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Where to Stay in Fort Lauderdale in 2024 | Best Areas

Where to Stay in Fort Lauderdale in 2024 | Best Areas

Fort Lauderdale is one of those places where you can’t go wrong when deciding where to stay. The city is beautiful, connected and average in size, so the choice of accommodation won’t limit you that much.

You can — with a good plan — see and visit almost everything. The only relevant and important decision you have to make is whether or not you want to stay near the beach. After all, that’s the main and most important attraction of Fort Lauderdale.

Broadly speaking, you’ll need at least four days to really experience Fort Lauderdale:

  • Visit the beach;
  • Walk the parks;
  • Savor the restaurants;
  • Go to the museum;
  • Do some shopping.

A week would probably be perfect. But where should you stay when you visit? Don’t worry — we’ll cover this and much more below. Let us be your guide!

The 5 Best Places to Stay in Fort Lauderdale

Vector map of Fort Lauderdale pictured with several of the best places to stay and attractions to visit

Fort Lauderdale is not a big city, yet it’s full of life and versatility. You’ll find beaches, restaurants, shops, museums, parks, and clubs in almost every neighborhood. The difference is their specific draws. Let’s see what they are.

The choice of neighborhood depends on the preferences of the visitor. Luckily, there’s something for everybody in Fort Lauderdale. All you need is the right information and a good plan.

  1. Downtown: The center of Fort Lauderdale is a hub for museums, culture, history, and nightlife.
  2. Central Beach: The city’s biggest attraction — the best beaches, hotels, and restaurants in town. If you want a Florida-themed vacation, this is the place for you.
  3. Lauderdale-By-the-Sea: The most suitable place for families and those who are on a budget, much calmer and cheaper than Central Beach.
  4. Victoria Park: The best combination for lovers of parks and theater, it’s both calm and vibrant, close yet isolated from the downtown crowds.
  5. Wilton Manors: One of the most famous and important LGBTQI+ neighborhoods in all of America — versatile, inclusive, and welcoming for everybody.

The Best Areas & Hotels in Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale offers many options concerning accommodation in almost every part of the city. There’s a great deal of budget, mid-range, and luxurious hotels mostly everywhere, but there are also considerable differences from one area to the other.

The best and most luxurious hotel in Fort Lauderdale can be found in Central Beach. The hotels in this neighborhood — immediately next to the ocean — offer the best views, pools, and restaurants. However, they’re also the most expensive in the whole town.

The supply of budget hotels is not great, either. Downtown is pretty much the same deal. On the other hand, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea offers the greatest amount of budget accommodation options. The best part is that almost all of them are close to the ocean.

Victoria Park and Wilton Manors are somewhere in between. With their fair share of mid-range and luxurious hotels, if you look long enough, you can find budget accommodation too. But, neither of them has access to the ocean. The majority of parks in Fort Lauderdale, on the other hand, are located in these two areas.

1. Downtown

For a piece on where to stay in Fort Lauderdale, a few condo buildings overlooking a canal with expensive boats on it pictured on a clear sky day

Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Fort Lauderdale is not only about beaches and summer vacations. Its downtown is a modern sub-tropical urban center that offers much, much more than swimming and lying by the ocean.

The city center is a great combination of urbanity and a distinctive tropical vibe, mainly known for its fancy on-the-beach hotels. There are many museums and places of culture, as well as vibrant and colorful nightlife and great shopping hubs.

If you’re a fan of museums and history, Fort Lauderdale’s downtown has a lot to offer. First, you have to visit the Naval Air Station Museum and its great collection of artifacts, weaponry, and military history from World War Two up until modern times.

Next in line is the Museum of Discovery and Science, where you can learn anything and everything, from Florida’s ecosystem to flying in a flight simulator.

Interestingly enough, Fort Lauderdale is a great place for theater-goers and art lovers — something you wouldn’t expect from a tropical Florida city full of beaches and seaside resorts.

Visit some of the numerous galleries in the area, but don’t forget The Broward Center for Performing Arts, which features Broadway performances, family-friendly shows, and concerts. After you’ve finished your museum tour, it’s time for shopping!

The Galleria Mall is irreplaceable in this regard. There are more than 100 shops in the three-level mall, boasting both big-name and cheap shops. In other words, it’s a place where everyone can find something to buy and cherish. Finally, the nightlife is especially interesting and full of energy in Fort Lauderdale’s downtown.

There are bars, speakeasies, craft breweries, cocktail bars, and clubs, where you can savor the distinctive quasi-tropical nightlife of Florida. We recommend Apothecary 330, Original Fat Cats, Tarpon River Brewing, and Stache Drinking Den.

Downtown Budget Hotels

  • LunaSea Apt Downtown Airport-Cruise has a nice location and offers decent accommodation. Rooms have flat TVs with cable, and some of the rooms have kitchen facilities.
  • Oasis Hotel is a little further away downtown, but still quite close to the city center. The prices are low and the location is great. All rooms have cable TVs, a microwave, and a small refrigerator.

Downtown Mid-Range Hotels

  • Sonder at Riverwalk has a great and simple policy: Stay in the heart of Fort Lauderdale! It’s located 100 m from the Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale. It also has rooms with a kitchen and a washing machine, and there’s an outdoor pool on the premises.
  • Tru By Hilton Fort Lauderdale Downtown is a great hotel in Fort Lauderdale Downtown, with a nice city view, a bar, a gym, and a swimming pool. It also offers a continental breakfast every morning.

Downtown Luxury Hotels

  • Hyatt Centric Las Olas Fort Lauderdale has a great location and perfect accommodation conditions. A pool, a terrace and a gym, and all of that concentrated in the perfect location, very close to the center of the city.

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2. Central Beach

Central Beach, one of the best places to stay in Fort Lauderdale, pictured from the sandy beach with blue chairs on either side on a clear day

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, U.S.A. – JUNE 11, 2022: View of chaises set up for visitors in the morning on part of Central Beach, near Riomar Street/Chris Allan/Shutterstock

If you want to swim and sunbathe all day, eat at fancy restaurants, and stay at luxurious hotels, Central Beach is the right place for you. Here, you’ll get the perfect Fort Lauderdale summer experience: the beach, the sun, the fancy restaurants, the expensive hotels, and all the beach and ocean-related activities.

But there are also a few unexpected things that’ll surely surprise you. Central Beach is the nucleus of the seven-mile-long Fort Lauderdale Beach and the part that boasts the best nightclubs, bars, coffees, restaurants, and hotels.

No big surprise: it’s the most popular location in Fort Lauderdale for tourists and spring breakers. Also, it is connected to the Downtown area via Las Olas Boulevard, the most famous street in the city.

Coincidentally, Las Olas Boulevard is one of the greatest attractions in the city, with its unique architecture and numerous shopping and dining options. There are at least 30 dinner options, 65 shops, 10 art galleries, and two museums.

Alongside the coast, on the other hand, you can find the two best beaches in the town: Fort Lauderdale Beach and Las Olas Beach. In addition to their beauty, they offer many ocean- and beach-related activities, such as scooter rides, boat rides, speedboats, jet skis, etc.

As things in Fort Lauderdale usually come in pairs, the two representative parks in Central Beach are Fort Lauderdale Beach Park and Hugh Taylor Birch State Park. And now, the surprise that we promised you earlier. Quite unexpectedly, there are important museums in this area too.

The International Swimming Hall Of Fame & Museum narrates the history and development of swimming, and the Bonnet House Museum & Garden contains the history of Florida on its premises. All in all, Central Beach is a great place to stay. Versatile and beautiful, it has something to offer to almost everybody.

It also has the best hotels and restaurants with unforgettable vistas. However, it’s probably the most expensive and luxurious place in town, so take that into account if you plan on finding your accommodation here.

Central Beach Budget Hotels

  • Sea Beach Plaza is quite the two-star hotel, only one block away from the beach. There’s free Wi-Fi all around the hotel and cable TVs in every room, but not much more. The location and the price are its strengths.
  • The Drift Hotel also has a nice location near the beach and relatively low prices (in a pricy neighborhood). Complementary foods and snacks — like cereals, orange juice, and bars — are available on the premises.

Central Beach Mid-Range Hotels

  • Best Western Plus Oceanside Inn is a great mid-range hotel in an extremely expensive and luxurious area. Two minutes from the beach with great facilities such as a refrigerator, air-conditioning, and a coffee machine.
  • Courtyard by Marriott Fort Lauderdale Beach is a mid-range hotel that looks like it offers luxurious accommodation. It has a restaurant, a bistro, and a pool on the premises, and it’s significantly cheaper than the more luxurious options in the area.

Central Beach Luxury Hotels

  • The Ritz-Carlton, Fort Lauderdale is maybe one of the best and most luxurious hotels in Fort Lauderdale. It offers almost everything: a great location on the beach, rooms with marble bathrooms and floor-to-ceiling windows, a pool, hair and nail salon, relaxation center, and a fitness center on the premises. Lastly, there’s a a fantastic 29,000-square-foot sundeck. Almost too good to be true.
  • Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa is probably the second on the list in this area, after The Ritz-Carlton. It has all the facilities that luxury hotels usually have, plus a great location on the beach and a Surf Club, both for adults and children.

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3. Lauderdale-By-the-Sea

Anglin Pier pictured on a cloudy dawn day for a piece on the best places to stay in Fort Lauderdale

Kevin Ruck/Shutterstock

If you’re not a “city center person” who likes the crowds and the din of the downtown or you don’t prefer the luxuriousness and loudness of Central Beach, Lauderdale-By-the-Sea is the right place for you.

Located in the northeast of the city, directly by the ocean, it is a quiet, family-friendly area, especially suitable if you are on a budget. However, the six blocks of this calm area actually have a lot to offer to any potential traveler. Most of the fun in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea happens on its beautiful 2.5-mile-long beaches.

They’re full of restaurants and hotels, but they’re more famous for something different — completely unlike the Central Beach area. Along the beach, there are highlights such as Anglin’s Fishing Pier, Turtle Nesting Area, and Scuba Diving Zone.

You’ll also find places for different marine activities and water sports. Because of the calmness and absence of crowds, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea has established itself as the perfect place for fishing and scuba diving.

Visit the Anglin’s Fishing Pier if you want to fish and the other two places if you want to find out why Lauderdale-by-the-Sea is called Florida’s beach diving capital.

Also, the iconic pier on the Lauderdale-by-the-Sea beach is perfect if you want to collect some beautiful memories of the unforgettable ocean and take some pictures. There are some interesting places to visit too, which are of considerable historical importance.

Close to the pier is Anglin’s Square, which is the central gathering place for all the neighborhoods. SS Copenhagen, the 19th-century British steamship that crashed on the shores of Lauderdale, is now an important monument and is listed on the National Register Of Historic Places.

The city itself is quite easy on the eye since it’s full of historic Florida architecture, street art, and local sculpture galleries. If you want to spend your vacation in Fort Lauderdale far from the madding crowd and have some quality time with your family, preferably while scuba diving or fishing, choose Lauderdale-by-the-Sea.

It’s quite cheaper than the city center and Central Beach. It has many budget and mid-range hotels that are not only decent but quite beautiful and close to the ocean.

Lauderdale-By-the-Sea Budget Hotels

  • Windjammer Resort and Beach Club has two outdoor heated pools, regularly equipped rooms, and daily maid services. Visitors can rent bikes on the premises too.
  • Horizon by the Sea Inn has a great location, both close to the ocean and a lot of restaurants. The rooms are decent, equipped with the usual utilities, and there’s also an outdoor pool on the premises.

Lauderdale-By-the-Sea Mid-Range Hotels

  • Coral Key Inn is a three-star hotel located on the very shores of Lauderdale Beach. There’s free parking, free Wi-Fi, a barbeque facility, and a pool on the premises.
  • 4145 By The Sea Inn & Suites is another three-star hotel, 200 meters away from the  Lauderdale-By-the-Sea beach. The rooms have flat-screen TVs, refrigerators, coffee machines, and microwaves. The place is usually recommended by couples.

Lauderdale-By-the-Sea Luxury Hotels

  • Plunge Beach Resort is a great choice if you’re looking for a luxurious and completely relaxing experience. The hotel boasts an outdoor pool and a gym, which also provides beach chairs and towels. Moreover, the area is full of coffee places and restaurants.
  • Tides Inn Hotel is a three-star hotel, but it offers a truly luxurious experience. It has a pool, a private beach, a tennis court, and a place for renting bicycles. Also, it serves a great breakfast.

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4. Victoria Park

Unique sign that depicts the history of a locomotive in Holiday Park, one of the best places to stay in Fort Lauderdale

Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA – November 30, 2014: An informational sign about the historic Switcher Engine located in Holiday Park. 1936 Switcher Engine sign in Holiday Park/Serenthos/Shutterstock

Victoria is the hidden gem in the heart of Fort Lauderdale. Located between the center of the city and its waterfront, it shares Las Olas Boulevard with the downtown of the city. As almost 95 acres of the whole area is covered in parks, it’s full of outdoor activities, sports, and places to have a nice stroll.

The culture in the area, on the other hand, is far from missing. Victoria Park is full of museums and places to visit as well. To put it simply, Victoria Park is like a combination of London’s Kensington with its Hyde Park and Soho with its vibrant culture and versatility.

Obviously, the center of this neighborhood — both literally and symbolically — is the huge Holiday Park. This massive piece of granary and trees is filled with different spaces for recreation, like tennis, volleyball, basketball courts, soccer fields, and even roller hockey fields.

The park is also great for walking and cycling if you don’t want to do any concrete sports. As Victoria Park is full of vibrant culture, Holiday Park is rarely empty. Concerts, festivals, and manifestations from all around the world (but also local) are usually held here.

Check the timetables and schedules and customize your trip according to those events. In the northern part of the neighborhood, you’ll find the World AIDS Museum and Educational Center and the Stonewall National Museum & Archives next to each other.

The first one is quite important as a museum that tells the sad history of AIDS and educates the public on this formerly taboo topic. The Stonewall National Museum & Archives is all about the history of the LGBTQI+ liberation movement.

Victoria Park is quite a versatile and welcoming place, especially for those of different genders and sexualities. Finally, if you’re up for some drama (literally), visit the Parker Playhouse — a famous venue with 1,167 seats, which usually hosts Broadway plays.

Apart from plays, the venue hosts concerts, live music and dance shows, comedy, and much more. Victoria Park is an interesting combination of open nature and culture that’s quite untypical for Fort Lauderdale. Without any beach-related activities, full of greenery, parks, museums, and theaters, it is basically like a smaller city inside a bigger city.

The biggest problem for a potential visitor is the lack of budget accommodation. Most of the hotels in this area are mid-range or higher, with possibly the greatest concentration of three-star hotels in the whole city.

Victoria Park Budget Hotels

  • Victoria Park Hotel is somehow in between a budget and a mid-range hotel. It has an outdoor pool and nicely furnished rooms, but its prices are quite reasonable. Also, it’s on the off-side of Victoria Park and Downtown.
  • LunaSea Apt Downtown Airport/Cruise is just outside Victoria Park. It has nice, decent, clean rooms that come at a low price – something uncommon in this area.

Victoria Park Mid-Range Hotels

  • Villa Venezia is a three-star hotel close to both Victoria Park and Las Olas Boulevard. It has both a great location and great design since it’s built in an Art Deco style. Also, it has an outdoor pool. 
  • Courtyard by Marriott Fort Lauderdale Downtown is a nice hotel with a great location. Close to almost everything important in Fort Lauderdale, like the Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale and Las Olas Boulevard, it’s a decent mid-range hotel. It also offers breakfast every day.

Victoria Park Luxury Hotels

  • Element Fort Lauderdale Downtown features a swimming pool, a nightclub, and a restaurant on the premises. It has a great location close to the city center and room service. It’s not exactly luxurious, but it offers some luxurious services.
  • Tropical Oasis Condos is a five-star hotel that has world-class service, a great location, and beautiful premises. It doesn’t have a pool, but it has a garden, a balcony, and a barbeque area. All the rooms are fully equipped, and the service in the hotel is very famous.

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5. Wilton Manors

Unique view you'll see as you enter Wilton Manors, Florida, one of the best places to stay in Fort Lauderdale

WILTON MANORS, FLORIDA – MAY 11, 2013: Sign that says Wilton Manors and Island City with palm trees on an island graphic in the median of Wilton Drive in this urban city of 11,9995 in 2012/Serenthos/Shutterstock

Wilton Manors is the most specific area in all of Fort Lauderdale. Located in the northern part of the city, it’s famous for its versatility and vibrant LGBTQI+ culture. Actually, the neighborhood is recorded as having the highest number of same-sex couples in all of America!

Many of the businesses, shops, coffee places, restaurants, and clubs are LGBT-owned, a fact that has attracted tourists from all around America who want to feel this specific, homely atmosphere.

Wilton Drive is the central street in the area, and around it, you’ll find a lot of places where you can eat or drink coffee. Wilton Manors is very famous for the artsy and chic cafes, versatile and peculiar restaurants, and extremely fun bars and nightclubs.

Wilton Manors is very important for the culture of differences and versatility and boasts many interesting institutions concerning the history and the present of the LGBTQI+ liberation movement.

The Pride Center at Equality Park is one of them, but on the “border” with Victoria Park, you’ll also find Center Stonewall National Museum & Archives and the World AIDS Museum. It’s no wonder then that the Fort Lauderdale Pride Week is held every year precisely in Wilton Manors.

If you happen to be in Fort Lauderdale in June, make sure not to miss the parade through the area and witness the celebration of different ways of being in the world. This area is located further away from the beach but has many beautiful parks that are worth visiting.

Donn Eisele Park, Hagen Park, Snook Creek Park, Mickel Field, and Colohatchee Park are places where you can enjoy the presence of nature and substitute the blue of the sea with the green of the trees. Wilton Manors is a versatile LGBTQI+ friendly neighborhood and is mostly visited by that population.

It has a lot of restaurants, coffee shops, and nightlife as well, so it’s a great place for a night out. It’s a great place for those who don’t want to spend all their time on their beach but want to explore the peculiar culture that Fort Lauderdale has to offer.

Wilton Manors Budget Hotels

  • Kool Runnings bed and breakfast is a decent place if you’re on a budget, very close to Wilton Manors. The rooms are air-conditioned, with flat-screen TVs, and, obviously, the hotel offers breakfast in the morning.
  • Americas Best Inn and Suites Fort Lauderdale North is a very decent two-star hotel with an outdoor pool. There’s a bar on the hotel premises, and it also offers daily housekeeping and laundry service.

Wilton Manors Mid-Range Hotels

  • The Link Hotel on Sunrise has a pool, flat TV in every room and it serves continental breakfast every morning. The hotel’s only “weakness” is its location because it’s a little bit off.
  • Fort Lauderdale Grand Hotel is a three-star hotel, but it still comes very cheap, mainly because of its location. If being a little further from Wilton Manors is not a problem, this is a great place, with an outdoor pool and every room facility.

Wilton Manors Luxury Hotels

  • Inn on the Drive is a luxury hotel with a balcony, a garden, and an outdoor pool. The rooms are richly furnished, and the service in the hotel is especially famous. Breakfast is available both in the common room and en suite.
  • The Westin Fort Lauderdale is just to the north, outside of Wilton Manors, but it’s worth the distance if you want luxury accommodation. It allows pets and has a swimming pool and a great view of the ocean.

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So, Where Should You Stay in Fort Lauderdale?

This is the end of the round-up and, hopefully, the beginning of your adventure in Fort Lauderdale. Before we finish, let’s do a quick recap, so you can get your thoughts and information in order.

🎉 Best Area for NightlifeDowntown
⛱️ Area with Best BeachesCentral Beach
💲 Most Budget-Friendly AreaLauderdale-By-the-Sea
🌳 Best for Nature LoversVictoria Park
👫🏽 Most Tourist-FriendlyWilton Manors

However, wherever you stay, you’re sure to have a great time, surrounded by welcoming locals, expansive oceanfront views, and amazing food with plenty of activities for all budgets and tastes. Happy travels!