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Historical

Top Rated Attractions in Fort Lauderdale

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Bonnet House Museum & Gardens

Dating back to 1921, this historic two-story, 35.4 acres (14.16 hectare) waterfront house was once the winter home of artist Frederic Clay Bartlett and his wife Evelyn. The Bonnet House is serenely elegant and preserved amidst the urban expansion of Fort Lauderdale Beach, which is what makes the land so special. Mrs. Bartlett, who died in 1997, gave the estate to the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation in 1983 to keep the property unchanged. Several concerts and events are held here throughout the year, and the house is available for private events such as weddings. Named for a waterlily that once inhabited the property, the Bonnet House is open year-round for guided tours.

Las Olas Boulevard

On the chic Las Olas Boulevard in the heart of Fort Lauderdale, you'll encounter boutiques, narrow alleyways, brick walkways, tiny white lights twinkling in windows and dozens of trendy restaurants. Among the shopping and dining options, you might come across homemade ice cream at a dessert cafe or a live jazz bar that is always packed. Clothing boutiques, gift shops, hair salons and art galleries round out the list. The wide variety of shops and services available ensures you’ll be able to find exactly what you need.

Historic Stranahan House Museum

Dating back to 1901 and built by the “Father of Fort Lauderdale,” Stranahan House is also referred to as the Pioneer House. In 1984, this mansion was opened for public viewing as a house museum and almost 10,000 tourists visit this landmark annually. Now a historic riverside museum, the elegantly restored house contains antiques, turn-of-the-century furnishings and old photographs of the area. It is also an example of classic Florida Frontier architecture. The house has previously been used as a post office, town hall and general store. The events hosted here includes tours, the Pineapple Jam, the Peter Pan Pirate Party and more. This lovely museum can also be hired for private events and special celebrations.

Fort Lauderdale History Center

The Fort Lauderdale History Center is run by the Fort Lauderdale Historical Society and is a historic museum complex that comprises of three well preserved 19th-century buildings. The 1905 New River Inn is the main history museum with period artifacts, dioramas and photos. The 1907 King-Cromartie House gives visitors a glimpse of an early 20th-century home. The center offers programs for children which include hands-on re-enactments, schoolhouse classes, guided tours of exhibits in the museum of history, guided walking tours of the grounds and lectures throughout the year.

The Ancient Spanish Monastery

Spanish Monastery was originally constructed in 1141 in Segovia, Spain and brought to America in pieces by William Randolph Hearst to be rebuilt stone by stone. It is the oldest building in the western hemisphere. Now officially named the Ancient Monastery St. Bernard de Clairvaux, the building serves as an historical landmark, an Episcopal church with 200 active members and a tourist attraction. The building is available for weddings, receptions and parties.

MDC Museum of Art + Design at Freedom Tower

This landmark building located in the center of Miami is especially important to Cuban residents. During the 1960s, it was the processing center for nearly half a million Cuban refugees. Designed by George A Fuller, Schultze, & Weaver the Freedom Tower was established in 1925. Prior to its stint as a Cuban refugee center, the Freedom Tower housed the Miami News. The Freedom Tower is home to MDC Museum of Art + Design. Visitors to the landmark can peruse beautiful artworks exhibited at the museum.

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