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.
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.
The Best Schools in Plantation Fort Lauderdale
The Broward County Public School District is home to some of the top schools in Florida.
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.
Other notable spots include:
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.
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.
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.