It's finally here. The latest edition of our annual Best of Broward-Palm Beach issue goes live, and it is chock-full o' awesomeness. From the best dive bars to the best places to meet single men and ladies to the best local restaurants in town and even your readers' choice votes, it's all here -- and more!
Psyched yet? To whet your appetite, here are a few of the places we've honored in this issue, from the best place to surf to the best place to go if you're hankering for some afternoon delight.
You can pick up the Best of Broward-Palm Beach issue at newsstands on Thursday.
See also: Best of Broward-Palm Beach 2014
Best Place to Watch the Sunset: Sawgrass Expressway Dusk in South Florida is easily forgotten. Living on the East Coast, one can forget the simple pleasure of just stopping to watch the sinking sun linger in the sky until it drips into the horizon. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't try. The best way to watch an actual sunset is to look to the west, and the best place to do that is to hit the southbound lanes of the Sawgrass Expressway. The Sawgrass hangs right above the cusp of the Everglades, where the city lights end and Alligator Alley begins. It's elevated enough to help you take in the pink and purple hues of a darkening sky while watching the clouds melt and the speckles of stars appear one at a time. While the Sawgrass was built to get motorists to the I-75 or 595, the real genius of it is that it's the best place in South Florida to catch the twilight's gloaming colors, like a blushing slip of silk.
Best Place for a Quickie: The Parking Garage at Galleria Mall 2414 E. Sunrise Blvd. Fort Lauderdale 33304 954-564-1015 galleriamall-fl.com After a sweltering day of sun, drinks, and salt water on Fort Lauderdale Beach, sometimes the sand in your suit isn't the only thing grinding you. If you weren't swift enough to slip off for a quick one in the water, there are few spots between A1A and Federal Highway hidden enough to shroud your postbeach coitus without appearing criminal. This garage is one of them. Pro tip: Keep the stereo down, and pull out before security pulls up.
Best Place to Propose: Las Olas Gondola 305 S. Andrews Ave. Fort Lauderdale 33301 800-277-1390 lasolasgondola.com/ If you look closely on Fort Lauderdale's New River, in between the yachts and beer-guzzling bros on their party boats, you'll see something rare floating down the water. It's called love. And it's salty. The Las Olas Gondola (approximately $150 per ride) operates here in the Venice of Florida, operated by a lovely captain named Martha Beachem. One time, in a single day, Martha had four proposals on her adorable little vessel. She also got four yeses, going four-for-four in a single day. If Martha were a right fielder, she'd be peeing into a cup in front of suspicious officials after that performance. With its tiny cabin stuffed with authentic Italian d'cor, the Las Olas Gondola can turn the sourest grape into the sweetest wine (and wine is heavily encouraged). If you want to spend the rest of your life with your lover, then tell her so. And if you want her to say yes, ask on the Las Olas Gondola. Martha is a lucky charm. Bonus: She is a licensed and bonded notary. So if you want to get hitched on the Romantic Venice, that can be arranged!
Best Surf Spot: Fort Lauderdale Beach off A1A between Belmar and Viramar Streets Surfing is a state of mind, they say. It's not so much a destination but a journey of the soul. But you do actually have to go to a destination to surf. No need to drive forever and wind your way to some secret spot when there are miles of coastline smack in the middle of the city. So wax up the deck and get riding here off A1A between Belmar Street and Viramar Street. This spot can get littered with tourists from time to time, but the way the wind kicks up and the waves rush in toward the shore, it's worth fighting them for parking. When a tropical depression hits, it's all yours.
Best Place to Kayak: Middle River 1101 Bayview Drive Fort Lauderdale 33304 Motors have ruined boating. There was a time when taking to the sea meant adventure -- just you and your vessel, fighting nature together, working as one to tame that violent lover known as the ocean. Gone are those days. Now you just hit a button and let technology do all the work while Jimmy Buffett sings you a song about a hot dog or something. Damn you, Buffett. But all is not lost! There is still a way to capture that primal feeling of oneness with the water, to wave goodbye to land, just you and a paddle, floating inches above the water, staring manatees right in their cold, dead, vegetarian eyes. The kayak. A piece of technology seemingly tailor-made for South Florida's canals. And there is no better place in Broward to recapture your inner seaman than Middle River. Launch off at George English Park (it's free, though the iguanas will try to intimidate you) and begin your journey. Paddle north for a more residential and serene route. Feel free to judge everyone?s backyard along the way. Or go south toward the bustling Intracoastal, where you?ll experience wide-open canals and, if you go far enough, waterfront bars. But drink responsibly, and keep your head on a swivel. We've lost good people to sneaky pelicans.
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