DIVERSITY MAKES US GREATER TOGETHER

We created the "Greater Together" video and campaign to show the world what we're made of - people like you.

We invite you to discover the diverse people and stories of Greater Fort Lauderdale where we embrace residents and visitors of every culture, origin, color or identity.

stacy

We all have a different and interesting story to tell the world"
Daniel
, Ochehachee
Seminole Interpretive Guide
We all have a different and interesting story to tell the world"
Daniel
, Ochehachee
Seminole Interpretive Guide

I am a full-blooded Seminole Indian with ancestral lineage dating thousands of years, and I have been a resident of south Florida all of my life.  

As a Certified Interpretive Guide with National Association for Interpretation, and with the title Traditional Interpretative Coordinator, I take it as an honor to inform and educate our visitors about my history, culture and heritage.  

We all have a different and interesting story to tell the world, and I really embrace the beautiful rainbow colors of people in south Florida because we are all uniquely the same.

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Marisa
, Wander Shop Owner
“I think it's fun and different to get the local experience of a city!”
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Marisa
, Wander Shop Owner

I was born here in GFL at Holy Cross Hospital during Hurricane Andrew, so I'm a true GFL native!

I love giving people insights and tips on my favorite places to check out while they are in town. I think it's fun and different to get the local experience of a city! I'm currently working on a fun interactive map of my favorite spots of the GFL to give to customers from out of town. 

What I think is so wonderful about the diversity of GFL is that there is always something to do around town, and I feel that a lot of the places and events cater to everyone. 

I love that everyone wants to help support each other, and as a community we focus on our local businesses. Despite how many people live here, it never ceases to amaze me how small it is. I feel that everyone knows everyone, in a good way of course, because we are all here to support our city to keep it thriving!

Giancarlo
, Surf Instructor
Fort Lauderdale, FL
"Here in Greater Fort Lauderdale everybody is exposed to different cultures and...
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Giancarlo
, Surf Instructor

I came to Greater Fort Lauderdale in 1990 from Peru with my family for the American dream and in search of a better education.

Now I welcome people to our community with a free surf lessons every Saturday at Island Watersports. It’s a way to give back to the community and show Fort Lauderdale who we are.

Here [in Greater Fort Lauderdale] everybody is exposed to different cultures and people, and it broadens your perspective and outlook on life. It’s interesting to learn about other people and why they are here, whether it’s locals or tourists – there’s a mixture of both here – and I get to meet them everyday at my shop.

I love the sense of community. Everybody puts their differences aside and they lend a helping hand whenever it’s needed. People in Greater Fort Lauderdale go the extra mile to help their neighbors and help them have a positive day.

Carmen Forston
, Weston, FL
"The multicultural diversity makes it a daily learning experience."
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Carmen Forston
, Weston, FL

Born and raised, a southern Floridian. The multicultural diversity makes it a daily learning experience (in Greater Fort Lauderdale). You get to meet and mingle with so many people from all over the world...all seeking the same fun, sun, and great eats! Their casual and relaxed attitudes in down time; and their business as usual faces during their 9-5s. Needless to say, we all enjoy the beautiful year-round weather!

Sean & Anthony
, 18-Year Residents & Dads of Triplets
“There is nothing better than having a diverse community to live in.”
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Sean & Anthony
, 18-Year Residents & Dads of Triplets

I am in the service industry and frequently encounter people down on vacation, or who have just moved to the area. We have so much to offer in the GFL area that it's easy to tell someone, “Hey you have to go eat here, or check out this park or hop on the Water Taxi.”

The diversity is part of what has kept us here. There is nothing better than having a diverse community to live in. To live with different cultures, ethnicities and sexual orientations is to understand that we are all one. To live in a neighborhood that has old couples, young couples, gay and lesbian, and straight couples and families is amazing. That we all get along and interact and socialize is a very enriching experience.

We are raising triplet boys and I think it would be difficult in some communities. A friend once asked me if we ever had any bad experiences while out with our boys, and to be honest, quite the opposite. We've had so many people, so many different types of people, approach us and congratulate us on doing this.

We take our boys and dogs on a walk every evening and hardly a day goes by when a car doesn't stop and comment on our family in a very positive way.

Mark
, Brewmaster
"Invite newcomers out. Show them the town – they’re bound to love it."
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Mark
, Brewmaster

I grew up in New Jersey, and I have always enjoyed beer and have been homebrewing. In mid-2016 wanted to make a career change, so I finally decided to take the leap into commercial brewing. I had also wanted to live in Florida for many years and so I thought it would be a great time to combine the two new life directions. Six months later, I was living here and working at Funky Buddha Brewery.

 
Personally I'm into the ocean, food, and great beer so my go-to spots for welcoming people revolve around those ideas. But there’s something for everybody. Just invite newcomers out, show them the town – they're bound to love it.

To me, living in Greater Fort Lauderdale means you most likely love fun in the sun and the concept of Eternal Summer. When people in that like mindset come together it's always going to be a fun experience.

Gretchen Cassini
, Deerfield Beach
"Watching Wilton Manors transform into a beautiful, thriving, sanctuary-like city...
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Gretchen Cassini
, Deerfield Beach

My parents moved here from Michigan in the early 50s, after my father served in the Marines and was stationed in Miami. I was born at Broward General hospital, grew up off Las Olas, and remember the first Arts and Crafts fair, the Winter Street festival, the Promenade at Holiday Park, and grocery shopping at a little market next to where Bubier Parks now exists. Our post office was on Himmarshee!

My parents were absolutely committed to exposing me to diversity. For elementary school, I attended Walker and graduated from Fort Lauderdale High. After living away for many years, it was both shocking and exciting to see the many changes that the County had undergone when I returned. Broward County became a destination, not just for Spring-breakers, but for everyone. Watching Wilton Manors (where, as a high school student, I ate at Dairy Queen and drove through five points every day) transform into a beautiful, thriving, sanctuary-like city filled with its own culture, great food, and nightlife has been amazing. Being able to find restaurants throughout this County that represent the ethnicities of all of our residents--from Vietnamese, to Lebanese, Moroccan, Jamaican, Russia, Brazil, Japan, China, Polynesia, France, Italy, Germany, etc.--- is really astounding. This area went from being a sleepy retirement region, to boasting significant age, race, ethnic and socioeconomic diversity. And we love it.

Well, it's definitely not their driving habits! What I love about the people is how progressive they are. This used to be a very conservative area, and I am proud to be living in one of the most liberal parts of the State. Broward County's commitment to the environment and human services makes me proud.

Ruth Vickers
, Fort Lauderdale, FL
"The beauty and the warm welcoming people made me feel home."
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Ruth Vickers
, Fort Lauderdale, FL

I came from Brazil to Fort Lauderdale back in 2007 as an au pair (exchanged visa). I fell in love with this place. The beauty and the warm welcoming people made me feel home. Later I fell in love with my husband and here I am 11 years later as a citizen of this wonderful place. I wouldn't change Fort Lauderdale with another place on earth. The opportunity to meet people from all over the world is amazing! People are very friendly, kind, patient and happy!!!

Greg Bistolifi
, Oakland Park, FL
"With such vast array of culture, there's never a lack of anything to do in town."
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Greg Bistolifi
, Oakland Park, FL

I moved to Greater Fort Lauderdale when I attended the Art Institute in 2000 and never looked back. I love the city, I love the people and everything there is to do in town. With such vast array of culture, there's never a lack of anything to do in town. We live in a very inclusive part of Greater Fort Lauderdale, more specifically, Oakland Park and Wilton Manors are very welcoming to the LGBT+ community with businesses that cater to our needs and wants. My husband, Stephen, and I married on February 5, 2015 along with 99 other couples to celebrate diversity and being able to marry the person I love, all thanks to CVB.  We are a diverse palette of skin tones and that makes me happy.

 

Carolyn Brown
, Deerfield Beach
"There are a wide variety of things to do in this area. Some are free and most are...
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Carolyn Brown
, Deerfield Beach

I temporarily moved to South Florida in 2014 to assist my son and wife with the care of my grandchildren. I began to appreciate this area so I decided to apply for jobs. I currently work for Broward County North Family Success Center for about 4 years now. There are a wide variety of things to do in this area. Some are free and most are family-oriented. Because Greater Fort Lauderdale is a melting pot; I love the diversity of people in this area.

 

Ruben
, Artist
Ruben
, Artist
William Lukach
"Anybody can find their place in GFL."
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William Lukach

Anybody can find their place in GFL. One day you may meet someone that moved here from Chicago or or Boston or DC... the next day you'll make a friend that came here from Venezuela or Cuba or Haiti. Broward also has one of the highest concentrations of gay couples in the US. Unlike many gay communities in bigger urban areas... you do not have to be under 30 to fit in with the gay community in GFL. When you go out on the town you will meet people anywhere from 18 to 78 all living and partying within a few blocks of Wilton Drive. TRUE diversity lives here - not just the political term which often means "people that agree with me". The diversity of GFL is not just a pompous political term used for good PR - its a way of life down here that most just naturally embrace.

Gilberto (in photo with his dog Gnocchi attached) came to GFL from Recife Brazil to study English. He soon made friends with many other Brazilians thriving here in Broward county and throughout south florida. GFL is also where he met his husband William where they married in March of 2015.

Broward County has one of the most diverse populations outside of NYC. A true American melting pot. Being so close to Miami-Dade we are just 30 minutes from what many call "The NYC of Latin America" right next door. Unlike NYC or LA living here allows a more relaxed "Southern US meets Latin America" vibe. All the amenities of other cosmopolitan regions of the USA with a more laid back "resort town" lifestyle - beaches and boating and lots of upscale outdoor dining.

 

Marianovella Marzorati-Brodt
"Down here I feel like at home."
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Marianovella Marzorati-Brodt

Being born and raised in Italy, I grew up in a very non-diverse and close-minded environment. Living here has opened my mind to the fact that we are all human beings, despite our differences, and that we have a lot to learn from each other.

Having moved here Boston (and Milano), I can definitely say that the people down here are much friendlier, more caring and inclusive. Down here I feel like at home.

Joy Lovell
, Bridgewater, MA
"A diverse choice of entertaining events always going on. Definitely my home away...
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Joy Lovell
, Bridgewater, MA

I first came to Ft. Lauderdale over 40 years ago to a boat dealer meeting at Bahia Mar when my husband owned a marina in MA and sold boats. Haven't been many years that I didn't spend time in Ft. Lauderdale area. From 1986 to 1998 owned a condo on Las Olas and spent winter's there, once staying 2 years straight through. Now have a son and grandchildren living in the greater Ft. Lauderdale area so I spend time with them here. Absolutely love the beaches, restaurants, music night life, cultural venues, and much more. A diverse choice of entertaining events always going on. Definitely my home away from home.

There are so many cultural events ongoing for everyone's taste. Theatre, music, art, street fairs, food, and more. Many are even free. It is like taking a trip around the world participating at these different venues. The weather is particularly a draw especially coming from frozen New England in winter. I can't say enough good things about the Greater Fort Lauderdale area.

Everywhere I go people, whether natives or tourists, are friendly and pleasant. You can often hear many languages being spoken, but everyone seems to smile a lot. The Greater Fort Lauderdale area is just so inviting, you can't help but smile and enjoy life.

Mia McFadden
, Pompano Beach, FL
"Diversity in itself is wonderful. In Fort Lauderdale, you are flooding in it."
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Mia McFadden
, Pompano Beach, FL

I went to college out of state, although came to Florida on a vacation. While on vacation, I realized how great it is here. I absolutely loved it, and after I graduated, I moved down here. Diversity in itself is wonderful. In Fort Lauderdale, you are flooding in it. We have people from Cuba, and the Islands, Snowbirds from up north visiting, international and domestic tourist. Fort Lauderdale, surprising to many, is the most diverse city in Florida trumping Miami and Orlando. The people of GFL are welcoming, kind, considerate, and warm. We come from different walks of life, but ended up in this paradise of a city, and I think we are all very grateful. We are so lucky and blessed to be in our city, and I believe our happiness for being here makes up the best, kindest people.

Corey Middleton
, Williston, FL
"You are not seen for your race, but what you offer to make the community greater as...
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Corey Middleton
, Williston, FL

I came to the area seeking an institution for higher learning. Fort Lauderdale was not exactly the first place that came to mind, until I came across Nova Southeastern University. The institution had such a diversity of ethnicities. I was not accustomed to that given the place I completed my undergrad was of a different scenery. The institution, as well as the city, welcomed me with open arms. You can unashamedly be FREE!!! You are not seen for your race, but what you offer to make the community greater as a whole.

What do you love about the people of GFL?:
The openness. A local bakery shop owner invited me in to try pastries for free. Did not charge me at all as we randomly struck up a conversation.

Vicki Horton
, Fort Lauderdale, FL
"I missed everything about South Florida and longed to return home to Fort...
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Vicki Horton
, Fort Lauderdale, FL

My family moved to Miami when I was 3, I have two sisters that were born at Jackson Memorial Hospital. Two years later we moved to Fort Lauderdale where I attended Broward Estates Elementary, Meadowbrook Elementary, Seminole Middle, and Plantation High. I ventured off to college in Tuscaloosa, Alabama and resided there for over 12 yrs. I missed everything about South Florida and longed to return home to Fort Lauderdale. I was really home sick for family, the Beach, the Parks and so much more so I packed up my house and my dog and started a 12 hr. journey with my car in tow. Unfortunately I ran into some snares along the way and my 12 hr. journey turned into 21. I finally landed in Fort Lauderdale. I've been to the beaches and several parks for family outings as well as a few sports bars and clubs. I am SO HAPPY to be back in Fort. Lauderdale. Like Dorothy said on the Wizard of Oz "THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HOME!!!" What is so wonderful about the diversity of GFL is the food, music and entertainment. And what I love about the people of GFL is everyone seems to mesh well.

Tanya Dupuy
, Fort Lauderdale, FL
"I feel safe and accepted in this LGBT community Fort Lauderdale offers."
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Tanya Dupuy
, Fort Lauderdale, FL

I've spent most of my life here. It's where I had my beautiful children (who love the beach) and I met the most wonderful woman of my dreams. I feel safe and accepted in this LGBT community Fort Lauderdale offers. They are so accepting and prideful of every difference. I can walk around and know that we fit in here. There just is so many diverse people here. So much culture, food and celebrations.

Kat Quinn
, Fort Lauderdale, FL
"The diversity of Greater Fort Lauderdale is such a magical quality of this city."
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Kat Quinn
, Fort Lauderdale, FL

I moved to Fort Lauderdale three years ago, in 2015. I've always loved the beach and sunshine, but I wanted to move somewhere where there were more business oriented individuals from all corners of the world. I wanted to be surrounded by people who would inspire me in everything I do, whether it be work or play. And I had a large number of connections within the Fort Lauderdale community, which gave me the extra push I needed. I saw a future and success for myself and my business, in Fort Lauderdale, and wanted to pursue that vision. 

The diversity of Greater Fort Lauderdale is such a magical quality of this city. Being able to interact and share thoughts and ideas with people who have lived and come from all different corners of the world, really allow you to open you eyes and see things from a different perspective. It's almost like you can travel to all parts of the world, but in our own city. It's such a spectacular city, with such a great diversity of people, that you don't always see in other parts of the world.

As we all know, Fort Lauderdale is such a diverse community, with people from all over the world, coming together to share their ideas and experiences. It's filled with individuals who want to help and inspire others within the community, which is something you don't always come across. It's a town where people can separate their work life and play life, but are completely able to set aside their play and work hard during the weekdays. It creates the perfect balance and inspires me to be a better business women and community member.

Rotem Mashiach
"We chose Hollywood as the place to raise our family."
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Rotem Mashiach

I was born in Israel and have lived in different cities in Europe, Puerto Rico and now in Hollywood, FL. We chose Hollywood as the place to raise our family. We travel frequently, but, there's no place like "home."

We open our home to friends and family from all over the world, some come for a holiday and some choose to make a home in our wonderful community. It is important for the world to know that we welcome everyone. We embrace our visitors. They add so much to our community. In Hollywood, I have met so many visitors from Canada, U.K, Germany and even China. We love it!!! With such a diverse culture i can choose to dine, be entertained, shop and engage in worldwide community events right here at home. My husband and I want our children to grow up in a place that represents the global community. We embrace diversity and multicultural lifestyles.

The people of Fort Lauderdale are well traveled and bring caring, community and humor from every corner of the world; this makes for never a dull moment in my daily life.

Rafael Mejia
"Fort Lauderdale works perfect for me, as it is laid back, but still has a nice city...
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Rafael Mejia

After 10 years of living in New York, I decided I needed a break from the always busy and exhausting lifestyle. Fort Lauderdale works perfect for me, as it is laid back, but still has a nice city vibe to it. People don't often expect such a diverse and welcoming community. Anywhere you go, you see people from different races, backgrounds, and lifestyles. People who come visit from all over the world are often surprised, and feel very welcome. I love the local events, community, and overall friendliness. I like to think of it as laid-back Miami.

Steve & Mike
"Island living on the mainland? Yes please!"
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Steve & Mike

After several years of visiting Caribbean islands we started to consider living there. Flying home after one trip, there was a map in a travel magazine that showed southern Florida in the northern Caribbean. Island living on the mainland? Yes please! A year later we bought our first Fort Lauderdale get away and started planning for the eventual move to full time. We got married in the sand on a Fort Lauderdale beach.

Most everyone we meet is from somewhere else, so the stories of their life are all so different.

It's never difficult to talk to people. Everyone loves to talk about where they're from. what they've seen, and how they got to GFL. From mid-western farmers that are able to winter here, to a sweet old New Yorker that used to be Joan River's interior decorator, every story is remarkable!

Lisa Cutler
, Dania Beach, FL
"Greater Fort Lauderdale provides many different cultures and backgrounds to enrich...
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Lisa Cutler
, Dania Beach, FL

I came to South Florida from Boston to experience the wonderful and warm season here. It provides many different cultures and backgrounds to enrich the community. The warmth and friendliness of people here (is what I love about GFL).

Valentina Baird
, Coconut Creek, FL
"I love the different cultures of the people of Greater Fort Lauderdale."
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Valentina Baird
, Coconut Creek, FL

I am from the Northeast like so many people who came down to Fort Lauderdale. Me and my hubby dreamed of living down here for years and when the time was right we took the leap and moved. I was able to get my parents, sister and in-laws down here. We love trying new places and enjoying the beauty of South Florida beaches and weather.

Growing up in a small town in New Jersey, you had to drive 50 miles north and leave the state to enjoy the diversity and culture a big city has to offer. Living here culture and diversity is at my fingertips and I couldn't be happier or more proud to be able to be part of that.

I love the different cultures of the people of greater Fort Lauderdale. I love that a lot of people from New York and New Jersey came down here to live the beach life!

Ricky Williams
, Sunrise, FL
"Always meet nice people at the many free events offered by the city!"
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Ricky Williams
, Sunrise, FL

I was visiting friends in 1986 and after days of boating on the Venice of America, I decided to move here. I love living in paradise! You can eat food from around the world and always meet nice people at the many free events offered by the city!

Jean Ferguson
, Coral Springs, FL
"I can’t imagine living anywhere that wasn’t diverse."
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Jean Ferguson
, Coral Springs, FL

I moved around the country for years, but finally found my home here. I can’t imagine living anywhere that wasn’t diverse. I love spending time with family, friends, residents, and visitors here in paradise.

 

Mariana Suarez
"It's wonderful to see such a mixed group of people in our destination."
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Mariana Suarez

It's wonderful to see such a mixed group of people in our destination, as we have so many coming from all over the world- South America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Not to mention, GFL is an LGBTQI friendly community, so having such a diverse mix of cultures and people truly creates an atmosphere for unique and interesting stories and experiences.

Thanks to my parents' hard work and sacrifice, I came to Greater Fort Lauderdale at the very young age of eight, from my home country of Venezuela. My parents wanted better opportunities for our family and made the brave and amazing decision to move to the United States. We happened to arrive in GFL right after hurricane Andrew had struck. GFL was the only area in our journey through south Florida that was not badly damaged, and we actually really fell in love with it... Needless to day, we've lived in GFL now for 25 years!  I love that people at GFL are very warm, laid-back and welcoming.

Katrina Anderson
, Fort Lauderdale, FL
"Every day is exciting. I love the numerous cultural events and opportunities that...
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Katrina Anderson
, Fort Lauderdale, FL

I needed a fresh start, a new beginning. The catalyst was a meditation event I attended on Hollywood beach. I relocated a few months later from a different part of the state. Moving here changed my life. Now, I have a job I only dreamed of before. Every day is exciting. I love the numerous cultural events and opportunities that exist here.

Variety is the spice of life. Nutritionists say to eat the rainbow, not white foods. I think a mindset like that is important. I grew up in a tolerant open minded area, which has helped me with relationships and connection to people. Different is not bad.

I love my neighborhood. I tell people I live in rainbow land and it's great. I'm close to the beach and downtown. It's convenient. It's safe. It's fun. What more can you ask for?

 

Cassidy Khatcherian
, Fort Lauderdale, FL
"Fort Lauderdale is the most diverse city in the state. It creates uniqueness."
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Cassidy Khatcherian
, Fort Lauderdale, FL

I was born and raised here. Fort Lauderdale is the most diverse city in the state. It creates uniqueness. We are living in paradise. We love where we live. Our happiness is contagious!

Katherine Lopez
, Miramar, FL
"...I get to live the best of both worlds in a place filled with so many other unique...
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Katherine Lopez
, Miramar, FL

Well I don’t live in GFL but I can tell you about how diverse in general south Florida is. Although there are several factors that don’t accept differences in a positive way. I am beyond happy to be and American with Hispanic parents and that I get to live the best of both worlds in a place filled with so many other unique cultures.

What is so wonderful, in your opinion, about the diversity of GFL: The massive range of diversity, of course!

What do you love about the people of GFL? Them in general! They are so friendly and make anyone feel welcomed despite any differences.

Shae Williams
, Coral Springs, FL
"The people here help to facilitate the life you lead as your very own unique...
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Shae Williams
, Coral Springs, FL

I came to this wonderful place to branch out and find my wings almost 10 years ago. I knew I needed to find who I was outside of the shadows of what my family defined me to be. I came here and found, love, light, hope, and so many opportunities for adventure that a bucket list would be too long to pursue. I flourish in not knowing what is next, and accept when the challenge, fun, and exploration comes knocking.

This place was built on diversity and thus built on every beautiful cultural experience woven together and in some cases enmeshed to create something new. I love that I can be who I am authentically and live those deepest parts of who I am on the outside for my community to see.

The people here help to facilitate the life you lead as your very own unique contribution to the community. We come together when times are hard and we come together when it is time to celebrate our accomplishment. It is this that helps us to be successful as a community, to be uniquely brought together as one people of many walks life walking together.

Jessica Adelman
, Coral Springs, FL
"The people of GFL are a rainbow of different backgrounds living peacefully in this...
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Jessica Adelman
, Coral Springs, FL

I grew up in Miami, my husband in a suburb of GFL. After college when we decided to get married, we moved to Coral Springs. We are still there many years later with no plans to move! Having grown up in Miami, I was used to living in a diverse area. I wanted a quieter life that still reflected the diversity I wanted to raise my children with. The suburbs of GFL are family-oriented; my children attend BCPS and are friends with children of all different backgrounds and ethnicities. The people of GFL are a rainbow of different backgrounds living peacefully in this small pocket of South FL. No one bats an eye seeing LGBTQ families, religiously-dressed people, people other than ourselves. I also enjoy the laid-back attitudes when it comes to going out and not having to be dressed like you’re going to a club in Miami!

 

Vicky DiMichele
, Stow, OH
"The hotels are absolutely world class."
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Vicky DiMichele
, Stow, OH

We took a flight to FLL which is an absolutely amazing city. It was our 1 year anniversary so I gave my husband a paper plane ticket and told him we were leaving the next day. The hotels are absolutely world class. We loved the W! It was perfectly situated by the beach and we had an amazing view from our balcony. I loved how it was a turtle district so the lights were dimmed in the evenings for their consideration. I also loved the stuffed alligator on the bed (sad now that I didn't buy one while I was there). It is always nice to see local touches in a hotel room so you know where you are waking up in the morning :-) Everyone was so friendly! Even when we ordered room service, because I stayed out on the beach too long, the delivery guy suggested where we could get aloe for my skin.

Roger & Mindy Williams
"The diversity of GFL shows that no matter where you're from you can be yourself."
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Roger & Mindy Williams

I love the artistic culture and musical talent that is spread throughout this community. There is such a unique.

The diversity of GFL shows that no matter where you're from you can be yourself. This was something that my parents taught me from a very young age.

My parents moved to South Florida from Texas when I was a little girl. Since then they have touched the lives of many people in the community. They have been mentors to countless couples and families from our church and have spread the love of music everywhere they go. Our home always had an open door policy and they have taken in and helped many people in need. I am so fortunate to call them my parents.

Caroline Kaplan
"The best part of growing up was knowing that the streets would be filled with love."
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Caroline Kaplan

I was born and raised in Coral Springs, Fla. I have lived in the same house my entire life. I currently go to the University of Florida in Gainesville, but whenever I return for a break, Greater Fort Lauderdale is always there to welcome me home. After living somewhere for so long, you start to follow a routine and only go to the same places. However, this past summer I felt I like I was actually able to discover and see for the first time what amazing locations and opportunities GFL has to offer. I realized that it is even more unique and beautiful than I already thought it was. I can't wait for my next break so I can uncover more hidden treasures in Greater Fort Lauderdale with my friends and family.

At the University of Florida, there are some people here who go through a sort of culture shock when they arrive, seeing the diverse student population. I, however, have the privilege of growing up in Greater Fort Lauderdale--where diversity shines. As a child, I was exposed to all different walks of life, cultures and communities. I found my home in the local Jewish community. I went through various milestones at Temple Beth Am; my parents got married there, I went to pre-school and Hebrew school there and I was Bat Mitzvahed there. My friends from Broward County public schools attended my Bat Mitzvah, while I attended their Quinceañeras and Sweet 16's. It was an amazing environment to be raised in, knowing that we were all accepting of each others' differences. It definitely played a role in the positive and uplifting adult I am today.

GFL is full of families. The best part of growing up there was knowing that the streets would be filled with love. Halloween time was the perfect example of that. My neighborhood was a hot spot for trick-or-treating. I loved meeting new people and seeing how the community went all-out just to make others smile. I come home from college every year for Halloween because I want to give back to Greater Fort Lauderdale and bring light to more smiles-- just like they gave to me for all those years.

Samantha Millard
"Great food, wonderful beaches and gorgeous ocean!!!!"
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Samantha Millard

How did you come to Greater Fort Lauderdale (GFL)?
Meeting friends from Michigan for a lovely week in Florida!

What is so wonderful, in your opinion, about the diversity of GFL? 
Great food, wonderful beaches and gorgeous ocean!!!!

What do you love about the people of GFL?
Friendly, hospitable and HAPPY 😎

Matthew Eaton
, Hollywood, FL
"GFL opens the door for people to embrace diversity and to genuinely learn from each...
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Matthew Eaton
, Hollywood, FL

I lived here since the majority of my childhood. I am a proud Puerto Rican and Italian gay male that resides in sunny South Florida, and whose passions are in the arts, healthcare, LGBT Community, and advocating for human rights and for people living with HIV/AIDS. I literally breathe, eat and sleep Greater Fort Lauderdale (GFL).

GFL openly accepts ALL people, regardless of age, color, creed, race, gender, sexual orientation, disabilities, etc. Also, there is ALWAYS something to do for EVERYONE in GFL, from the time you wake up in the morning to the evening time. GFL opens the door for people to embrace diversity and to genuinely learn from each other.

The people in GFL are fighting for love and are always embracing EVERYONE. I know this sounds cliché, but honestly people in GFL will welcome you with open arms, whether you are only visiting for 10 minutes or planning to move here. When here, you will always be a part of the GFL family.

Debbie Sidman
"I love that you can do everything or nothing in GFL and still have a great time..."
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Debbie Sidman

I love that you can do everything or nothing in GFL and still have a great time from a relaxing day at the beach, to an evening out at so many different types of restaurants and clubs, or a night at the theater.

I moved in 1978, while still in high school to GFL with my family. Who doesn't love warm weather, palm trees and beautiful beaches? It was like always being on vacation.

I love that people come from all over the world, and also live here from countries all over. It adds such an international flavor and culture to this great city.

Charles Link
, Melbourne, FL
"Every time we visit we experience relaxing level of comfort and acceptance....
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Charles Link
, Melbourne, FL

We have family living in Ft Lauderdale. Every time we visit we experience relaxing level of comfort and acceptance. Diversity at its BEST!

We are a gay, interracial couple, no matter where we are in Ft Lauderdale we have always been treated well! The level of peace we feel is sooo strong. We will be joining the community soon. We are currently looking into purchasing our home there!!! We Love GFL!

Everyone we have encountered has been sooo relaxed! Treated us well and with respect! The area is home to so many different types of people seemingly able to coexist in a really great atmosphere!

Sam Maldonado
"I love that the people in GFL have a strong sense of empathy and acceptance."
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Sam Maldonado

Born and raised here, I’ve lived in the Greater Fort Lauderdale area for 18 years. I attended public school for most of my life, where I encountered kids from a variety of cultures, ethnicities, and other backgrounds. Growing up in Broward County, I might have taken for granted the kind of diversity I was exposed to at such a young age. One of my best friends in elementary school was a Venezuelan-Iranian Muslim, many of my high school peers were part of the LGBT+ community, and most of my friends overall embraced and encouraged the differences among us.

I'd say the best thing about Fort Lauderdale's diversity is that it breeds a strong culture of unique talents, innovative ideas, and best of all, community acceptance. Such exposure to different groups of people not only gave me perspectives into a variety of cultures, but also insight into the plight that minorities face every day. Understanding the struggle of our brothers and sisters from every background helps foster a community that teaches us that together, we can turn fear into understanding, intolerance into acceptance, and apathy into action.

I love that the people in GFL have a strong sense of empathy and acceptance. It helps provide everyone a safe environment to speak their minds, to learn from others, and to encourage people to embrace their differences and be themselves.

Maria Christina Mendes Caldeira
, Miami, FL
"I love the art and the events in Fort Lauderdale."
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Maria Christina Mendes Caldeira
, Miami, FL

I love the art and the events in Fort Lauderdale. Nature and water is all around. (And) friendly people.

 

Nysa
, Sunsational Service Winner
“Nysa Joseph-Sealy at the Residence Inn Marriott Fort Lauderdale exemplifies the...
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Nysa
, Sunsational Service Winner

Nysa Joseph-Sealy, guest service representative, started working at the Residence Inn Marriott Fort Lauderdale Airport & Cruise Port a little over a year ago and is the first associate at the property to receive the Spirit to Serve Award from Mr. Marriott’s office. Nysa Joseph-Sealy at the Residence Inn Marriott Fort Lauderdale exemplifies the meaning of integrity.

Nysa ensures that any celebration a guest mentions upon check-in time is recognized by the staff. Nysa makes sure the hotel selects a guest of the day and they ring the front desk special bell when they arrive. Nysa loves taking pictures with the guests and presenting a surprise gift bag and a flyer with the guest name at the front desk. Nysa has such a great personality she was selected to be the front desk trainer and the Marriott quality assurance role play manager.

While on a family vacation, a large group arrived at the Residence Inn in Dania beach. The couple had hidden a bag of jewelry with sentimental value under their mattress before going to dinner. Early the next morning, in the confusion of gathering their family together for the flight home, they departed thinking the valuables were in the suitcase when they were actually still under the mattress. They called the hotel and Nysa answered. She went to the room, retrieved the forgotten bag and sent it back to the couple the next day. They are still singing Nysa’s praises.

Erik Dietl-Friedli
, Tamarac, FL
"We are ONE people. For real! Everyone belongs."
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Erik Dietl-Friedli
, Tamarac, FL

We live here. I love that we can walk around our neighborhood and hear different languages, smell all sorts of amazing ethnic cuisine, and just feel part of something larger and more wonderful. We are ONE people. For real! Everyone belongs.

Nadira Pavón
, Sarasota, FL
"We couldn't have raised our babies and a more fun and diverse place."
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Nadira Pavón
, Sarasota, FL

Both my husband and I were born and raised in Queens, New York but never met until Florida. We both moved to Fort Lauderdale alone with our dogs at different times. He sold me my furniture! Eventually we got married, made a family & lifetime friends. Honored to call Fort Lauderdale our home for 9 years. We couldn't have raised our babies and a more fun and diverse place.

Growing up in Queens New York you won't find a bigger Melting Pot... until Fort Lauderdale! It ended up being exactly that with better beaches and palm trees! Also the amount of activities parades and events are wonderful!

I actually love that almost everyone is from somewhere else who came to Fort Lauderdale for a more exciting life... A day off in New York is a day off a day off, in Fort Lauderdale it is a DAYcation!

 

Wendi Iskierka
, Shoreview, MN
"People are so welcoming and friendly."
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Wendi Iskierka
, Shoreview, MN

I came to Greater Fort Lauderdale with my sweet husband of 22 years for a getaway via Southwest Airlines. People are so welcoming and friendly. The down to earth nature is what we love about the people of GFL.

Sean Beckett
, Toronto, Canada
"The LGBT community is embracing and accepting."
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Sean Beckett
, Toronto, Canada

Toronto friends relocated to Fort Lauderdale / Miami 25 years ago and I was last there in January 1999, just before (my friend) Rick was killed in a traffic accident in March. Need to return for a visit, his sister lives there still. The LGBT community is embracing and accepting. It's comfortable to see all races, ages, etc thriving together. (I love) the friendliness (of the people of GFL).

 

Christopher Dietl-Friedli
, Tamarac, FL
"I love how different we all are, yet we are ONE people."
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Christopher Dietl-Friedli
, Tamarac, FL

We moved here in 2000 to be near family. Diversity is colorful, exciting, and adds zest to life. I love how different we all are, yet we are ONE people.

Gregg Shapiro
, Fort Lauderdale, FL
"The cultural and social diversity of Fort Lauderdale are what makes the city so...
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Gregg Shapiro
, Fort Lauderdale, FL

My husband and I moved to Fort Lauderdale 4 1/2 years ago from Chicago. Right off the bat, we no longer had to deal with or see snow (that's what YouTube is for), endless grey skies and lack of sunshine, and bitter cold temperatures. The added bonuses, in addition to already having an established social circle (many other leaving the cold Chicago, Boston and Washington DC climates), is that there is no end of exciting things to do in Fort Lauderdale. Dining, concerts, live theater, museums, the beach and so much more make Fort Lauderdale the right place to live.

The cultural and social diversity of Fort Lauderdale are what makes the city so special. Not only do people from all sorts of backgrounds mingle in a variety of settings, but because of the large senior community, there is also a wide range of age groups coming together and learning from each other.

As someone from the Midwest, who attended college in Boston, it took me a while to adjust to the Southern friendliness. Now, I love it.

 

Jennifer Baker
, Florence, KY
"Everyone here is so welcoming and relaxed."
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Jennifer Baker
, Florence, KY

Decided to fly down on a whim.  Every morning while watching the sunrise on the beach every person I came in contact with regardless of their walk of life would say good morning. Everyone here is so welcoming and relaxed.

 

Hanna Cohen
, Fort Lauderdale, FL
"It’s a melting pot of happy people from all over the globe. The fact that it seems...
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Hanna Cohen
, Fort Lauderdale, FL

For many years we dreamed of moving to Florida, but life kept us in NY raising our kids and work. Well now we are here for a year and we are the happiest people. Over the years we would come and stay a few days and go back to the cold. Now we can do whatever we want and enjoy every waking day with sun and the ocean. All we need is health, and we are taking care of that too. It’s a melting pot of happy people from all over the globe. The fact that it seems like Sunday every day.

 

D. Freudenheim
, Oklahoma City, OK
"Everyone has been welcoming at every locale we visit, and all have a unique story to...
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D. Freudenheim
, Oklahoma City, OK

My grandson was born 3 months prematurely in the Cayman Islands while his parents were on a cruise. He was airlifted after delivery to Broward Medical in Fort Lauderdale. GFL was his home for 3 months, and we fell in love with the area and this miracle baby at the same time. While here, his parents made lifelong friends with people from many places who also were at Broward's NICU. We have returned every summer to visit, and hope to retire here.

It makes life so much more interesting to learn from the cultures of various people. Language, food and music enriched by variety!

Everyone has been welcoming at every locale we visit, and all have a unique story to share.

Laurie Grano
, Coconut Creek, FL
"We have a great community and an amazing place to visit, work and live."
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Laurie Grano
, Coconut Creek, FL

I worked in the restaurant business for over 20 years and frequently visited Fort Lauderdale Beach on my days off. I saw a need for a unique way to shuttle and let our visitors and residents get around while still being able to enjoy the open air, sights and sounds of the beach and surrounding areas. After meeting with City officials, I quit my job and opened Beachhopper Tours Inc. We run eight passenger street legal golf carts on the beach, Las Olas and surrounding areas. We teamed up with Shooters Waterfront Restaurant as a unique fun way to get their guests to and from their restaurant. We now work with Bonnet House for wedding transportation as well as almost every hotel and business in the area. In the last 5 years we continue to grow and work with local hotels, restaurants, businesses for visitors and locals. We have a great community and an amazing place to visit, work and live.

The diversity of Greater Fort Lauderdale makes us a unique and wonderful place to live and visit. The people support each other, work together and makes us great each and every day

Whether you are a tourist or you reside in GFL you are made welcome in every way. We love our tourists and treat them as one of us.

 

Chad Hayden
, Pompano Beach, FL
"The people are unique, friendly, kind., welcoming and down to earth."
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Chad Hayden
, Pompano Beach, FL

I recently relocated because we took a job transfer. The diversity and inclusion of all in the GFL area is the best. Everyone is so nice and welcoming. It's like going into Planet Fitness and the No Judgement Zone. ALL ARE WELCOME. The people are unique, friendly, kind., welcoming and down to earth.

 

Rebecca Coutant
, Fremont, CA
"I love experiencing all of the diverse cultures, including all of the different...
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Rebecca Coutant
, Fremont, CA

My grandparents moved here 20 years ago from California. I have been coming to visit every year since then. I love experiencing all of the diverse cultures, including all of the different food, music, and entertainment! Everyone is so friendly and welcoming. I never feel like a tourist.

Diane Metcalfe
, St. Johns, Newfoundland, Canada
"Sun, sand, surf, great food!!! Who could ask for more!!"
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Diane Metcalfe
, St. Johns, Newfoundland, Canada

Sun, sand, surf, great food!!! Who could ask for more!! Lots of interesting things to do and see. From man-made to natural and warm. Warm, friendly people who are proud of their homeland.

Thomas Brainard
, Columbus, OH
"The weather, water and people are wonderful."
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Thomas Brainard
, Columbus, OH

Was going to take a cruise but couldn’t get my passport in time. So decided to vacation here. The weather, water and people are wonderful. Taking scuba lessons later this week!  (GFL) is a lot more diverse than Ohio. (They people of GFL) have been warm, knowledgeable and helpful.

 

Chad Hayden
, Pompano Beach, FL
"The diversity, culture, and LGBTQ+ community is such a welcoming part of Ft....
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Chad Hayden
, Pompano Beach, FL

Fort Lauderdale and Broward County are now where I call home. The diversity, culture, and LGBTQ+ community is such a welcoming part of Ft. Lauderdale. The diversity is wonderful because it is all inclusive. There really are no judgements being made about the diverse culture, the diverse atmosphere in any way. The people are non judgmental and so welcoming. They are some of the nicest people you can meet.

 

Marti Nov
, Fort Lauderdale, FL
"The people are warm and friendly"
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Marti Nov
, Fort Lauderdale, FL

I relocated from NY looking for a warmer climate. Multi-cultural environment, always very interesting in Greater Fort Lauderdale. The people are warm and friendly.

Theresa Comar
, Rahway, NJ
"The friendly faces, positive and laid back attitudes make GFL a place for all people...
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Theresa Comar
, Rahway, NJ

I briefly lived in another area of Florida. I came to visit Greater Fort Lauderdale, and fell in love! It is now officially, my favorite place on Earth! The friendly faces, positive and laid back attitudes make Greater Fort Lauderdale a place for all people to enjoy! Good vibes abide and flow all around!!  Kindness, compassion, inclusiveness!

 

Andrea Somers
, Elizabethton, TN
"GFL is very diverse and there's a range of things to do. Many are open-minded and...
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Andrea Somers
, Elizabethton, TN

By car during my job searches (I came to Fort Lauderdale). GFL is very diverse and there's a range of things to do. Many are open-minded and like to work.

 

Adriana Mabel Rodríguez
, Buenos Aires, Argentina
"I went for my 25th wedding anniversary and we really enjoyed the city, the trip on...
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Adriana Mabel Rodríguez
, Buenos Aires, Argentina

I went for my 25th wedding anniversary and we really enjoyed the city, the trip on the Water Taxi and the sunsets! You can see different cultures, the people are friendly and kind.

Shady Sanders
, North Lauderdale, FL
"The beautiful beaches are the reason I can't leave."
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Shady Sanders
, North Lauderdale, FL

I relocated to Greater Fort Lauderdale (GFL) 5 years ago for work. Who wouldn't relocate to a place with beautiful beaches!!!! The beautiful beaches are the reason I can't leave. I go to relax and unwind after a long work week, or to enjoy the beautiful sunrise on a Saturday morning walk. I've met people of all cultures and nationalities. GFL is a great place to experience many cultures. On any given day there are tons of festivals to attend and experience the food, music, and lifestyle of different nations and cultures. I love the diversity, and the fact that you can't assume based on what someone looks like. The people here are always willing to share their culture and traditions with others.

Kimberly Zelle
, Punta Gorda, FL
"The stories of the lives of these individuals are the threads which weave the...
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Kimberly Zelle
, Punta Gorda, FL

I moved to Greater Fort Lauderdale in the mid-1990s. I came from a small town in Connecticut to be near family who had moved here years earlier. I work in the health care industry where I had the privilege of caring for and working alongside people from all walks of life. Whether they were year-round residents, "snowbirds," vacationers, transplants like myself, or just passing through, every person has a story to tell. The stories of the lives of these individuals are the threads which weave the beautiful fabric that is the Fort Lauderdale experience.

Brian Allen
, Birmingham, England
"I would love to visit as I have heard so many good things from friends who have...
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Brian Allen
, Birmingham, England

I would love to visit as I have heard so many good things from friends who have been! It reminds me of Birmingham, England with a rich diversity of all cultures and nations.

Ulises Frallicciardi
, Coconut Creek
"Uli was nominated as a Community Hero!"
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Ulises Frallicciardi
, Coconut Creek

Uli moved to Florida as a baby, originally from Argentina. He was the vision behind Ramp 48 Skatepark and has mentored hundreds of youth over the past 15 years. He now builds skateparks for under privileged communities around the globe and runs the skateboarding camp for Island Water Sports. The diversity brings so much flavor to our area. We have amazing restaurants, events and communities. We all learn from one another and make this area a great place to live. It is one of the most beautiful places in the world. The Faces of GFL come from every corner of the globe and each person brings a little of the place they were born for us all to enjoy.

Javon Lloyd
, Lauderhill, FL
" It is a wonderful place to raise a family and offers a variety of different...
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Javon Lloyd
, Lauderhill, FL

I relocated to the Greater Fort Lauderdale region in February 2016 for a job opportunity. Since then, I have had the chance to work with a variety of community organizations, local municipalities nonprofits and more. GFL has some of the most creative, artistic, professional and caring people that I have met. Our wide range of residents makes it easy for one to adapt to when relocating to the area. It is a wonderful place to raise a family and offers a variety of different cultural experiences, which makes it a fantastic way to learn from others. There is truly a since of community here in GFL. Most of the people I have met take pride in the neighborhoods and areas in which they live, work and play.

 

Andrea Salas
, Margate, FL
"I found that GFL was one of the most dog friendly places I'd seen."
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Andrea Salas
, Margate, FL

I grew up close to Fort Laduerdale, it's beaches are always my key memories. They're extremely family friendly and clean, and there's always an abundance of things to do.  When I adopted my dog and started researching places I could take him, I found that GFL was one of the most dog friendly places I'd seen. Not only dog friendly, but the culture pot in GFL is huge! You have people from every corner of the world.  (The people) are all so different.

 

 

Lee Kent
, Coral Springs, FL
"Everyone is very welcoming."
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Lee Kent
, Coral Springs, FL

I'm new to the area and really enjoy the new opportunities. There are people from everywhere all over!  Everyone is very welcoming.

 

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art mural

In December 2017, during the Riptide Music Festival on Fort Lauderdale beach, the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau took to the streets (or the sands) for a collaborative live art community project with local artist Ruben Ubiera. A 12' tall thumbprint mural was created showing the world we are "Greater Together." Click here to see the making of the project.

FACES OF GREATER FORT LAUDERDALE ENTRY FORM

Whether you live here or love to visit, submit your story below and receive a free #GreaterTogether t-shirt.

SUBMIT YOUR STORY OR NOMINATE A COMMUNITY HERO:

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