Greater Fort Lauderdale, Florida: More Than You’d Expect From a Meetings Destination

Greater Fort Lauderdale has long been known as a haven for vacationers looking to soak up the Florida sunshine, but meeting planners and their guests find the destination has much more to offer these days.

The beaches and boating are enjoyable on the Atlantic Coast and Intracoastal Waterway, but anyone charged with site selection for a convention or event will bask in the glow of spectacular venues and amenities found in a bustling, modern Greater Fort Lauderdale.

The area has 121 venues with meeting and event space and 17,000 hotel rooms—numbers that are growing by the day. Among the largest meeting spaces are the 600,000-sq.-ft. LEED-Gold certified Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center with panoramic water views, and BB&T Center, which seats more than 19,000 arena-style. And did you know a $1 billion expansion of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention Center District is underway? In 2023 this sensational venue will be even bigger and better, with 350,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space; a 65,000 sq. ft. waterfront ballroom; original dining concepts; enhanced Water Taxi access; an 800-room Omni hotel, and a new iconic waterfront plaza.

Other venues provide interesting options, too. In the downtown warehouse and arts district known as Flagler Arts and Technology Village, event spaces ranging from 6,000 to 8,000-sq.-ft offer an artsy vibe for your gathering. The South Beach Wine & Food Festival and FemAle Brew Fest are two events that have taken place here. The African-American Research Library and Cultural Center includes a 300-seat theater among the museum exhibits, books, documents and artifacts of interest there. Water venues can accommodate dinner cruises and sightseeing tours to provide your guests with a memorable South Florida experience.

Throughout Greater Fort Lauderdale, meeting hotels offer a variety of space configurations, a blend of tropical and urban settings and tremendous amenities. Many of the area’s perennial favorite hotels, including W Fort Lauderdale and Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort, have undergone renovations in recent years, with significant investments in amenities, exterior spaces, technology and sustainability—to the tune of more than $900 million collectively.

Several new hotel projects are underway or opening soon. The expansion and all-new "Guitar Hotel" at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood opened October 2019 showcasing 638 new luxury guest rooms and suites and an oasis tower with 168 guest rooms and suites. The casino nearly doubled in size, plus a new poker room. Additional amenities include a newly rebuilt Hard Rock Live entertainment venue, new restaurants, bars and lounges, 120,000 sq. ft. of meeting and convention space, as well as a 41,000 sq. ft. spa.

Two brands combined under one roof as The Dalmar Fort Lauderdale—A Tribute Portfolio Hotel and The Element by Westin opened in December 2018 in downtown Fort Lauderdale. At 24 stories, the full-service hotel has 323 rooms combined and more than 12,000 square feet of meeting space. The property includes an infinity pool, yoga studio, rooftop bar overlooking downtown and an elevated arrival entrance on the 6th floor. A new, 22-story oceanfront Four Seasons property is expected to open on Fort Lauderdale beach in 2020 with 130 guest rooms and 90 residences, two restaurants, a spa, fitness center, children's recreation room, "Beach Butlers" and ballroom and meeting facilities. 

A huge plus for any meeting or event is easy access, and getting to Greater Fort Lauderdale is a breeze! The recently renovated Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport has more than 350 average daily flights, offering non-stop service to more than 85 U.S. cities and more than 62 international destinations in 33 countries. South Florida’s Brightline rail service adds to the transportation mix with stops up and down the coast. Water Taxis allow your guests to enjoy a quick boat ride while easily moving between points along the Intracoastal Waterway.

When the meetings are over, your guests can experience all that Greater Fort Lauderdale has to offer. The Las Olas neighborhood is a popular destination for upscale dining and boutique shopping. Enjoy international cuisine, take a culinary tour or shop at Las Olas Boulevard, which has been called “the Rodeo Drive of Fort Lauderdale.” Some stores here offer discounts for shoppers showing their convention credentials.

Celebrity chef Geoffrey Zakarian’s 2017 opening of Point Royal at The Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood, another recently renovated property, may have garnered the most headlines, but restaurants throughout Greater Fort Lauderdale delight diners with the variety of choices served. From waterfront seafood eateries and Cuban sandwich shops to sophisticated steakhouses, there is something for every palate. 

If your attendees are bringing their families along, they may want to embark on a cruise vacation or hit the beach. Enjoy the sand and surf along the area’s 23 miles of coastline, which includes six communities known for safe, clean and family-friendly beaches: Hollywood, Dania Beach, Deerfield Beach, Pompano Beach, Lauderdale-By-The-Sea and Fort Lauderdale. In fact, the Clean Beaches Council of Washington, D.C., has certified these beach communities since 1999. Plus, there are a myriad of ways to get active in the water. Your guests can go fishing, boating, parasailing, paddleboarding, snorkeling or scuba diving, just to name a few.

Other outdoor adventures beckon guests into the Everglades. Explore this natural wonder where you can observe wildlife and learn about the Seminole Indian culture. Everglades Swamp Tours is one of many companies offering airboat tours and kayak rentals. Butterfly World in Coconut Creek is the world’s largest butterfly park and makes for an enjoyable outing for all ages.

Greater Fort Lauderdale’s evolution from a spring breakers’ paradise to a progressive coastal metropolis is evident in the continued growth and appeal of the city and surrounding communities. From the rise of sustainable design and development to multicultural influences and LGBT+ inclusiveness, Greater Fort Lauderdale is forward thinking in its hospitality, helping all guests to feel welcome here.

Be among the first to reserve your meeting space in our newly expanded Greater Fort Lauderdale | Broward County Convention Center, and it could be free. The Convention & Visitors Bureau is giving away $10 million in meeting space for events booked at the Convention Center during eligible 2021-2024 dates. See if your date qualifies at here.