Longform

100 Things to Do in Broward County Before You Die

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6. 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.

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.

8. Moon the Jungle Queen

Ah... this is one of Broward County's great traditions. When the area's most famous boat approaches, turn around and drop trou. As far as we can tell, the idea dates back almost half a century to a full moon at one of the area's oldest bars, the Downtowner Saloon. During a drunken tirade, one oldster told us, he let it all hang out — both sides — when he was a lad of 27. Over the years, it became a regular thing, and a dozen people sometimes marched outside to bare their buttocks. Others tell us they have done the same in Colee Hammock Park, a few blocks up the river. It's a welcoming way to greet the tourists, and really, any spot along the fabled two-story riverboat's route will do.

9. 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.

10. 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?

11. Stand beneath the six-story-tall Rain Tree in Fort Lauderdale.

12. Feed the tarpon at 15th Street Fisheries.

13. Walk over the bridge on the 17th Street Causeway.

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.

15. Join Fort Lauderdale's Critical Mass.

Meet on the last Friday of every month at the War Memorial Auditorium at 7 p.m. for a mellow 14-mile route.

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Falyn Freyman is a freelance multimedia journalist based in Miami. She previously produced videos for Univision and edited music content for New Times Broward-Palm Beach. Her work has been featured in Vice, Bustle, Broadly, Time Out, and other publications. She has a master's degree from the Columbia School of Journalism.
Contact: Falyn Freyman