What’s New in Greater Fort Lauderdale? Visit Lauderdale Shares Exciting Mid-Year Updates

Extraordinary Accommodations and Attractions, Summer Specials and International  Soccer Phenom Lionel Messi Top List

In Greater Fort Lauderdale, there’s always something for Everyone Under the Sun to experience. This summer, Visit Lauderdale unveils what you need to see and do, and the inside scoop on how to access free offerings and exclusive savings to create memories that will last all season long.

Sporting Attractions

A Major Win! Lionel Messi Now Playing at DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale 

Global soccer superstar Lionel Messi could have gone anywhere in the world, yet he chose Fort Lauderdale, signing with Inter Miami CF. Messi, considered to be the greatest player of all time,  generated international headlines with this move and will undoubtably draw sell-out crowds with a global fanbase flocking to Fort Lauderdale’s DRV PNK stadium. In a massive win for the team and Greater Fort Lauderdale, the 36-year-old Argentinian forward and recent FIFA World Cup champion joined the David Beckham-owned soccer club based in Fort Lauderdale. With DRV PNK serving as team headquarters, main practice field and academy for mentoring future soccer stars, area businesses and hotels are excited to welcome a new wave of international and domestic guests.

The historic Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Center and International Swimming Hall of Fame complex, home to Florida’s first Olympic-sized swimming pool that opened in 1926, has undergone a $47 million renovation. The expansion includes five swimming pools and support amenities that welcome new generations of aquatic sport enthusiasts to sporting activities and competitions. A major highlight for the new venue is a 27-meter dive tower with springboards and nine platform levels. And upon request, visitors can also take their experience to great, new heights with the “Top of the Tower” tours with scenic views of the Intracoastal Waterway and Fort Lauderdale beach.

Summer Discounts and Specials

Need summer vacation inspiration? Visit Lauderdale’s 101 Days of Summer campaign has 101 ways to experience the area’s best offerings. Map out your summer staycation with the help of this curated list, which is chock-full of 101 local unforgettable experiences that showcase the diversity of Greater Fort Lauderdale’s 31 vibrant communities. Check out VisitLauderdale.com/Summer to plan your best summer ever.

South Florida Adventure Pass offers unlimited entry to four major attractions now through September 30, 2023. Tickets are $55 for adults and $45 for ages 3-12. Existing Adventure Pass subscribers can renew at a discounted rate of $45 for adults and $35 for children.

Show Your Badge

Looking to save money at Greater Fort Lauderdale’s attractions, restaurants, retailers and more?  Then sign up for Visit Lauderdale’s “Show Your Badge” program. This free mobile passport provides special savings on food, drinks, activities, and more. Offerings include free appetizers, BOGO deals, and discounts on meals and attractions.

Dine Out Lauderdale

Ready to tempt your tastebuds? Visit Lauderdale’s “Dine Out Lauderdale” offers locals and visitors a smorgasbord of ways to eat their way through Greater Fort Lauderdale with curated, three-course dining options. From August 1 through August 31, 2023, participating restaurants and eateries throughout Greater Fort Lauderdale will feature prix fixe menus at $45, $55 or a luxe option for $75.

Visit Lauderdale Ale Trail

With so many breweries now calling Greater Fort Lauderdale home, the free Visit Lauderdale Ale Trail mobile passport makes it easy to discover the area’s thriving brewery scene and enjoy exclusive deals and discounts at 13 Ale Trail stops. Users can collect points redeemable for limited-edition Visit Lauderdale swag.

Transportation, Mobility and Accessibility 

New Brightline Connections and Airport-to-Train Shuttles

There are even more options to travel to Greater Fort Lauderdale now that Brightline, Florida’s high-speed train, has added new stations in Boca Raton and Aventura. In mid-September 2023, even more options will come online as a new service to Orlando International Airport (MCO) will make its debut.

Convenient shuttles connect travelers from Brightline’s downtown Fort Lauderdale station to Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) and a partnership with Uber called Brightline+ allows guests to book shared rides. Traveling on Brightline is fully accessible to users of all abilities and easily accommodates guests using wheelchairs, walkers, and other assistive devices.

Aira, a Visual Interpreting Service Now at FLL

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) is an Aira network partner and provides visual assistance for the sight impaired. Travelers now have complimentary access to a visual interpreting service which creates a more independent and accessible airport experience. Through the free Aira mobile app, live trained agents provide real-time instructions and information to visually impaired travelers.

Direct Flights to Israel

El Al Israel Airlines is introducing nonstop seasonal service between FLL and Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion Airport starting September 13, 2023. The Israeli national airline will begin flying year-round between Fort Lauderdale and Tel Aviv in the Spring of 2024.

LauderGo! Micro Mover

The City of Fort Lauderdale introduced the Micro Mover, a free, convenient, and sustainable mobility option to help residents and visitors get around downtown Fort Lauderdale, Las Olas and the beach. Users can download the ‘Ride Circuit’ app to book their ride. A newly expanded route now connects riders to Galt Ocean Mile area businesses, shopping, restaurants, and neighboring Lauderdale-by-the-Sea every day through September 2023.

New Cruise Lines and Terminal at Port Everglades

Disney Cruise Line is bringing its magic to Port Everglades. Beginning this November, The Disney Dream will homeport year-round in a specially designed cruise terminal dedicated for Disney Cruise Line guests.  And in 2024, Port Everglades will also welcome Azamara Onward and Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas, its fifth Oasis-Class Ship and Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Ascent, its fourth Edge-Class Ship. Also on the horizon, environmentally sustainable newbuilds Silversea’s Silver Nova and Princess Cruises’ Sun Princess.

Special Events and Perks                                                                                         

Pompano Beach Toy Library                                                                                                                                 

Building sandcastles and playing with colorful beach toys is something kids of all ages would love. So, why not show the importance of repurposing and re-using these items with a Beach Toy Library?  Thanks to local Girl Scout Troop 10276, families visiting Pompano Beach now can. This toy library comes with the added bonus of knowing plastic toys are getting a useful life and won’t ever be taking up space in a landfill (or anyone’s luggage)!

Hip Hop Book Festival

The 2023 South Florida Book Festival presented by Visit Lauderdale is happening at the African American Research Library and Cultural Center on Sistrunk Avenue in Fort Lauderdale. This year’s theme is “WORD! Celebrating 50 Years of Hip-Hop Culture” and brings together literature, visual and performing artists along with local leaders, authors and even scholars of Florida’s hip-hop community.

Summer Promos

Did someone say Happy Hour? The Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort has that and so much more! The resort is offering food and beverage specials every day of the week, all summer long. Whether it’s Happy Hour at the Lone Palm, buy 1 Get 1 tacos at Floridays, Wine Down Wednesday specials at JWB Prime Steak & Seafood or 5OC Bar & Grill Island’s Fever Dance party every Thursday or Brunch & Brews on Sunday, there’s tons of options for everyone to take part in.

Luxury Hotel Accommodations

Bahia Mar Resort and Yachting Center will soon break ground on a massive $1 billion redesign and expansion. Plans for the transformative legacy project include a new, 256-room, five-star luxury hotel, four condominium towers. Amenities include an upscale marina village, waterfront restaurant, a park overlooking the Intracoastal and a public waterfront promenade that will be 25 feet wide and half a mile long, encircling the entire 39-acre site.

The iconic Pier Sixty-Six Hotel & Marina is scheduled to re-open in 2024. The completely reimagined 325-room luxury resort will feature a wide variety of culinary options including superb waterfront dining. Guests can luxuriate at the destination spa, a two-level tropical pool oasis with separate family and adult areas including private cabanas and daybeds. Plus, there will be an additional 40,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor event and meeting space. The Pier Top Tower, the resort’s famous rotating lounge, will offer guests stunning 360-degree views of the Atlantic Ocean, Intracoastal Waterway, and downtown Fort Lauderdale.

Wilton Manors, a mecca for the LGBT+ community, will soon welcome its very first hotel called the Wilton Hotel & Pool Club. This upscale 123-room, full-service boutique hotel will be conveniently located at the Five Points intersection of Wilton Drive and N. Dixie Highway. With a stylish design that includes outdoor murals, an inviting lobby and a spectacular roof top dining experience, pool, meeting rooms and coffee bistro, the property will be a beacon of hospitality where commerce, culture and community converge for all.

Dining and Brewery Scene

Fort Lauderdale’s newest rooftop restaurant Olive & Sea, is elevated above the glistening Intracoastal at the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina hotel. With a modern Eastern Mediterranean flair, Olive & Sea features dishes that are infused with the soulful, bright, fresh flavors of the Middle East. Olive & Sea and pulls inspiration from Fort Lauderdale’s welcoming beaches, shimmering waters, and marina lifestyle.

2ONE2 Breeze Lounge at Sonesta Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort is Fort Lauderdale’s latest oceanfront rooftop destination. This hidden gem combines the VIP allure of an exclusive, limited access experience with an inspired cocktail and culinary program. Upon arrival guests are greeted by a valet and whisked to the front desk where they receive their key to VIP access. A quick trip up the elevator brings guests to what seems to be hotel suite 212, but upon opening the door are greeted by a beach-style, swanky lounge.

With a new location in Fort Lauderdale, Sweet Green is leading a movement to reimagine fast food with menu items made from scratch. Featuring fresh, plant-forward, earth friendly food, the casual restaurant aims to empower its customers, team members and partners to be a positive force in the food system.

Dream State Brewing’s new home in Sistrunk Marketplace offers an array of its craft brews available in draft, can or bottle, with more than 20 specialty beers from breweries around the country. Experience new varieties of brews, beer flights, specialty beer pairing dinners with restaurant partners from the marketplace, plus fun events like tap takeovers with beer industry friends, charity events and other local community gatherings.

You won’t have to travel far to find South Florida’s only popcorn bar. That’s because Popilicious Popcorn has made its debut in Pompano Beach. Customers can pop in and customize a tub of popcorn topped with favorite candies, nuts and dried fruits or indulge in its world-famous popcorn cakes.

La Fuga is now open at Kimpton Shorebreak Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort. Chef Michael Mayer infuses local South Florida flavors with classic Italian staples to create a fusion of crave-worthy, contemporary dishes. Experience modern, coastal Italian cuisine and enjoy handmade pastas, locally sourced seafood, wood-fired pizzas, and salads accented with fresh herbs.

The opening of Cove Brewery is expected in Summer 2023 and will mark the first brewery in Deerfield Beach. Created by three locals, the 7,000 square-foot establishment will have an old Florida-inspired theme that celebrates South Florida’s beach lifestyle and serve an Asian-inspired dim sum and seafood.