Leadership with a huge side of fun!
It’s an ENA conference, which means the good times don’t end when you walk out of the convention center in Fort Lauderdale.
Besides official Leadership Conference 2013 events such as the introductory Welcome to Fort Lauderdale Party on Feb. 28 and the ENA Foundation’s Backyard Barbecue fundraiser on March 1, you and your fellow emergency nurses will want to take advantage of the local menu – food and otherwise – during your stay in this laid-back ocean city.
Start with the most obvious attraction: the beaches.
Fort Lauderdale Beach is at the center of a 23-mile stretch of soft sand and blue water, including Deerfield, Pompano and Hollywood beaches, which offer the whole range of beach experience for the out-of-towner. Quiet and tranquil? Check. Sporty and people-packed? You’ll find that, too. The A1A highway runs parallel to the ocean, so just step out of the car and right into paradise.
Fort Lauderdale Beach itself is the starting point of the famous Las Olas Boulevard, an area of jaw-droppingly lavish homes on the water which gives way to a mile-long stretch of cafes, restaurants, shopping and nightlife just a couple of miles north of the convention center. Hungry? Give the duck meatballs or the Captain Crunch Chicken and Waffles a whirl at Johnny V Restaurant (625 E. Las Olas Blvd.), or maybe grab a fresh Italian pastry from the bakery at Gran Forno Pronto (704 E. Las Olas). If it’s more seaside fare you crave, Coconuts (429 Seabreeze Blvd.), located a block from the ocean at the east end of the district, draws rave reviews. Shoppers will delight in visiting Las Olas Village, an area on East Las Olas between 11th and 16th avenues with nifty boutiques, quaint eateries and a slew of independently owned shops. Those looking to enjoy a bit of live music with their colleagues’ company can find it places such as the Las Olas Wine Café (922 E. Las Olas Blvd.) or Casablanca Café (3049 Alhambra St.), just north of the Las Olas corridor.
Trip tip: While you’re digesting or deciding where to head next, you can hop aboard a water taxi to get a full view of the area fondly nicknamed “The Venice of America.”
If a show is what you seek, travel a little farther from the Las Olas area to the Parker Playhouse (707 NE 8th St.), which is staging “Looped,” a comedy starring actress Stefanie Powers, the week of Leadership Conference, with tickets still available. As long as you’re exploring new parts of the city, make it a point to squeeze in another unforgettable meal, whether it’s wings, clams and shrimp at Southport Raw Bar (1536 Cordova Road, less than a mile from the convention center), huge portions of award-winning barbecue at Tom Jenkins (1236 S. Federal Highway) or the specialty garlic crabs and no-cares atmosphere at the Rustic Inn Crabhouse (4331 Anglers Ave., just west of the airport).
Some other attractions you might want to consider working into your trip:
- Gulfstream Park (901 S. Federal Highway, Hallandale Beach), a “racino” combining thoroughbred racing, poker, slots and live music
- Secret Woods Nature Center (2701 W. State Rd. 84, Dania Beach), a starting point for indoor and outdoor leisure activities, including nature walks, bike trails and hiking
- Flamingo Gardens (3750 S. Flamingo Road), a wildlife sanctuary and botanical collection with tours and daily animal encounter shows
For more resources in planning your Fort Lauderdale experience, visit our microsite.