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11 Hidden Gems In Fort Lauderdale You Need To Visit

You know all about Fort Lauderdale’s beaches, canals and luxury hotels. But what about the year-round farmers’ markets, walking food tours, hidden parks and an outdoor entertainment hub? 

Broward County features a number of attractions, many of which we’re sure you haven’t heard of yet. Next time you’re searching for something to do, pick one of these 11 hidden gems in Fort Lauderdale. 

Secret Woods Nature Center
Buried inside a canopy of mangroves, it’s no wonder this place is called Secret Woods. Designated as Broward County’s first nature center, Secret Woods includes a butterfly garden, winding trails and public art. Bordering the South Fork New River in Dania Beach, the green space is a perfect spot to bring family and friends for a picnic, followed by an afternoon stroll through tall royal palms and tropical hammocks.

2701 W. State Road 84, Fort Lauderdale; 954.357.8884; broward.org/parks/secretwoodsnaturecenter 

Tree Tops Park
Stretching nearly 250 acres, Tree Tops Park in Davie is known for its extensive network of horseback riding trails, which run right through the park. With more than seven miles of routes, the only catch is riders must bring their own horses. Otherwise, the park itself is remarkable for its conservation of rare live oaks and tropical hammocks. It’s a favored spot among locals for long walks or jogs away from the the hustle and bustle of Broward County.

3900 SW 100th Ave., Davie; 954.357.5130; broward.org/parks/treetopspark

Gondolas West
One of the best ways to experience Fort Lauderdale is by boat. Gondolas West offers quiet tours of the New River reserved for six lucky passengers numerous times a week. You’ll journey through the canals that Fort Lauderdale is famous for, while taking in some history and spotting native wildlife.

Located at Bahia Mar Hotel and Marina, 801 Seabreeze Blvd., For Lauderdale; 954.609.6674; sunny.org/listings/gondolas-west/4344

Liquivida Lounge
It’s not always easy to get the right nutrients our bodies crave on a daily basis. That’s where Liquivida Lounge comes in, a spa-like experience for vitamin IV therapy. Think of it as a modern approach to receiving vitamins, minerals and amino acids directly into the bloodstream, making it easier for the body to absorb. The result? It leads to enhanced energy and preventative care against dehydration, stress and malnutrition. Pick from a variety of different treatments off of Liquivida’s “cocktail menu,” from immune system boosters to hangover remedies. If you’re a first timer, ask for a micronutrient test, which determines what vitamins you might need more of, customizing a drip specific to you. 

3349 NE 33rd St., Unit B, Fort Lauderdale; 844.548.2100; liquividalounge.com

Hillsboro Lighthouse

Nicknamed “The Big Diamond,” the Hillsboro Lighthouse is one of the oldest structures in Broward County, dating back to the early 1900s. If you climb the lighthouse’s nearly 200 steps up a spiral staircase, you’ll discover stunning views of the Hillsboro and Pompano coastlines. Only available by boat, visiting the lighthouse requires some pre-planning. Bring a few beach chairs to hang out on the sandy shoreline before or after you climb up the structure. Boat tours are only offered about a dozen times per year, so mark your calendars a few weeks ahead of time.

2700 N. Ocean Blvd., Pompano Beach; 954.226.3566; hilsborolighthouse.org

Las Olas Walking Food Tours
Learn about the history of Las Olas and Fort Lauderdale by savoring it yourself. Las Olas Food Tours provides the ultimate foodie adventure through the downtown area. During the evening, you’ll stop at half a dozen restaurants and sample food and drinks along the way. While restaurants are subject to change, come prepared to nosh on a variety of items, from short rib tater tots and chicken empanadas, to chocolate truffles and pineapple mint ginger sangria. 

Locations vary; 888.442.3016; lasolasfoodtours.com

Stonewall National Museum & Archives 

For more than 20 years, the Stonewall National Museum & Archives has preserved and shared the culture of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and their role in society. In 2014, the museum relocated to Wilton Manors, bringing more than 26,000 books and 30,000 cataloged archives to the city. Throughout the year, Stonewall hosts unique exhibitions, author readings, discussions and movies. Some of the museum’s highlights include the gavel that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi used in 2010 to end the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy and a photo series of NYC nightlife in the 1980s.

2157 Wilton Drive, Wilton Manors; 954.530.9337; stonewall-museum.org

The YARD Wilton Manors
Formerly known as Eucalyptus Gardens, this hip collection of restaurants, a large market and a coffee shop is one of Broward County’s most popular outdoor entertainment hubs. The space is home to The Alchemist, a mad scientist-inspired coffee shop with fresh-brewed creations and small bites. Otherwise, Lola’s Market sells everything from handmade jewelry to dream catchers. With a large outdoor patio area and even larger umbrellas, order a coffee, explore the market and take in the vibes with some friends or solo with a good book.

2430 NE 13th Ave., Wilton Manors; 954.604.4930; sunny.org/listings/the-yard/10807/

Marando Farms & Ranch
For nearly a decade, Marando Farms has supplied fresh fruit, vegetables and other goods to those in-the-know. Open year-round, Marando Farms, which sports locations in Fort Lauderdale and Davie, offers the ripest tomatoes, the juiciest strawberries and the freshest eggs for less money than your neighborhood grocery store. Plus, the Davie location also includes a farm-to-table restaurant, and serves as a host for various seasonal events. Either farm serves as a great weekend outing to stock up on fresh foods and enjoy a quick change of scenery. 

5151 SW 64th Ave., Davie; 954.945.5744; marandoranch.com

1401 SW First Ave., Fort Lauderdale; 954.294.2331; marandoranch.com

Long Key Natural Area & Nature Center
One of the largest green spaces in Broward County, this elevated oak hammock used to be part of a series of barrier islands surrounded by Everglades marshes. Now, the nature center is accessible by foot and features a bounty of tropical plants, towering trees and serene trails. The park also includes a 14-acre orange grove, several canals and quite a bit of wildlife, from butterflies to foxes and bobcats. If you really fall in love with this place, there’s an on-site nature hall available for rent for various events, from weddings to family reunions.   

3501 SW 130th Ave., Davie; 954.357.8797; broward.org/parks/longkeynaturalarea

Expresso Coffee Co
On South Andrews Avenue, Expresso Coffee serves some of the most unique java in town. Since the early 1990s, the little corner spot, which is limited to a ventanita-style window with a chalkboard menu, offers single-origin coffees, flavored cappuccinos, fresh-made smoothies and small bites like sandwiches and quiches. The shop also features a “Flavor of the Day,” coffee, from chocolate macadamia and cinnamon swirl, to gingerbread and French caramel.

1900 S. Andrews Ave., Fort Lauderdale; 954.527.1222; facebook.com/expressocoffeecompany

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