100 Things to Do in Broward County Before You Die (#20-1)
Photo by Rstepp / Wikapedia Commons
It's been a long journey, folks, but your patience has paid off. We're happy to bring you our final installment of the best list of the year: 100 things to do in Broward County before you die. Here ya go, friends -- the whole dang list! Enjoy!
See also: 100 Things to Do in Broward County Before You Die (# 81-100), 100 Things to Do in Broward County Before You Die (# 80-61), 100 Things to Do in Broward County Before You Die (#60-41), and 100 Things to Do in Broward County Before You Die (#40-21)
Or see the whole list here: 100 Things to Do in Broward County Before You Die
20. Visit a psychic. Broward County is a hot spot for Romani immigrants. You can find fortunetellers all along U.S. 1 or at the Metaphysical Chapel of Fort Lauderdale.
Photo by Kristen Bjornsen
19. Jump in the hot tub at Bahia Cabana. Or just step in gingerly. Dare ya!
18. Take in a local movie and TV marathon. There's Something About Mary, Analyze This, Marley and Me, Dexter, The Glades, Rock of Ages, and Burn Notice -- all have scenes filmed around here. Ted and Mary's high school was actually the City of Plantation Town Hall, and Revolution Live was the central club featured in Rock of Ages. Dexter used the Illini Condo building and South Beach Park.
17. Whack golf balls into the lake at Aqua Golf Range in Pembroke Park. Also featured in There's Something About Mary.
16. See a real IMAX movie at the Museum of Discovery and Science. Enough of this BS. New "digital IMAX" theaters are just regular ones with special projectors, but the MODS theater is truly special: a 60-by-80-foot screen that curves around a five-story-tall room and has 42 speakers pumping out 15,000 watts of crisp, heart-palpitation-inducing digital sound -- an experience that leaves you dizzy and slightly out of breath.
15. Join Fort Lauderdale's Critical Mass. Meet on the last Friday of every month from the War Memorial Auditorium at 7 p.m. for a mellow 14-mile route.
14. Find the banana hammock of your dreams. GayMart is a good place to start. While you're at it, have a gay old day around Wilton Manors, visiting Humpy's Pizza, Out of the Closet Thrift shop, the Ramrod, the Cubby Hole, Bill's Filling Station, and Dairy Queen.
Photo by Bruin / Wikapedia Commons
13. Walk over the bridge on the 17th Street Causeway.
12. Feed the tarpon at 15th Street Fisheries.
11. Stand beneath the six-story-tall Rain Tree in Fort Lauderdale.
10. Party like a snowbird. It's no secret: Canadians love us. According to government data, Fort Lauderdale is the number-one destination for Canucks, and they are the largest foreign buyers of second homes in the state. With baby boomers exploiting a strong Canadian dollar, this trend is likely to continue. Our Canadian brethren especially love to congregate in Hollywood and Dania Beach. Join them! Start your day in your Speedo, people-watching and power-walking along the Hollywood Beach Broadwalk, where you might also pop in for a slice at Little Venice, rent a recumbent bicycle, and, if a band is playing, dance with Grandma at the bandshell. Afterward, motor up (20 miles below the speed limit, of course) to Dairy Belle Ice Cream in Dania Beach for a steamed hot dog with a side of poutine -- delicious, curdled-cheese-covered and brown-gravy-doused French fries, best devoured at a picnic bench. Finish it all off with a soft-serve swirled cone.
9. Go to dinner by boat. The water taxi is an excellent way to see Broward County. For the bargain price of $20 for a full day, ride around either Fort Lauderdale or Hollywood Beach, making sure to take full advantage of the extensive bar and restaurant stops along the way. The boat stops at essential institutions, including 15th Street Fisheries, Hyatt Regency Pier 66, Bahia Cabana, and the new Shooters, reopening this December. Your tour guide will likely tell you about the mansion owned by our leading proctologist ("there's only a back door") or point out where Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher may or may not have once owned a condo. Who cares if the trivia is true when the scenery's so nice?
8. Strip club tour! Whether you're looking for relief from a lonely night or for a surrealist, neon-tinged adventure down the primordial rabbit hole with a few pals, you haven't truly experienced Broward until you've seen it from beside a stripper pole. A proper crawl across some of our county's finest strip clubs is in order. Start early, because the clubs typically don't charge a cover before 7 p.m. (and you're gonna wanna save your bandz for other uses). There are lot of different paths you could take, but one tried-and-true route is an easy stretch in Hallandale Beach: Start at the down-and-dirty Play House, head to the house-party vibes of Cheetah, and end late at the clubby Scarlett's. If you still have some energy left, afterparty it up where the dancers do, at Ocean's 11 Lounge.
7. Ride the Jungle Queen. This four-hour-long tour of the New River may be a known as a tourist trap, but the Jungle Queen is without a doubt a Broward staple. The popular dinner cruise has been around for nearly 80 years and grosses $5 million to $10 million annually, proving there is indeed a healthy market for a camp-filled ride through our little Venice of America. No drinks are sold on the boat, so a personal flask might help wash down some of your guide's corny jokes. The ride culminates at the Jungle Queen's own "secret island," where you'll be treated to an all-you-can-eat BBQ feast and "variety revue," which may or may not include a ventriloquist. At the end, we promise you will feel officially indoctrinated into the strange little world of Fort Lauderdale. Or, save yourself the four hours and 40 bucks and join in on a slightly different tradition: Pause along the waterway, drop trou, and moon the mighty Queen as she sails by.
6. Run for office. School Board member Beverly Gallagher was busted accepting a bribe in a doggy bag. Judge Lawrence Korda was arrested for smoking weed in a park. Tamarac Commissioner Patte Atkins-Grad was arrested for corruption, and when her case went to trial, her defense was that she was too stupid to understand that developers were trying to buy her vote when they paid for a party and leased her a car. With competition like this, surely you have a shot. Make our civic halls a better place. Please?
5. Swap Shop till you drop. In November 1963, the Thunderbird Drive-In Movie Theater had its opening night -- the same day President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed. Fifty years later, what began as a single-screen drive-in off of Sunrise Boulevard has expanded to become the Swap Shop, South Florida's second-largest tourist attraction. With 14 screens playing all the first-run flicks, an enormous indoor/outdoor flea market, a farmers' market, and a daily circus, this iconic, bizarro Broward wonderland has even seen Willie Nelson and KC & the Sunshine Band grace its stage. Make an all-day trip here: Haggle with shop clerks at the flea market (if you paid without asking, you overpaid!), get your windows tinted (install some dope-ass subwoofers while you're at it), hit up the indoor arcade and car museum, eat a funnel cake, and pick up some locally grown produce -- tamarinds, mangoes, and avocados. To cap the day, make sure your car is loaded up with pillows and snacks, and catch a drive-in flick.
4. See the Sirens. South Florida is home to its own school of beautiful sea nymphs. Look through the portholes inside the Wreck Bar at the Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Beach Hotel (formerly the Yankee Clipper) and you'll see a team of seductive mermaids performing every Friday and Saturday evening at 6:30, eliciting cheers from the audience with each playful wave and somersault. The free show features four to five mermaids outfitted in seashell bras, glistening fins, and long, flowing locks. Grab a cocktail for the fleeting half-hour show. If you're lucky, they'll blow you a kiss.
3. Take a moonlit turtle stroll. March through October is sea turtle nesting season, and it's pretty damned awe-inspiring to watch. Under the pale light of the moon, more than 100,000 of these endangered creatures wade their way up the beaches to dig their nests, lay their eggs, and disappear back into the big, velvety blue. You can witness the spectacle yourself: Up and down the Atlantic coast, parks and environmental groups organize nighttime sea turtle walks in June and July. John U. Lloyd Beach, the Museum of Discovery and Science, and several others offer group tours beginning with an informational session, required by state law. Groups are led to gather quietly round a nest, where a 2,000-pound mama loggerhead turtle will dig a shallow hole, deposit her soft-shelled eggs, and return to the ocean, the entire process taking 30 to 60 minutes. Two months later, the tiny hatchlings emerge from the sand and scuttle to the water.
2. Explore the Everglades. Take Griffin Road all the way west to Everglades Holiday Park, where you can jump on an airboat tour through the River of Grass, exploring the tropical hardwood hammocks, cypress domes, air plants, and gum sloughs. The Everglades supplies the drinking water for more than 7 million Americans and serves as a cornerstone to our economy, supporting the state's estimated $67 billion tourism industry, a $13 billion outdoor recreation economy, and $100 billion agriculture sector. It's also where the TV show Gator Boys is filmed. Keep your hands in the boat -- them critters get hongray!
1. Spend an entire Sunday Funday getting wasted on Fort Lauderdale Beach. They don't call it Fort Liquordale for nothin'. The heart of Fort Lauderdale is not in City Hall but rather where the city's main drag, Las Olas Boulevard, ends at the beach. Here stands the original Elbo Room, established in 1939 and featured in the iconic movie Where the Boys Are. From here, you can bounce around the other bars in stumbling distance, like the Treasure Trove, Coconuts, and Dirty Blondes. With any luck, you'll bump into Mickey Clean, an old-school punk rocker who now roams the bars toting a cigar box full of crayons and drawing delightfully crude caricatures while telling "all true" stories. Buy Mickey a drink, tip him a few bucks, and upload your caricatures to Instagram (#MickeyClean). If you bookend this day by starting it with a morning boat party on the sandbar (our number 62) and ending it with a 3 a.m. breakfast at Lester's Diner (see number 91), congratulations! You've done Fort Laudy right. (And if you do it during spring break, yahtzee!) We know: Some of you do this every weekend -- you are the true rulers of BroCo!
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