One of South Florida’s most charming and unique cities is Hollywood, Florida. Known for its thriving art scene, locals-only vibe and sun-kissed beaches, this quaint area is perfect for those seeking a Florida getaway mixed with high-paced action and opportunities to lay back and enjoy the energetic vibe the city is known for. While I am blessed to call Hollywood home, this Gold Coast area has a lot to offer for visitors, making it the perfect getaway for a weekend or more.
If you live in Miami, Hollywood is between 45 minutes to an hour away on the I-95 corridor between exits 20 and 22, and if you live in Palm Beach it’s located about an hour and 30 minutes away, depending on traffic. Hollywood is conveniently located between Miami and Fort Lauderdale. If you are coming from far away, the city hosts its own international airport, The Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport, making arrivals to the city a breeze.
Where to Stay
East Hollywood is home to the Westin Diplomat Resort and Spa, a stunning property conveniently located right by the ocean. The rooms offer ocean views and are large enough to bring the family. The hotel offers 6 restaurants, an 18-hole championship golf course and a brand-new Heavenly Spa by Westin, featuring massages, facials and nail treatments. If you have kids in tow, treat the children to activities created just for them at Westin Kids Club. The resort also offers tennis lessons and chances for you to charter a fishing boat, ride a jet ski or just relax in a poolside cabana with frozen cocktail. The hotel is located just minutes away from Downtown Hollywood and the Hollywood Broadwalk, where a lot of the nighttime and dining action lies in the city.
In West Hollywood, Vegas–style-action lovers can choose to stay at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. The high-energy hotel offers spacious rooms, a Hard Rock Live where acts such as One Republic and Kelly Clarkson have graced the stage, restaurants, bars, a casino with poker and slot tables and an outdoor shopping court. The hotel also offers an Improv Comedy Club featuring international and local comedians, and a selection of nightlife activities for couples or those coming for a fun weekend with friends. For music lovers, the hotel also offers their “Sound of Your Stay” program, where you can check out a guitar and headphones and jam out in your room, or even download an iTunes playlist that you can take home to remember your trip by.
Hollywood is known for its beaches and its artistic vibe. While there, make sure to visit the Hollywood Broadwalk, a two-and-a-half-mile oceanfront promenade featuring quaint shops, bars and restaurants and a sparkling beach where you can choose to relax for the day. Downtown Hollywood features an array of art galleries including the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood, which offers art classes on weekends. Remember to bring your camera, for the area recently launched a Downtown Hollywood Mural Project with colorful and insightful murals by artists such as Evoca1, Jessy Nite, Tati Suarez, and Michelle Weinberg. Downtown Hollywood also hosts an upbeat Art Walk once a month on the Third Saturday of the month, giving visitors and locals a chance to enjoy a glass of wine while checking out original artworks in the area’s varied galleries. Planning a trip around the art walk is a great idea, for the streets in the city come to life with musicians, artists and the buzz of those seeking a different night out.
Dining and Nightlife
Hollywood offers varied options for foodies. At the Diplomat, Hollywood Prime offers juicy steaks and seafood as well as a fantastic apple martini (you have to sip it to believe it) and extensive wine list. Reservations are strongly suggested, for the spot only offers 14 tables. At the Hard Rock, TATU serves up inventive sushi rolls and cocktails, Tequila Ranch cooks up authentic Mexican with an extensive selection of tequilas, while Council Oak offers a more upscale dining experience serving up steaks from a butcher shop in front of the restaurant. In Downtown Hollywood, dining and nightlife collide at Whiskey Tango, a fun spot filled with live music, an outdoor tiki bar, karaoke nights and some of the best crispy chicken tenders and burgers you'll enjoy while in the area. Restaurants line Hollywood Blvd., such as the homey Orale Mexican Restaurant, where Mexican mariachis in full garb serenade you as you sip on a passion fruit margarita and dine on enchiladas. End the night at PRL Euro Café, a small bar where purchasable art by local artists lines the walls and the craft beers and wine are served perfectly chilled. It's the perfect ending for an energetic and artistic getaway.