If you're planning to go to the largest boat show in the world, the 56th-annual Fort Lauderdale Boat Show, which takes place this weekend, you've come to the right place.
The yearly extravaganza showcases more than a billion dollars' worth of boats, yachts, and accessories and brings in millions of dollars to the local economy. Whether you're looking forward to the show or dread its existence and its impact on local traffic, a little information could go a long way in making this weekend as painless as possible.
We did the homework for you. Here's your cheat sheet on parking, drawbridges, transportation, and tickets.
The boat show runs throughout the weekend and Monday night (November 5 through 9) from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m.
Heaviest Traffic Sites:
Areas from A1A between SE 17th Street and Las Olas Boulevard are notoriously a pain in the ass during the show weekend, as is East Sunrise Boulevard between NE 20th Avenue and Bayview Drive.
Boat Show Locations:
- Bahia Mar/ Hall of Fame/Las Olas Marina Show, 801 Seabreeze Blvd.
- The Broward County Convention Center, 1950 Eisenhower Blvd.
- The Sailfish Pavilion, 1950 Eisenhower Blvd.
- Fort Lauderdale Hilton Marina, 1881 SE 17th St.
- Pier 66 Marina, 2301 SE 17th St.
- The Sails Marina, 2150 SE 17th St.
Prime-time tickets that get you in at 10 a.m. Thursday for the show's preview
Parking and Transportation Options:
There are multiple options for getting as close to the action as possible. The city has set up parking lots exclusively for the boat show and has numerous avenues for attendees to get to their desired show locations.
The City of Fort Lauderdale will offer $5 parking downtown solely for the boat show. Take I-95 to Broward Boulevard (east); then turn south on SE First Avenue. The lots are located within walking distance of Bubier Park, Boat Show Water Taxi, and Boat Show Bus Shuttles.
Attendees can also park at the Galleria Mall (2414 E. Sunrise Blvd.), where valet parking and transportation to the water will be available. Patrons can simply park and walk east down in front of the mall toward the Doubletree Hotel. The pathway will be marked with signs indicating the water taxi service to the boat show.
If you'd rather pay the price and forget the parking chaos, valet your ride at the Las Olas Marina (201 S. Birch Road) for $60.
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Bus schedules and joyride point-to-point solution routes are available here.
The normal boat show schedule at the Sunrise Boulevard Bridge on the Intracoastal Waterway calls for the drawbridge to rise hourly from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. all weekend. (Monday hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) The bridge will be open for boats ten minutes each time.
At Andrews Avenue and SE Third Avenue, the drawbridges don't have a schedule but will open to any boats that float by — which, as you can imagine during an event called a boat show, will be quite often.