Dania Beach – Fort Lauderdale, FL

Dania Beach sprawls westward from the Atlantic ocean, and its neighborhoods surround Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport. A 10-minute drive from Fort Lauderdale and a mere half-hour from downtown Miami, this neighborhood allows commuters to live comfortably near South Florida’s activity hubs. The biggest long time claim to fame for Dania Beach would be the gambling complex known as Dania Jai-Alai. Jai-Alai, considered the world’s fastest game, brings players from around the globe to compete here at one of the largest frontons in the country. The facility also provides poker games and betting on numerous races. Dania Beach features a fishing pier that was rebuilt after a hurricane destroyed the previous structure. Quarterdeck restaurant, one of Dania’s finest establishments, shares the parking lot and location of the pier.

Schools in Dania Beach

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Restaurants & Nightlife

Your dining choices in Dania Beach are broad, and there are a number of restaurants whose patrons have been coming back for decades to enjoy nostalgic meals. Grampa's Bakery & Restaurant, for example, combines the tasty treat of scrumptious pastries with home-style cooking and catering. With daily specials that include lobster, Grampa's should be on your list of places to visit. If seafood strikes your fancy, Rustic Inn doesn't disappoint. A half-century of history permeates the atmosphere in this busy environment. Patrons pounding crabs with mallets combine with a cheery ambiance to make Rustic Inn a fun place to congregate with family and friends for a fantastic experience. The fully stocked bar complements savory dishes that include garlic crabs and freshly caught fish such as snapper to mahi-mahi. For over 65 years, Tropical Acres Steakhouse has been pleasing the crowds with first-class food and understated entertainment. The specials often include signature wines from around the world and a tantalizing array of entrees fit for a king. Feast on prime rib, rack of lamb and even frog legs while listening to softly executed live piano. Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino to the west is the primary nightlife options for Dania Beach. Concerts at the Hard Rock are frequent, and the artists vary significantly. Poker and other gambling tournaments are also regular events here. The best restaurants are scattered all over town, although you will find the usual fast-food chains represented along US 1. Most of the live music is at the Hard Rock, where there are numerous bars and restaurants in one location. There are also several smaller bars around town that are patronized more by locals than tourists - and some of these employ local musicians to perform, especially on weekend nights.

History & Culture

Dania Beach was the first city incorporated into Broward County back in the late 19th century. It began as a settlement of Danish immigrants, which gave rise to the name of Dania. At one point, Dania voted to become part of Hollywood; but after the hurricane in 1926, Dania reincorporated itself. Some parts of town decided to stay within Hollywood, which is why Dania now has somewhat ragged city boundaries. The International Game Fishing Association or IGFA has a fishing hall of fame and museum, as well as a unique library of materials pertaining to fishing and its history. The IGFA holds several events throughout the year with free food and educational exhibits – even face-painting for the kids. There are other gatherings and festivals as well, including the Dania Beach Marine Flea Market and arts and crafts festivals held in the parking lot of the Jai-Alai and at nearby Frost Park.

Transportation

Broward County Transit provides bus service on several routes through Dania Beach, and the Tri-Rail Station at Griffin Road will take you to Miami or Fort Lauderdale. There are plenty of transportation options whether you walk, drive or ride a bicycle. Unless you’re at the airport, you’ll need to use a phone or computer to call a taxicab. Uber may be an option, but this service is still catching on in South Florida. There is parking almost everywhere in Dania Beach; parking is usually free, but you may have to pay a fee at the beach or in a few places along Federal Highway, such as near the post office. Interstate 95 may be reached by traveling up Sheridan Street or Stirling Road, and 595 is close by also. Walk alone or with your dog here, safely ride your bicycle or stroll with your baby. Dania Beach has plenty of space for outdoor activities.

Cost

The cost of living may be slightly higher here than in the surrounding city, but the value of having the beach nearby as well as the close proximity of the airport balance it out. For about $5, you can take the Tri-Rail to Miami or Fort Lauderdale, and the Broward County Transit bus fares are reasonable too, with bus passes available for the day, week or month. A one-bedroom apartment costs about $1,226 here. Slightly more than nearby North Central Hollywood, it is still not as much as you’d pay to live in Fort Lauderdale. Grabbing a beer in Dania will likely set you back about $6 on average, but bargain hunting will net you $2 to $3 draft deals, especially on game nights. Gas prices here are almost always right at the national average.

Shopping

Most of the shopping is along Federal Highway but there are also stores along State Road 7 on the west side. The International Game Fish Association shares a parking lot with Bass Pro Shops, and both are near the Tri-Rail station. High-end boutiques may be found in the upscale and popular Hard Rock complex, but if you enjoy hunting for antiques and other unique items, you can do that in the area near Dania Beach Boulevard along US 1. Candlelite Antiques serves as a fine example of Dania Beach’s specialty shops. Vintage collectibles surround you here among the fine antique furniture pieces and light fixtures. There are numerous other similar shops within the downtown area, a four-block segment of town. Not far up the road from the antique stores lies Jimmie’s Chocolates and Café, where the handcrafted candies are so delectable it is hard to make a selection, and fine dining in an attractive bistro atmosphere tops off any shopping trip with a little extra panache. Publix and Winn Dixie both have stores on Dania Beach Boulevard, and Publix also has a store off of Griffin Road west of Interstate 95. The Yellow Green Farmers Market in Hollywood is nearby to the south.

Parks

The biggest park in the Dania Beach area is John U. Lloyd State Park at the beach. Bring your dogs and kids here; they’re welcome. Bicycling, boating, fishing and picnic activities are just some of the fun you can have at this oceanside paradise. It was named for John U. Lloyd, Broward County's attorney for three decades, who championed the preservation of the parcel of land that eventually became this park. Pay the small entrance fee at the gate on your way in.
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