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The city of Fort Lauderdale in Broward County, Florida lies along the Atlantic coastline between metropolitan Miami to the south and Palm Beach to the north. After being home to a major U.S. air base during World War II, the city experienced its first major population boom in the postwar era when returning servicemen made it their home. Today, Fort Lauderdale is a principal city in the South Florida metropolitan area, with a diverse population, a bustling downtown commercial and cultural center and over 60 officially-recognized neighborhoods within its borders. The city is home to several colleges and universities including The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale.
Fort Lauderdale's downtown district especially around Las Olas Boulevard has seen the rise of many new hotels and condominium developments in recent years in addition to new business centers and office towers. While it became a popular spot for college party jaunts in the 1980s, Fort Lauderdale has left behind its reputation as spring break party central and repositioned itself as a 21st century luxury destination. The city has become increasingly popular with affluent travelers looking for perfect tropical weather, a festive atmosphere, a vibrant cultural life and some of South Florida's most beautiful beaches. Summers here (May through October) are balmy and humid, with frequent thunderstorms and sun showers in the afternoon; winters (November through April) are warm and mostly dry with the occasional cold front. As is true of many parts of Florida, Fort Lauderdale is a popular seasonal nesting spot for snowbirds who alight for winter and early spring to avoid northern ice and snow.
Fort Lauderdale has been called the Venice of Florida due to its intricate network of canals. Fort Lauderdale is also known as the country's yachting capital. In addition to being a major building and servicing center for yachts, its many waterways and access to the Bahamas and the Caribbean have made the city a popular stop on yachting vacations, with over 42,000 boats that call its marinas home. Fort Lauderdale's cruise port, Port Everglades, is one of the busiest in the U.S. and Florida's deepest port. The annual Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show is among the world's largest of its kind, bringing over 125,000 people to the city. Celebrity yachts spotted here include the world's longest private yacht belonging to Microsoft's Paul Allen. The city's Dock & Dine initiative lets you dock your boat and grab a table at over twenty dockside restaurants.
Fort Lauderdale's Riverwalk Arts and Entertainment District along Las Olas Boulevard is home to the Broward Center for the Performing Arts, which anchors a collection of art galleries, cafes, bars, restaurants and shops. For more serious retail therapy, the Galleria Mall offers Neiman Marcus, Macy's, and plenty of popular chain store favorites. Sawgrass Mills Outlets in nearby Sunrise is one of America's largest and best-known outlet malls. For a unique shopping experience, Fort Lauderdale Swap Shop is a large indoor/outdoor flea market and the site of the world's biggest (13 screens) drive-in movie theater.
The intersection of Las Olas and A1A is the main drag of Fort Lauderdale Beach. Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, a calm part of the 23-mile stretch of Greater Fort Lauderdale-area beaches, is known for its beautiful sand and outdoor concerts. Its three-tier natural coral reef system rates as a natural wonder you can swim out to the reef and watch many species of sponges and tropical fish. Located in downtown Fort Lauderdale, the Museum of Discovery and Science boasts the largest number of visitors of any museum in Florida. Hugh Taylor Birch State Park is a 180-acre beachfront park offering nature trails, campgrounds, canoeing and picnic facilities.
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