Alive with fine hotels, great places to eat, and cultural institutions galore, Hollywood is a major contributing factor to Greater Fort Lauderdale’s ever-growing popularity as an international tourism destination. And of course, the 2 mile-plus-long Hollywood Beach, certified as “Blue Wave” by the Clean Beaches Council for its exemplary cleanliness and safety, doesn’t hurt, either.
One of Hollywood’s most distinguishing features is the delightful, beachside Broadwalk (not Boardwalk!). Stretched along a few miles of public beach, the Broadwalk’s 27-foot-wide promenade is lined with charming open-air cafes, restaurants and quaint shops. Joggers, rollerbladers, and cyclists enjoy the workout and the view along the beachfront strip. Weekly concerts, theater productions, and regular events such as Dancing on the Beach also take place on the Broadwalk. One such regular event is Friday Fest, which is held every other Friday. The free, biweekly musical celebration features live jazz, blues, and pop music for all to enjoy.
Year-round, Hollywood’s calendar of events is packed with festivals, concerts and markets that proudly display the city’s culture and ethnic diversity.
• In February Fat Tuesday on Hollywood Beach brings a little bit of New Orleans home with its annual Mardi Gras celebration. Cajun music, a revelers parade led by a traditional Louisiana brass band, and Crescent City cuisine prepared by local residents make the day a blast for all.
• Hollywood and South Florida as a whole are home to people from every Hispanic country in April when Downtown Hollywood celebrates this ethnic diversity with Hispanic Fest through music, food and fun. Two stages are set up for live entertainment, and the festival site is lined with all kinds of delicious Hispanic cuisine.
• Another well-represented ethnic group in the city of Hollywood are those of African-Caribbean descent and in April this culture is celebrated with Kuumba on the Beach – a marketplace on the beach, complete with a food village and educational children’s activity area.
Art & Galleries
Further contributing to Hollywood’s charm is its wealth of cultural institutions. Downtown Hollywood especially is known for its selection of dynamic art galleries. These include larger venues like the Hollywood Art Museum, smaller ones like the Airbrush Art Gallery, and specialized galleries like Ann’s Nautical Art Gallery.
Hollywood is also home to venues that are dedicated to more contemporary forms of art, such as ArtsPark and The Reel Hollywood Entertainment Museum. The Art and Culture Center of Hollywood and the City of Hollywood have teamed to create ArtsPark which includes new gardens, promenades, fountains, multi-purpose studios for martial arts and dance classes, art gallery, storytelling and puppetry area, theater, art classrooms and an ampitheater with covered and lawn seating.
The Greater Fort Lauderdale area is a popular location for film and television production. At the 50,000 square foot Reel Hollywood Entertainment Museum located at the Ocean Mall Complex at Hollywood Beach visitors can explore the history and technology of the film and television industry through rotating exhibitions, interactive displays, famous movie and television sets and live tapings.
Visitors to Hollywood also have their pick of places to stay. The largest – and most impressive – of Hollywood’s fine array of hotels is the Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa. A towering beachfront hotel with 1,000 guest rooms, the four-star property features two outdoor pools, championship golf, a tennis center and a full service spa. The Westin Diplomat also features seven eateries, including the esteemed Hollywood Prime steakhouse.