Residents can easily walk to the beach, shopping or restaurants. There are some incredible homes in the community that range in price from $3 million to $30 million.
Tarpon River is a beautiful suburban community with a myriad of housing options. From condos and starter single-family homes to waterfront homes and luxury estates, the community has a lot to offer.
Many of the single-family homes in the community were constructed between the 1950s and 1960s, with various architectural influences. Like the rest of the city, there are plenty of condo buildings and townhome communities. Properties in Tarpon River are currently available at just over $1 million.
Residents of the neighborhood have an easy time staying active, as plenty of outdoor amenities are offered. Florence C. Hardy Park and Southside Cultural Arts Center are situated along the community's eastern border and are popular spots for residents. With $15 million in upgrades, there are tennis courts, a soccer field, a playground, lawn bowling, and a performing arts area for everyone to enjoy. Lewis Landing Park has walking paths, picnic tables, fishing spots, and beautiful views of the New Fork River.
The fantastic location of this community provides residents with quick access to stores, services, and everyday conveniences. If you don't want to cook dinner, head down to the Tarpon River Brewery for craft brews and delicious food.
There are a number of surrounding cities that make up the Greater Fort Lauderdale area. If you’re looking for a home with an easy commute to Fort Lauderdale, the following cities offer wonderful spots to call home.
Coral Springs, Florida is about a half hour drive to Fort Lauderdale. Situated northwest of the city, Coral Springs has a Costco, many popular restaurants, various beautiful community parks, hotels, museums, and more. Its claim to fame is its A rated school system. Coral Springs residents have pride in their city and schools, with the city having a great reputation for its family-atmosphere and recreational activities.
Davie, Florida is home to some great universities, colleges and technical institutes. Located slightly southwest of Fort Lauderdale, you’re only a 25 minute drive from Fort Lauderdale’s waterfront. There’s tons of attractions nearby, including Flamingo Gardens, indoor skydiving and plenty of restaurants to choose from.
If you travel 30-40 minutes west, you’ll find the beautiful city of Weston. Incorporated in 1996, Weston is known as an affluent area. Here you’ll find lovely tree lined roads, gated communities, great schools and wide sidewalks throughout. The city is kept sparkling clean and is also home to Cleveland Clinic Florida.
Plantation is just to the west of Fort Lauderdale, an easy 10-15 minute drive away. With many homes offering larger lot sizes, Plantation has more of a suburban vibe than a big city feel. The City of Plantation motto is “where the grass is greener” and they do everything possible to plant trees wherever possible. The city offers great schools, parks, shopping and easy access to major highways and the FLL airport. You can read more about Plantation, in our ‘Complete Guide To Moving To & Living in Plantation’.
Nightlife & Popular Restaurants in Fort Lauderdale
Fort Lauderdale is bursting with entertainment and dining options. With over 4,000 restaurants and 100 nightclubs, you could spend every weekend in a new place, and there's always somewhere new to explore.
954 Nuevo’s Cubanos
There is a rich Cuban influence on the cuisine in the area, and 954 Nuevo's Cubanos is a trendy spot to grab an incredible meal. There's outdoor seating and live salsa music, and the restaurant's atmosphere will have you feeling like you're on the streets of Havana enjoying a delicious meal.
15th Street Fisheries | Sea Watch
If you're looking for seafood, check out 15th Street Fisheries or Sea Watch On the Ocean. These upscale restaurants are award-winning and offer incredible eats. You'll also have some amazing views at Sea Watch On the Ocean.
Louie Bossi’s Italian Ristorante
For an incredibly satisfying Italian meal, visit Louie Bossi's Italian Ristorante. Order a wood-fired pizza or handcrafted pasta, but definitely save room for dessert.
Tacos El Papi | Ole’ Ole’ Grill & Cantina
Tacos El Papi is the spot to find some authentic street tacos and is located in Oakland Park. To the west in Plantation is Ole’ Ole’ Grill & Cantina, a family owned Tex-Mex favorite since 1989.
Las Olas & Riverwalk Arts District
Las Olas and the Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment District is the heart of the excitement, from the beach to the downtown core. Some popular spots in this area include Rocco's Tacos, YOLO Restaurant, Royal Pig Pub & Kitchen, and just to the north is Shooter's Waterfront, which is currently Yelp’s #1 rated restaurant. There are so many great restaurants in the area, it’s hard to narrow down which ones are best!
Flanigans Seafood Bar & Grill
Flanigans Seafood Bar & Grill is a local favorite. A family run restaurant, it has an Irish Pub – Sports Bar vibe. They have reasonable prices, baby back ribs falling off the bone and amazing burgers. Their Caesar salad with fresh tuna is delicious.
Tinta-Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach
Another top rated restaurant in Fort Lauderdale is Tinta- Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach. With over 1,200 reviews, it maintains a five-star rating. This contemporary Mexican spot is a must-try if you're relocating to or visiting the area.
Other notable spots include:
The Wilder is a lounge that offers unique and tasty cocktails and elevated bites. It's a great place if you're looking for a great drink in a classy atmosphere.
The Wharf is a beautiful open-air event spot with a bar, food trucks, and yard games. The river views are stunning, and it's a great place to go and socialize.
Glitch Arcade Bar
Glitch Arcade Bar will be your go-to spot if you love craft beer, trivia, arcade games, and pressed paninis.
The Elbo Room
Fort Lauderdale is an excellent place for night owls who want to have fun. The Elbo Room is a famous spot on the beachfront that has been around since 1939. It was the first commercial establishment to broadcast a live stream of the bar on the internet back in 1996. It offers live music and great drinks.
Rosie’s Bar and Grill
Located in the LGBTQ+ friendly neighborhood of Wilton Manors, Rosie's Bar and Grill is a popular spot for those in the community. The quirky menu is raved about, and they have daily drink specials.
How To Get Around Fort Lauderdale
Fort Lauderdale is a great city to call home. However, having a car is an asset in this type of city. At the same time, there are public transportation options. (And if you do drive, be prepared to pay for parking.)
The Sun Trolley is a wave-and-ride system with six different city routes. If you see a trolley, you just wave it down and hop on along your desired route. Brightline is also a privately owned and maintained passenger train that goes from West Palm Beach to Miami and Orlando.
With the number of canals, Water Taxi might also provide a fun way to catch a ride around the city. Lastly, both Uber and Lyft are available in the city to take advantage of ride-share options.
Fun Things To Do in Fort lauderdale
Not only does the city have a lot to offer, but Miami and West Palm Beach are under an hour away and Key Largo is under two hours. This allows residents to fully explore the wonderful amenities and attractions in the nearby area. You can also find plenty to do within Fort Lauderdale, without having to stray too far.
Beautiful climate, lush greenery, and sandy beaches are the perfect recipe for an outdoor-lover. Living an active lifestyle will be fun and easy if you love to spend time outdoors.
Lauderdale-by-the-Sea is a small beach community with some beautiful beaches and a lively crowd, often in the downtown area. The coral reefs make it a perfect spot to snorkel, but it can also be a great place to just sit on the beach and people-watch if you so choose!
With so many beaches, you can spend time participating in every water sport you can imagine. From swimming and surfing to wakeboarding and boating, you can spend all day on the water. Locals love to fish, parasail, kayak, and more. Plenty of tours are available for those who want to explore with friends.
Everglades National Park
Everglades National Park is packed with wildlife and is about an hour south of Fort Lauderdale. You can take an airboat tour, charter a fishing boat for saltwater or freshwater sport fishing, enjoy RV or tent camping, or paddle through the wilderness by kayak or canoe. Just watch out for alligators! Covering 2,400 square miles, Everglades National Park is the largest national park in Florida and the 3rd largest in the lower continental 48 states. But even closer is Holiday Park, just west of Fort Lauderdale, offering an opportunity to see the everglades, take an airboat ride, and see an alligator wrestling show.
Fort Lauderdale's beaches deserve a category of their own. The spectacular beaches and amenities are some of the major draws that attract people to the area.
Las Olas Boulevard | A1A
The heart of Fort Lauderdale Beach is where Las Olas Boulevard meets A1A. There are restaurants and stores along the strip of A1A, where you can grab a bite to eat while sitting and enjoying some people-watching. You'll find people soaking up the sun on the popular beach, bicycling and skating on the wide sidewalk, while water-dwellers can enjoy surfing, paddle boarding, and snorkeling. The area is bustling with tourists during the summer months because of the five-star hotels nearby. On top of all that, some of the best restaurants in the city are just minutes from the sandy shore.
Hollywood Beach is a fantastic place to go for a swim and then get a great meal afterward. The Oceanfront boardwalk has a walkable area with plenty of restaurants and hotels. Several spots serve up fresh seafood and offer a nice break for when the sun becomes a little too much. Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort is a fun spot to visit, with its beachside surfing simulator!
Deerfield Beach boasts the International Fishing Pier, which is excellent if you want to fish or watch pros in action. Some trendy restaurants along the beach include The Whale's Rib, which has been featured on the Food Network. Be prepared to wait in a long line, but it's worth the wait.
Hallandale Beach is on the Miami border and is about 17 minutes from Fort Lauderdale but deserves an honorable mention. The beach is surrounded by parks that have volleyball courts, pavilions, and playgrounds. ETARU Restaurant is one of the most popular spots nearby for the freshest sushi and fish, and you can see your meal being cooked for you with their open grills.
Just to the north of Fort Lauderdale is Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, which features a fishing pier, popular restaurants such as Aruba, 101 Ocean, The Village Grille, Mulligans, Kilwins, and more. Several of these fine establishments feature live music and sometimes there’s even music in the street.
Hillsboro Beach is home to the iconic lighthouse that makes it into almost every tourist photo taken there. Climb the lighthouse to get some of the best views of the ocean. If you're patient, you'll likely see some sea turtles, as this is a popular nesting area for them.
Pompano Beach is the spot for sport fishing and diving. Along the shore are some popular hotels and restaurants with amazing views. The city is working to create a world class destination, Pompano Beach Fishing Village, as they revitalize the beach area with new restaurants, a beautiful beachfront park, fishing pier and condos.
Dania Beach is a secluded spot that's not as tourist-filled as other beaches. Where Dania Beach Blvd. meets A1A is the Dania Beach marina, where you can dock your boat just minutes from Port Everglades. There’s also a fishing pier and the ever-popular Quarterdeck restaurant which serves up burgers, wings, sushi, and more, as you enjoy relaxing ocean views. If Fort Lauderdale beach is a bit too busy for you, you’re sure to love the gorgeous palm tree-lined beaches at Dr. Von D. Mizell-Eula Johnson State Park (formerly known as John U. Lloyd State Park). This park borders Port Everglades and offers a quieter option for those who want to avoid the crowds.
The city is a hub for fantastic festivals and fun events throughout the year. Some of the most popular include Lauderdale by the Sea Craft Festival, Las Olas Art Fair, the Marando Farms market, Old Town Untapped, the Fort Lauderdale Swap Shop, Wicked Manors on Halloween, the Seminole Hard Rock Winterfest Boat Parade, and Stonewall Pride.
The annual Tortuga Music Festival hosts various bands and is a popular event for music lovers. The South Florida Symphony Orchestra is another fantastic venue for those who love the symphony.
Entertainment & Attractions
Fort Lauderdale has an arts and culture scene that is top-notch.
Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment District
The Riverwalk Arts & Entertainment District is a staple in the community. It’s home to art galleries, performances, restaurants, and concerts. A few culture centers host special events, including ones for children.
Downtown Hollywood Artwalk
The Downtown Hollywood Artwalk happens every third Saturday, and FATVillage is on the last Saturday of every month.
The Bonnet House Museums & Gardens
The Bonnet House Museums & Gardens hosts tours and festivals and is a popular wedding venue. It provides a unique look at the city's history, and it's gorgeous.
For other museums, visit the NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale, Coral Springs Museum of Art, Museum of Discovery and Science, and the African American Research Library and Cultural Center.
Fort Lauderdale has so much to offer if you're looking to relocate to the southern Florida area. With endless things to do and fantastic housing options on the water, you won't want to leave once you step into the city.