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Living in Fort Lauderdale: A Guide

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Want to live in a beach town while enjoying all that a mid-sized city has to offer? Located in South Florida, the city of Fort Lauderdale provides the best of both worlds. 

This sunny locale is a growing hotspot for young professionals and families—and it’s easy to see why. A robust job market, pristine beaches, and distinct neighborhoods make life in Fort Lauderdale enjoyable yet attainable. There is also plenty to do in this city, whether that’s exploring local bars or nailing down the best coffee shops in Fort Lauderdale

Curious about moving to this Florida metropolis? Start with the Common guide to living in Fort Lauderdale.

Cost of Living

Considering its fantastic location and plentiful amenities, the price of living in Fort Lauderdale is a sweet deal. The city ranks low or average in food, healthcare, and transportation costs compared to similar-sized metropolises. And while housing prices are steadily rising, you can still find attainable deals in certain neighborhoods.

To get a closer look at the cost of living in Fort Lauderdale, let’s break down some main expenses:

  • Housing – Fort Lauderdale residents spend a decent chunk of their paycheck on housing (although other costs offset this expense). The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment costs $1,690 per month, making Fort Lauderdale the 11th most expensive rental city in the country.1 
  • Utilities – On the flip side, residents save decently on utilities in Fort Lauderdale. For combined home utilities (energy, water, heating, and gas), the average bill comes out to $164 per month.2 And for a city that uses year-round air conditioning, that’s not a bad deal. 
  • Transportation – If you live in Florida, you’ll need to budget for a car. Luckily, the state has lower average fuel costs, vehicle taxes, and fees compared to most states.3
  • Healthcare – It’s easy to stay healthy in Fort Lauderdale. Privately insured Florida residents spend about $5,616 per year on healthcare (just below the national average).4
  • Groceries – In Florida, you get your money’s worth on food. Average Fort Lauderdale grocery prices just about match national prices, ranking only 3% higher.5 

Climate and Natural Features

One major reason people move to sunny Fort Lauderdale? The balmy weather and easy beach access. Not many U.S. cities can boast 24 miles of shoreline or year-round warm temperatures.6 If you wish that summer vacation never ended, Fort Lauderdale is the environment of your dreams.

Climate

Fort Lauderdale is technically a tropical rainforest climate with no true “dry season.” And while rain is common, the city still sees 3,000 hours of sunshine per year.7 Let’s break down the weather patterns in Fort Lauderdale:

  • Temperatures – In the winter, temperatures range from the low 60’s to the high 70’s (i.e., you’ll only need a light jacket).8 But in the summer, the heat really sets in and temperatures regularly climb to the 80’s and even up to the mid-90’s.
  • Rainfall – As a tropical climate, Fort Lauderdale has a defined rainy season of May to October.9 The wettest month, June, gets an average of 9.8 inches of rainfall. But even winter months still see a few inches of rain.
  • Storms and natural disasters – Yes, Fort Lauderdale does get its fair share of tropical storms. Hurricane season coincides with the wet season, running from June to November.10 But most residents have a safety alert system and evacuation plan in the rare case of a hurricane.

Natural Features

Those who call Fort Lauderdale home have access to a treasure trove of natural beauty. Between the Everglades swamps and some of the best beaches in Fort Lauderdale, you’ll never run out of jaw-dropping outdoor sights.

You can explore these environmental features across the greater Fort Lauderdale area:

  • Beaches – There’s a reason that tourists flock to Fort Lauderdale’s shores. The city’s eight stellar, white-sand beaches are perfect for all oceanic activities, from surfing to swimming to snorkeling.11 Deerfield Beach, Pompano Beach, Hillsboro Beach, and Fort Lauderdale Beach are all popular stops, each with its own aquatic draws. 
  • Everglades & marsh – Many don’t know that Fort Lauderdale is located by Everglades Holiday Park, a 29-acre expanse protecting Florida’s unique marshland.12 Residents can regularly explore the spectacular environment’s exotic animal and plant life, from crocodiles to panthers to mangroves.
  • Intracoastal Waterways – You don’t even need the beach for a waterfront view in Fort Lauderdale. A 3,000-mile intracoastal waterway system runs through the city, offering a fun commute option to natives. Explore the shops and restaurants along its edges, or take the Water Taxi to downtown Fort Lauderdale!13

Neighborhoods

Greater Fort Lauderdale consists of 31 distinct towns, each with its own culture and draws.6

From the hip Las Olas to the residential Wilton Manors, there’s a spot for every lifestyle across this city. To sample Fort Lauderdale’s many living options, let’s explore some top neighborhoods.

Downtown

For younger and business-minded locals, Downtown Fort Lauderdale is the bustling center of the city’s life. Centered around the vibrant Las Olas Boulevard, you can find plenty of fun shops, restaurants, and museums within this urban neighborhood, including:14

  • Museum of Discovery and Science
  • Riverwalk Arts and Entertainment District
  • NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale
  • Downtown Hollywood Mural Project
  • Art gallery district
  • Flamingo Gardens

Oakland Park

Oakland Park provides the perfect balance between city life and remote suburbia. This north neighborhood has a charming center but still remains tighter-knit and quieter than its downtown counterpart. Oakland Park provides these main attractions:15

  • Jaco Pastorius Park
  • Pan-Latin Cuisine (Brazilian, Cuban, Colombian, Peruvian)
  • Ale Trail (collection of prized breweries)
  • Vintage furniture stores

Las Olas Isles

Opulent and isolated, yet with a premium location, Las Olas Isles is the star realty neighborhood of Fort Lauderdale. This small “town” is a collection of floating land strips on the Atlantic Ocean, separated into six distinct isles. For boat owners and luxury real estate enthusiasts, there’s no better spot in Fort Lauderdale.

Wilton Manors

Technically an island, Wilton Manors is Fort Lauderdale’s most inclusive neighborhood. This lively town was ranked the “Second Gayest City” in the USA, with plenty of LGBTQ-friendly bars, restaurants, and clubs across its streets.16 The neighborhood has plenty of natural and nightlife attractions to offer, such as:

  • Colohatchee Park
  • Richardson Historic Park & Nature Preserve
  • Sebastian Street Beach
  • A robust LGBTQ+ bar scene
  • Stonewall Gallery National Museum & Archives

Flagler Village

Like many former warehouse districts, Flagler Village has transformed into Fort Lauderdale’s most artsy and hip neighborhood.17 This center-city area contains countless galleries and studios, on top of other bohemian-chic attractions like:

  • F.A.T. Village (Flagler Village’s art gallery district)
  • Music & Arts South of Sunrise (MASS District)
  • An acclaimed brewery scene
  • Central Beach
  • Excellent boutiques and local shops

Leisure and Recreation

With its warm weather, tight-knit communities, and glorious outdoors, there’s always something to do in Fort Lauderdale. Residents and tourists alike are an active part of the city’s flourishing arts, sports, and dining scenes.

Arts and Culture

Over the past decade, Fort Lauderdale has fostered a spectacular local arts scene, particularly in the Fine Arts.18 The city is now a hotspot for Florida creatives through its world-class attractions and sites:

  • Museums – Take your pick from one of the many prestigious museums across this city. For visual art, the NSU Art Museum, Old Dillard Art and Cultural Museum, and Bellagio International Gallery all present excellent exhibits. For some entertaining history, there’s the African American Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum, the African American Research Library, and Old Fort Lauderdale Village and Museum. 
  • Art Districts – Central Fort Lauderdale is home to two distinctive artistic collectives—the MASS (Music & Arts South of Sunrise) District and F.A.T. (Flagler Arts Technology) Village. Both of these organizations showcase local creative businesses and artists, regularly hosting weekend Art Walks and community events.
  • Public Art – Fort Lauderdale has integrated its native artistic talent into the city itself. Downtown, you can admire the eye-catching Hollywood Mural Project across multiple building walls. Other city projects include the shimmering Unity Beacon, Oakland Park Art Park, and the Old Town Mural on Pompano Beach.

Sports and Recreation

Fort Lauderdale residents know how to take advantage of excellent weather. The city is filled with countless parks, pathways, recreational areas, and, of course, beach-friendly sports for all to enjoy. Jump in on the fun with these outdoor activities:

  • Waterfront recreation – Between the eight-plus beaches, Everglades, and the intracoastal waterway, there’s no shortage of waterfront or water sports in Fort Lauderdale. In particular, Fort Lauderdale’s coral reef and Atlantic marine life make for excellent diving, snorkeling, and fishing.
  • Parks – The greater Fort Lauderdale area includes 61 official parks,19 one being the 180-acre Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, a popular destination for campers, hikers, fishers, and outdoor enthusiasts.20 Other great options include the Fern Forest Nature Center, Flamingo Gardens, and Deerfield Island Park.
  • Sports – Want to sweat it out on land? Fort Lauderdale is home to some excellent X-biking, skating, tennis, and golf sites.21 Soak up the sun as you get your daily workout across the city’s recreational clubs and areas. 

Food and Dining

Fort Lauderdale’s food scene blends Latinx, American Southern, and Caribbean cuisines into a uniquely delicious dining scene. Check out some of these established and new favorites across the greater city area:

  • Padrino’s Cuban
  • Tom Jenkin’s BBQ
  • Casa Sensei
  • Dune
  • Blue Moon Fish Company
  • Rivertail

Find Your Fort Lauderdale Spot with Common

If you’re itching to answer for yourself, “What is it like living in Fort Lauderdale?”, we can kickstart your adventure.

The Edge by Common makes relocating a breeze thanks to fully-furnished private bedrooms in shared suites. Enjoy the best of Fort Lauderdale living through our building’s beautiful and convenient amenities and prime location in the hip Flagler Village neighborhood!

 

Sources: 

  1. Lopez-Alvar, N. It’s now cheaper to rent in Miami than in Fort Lauderdale. https://www.local10.com/news/local/2021/02/24/its-now-cheaper-to-rent-in-miami-than-in-fort-lauderdale/
  2. Expatistan. Fort Lauderdale, Florida. https://www.expatistan.com/price/utilities/fort-lauderdale
  3. Vincent, J. The Most Expensive States to Own a Car in 2021. https://cars.usnews.com/cars-trucks/most-expensive-states-to-own-a-car
  4. Huff, P. Report: Here’s how much is spent on health care in Florida. https://www.bizjournals.com/tampabay/news/2019/08/27/report-heres-how-much-is-spent-on-health-care-in.html
  5. Payscale. Cost of Living in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. https://www.payscale.com/cost-of-living-calculator/Florida-Fort-Lauderdale
  6. Visit Lauderdale. Fast Facts. https://www.sunny.org/plan-your-trip/fast-facts/
  7. City of Fort Lauderdale. About Fort Lauderdale. https://www.fortlauderdale.gov/government/about-fort-lauderdale
  8. Henthorn, D. Weather in Fort Lauderdale: Climate, Seasons, and Average Monthly Temperature. https://www.tripsavvy.com/fort-lauderdale-weather-1513601
  9. US Department of Commerce, National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration. Fort Lauderdale: Summary of Monthly Normals. https://www.ncei.noaa.gov/access/services/data/v1?dataset=normals-monthly-1991-2020&startDate=0001-01-01&endDate=9996-12-31&stations=USW00012849&format=pdf
  10. Visit Lauderdale. Important Hurricane Information. https://www.sunny.org/hurricane/
  11. Visit Lauderdale. Top Beaches of Greater Fort Lauderdale. https://www.sunny.org/beaches-and-beyond/beaches/
  12. Visit Lauderdale. Parks & Nature in Greater Fort Lauderdale. https://www.sunny.org/things-to-do/parks-and-nature/
  13. Visit Lauderdale. Waterways. https://www.sunny.org/beaches-and-beyond/waterways/
  14. Bratton, S. What to do in Downtown Fort Lauderdale – 10 Best Activities. https://www.tripshock.com/blog/what-to-do-in-downtown-fort-lauderdale/
  15. Visit Lauderdale. Oakland Park. https://www.sunny.org/beaches-and-beyond/neighborhoods/oakland-park/
  16. Visit Lauderdale. Things to do in Wilton Manors. https://www.sunny.org/beaches-and-beyond/neighborhoods/wilton-manors/
  17. The Common Team. The Ultimate Guide to Flagler Village. https://www.common.com/blog/2020/06/the-ultimate-guide-to-flagler-village/
  18. Visit Lauderdale. Museums, Arts & Entertainment. https://www.sunny.org/things-to-do/museums-and-performing-arts/
  19. Fort Lauderdale Parks & Recreation. Parks & Facilities Listing. https://www.parks.fortlauderdale.gov/parks/parks
  20. Florida State Parks. Hugh Taylor Birch State Park. https://www.floridastateparks.org/parks-and-trails/hugh-taylor-birch-state-park/history
  21. Visit Lauderdale. Sports and Outdoor Recreation. https://www.sunny.org/things-to-do/outdoor-recreation-and-sports/

 

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