There are nearly 2 million people spread across 1,320 square miles and 30 cities in Broward County.
That's a lot of ground to cover. Chances are, you haven't seen every inch of Broward, but that's OK. Because we're here to help make sense of it all.
We've ranked all 30 cities from worst to best, so join us as we break down Broward piece by piece.
(Except for you, Weston. You may want to look away.)
Pro: Shit. This is hard. It's, um, not North Korea?
Con: Broward's westernmost city couldn't even come up with an exciting name. Weston? Jesus, the creative team behind the orange could have come up with a catchier title. This boring suburban sprawl is built on an 8,000-year-old Indian burial mound, and even that doesn't make it exciting. As far as we can tell, Weston doesn't have an official city motto. We submit the following: "Weston! It's like putting together a 10,000-piece jigsaw puzzle of the color blue."
Bottom Line: Weston makes shuffleboard look like mixed martial arts. Stay away!
Pros: Back in 1924, Margate was founded by a ground of heretic nuns who cast off their religious vows after discovering the musical stylings of early jazz artist Jelly Roll Morton. The so-called "Holly Jelly Rollers" held wild orgiastic seances, smoked hashish, and believed after death that the Holy Jelly-ness himself would return to conquer the world.
See also: The Six Worst Places in Broward
Cons: We had to make that up because there is nothing interesting to say about Margate. Sorry, Margate.
Bottom Line: If only the Holy Jelly-ness cometh.
28. Coral Springs
Pros: Coral Springs is a kind of paradise if your check list includes: suburban shopping developments, little traffic and congestion, chain restaurants, and more white people than you'll find in a Mr. Clean commercial.
Cons: Coral Springs is a hellhole if your check list includes: suburban shopping developments, little traffic or congestion, chain restaurants, and more white than people than you'll find in a Mr. Clean commercial.
Bottom Line: More white people than you'll find at a Gilmore Girls fan convention.
27. North Lauderdale
Pro: Another urban planning experiment, this time the brainstorm of none other than Morris Lapidus, the famous architect whose hotel designs like the Eden Roc and the Fontainebleau Hotel helped define mid-21st-century Miami Beach.
Cons: North Lauderdale ain't Miami Beach, pal. Also, the city has been struggling with crime for a number of years, with its violent crime and property crime both rank above the national average. Plus, even residents admit the town now has a tough reputation for drugs and crime.
Bottom Line: Another featureless swath of Broward sprawl - except for the discount crack business.
Pros: Tamarac is the crown jewel of the big spread of West Broward, an endless stretch of housing developments and strip malls that could be a stand-in for suburbia in any part of the country.
Cons: The city was originally cooked up in the 1960s by a Midwestern land developer as a massive retirement community of cookie-cutter single-family homes. It was like paradise for olds. And the name "Tamarac"? It's reportedly from the name of a car wash chain, Caramat, owned by the city's founder but spelled backwards. Seriously. Backward.
Bottom Line: Still pretty sleepyyyyyyyyyyyyyyzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz . . .
25. Pembroke Park
Pros: With a cozy population of just over 6,000 and a total area of 1.6 square miles, you'll get to know your neighbor real well.
Cons: Then you'll get to see your neighbor fly away, because a large portion of the Pembroke Park population lives in mobile homes, which -- in a state prone to hurricanes -- is kind of like making a football helmet out of eggshells.
Bottom Line: Pembroke Park is a town you drive by, and that's pretty much it.
Pro: They filmed parts of There's Something About Mary in Plantation. And the famous doodie pool scene from Caddyshack was also filmed in Plantation. So your chances of being an extra in something are higher than normal.
Con: In what either has to be a subtle bemoaning of its geography or a genuine lack of self-awareness, Plantation's official motto is "The Grass Is Greener." And when in Plantation, it feels that way. Smack dab in the middle of Lauderhill, Sunrise, Davie, and Fort Lauderdale, Plantation seems doomed to be forever upstaged by its neighbors.
Bottom Line: Chances are, anything you can get in Plantation, you can get a better version of it if you head to one of its neighboring cities.
23. Lazy Lake
Pro: As of 2012, 35 residents lived in Lazy Lake. Lazy Lake is a village within Wilton Manors with a total area of about .2 square miles. It's the perfect town for those in the witness protection program. It is Broward County's smallest town. It's probably one of the only incorporated municipalities that you could stand in the center of and throw a football out of.
Con: This little cozy town is not without its drama. In 1995, the residents of Lazy Lake put the town up for sale for $15 million. Nobody bought it. This hurt Lazy Lake's feelings immeasurably.
Bottom Line: This town is weird. But weird can also be good. The good news about living in a town of 35? You develop close personal relationships with your community. The bad news? The entire town knows when you farted.
22. Cooper City
Pros: With 22 neighborhood parks and two sports complexes, it ain't hard to burn calories in Cooper City.
Cons: Cooper City is about as diverse as a Josh Groban concert. Eighty-five percent of the population is white. The city is like one very big, very boring episode of Mad Men. Also, its city commissioners have a long history of being dicks. Back in 2012, Cooper City Commissioner John Sims posted an insanely racist rant about Obama on Facebook, and in 2013 Cooper City Commissioner Lisa Mallozzi told an 81-year-old resident to blow her during a commission meeting. (Luckily the elderly lady did not, in fact, blow her.)
Bottom Line: Cooper City has a little too much weird, even for Florida. Its local government leaves a lot to be desired. And in the past two years, three -- yes three -- Cooper City residents have been struck by lightning because they decided to climb a tree during a lightning storm. Stay out of Cooper City. And -- for Christ's sake -- stay out of trees.
Pros: Miramar is a buffer between Broward and Miami-Dade, which makes it an ideal location for people looking to experience the best of both South Florida counties. Also, the Sunset Lakes Municipal Complex offers weekly jazzercise and karate classes, which is quite possibly the oddest way a city can prepare for the purge.
Cons: Miramar suffers from a bit of an identity crisis. Its name - Miramar - translates roughly to "sea view." Miramar is, however, landlocked and not located directly on the Atlantic Ocean. Miramar's motto is "Beauty and Progress." But Miramar also arrested Trick Daddy. And there is nothing beautiful or progressive about taking down a South Florida legend whose only crime was loving the kids. Wait. That sounded weird.
Bottom line: While its central location is nice, Miarmar's lack of any real culinary or nightlife scene is a major drag. Tack on a crime rate that hovers above the U.S. average in just about every type of crime and chances are, you're staying far away from these jazzy ninjas.
Pros: With reportedly only 0.85 violent crimes and 9.5 property crimes per 1,000 residents, it's the safest city in all of Florida!
Cons: It's crazy tiny! Thirteen square miles? No wonder it's got a low crime rate. Criminals don't even know it's there. Also, horses. Horses everywhere. So. Many. Damn. Horses.
Bottom line: TINY! HORSES!
19. Lauderdale Lakes
Pros: Originally a retirement area for Jewish New Yorkers. That sounds quiet.
Cons: The city's motto is "We Care!" and whatever it is they care about, it's sure not making an impression. Its other motto is "The Heart of Broward County," which fits in a literal sense. Lauderdale Lakes is the hell that the Turnpike runs through.
Bottom Line: No one knows where Lauderdale Lakes is or why it needs two different mottos.
18. Sea Ranch Lakes
Pros: This village of 670 is known for its small-town feel -- particularly the efforts of the local cops, who often go above and beyond their call of duty. It's kind of like Mayberry in the sense that you can count on an officer to help if Felix ever gets caught in a tree or if you lock yourself out of the house.
Cons: Sea Ranch Lakes can afford to go the extra mile because it's only 0.2 square miles. Its 5-0 has also been known to assist Border Patrol when undocumented immigrants wash ashore.
Bottom Line: Cops with a lot of time on their hands.
17. Coconut Creek
Pros: It's one of the greenest cities in South Florida, filled with a vast array of landscaped roads, clean waterways, parks, and butterfly gardens. Money magazine called it the 48th best small town in the U.S. in 2010.
Cons: The Police Department is kinda shady. In particular, one cop who was not only busted in a massage parlor doubling as a brothel but also threatened to put a suspect in a bathtub, turn on the water, and tase him. Oh, and the Police Department was still paying this copper his annual 87-grand salary while he was suspended for his behavior.
Bottom line: Be wary if you walk into a massage parlor here that offers a "Happy Ending" special. That's all we're gonna say.
16. Pembroke Pines
Pros: If you've got the munchies, hop in a cab and tell that mother F'er, "Pembroke Pines, and step on it!" Your stomach will thank you. Pembroke Pines recently joined the growing number of Broward cities with a Trader Joe's, and five seconds in Mojo Donuts is enough to give Cheech and Chong a heart attack.
See also: Mojo Donuts (Photos)
Cons: Unless you're stoned and starving, there's just not much to do in Pembroke Pines. It's a nondescript city. Bland-like and empty, like if you took all the cool stuff out of a Pop Tart.
Bottom Line: Play the word-association game with someone. Ask them the first thing that comes to mind when they hear "Pembroke Pines." Chances are you'll get a blank stare and a few slow blinks in return. No one's itching to make their way to Pembroke Pines.
15. Hillsboro Beach
Pros: It's where you want to live if you're filthy stinkin' rich. We're talking use-wads-of-cash-as-charcoal-briquettes rich. It features a gaudy palace that's called the country's most expensive real estate listing. It has a place people call Millionaires' Mile, which is a stretch of road of nothing but huge mansions and extravagant homes that you can gawk at while driving in your shitty little 2008 Hyundai.
Cons: You can feel the privilege and entitlement growing on your skin as soon as you enter this place.
Bottom line: It's a wonderful place to visit if you want to feel instantly depressed about your financial worth and status in life.
14. Lighthouse Point
Pros: There are some great seafood joints here, and Sicilian Oven is the best pizza this side of northeast Broward. It's also really picturesque and pretty. And yes, there's an actual lighthouse here.
Cons: It's the town that gave the world Nevin Shapiro, the convicted shady little weasel who orchestrated a $930 million Ponzi scheme while trying to take the University of Miami down with him. Also, the cops will pull you over if you even think about going over the speed limit.
Bottom line: It's a nice little spot for a staycation.
13. Pompano Beach
Pro: This beach burg sports the best oceanfront public property in all of Broward. The Pompano Beach pier in particular is a great place to waste some sunny hours, with a quiet, fishing-friendly vibe, cheap parking, and none of the drunk frat antics you'll find in Fort Lauderdale or Hollywood.
Con: Pompano's core area has been eaten away by the economic downturn, leaving a lot of empty retail space badly in need to redevelopment.
Bottom Line: Stick to the beach.
12. Deerfield Beach
Pros: It's got a bona fide honest-to-goodness Renaissance Festival, complete with fair maidens, wenches serving mead in goblets, and dudes dressed in tights and other Lord of the Rings-like attire. Yes, there are plenty of beaches here. Nice beaches, serene beaches. But, pffft. Where isn't there a beach in South Florida? Come on, the Renaissance Festival is where it's at!
Cons: They have a shady mayor who has been accused of ethical misconduct, including accepting gifts of more than $50.
Bottom line: You want to hang out with other freaks who dress like characters from Game of Thrones, this is the place for you!
11. Southwest Ranches
Pros: A young town (it was incorporated in 2000 to keep from being sucked into Pembroke Pines) Southwest Ranches is a horse lovers' paradise (you can have that one, Coolio). In fact, thanks to the city's many trails, horse is actually a viable mode of transportation. The affluent Broward town has become a favorite for NFL megamansions, and Dwayne "The Goddamn Rock" Johnson even recently bought a pad there from former Miami Dolphin Vernon Carey.
Cons: With great acreage comes great responsibility. And also a big-ass mortgage.
Bottom Line: Do you know how to ride/take care of horses? Do you have millions lying around? No? Then, we're sorry to crush your dreams of living next to The Rock, but Southwest Ranches isn't for you.
Pro: With pretty much every big national act coming through the BB&T Center, you can see all your favorite musicians live. And with that mammoth mecca of consumerism known as the Sawgrass Mills Mall, you can buy everything you need to look nice for the show too. Also, the Panthers play at the BB&T Center. Did you know Florida has ice hockey? Apparently it's some game where people slide around on knives and fight each other. How is that not Florida's official sport?!
Con: The BB&T Center is cool, and -- yeah -- Sawgrass Mills is huge. But that's kind of it when it comes to Sunrise. And there's a very valid argument to be made as to whether Sawgrass Mills Mall is actually a good thing or a bad thing. Deciding to spend a day there is generally something one does only when absolutely necessary. Like going to the dentist. Or changing underwear.
Bottom Line: Sunrise is like going to a NASCAR race. You get to experience a whole lot of nothing with the occasional roaring two seconds of excitement.
Pro: Davie might just be the only part of South Florida that actually feels like the South. And not in that uncomfortable Fox News sort of way -- in a good way. There's the Bergeron Rodeo Grounds (home of the South Florida gay rodeo), cattle, horses, and a charming little strip known as Old Davie, where even the fast-food restaurants look like ol'-timey saloons that'll serve you a dirty mug of sarsaparilla with your Junior Bacon Cheeseburger.
Con: While Davie's Southern charm gives it a special personality, it also holds it back. Because, well, that's kind of it. If you don't like drinking ice-cold beer on a big green tractor while horses snort the national anthem, then you're kind of screwed. Yes, Davie has the Young at Art Museum, so it's not completely bereft of cultural diversity (or puns), but if we had to put a hat on Davie, it would unquestionably be a big goofy cowboy one.
Bottom Line: You like Tim McGraw? You'll love Davie. You like Tim Burton? Go somewhere else.
8. Hallandale Beach
Pros: Gulfstream Park Racing and Casino and Mardi Gras Casino both reside in Hallandale Beach, making it one of Florida's best places to watch fast things and lose money (runner up: Marlins Park).
Cons: With more than a quarter of the population 65 years of age or older, it's not exactly a city brimming with energy. It'll never be as hip or bustling as its southern neighbor (Miami-Dade) or northern neighbor (Hollywood). And if you're a young person in Hallandale, don't worry. You'll be geriatric by the time you get out of the city's God-awful traffic.
Bottom Line: With a beach, two casinos, and some sneakily good food (thanks to a good deal of ethnic diversity), you could do much worse than Hallandale Beach. Plus, the (relatively) affordable rent will make up for how much money you blow on the ponies during the weekend.
Pros: Quaint 1950s architecture, a free community bus called the Pelican Hopper, and beaches within swimming distance to beautiful coral reefs.
Cons: It's kind of annoying that no one will talk shit about Lauderdale-by-the-Sea. If you're from somewhere, you should at least be able to trash it. The biggest scandal there was that some on-duty cops were moonlighting? And it was back in 1989? Seriously? What is this, The Truman Show? Stop filming Jim Carrey, LBS!
Bottom Line: The Pelican Hopper might be the cutest thing ever, you guys.
6. Dania Beach
Pro: Dania Beach is one of the few places in Florida where you can watch the great sport of jai alai, which is kind of like racquetball if it weren't such a wuss. You can also watch while drinking a $1 beer on Wednesdays at the Dania Casino & Jai Alai.
Con: Dania Beach used to have a sweet wooden roller coaster called the Hurricane. It's closed now and just sits there. There may not be anything sadder than watching a retired roller coaster just sit there, not having any fun.
Bottom Line: Sad roller coaster aside, Dania Beach is a cool place to kill a day. Watch some jai alai, play some poker, drink some beer, and walk the pier.
5. Oakland Park
Pros: Home to the Funky Buddha Brewery, which BeerAdvocate ranks at an impressive five stars, Oakland Park has really built quite a scene around this beloved brewery. The adjacent Jaco Pastorius Park hosts a bevy of cool local events and festivals, and across the street from the Buddha, one of Broward's best farmers' markets sets up shop every Tuesday. There's also Fox and Hound, offering the most pub-like atmosphere in the Fort Lauderdale area.
Cons: This city of 30,000 was originally named Floranada -- a combination of "Florida" and "Canada." In other words, this city was founded as a portmanteau of the two most hated-on places in North America. And though it's certainly growing, it still needs its fair share of elbow grease.
Bottom Line: Just thinking about Oakland Park will make your liver hurt. But the best cure for a hangover is more beer, and you'll find plenty of that in Oakland Park.
Pro: If you want to get your fix of culture, head to Lauderhill. Mind you, we're not talking about the whole open-mic-night-at-the-local-coffee-shop-type culture. No. Culture like, hey, I feel like eating part of the cow that scientists didn't even know existed. With Lauderhill's high foreign-born population, you won't need your passport to experience another country.
Con: High crime rates caused real estate blog Movoto to name the city number eight on its list of the nation's most dangerous small cities.
Bottom Line: Lauderhill is real. Untouched by gentrification, authentic, and delicious. It has personality, and if you've never been, change that as soon as you can.
3. Wilton Manors
Pros: There's a great Onion article called "Hell Now a Thriving Epicenter of Gay Culture" that basically describes the Malebolge as a utopia. Although the place is super-duper white at almost 80 percent, Wilton Manors also hosts 1,270 percent more gay residents per capita than the average American city. To quote the Onion article: "I thank Satan every day for welcoming me here."
Cons: Ironically, this gay village seems be run by a fair number of racists. In 2008, the former assistant community services director circulated a work email titled "Proud to Be White." In 2010, the police chief circulated emails that were derogatory toward President Obama. Last year, a Wilton Manors couple appeared in a New Times slideshow wearing blackface. Most recently, a city commissioner used the "n-word" in a road-rage incident.
Bottom Line: Good if you think the Onion is on-point; bad if you think Obama is on-point.
Pros: When Joseph W. Young founded Hollywood, Florida, he named it after Hollywood, California, in the hopes to create a glamorous movie destination to rival the West Coast's. That didn't happen. What did happen eventually, though, was something else entirely. Hollywood grew into one of Broward's top destinations. Whether it's food, nature, art, or music, Hollywood has it all and then some.
Cons: All that growth Hollywood has experienced over the past decade is going to come with some pains. In about a year, Margaritaville -- a 350-room, 17-story, $149 million resort -- will spring up right in the middle of the Hollywood Beach Boardwalk. And what other phony corporate compounds will follow remains to be seen. Will Hollywood sell out? Has Hollywood sold out? The answer depends on whom you ask. But there are valid points on both sides. And that's scary.
Bottom Line: If Fort Lauderdale is an aging Michael Jordan in a crisp, wrinkle-free Hanes T-shirt, then Hollywood is a young and eager LeBron James, elbowing its way into the history books. And, like the real James and Jordan, there is much dispute as to who would win in a game of one-on-one. But let's not speculate. Here's what we know for sure: The food in Hollywood is great. Its beach, vast and pedestrian-friendly, is one of the best in Broward County. Its nightlife - not yet as established as its northern neighbor and often overshadowed by the massive structure that is the Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood - is on its way. So who would win in that imaginary game of one-on-one between James and Jordan? We'll never know for sure. But when two greats duke it out, it's always the spectators who come out on top.
1. Fort Lauderdale
Pro: Oh, Fort Lauderdale. You were always our favorite child. You were the man in high school. You were the quarterback of the football team. You threw crazy keggers on the beach. You drove a cherry-red mustang and blasted Foreigner as you drag-raced down Federal Highway. Sure, after high school you kind of got on the wrong track. You flunked out of college, moved back into your parents' basement, started watching a lot of cartoons in your undies. But now you're back! You got your act together. Shaved. Threw on a tie and bought 23 suits for the price of one at Jos. A. Bank. Now look at you! Now you have an arts district and a music scene and bars that will serve you drinks that aren't electric blue with names like "Nipple Paralyzer." It took you a while, but you're back. And we couldn't be prouder.
Con: But every once and a while, you backslide. We see glimpses of the old you. Alcohol-fueled poor decisions. Unoriginal strip malls. Flare-ups of violent crime and ignored speed limits. Dumb laws that make you a national punchline. Progress has been made, but there's still a ways to go.
Bottom Line: There was a time when you came to Fort Lauderdale for one reason and one reason only: to get fucked up. Make no mistake: You can still get fucked up in Fort Lauderdale. But now you can get a lot more things too. And if pounding brews on the beach with your bros isn't your cup of tea, there's a 100 percent chance you can find something in Fort Lauderdale that is.
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