The 55th-annual Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show kicked off Thursday and will run through the weekend.
It's a time for people to head on out to take a look at all kinds of boats, from small vessels to superyachts. The event is expected to bring in about half a billion dollars for the city, drawing all kinds of folks from all walks of life here in the "Yachting Capital of the World."
It's also a traffic nightmare.
Now, weekend traffic on Las Olas and Sunrise boulevards is usually pretty stacked anyway. But things get really cray during the boat show.
If you're not planning to head out to the boat show, it's probably best to make your weekend plans for elsewhere. If you are gong to the boat show -- or need to be in the area any time this weekend -- here's what you need to know to avoid wanting to drop a bowling ball onto your head because traffic is such a pain in the ass:
Boat Show Schedule:
The Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show runs throughout the weekend from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. On Monday, the show closes at 5 p.m.
Boat Show Locations:
-Bahia Mar Yachting Center, 801 Seabreeze Boulevard -Hall of Fame Marina, 1 Hall of Fame Drive -Las Olas Marina, 240 E. Las Olas Circle -Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center, 1950 Eisenhower Blvd -The Sails Marina, 2150 SE 17th Street -Pier 66 Marina, 2301 SE 17th St -Fort Lauderdale Hilton, 1881 SE 17th Street
-A1A between SE 17 Street and Las Olas Boulevard
-East Sunrise Boulevard between NE 20 Avenue and Bayview Drive
-Sunrise Boulevard Bridge on the Intracoastal Waterway will go up every hour, on the hour, between Boatshow hours -- 10:00 a.m. to 7:00. p.m. all weekend long (on Monday, the bridge will do this between 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) The bridge will be open for boats for 10 minutes each time.
-Andrews Avenue and SE 3rd Avenue drawbridges don't have scheduled openings, but will open for any boats that come by -- which is going to be a lot this weekend. The operating times will be 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m throughout the weekend. The drawbridges will also open when needed for water shuttles and other boats from 4:30 to 6:30 Friday and Monday.
Parking & Transportation:
If you're going to the Boat Show, you can find parking at the Las Olas Riverfront garage, as well as the War Memorial Auditorium, Sails Marina, Galleria Mall, and the convention center. There will also be small lots you can try your luck at throughout town, but expect those smaller lots to be full.
You'll be able to take the water taxi to most parking places that lead to the Boat show. The city is also offering free shuttle buses throughout the Boat show and designated parking areas.
According to the Florida Department of Transportation, there will be 25 buses, 14 water taxis and three river buses in operation for those going to the Boat Show.
If you want to avoid parking headaches altogether, you can purchase Valet parking on the Boat Show website for $55.