How to Start a New Year in Greater Fort Lauderdale
By Angela Caraway-Carlton
It’s time to ring in 2021, and there are plenty of ways to make this New Year’s Eve in Greater Fort Lauderdale a memorable one. While end-of-the-year-celebrations are much more low key this year, there are still safe and fun things to do for the New Year. Whether you’re the laidback type who craves alone time with a book in hand and toes in the sand, or someone who’s looking to celebrate in grand luxury from a cushy hotel or a high-end restaurant that will spoil you for the night, here are some ways to start a new year in Greater Fort Lauderdale.
While hotels aren’t holding grand New Year’s Eve soirees in packed ballrooms, you can still celebrate the New Year with a check-in at one of our hotels that have taken the Safe + Clean Pledge. From the Riverside Hotel situated on Las Olas Boulevard and overlooking the New River to the Pelican Grand Beach Resort dramatically perched on the beach, relax on your private balcony or snuggle up in a plush bed with the family to watch the virtual ball drop in Times Square.
At beachy-chic Plunge Beach Resort in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea, you could host your own socially distanced holiday getaway with your closest friends or family with the “Bungalow Buyout Program” which features 26 oceanfront suites, private group check-in, private beach and pool access, and tailored menus.
In Hollywood, choose from over-the-top resorts with tropical vibes like the Guitar Hotel at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel, where you can camp out in a private cabana sipping fruity drinks while alternating between the pool and man-made lagoon meant for water sports like elliptical paddleboarding. Rent a private cabana for the day by the pool at on-trend The Dalmar, which boasts a rooftop with some of the best views of Downtown Fort Lauderdale.
Feast Like it’s 2021
It’s our coveted stone crab season and you can have a take-out feast in your home, or dine along the water at longtime staple Billy’s Stone Crab in Hollywood. Laidback vibes and wow-inducing views are found at the always-festive Lucky Fish tiki restaurant and bar in Pompano Beach; or move next door to upscale newcomer Oceanic, where you can watch the waves roll in and out. If you want options, grab your tribe and make a reservation at Sistrunk Marketplace, an expansive food hall with every type of cuisine you can imagine. Everything is touchless right now, so once you’re seated you can order from your phone, and a masked server will hand-deliver your food from the different vendors. Another outdoor option is The Wharf Fort Lauderdale, an airy event space with many bars and restaurants that overlook the New River.
For something totally different, book a private dinner cruise with Riverfront Gondola Tours where you can order a sushi feast and drinks from neighboring Casa Sensei restaurant, then hop aboard the small boat to cruise the scenic waterways for a 90-minute tour filled with mansion-peeping and yacht-spotting. If you’re looking to amplify your at-home New Year’s Eve celebration with fine or rare wine, stop by Wine Watch in Fort Lauderdale where the owner will pick out something memorable. The wine boutique also hosts intimate, over-the-top wine dinners, so put that on your 2021 bucket list.
Champagne is a must for New Years, so load up on fresh oysters and bubbly at Bubbles & Pearls in Wilton Manors, which is run by a “Top Chef” alum. If learning to cook like a pro is a New Year’s resolution, reserve a spot in a stellar cooking class at Jean Pierre’s Cooking School to sharpen your skills in the kitchen; or host an intimate supper club or culinary demonstration at TRP Taste.
If you’re trying to cleanse your life from those sit-all-day Zoom calls and also eat healthier, visit one of Greater Fort Lauderdale’s farmers’ markets. In Pompano Beach, the 18th Annual Green Market runs through April 24 and is full of fresh produce as well as culinary goods created by locals. Move over to Hollywood for South Florida’s largest farmers market, Yellow Green Farmers Market, which is bursting with booths selling locally grown produce, fresh-off-the-boat fish, soups, and smoothies.
There are so many parks and greenspaces to explore in Parkland, Coconut Creek, and Plantation; pick one for each week of your fitness plan. On Fort Lauderdale Beach, you get the best of both worlds at Las Olas Oceanside Park (the LOOP) where you’re steps from the sand and the ocean. With plenty of wide-open greenery, you can stretch at a yoga class or stop in the farmers’ market on Saturdays.
No matter what you decide to do for the New Year in Greater Fort Lauderdale, when the clock strikes midnight you’ll have a list of fun, delicious, and relaxing resolutions to check off in 2021.