Long known as the destination for college students on spring break, Fort Lauderdale is finally growing up. Less raucous and more refined, you'll find trendy cafes serving up signature cocktails rather than tequila shots. (But this city still has its fair share of crowds, as it's home to Port Everglades, one of the largest - and busiest - cruise ship ports in the world.)
Aside from the gorgeous sandy beaches, Las Olas Boulevard is the prime people-watching part of the city. Here you have your choice of outdoor dining and retail therapy. But for more of a laid-back, local vibe, head to neighborhoods such as Lauderdale by the Sea (close to the beach with affordable hotels and restaurants) or Wilton Manors (think coffee shops - especially The Alchemist - and quirky markets). Even the busy downtown area is known for its arts district, breezy cafes, and great boutiques.
And naturally, tourism is one of the city's main revenue sources. But aside from that, it also has a widely diverse economy - top employers include Citrix Systems, Spirit Airlines, Gulfstream International Airlines, DHL Express, and the National Beverage Corporation. It's also a major hub for yacht manufacturing and maintenance, and the annual Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show is the largest of its kind in the world.
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