View of a colorful skyline in Fort Lauderdale

Where to Stay in Fort Lauderdale in 2021 (By a Local!)

A lot of people are searching for a tropical getaway within the confines of the United States right now. Unsurprisingly, Fort Lauderdale, FL has become a hotspot for travelers who may have vacationed elsewhere in years past. This uptick in visitors does make choosing where to stay in Fort Lauderdale a bit of a challenge.

After living in Fort Lauderdale for nearly four years, I can tell you, not all parts of the city are made equally. 

Some areas are more central. Some neighborhoods are better for families. Some are located closer to the beach. And some should downright be avoided.

The good news? I’m here to tell you which areas are best for your next visit!

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support my work by purchasing through the affiliate links on this page, which may earn a commission for this site. Thank you!

Best Places to Stay in Fort Lauderdale, FL

Looking for a quick answer on the best places to stay in Fort Lauderdale? Here are my top picks for hotels in Fort Lauderdale: 

Guests will find a little bit of everything as they search for hotels in Fort Lauderdale. However, it may be smart to find out which area you want to be in and whether it’s the best fit for you. 

So let’s closer look at exactly where to stay in Fort Lauderdale during your next visit, depending on your travel goals: 

7 Best Areas to Stay in Fort Lauderdale

Downtown Fort Lauderdale or Fort Lauderdale Beach? Which is right for you? That’s the question travelers typically ask themselves when selecting a place to stay in Fort Lauderdale – and it’s a good question to ponder. After all, these are the two districts with the most hotels in Fort Lauderdale catering to visitors.

However, what most people don’t consider is the option of staying in the outlying cities that make up the greater Fort Lauderdale area. Sure, they aren’t technically within Fort Lauderdale city limits. But, as a local, I can tell you most folks consider it all pretty much the same anyway. 

So, before you book your trip, consider the entirety of Fort Lauderdale (downtown vs the beach) PLUS the nearby cities I’ve listed below.

👉 Bookmark This Now: I wrote an epic roundup of all the best stuff to do in Fort Lauderdale. Bookmark it now and come back to it after you’ve decided where to stay for some epic inspiration to help plan your upcoming trip!

1. Las Olas – Downtown Fort Lauderdale

View of the New River and some hotels around the area
Several of the top hotels in Downtown Fort Lauderdale line the New River.

👉 Best Area for Luxury Hotels and Dining | ✨ Best Las Olas Hotels: The HyattThe DalmarRiverside Hotel

Las Olas is the downtown entertainment district of Fort Lauderdale. Its namesake, Las Olas Boulevard, is lined with high-end boutiques, outdoor restaurants, and luxurious hotels. The olive tree-lined median cutting down the center of the street portrays a sense of quaintness in the midst of the towering buildings overhead.

My favorite part of Las Olas Boulevard, though, is the diverse range of establishments off-shooting the street. A block away, the Riverwalk trails along the New River where it’s not uncommon to witness sailboats and megayachts making their way inland. A half-mile west is Himmarshee Village filled with nightclubs and pubs. 

Along the way, you’ll find the NSU Art Gallery, the Museum of Science and Discovery, and the Broward Center for the Performing Arts.  It’s a wild place and I can honestly say I’ve never seen anywhere else like it.

With all that said, if you’re looking for shopping, nightclubs, bars, world-class restaurants, and endless amounts of things to do, I recommend staying in the Las Olas area. It’s farther away from the beach so if you’re not too inclined to spend all day every day in the sun and sand, this is the spot for you.

👉 PRO TIP: purchase a Water Taxi ticket to get down to the beach. It’s a fun and unique way to see the city to and from your beach day. They stop right on Las Olas Boulevard before heading to Fort Lauderdale Beach Park.

Pros of Staying in Las Olas:

  • Close to bars, restaurants, and nightlife along Las Olas Boulevard
  • Always a fun, lively atmosphere
  • Unique boating environment on the New River

Cons of Staying in Las Olas:

  • Downtown is not within walking distance of Fort Lauderdale beach – you’ll need a lift for a beach day

📚 Las Olas Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Luxury and City Life
Google Map

  • ✨ Best HotelsThe HyattThe DalmarRiverside Hotel
  • 🍽️ Where to Eat – Louie Bossi’s ($$), Asia Bay ($$), Royal Pig Pub and Kitchen ($$)
  • 🍸 Where to Drink – The Wharf, The Wilder, El Camino
  • 🎟️ Top Attractions – The Riverwalk, Broward Center for the Performing Arts, NSU Art Galleries and Museum

2. Lauderdale-by-the-Sea

View of the relaxing outdoor in one of the hotels by-the-sea in Fort Lauderdale
Beach Aqualina Apartments in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea was my family’s favorite place to stay while visiting the area!

👉 Best Area for Families | ✨ Best Lauderdale-by-the-Sea Hotels: Plunge Beach ResortBeach Aqualina ApartmentsWindjammer Resort and Beach Club

Yes, I realize the name of this spot is confusing – but technically, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea (aka “LBTS”) is its own municipality three miles north of Fort Lauderdale Beach. And surprisingly, the contrast between the two is stark. 

As Fort Lauderdale grows in size and luxury, LBTS seems to stay the same. In fact, the quaint beach town appears unchanged from a 1940s Old Florida postcard.  Even the places to stay are different – you won’t find the standard 5 and 4 star resort and spa like you would down the road. Rather, you’ll discover independently owned and operated hotels and guesthouses – a refreshing reprieve from the typically overdeveloped Florida shoreline. The authenticity is enchanting.

Pros of Staying in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea:

  • Easy access to the best beach in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • Lively town circle filled with bars, restaurants, and shops
  • Everything you need in walking proximity including groceries and pharmacy

Cons of Staying in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea:

  • Downtown Fort Lauderdale and the international airport are farther away.

📚 Lauderdale-by-the-Sea Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Families
Google Map

3. Fort Lauderdale Beach – Central Beach

Scenic view of the Fort Lauderdale's beachfront
Stay in a 5 star hotel, resort, or spa along Fort Lauderdale’s beachfront.

👉 Best Area for Nightlife and Beach Days | ✨ Best Fort Lauderdale Beach Hotels: ConradRitz CarltonThe Lago Mar Beach Resort

A rooftop pool, spa, beach resort, dive bar, or a Fort Lauderdale hotel with all the amenities, bells, and whistles.  Whatever it is you’re looking for, you’ll find it located in Fort Lauderdale’s Central Beach. This area is truly the epicenter of tourism in Fort Lauderdale and the atmosphere reflects it. The beach is lively, the streets are busy, and the dive bars are oddly full at all times of the day.

If you’re a family, I recommend avoiding staying in this area during certain times of the year, particularly college spring break. However, that’s not to say this isn’t an awesome place to stay in Fort Lauderdale outside of that wild month. Regardless, it’s important you pass through to hop aboard one of the boat tours I suggest in my article, 33 Things to Do in Fort Lauderdale.

Pros of Staying in Fort Lauderdale Beach:

  • Walk across the street for beach access
  • Many boat tours leave right from Bahia Mar Marina
  • Close to bars and restaurants

Cons of Staying in Fort Lauderdale Beach:

  • More expensive than other parts of the city

📚 Fort Lauderdale Beach Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Nightlife and Beach Days
Google Map

  • ✨ Best HotelsConradRitz Carlton The Lago Mar Beach Resort
  • 🍽️ Where to Eat – Casablanca Cafe ($$), Burlock Coast ($$$), El Vez ($$)
  • 🍸 Where to Drink – Elbo Room, Rock Bar, Park & Ocean
  • 🎟️ Top Attractions – Bahia Mar Marina (yacht viewing and boat tours), Bonnet House Museum and Gardens, Hugh Taylor Birch State Park

4. Harbordale / 17th Street Causeway

View of a woman enjoying the view and the Harbordale from afar
Harbordale is one of the easiest places to explore the Intracoastal Waterway before hopping aboard your cruise ship.

👉 Best Area for Cruise Passengers | ✨ Best Harbordale Hotels: Renaissance Cruise Port HotelHilton Fort Lauderdale MarinaHyatt Place Cruise Port

If you’re looking for a place to stay the night before or after your cruise, consider booking a spot in the Harbordale neighborhood (better known as the 17th Street Causeway). This area is entirely designed with cruise passengers in mind. You’ll find easy transit to and from Port Everglades and the airport, plus several of the best hotels in Fort Lauderdale for pre-cruise embarkation. 

If you are attending an event at the Broward County Convention Center, you might consider staying here as well. Or at the very least, during your stay in Fort Lauderdale, you’ll at least pass through to visit one of the many fabulous seafood restaurants, including the famous 15th Street Fisheries on the Intracoastal Waterway.

Pros of Staying in Harbordale:

  • Plenty of things to do before or after your cruise
  • Location close to International Airport and Port Everglades
  • A plethora of awesome seafood restaurants (see below)

Cons of Staying in Harbordale:

  •  The beach and downtown are a taxi ride away

📚 Harbordale Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Cruise Passengers
Google Map

  • ✨ Best HotelsRenaissance Cruise Port HotelHilton Fort Lauderdale MarinaHyatt Place Cruise Port
  • 🍽️ Where to Eat – Quarterdeck ($$), Boatyard ($$$), 15th Street Fisheries ($$)
  • 🍸 Where to Drink – Waxy’s Irish Pub, Whiskey Neat
  • 🎟️ Top Attractions – Water Taxi Stop, Broward County Convention Center

5. Victoria Park & Flagler Village

Aerial view of a park in  Fort Lauderdale

👉 Best Area to Stay Like a Local | ✨ Best Victoria Park & Flagler Village Hotels: Marriott CourtyardTropical Oasis CondosAlani Bay Luxury Condos

The dividing line between Victoria Park and Flagler Village isn’t more than US Highway 1. However, the two neighborhoods a mile north of downtown Fort Lauderdale couldn’t be more different. 

In my opinion, it’s entirely reasonable to stay in one while enjoying the benefits of both. On one hand, Victoria Park is one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city. Residential and quiet. Just across the street is Flagler Village: an up-and-coming arts district blooming with development yet ripe with breweries, cafes, and some of my favorite bars in Fort Lauderdale.

Most of the places to stay in the area are privately-owned condos, which actually rank as Booking’s top rated accommodation in Fort Lauderdale. It provides a charming, local-like feeling as you enjoy a central location suitable for all travelers.

Pros of Staying in Victoria Park & Flagler Village:

  • Holiday Park with playgrounds, basketball courts, exercise equipment, and more
  • Quiet neighborhood tucked away
  • Central location near downtown, a taxi ride away from the beach

Cons of Staying in Victoria Park & Flagler Village:

  • Flagler Village is still under construction in various spots

📚 Victoria Park & Flagler Village Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay Like a Local
Google Map – Victoria Park / Google Map – Flagler Village

  • ✨ Best HotelsMarriott CourtyardTropical Oasis CondosAlani Bay Luxury Condos
  • 🍽️ Where to Eat – Shuck & Dive ($$), Taco Craft ($$), Rhythm & Vine ($$)
  • 🍸 Where to Drink – Glitch Arcade Bar, Chops & Hops Axe Throwing Lodge, Invasive Species Brewing
  • 🎟️ Top Attractions – Sistrunk Marketplace and Brewery, Holiday Park, Art Galleries, The Parker Playhouse

6. Dania Beach

View of the colorful sunset in Dania Beach
Watching the sun go down in Dania Beach is a stunning display of color.

👉 Best Area for Airport Access | ✨ Best Dania Beach Hotels: Hyatt PlaceWyndham GardenResidence Inn by Marriott

Wondering where to stay in Fort Lauderdale during a layover? Consider Dania Beach. It’s conveniently located near the airport with hidden gems worthy of visiting spread throughout the small town. 

From your hotel or resort, you can easily visit iconic establishments like Jaxson’s Ice Cream Parlor, Historic Dockers, or 3 Sons Brewing. Or, at the very least, you can get a cheaper night stay while still visiting Fort Lauderdale a few miles north. All of which make this small beach town one of the best areas to stay for those passing through for a day or two!

Pros of Staying in Dania Beach:

  • Close to Fort Lauderdale – Hollywood International Airport
  • Cheaper than a night stay in Fort Lauderdale hotels
  • Less traveled beaches and parks

Cons of Staying in Dania Beach:

  • Lacks the restaurant and bar scene of the big city
  • No hotels on the actual beach

📚 Dania Beach Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Airport Access
Google Map

  • ✨ Best HotelsHyatt PlaceWyndham GardenResidence Inn by Marriott
  • 🍽️ Where to Eat – Jaxson’s Ice Cream Parlor and Restaurant ($$), Historic Dockers ($$), Quarterdeck at Dania Pier ($$)
  • 🍸 Where to Drink – 3 Sons Brewing, Cooper’s Hawk Winery
  • 🎟️ Top Attractions – The Casino at Dania, Anne Kolb Nature Center in West Lake Park, Dr. Von D. Mizell – Eula Johnson State Park

7. Hollywood Beach

View of the hollywood oceanfront boardwalk
 The resort-lined Hollywood Broadwalk is always providing free outdoor entertainment.

👉 Best Area for Smaller Crowds | ✨ Best Hollywood Beach Hotels: Diane Oceanfront SuitesVilla Sinclair Beach Suites

If you still haven’t found where to stay in Fort Lauderdale yet, and want a quieter experience, consider Hollywood Beach – it’s a slightly smaller town with a much smaller crowd. And honestly, that’s what makes it one of the best areas to stay in. 

Located a few miles south of Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood’s famous Broadwalk (you read that right, not boardwalk) provides endless free (or cheap), outdoor fun like cycling, paddling, beach yoga, open air concerts, and other entertainment. The beach is stunning while still providing all the amenities you’d find in Fort Lauderdale Beach.

Pros of Staying in Hollywood Beach:

  • Broadwalk is a great place for outdoor exercise and a sunrise
  • Bars and restaurants are within walking distance from anywhere
  • Located north, you can find secluded beaches covered by thick tropical hammock

Cons of Staying in Hollywood Beach:

  • Older style apartments and condos

📚 Hollywood Beach Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Smaller Crowds
Google Map

  • ✨ Best HotelsDiane Oceanfront SuitesVilla Sinclair Beach Suites
  • 🍽️ Where to Eat – The Taco Joint ($), GG’s Waterfront ($$$), Billy’s Stone Crab ($$)
  • 🍸 Where to Drink – Hollywood Brewing Company, Landshark Bar and Grill, Nick’s Bar and Grill
  • 🎟️ Top Attractions – Hollywood Beach Broadwalk, West Lake Park, Young Circle Park

4 Tips for Staying in Fort Lauderdale

Tip 1: DON’T Rent a Car if Staying Downtown or on Fort Lauderdale Beach

Why? First of all, it’s easy enough to walk around to places you need to get to. For the places you do need a lift, take the Water Taxi or an Uber. Secondly, the hotels often charge a separate parking fee that’s almost as expensive as a night stay. It’s scammy, so be sure to call your hotel before renting a car.

Tip 2: DO Rent a Car if Staying Anywhere Else

If staying anywhere but downtown or Fort Lauderdale Beach, parking is often free with your stay. So in this case, it’s beneficial to rent a car. 

If you still need a rental car, check out Discover Cars. They are our pick for the best search engine to find you the most affordable car for your trip and easily compare customer reviews of different rental agencies. 

👉 Pro Tip: Having wheels makes it easier to check out some of my favorite epic day trips around Fort Lauderdale!

Tip 3: Try a Vacation Rental

Part of the South Florida charm, particularly in places like Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, is the privately owned and operated vacation rentals. These can get wildly unique and facilitate some of your most memorable vacations. My family has found a lot of success on VRBO during their visits to Fort Lauderdale.

Tip 4: Staying On the Beach May be Cheaper

Sure, the beachfront hotels and condos may run a larger bill upfront. But consider these costs if considering staying inland to save money: taxi rides, a car rental, beach parking, chair rental, etc. 

If you’re visiting for a beach vacation, it may be cheaper, in the long run, to rent a place directly on the beach even if it’s $20 – $30 more per night than the hotels inland.

🌴 Doing a big trip around Florida? If you’re headed to Orlando, be sure to check out our guide to where to stay in Orlando, Florida, and also our epic article on the best stuff to do there!

FAQs About Where to Stay in Fort Lauderdale

What is the best area to stay in Fort Lauderdale?

The best area to stay in Fort Lauderdale is Lauderdale-by-the-Sea. It is where my family stays when they visit, and it is a popular spot with tourists for good reason. It’s family-friendly, safe, has many dining options, plenty to do, and the most beautiful beach in the Fort Lauderdale area.

What is the nice part of Fort Lauderdale?

The nicest parts of Fort Lauderdale include the areas from Las Olas to Fort Lauderdale Beach. Another nice neighborhood just on the outskirts of downtown is Victoria Park.

What are the bad areas of Fort Lauderdale?

Areas to be avoided for tourists in Fort Lauderdale include areas as you go west of I-95, where the crime rate increases. A few neighborhoods on the outskirts of downtown should be avoided, as well. If you stick around the Las Olas Boulevard area and the beach, plus the outlying neighborhoods and cities we mentioned above, you won’t have any unwanted run-ins.

Where is the main part of Fort Lauderdale?

The main part of Fort Lauderdale is Las Olas and Fort Lauderdale Beach. Between the two, tourists will find most of the things to do including boat tours, the Riverwalk, public parks, beaches, bars, and restaurants. Even if you’re staying in a neighborhood on the outskirts of the city, you should make a point to visit both main sections of Fort Lauderdale.

***

Have you decided where to stay in Fort Lauderdale yet? A 5 star, Fort Lauderdale beach resort & spa? Or a quaint, family-friendly neighborhood? Don’t forget the outdoor pool with an ocean view! 

But honestly, wherever it is you end up located, you’ll always be a few miles away from the beach and the Florida sun is always one step out your front door. 

Be sure to leave a comment about where you found the most value as you decided where to stay in Fort Lauderdale! 

Good luck and have fun on your trip!

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