Founded as one man’s idea of a ‘dream city,’ Hollywood, Florida is pretty magical. It’s hard to find something not to love. You can find your niche here whether you’re a nature-lover, beach-goer, foodie or exercise feign. In this itinerary, we try to be them all. Welcome to Hollywood, the city where dreams come true. And it’s only a 30 minute drive.
9 a.m. / Drive to Hollywood
If you can, take A1A North to Hollywood and enjoy the beautiful drive and scenes as you move from one beach town to the next. Hopefully the sun is shining, the waves are crashing, and you get some clear views of the avenue even Vanilla Ice chose to sing about.
10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. / Hollywood Trails HT2: Eco-Mangroves
Cost: $45 – Save $5 by bringing your own bike! This is recommended.
As soon as you pull onto Hayes Street you quickly realize you have entered an enchanted little town. Named one of America’s Top 10 nostalgic promenades by USA Today, the Hollywood Beach Broadwalk (not a typo) provides the perfect mix of Main Street and Beach Town, making it downright charming. It’s a perfect place for biking, especially since you get a full, up-right view of all this oceanfront property has to offer.
Hollywood Trails: Eco-Adventure KEWL Bicycle Tours has four bike tours to choose from, and you can decide to pay for a long (13 miles) or short (7 miles) trip. Your bike guide will meet you in front of Sun & Fun Cycles. We took the HT2: Eco Mangroves Tour (short) in which we embarked on a 2.5 hour tour which included a short ride on the Broadwalk with stops (including a viewing tower and stories about sea turtles and the founder of Hollywood, Joseph Young) followed by a trip across the intercoastal and through the magnificent Anne Kolb Nature Conservatory and historic Dania Pier. The nature conservatory is 1,600 acres of beautiful vegetation and calm waterways. Not to be missed! The tour guide will also lead you to a stop for refreshments (hopefully at Dania Beach Grill, where I highly recommend the lemonade ($3). You end where you started – on the Broadwalk – and conclude the ride having truly seen Joseph’s vision of a ‘Dream City in Florida’ come true.
(Try to be 15 minutes early for your tour to sign paperwork. The tour leaves from Hayes Street and the Hollywood Beach Broadwalk. Directions: exit on Hollywood Blvd heading East. After the bridge – at the intercoastal – head North (turn left) to Hayes St. Landmark: look for the traffic light at Johnston St. Hayes St. is 4 blocks North of Johnston St. The guide will meet you at the sitting area next to Sun & Fun Cycles.)
1 – 2:30 p.m. / Lunch at Le Tub Saloon
1100 North Ocean Drive, Hollywood
A five-block drive from Hayes Street and the Broadwalk, Le Tub Saloon is the perfect place to lunch. Just be alert: covered by shrubs, you can easily drive right past it. I would say it is worth the stop just for convenience, but there is so much more to this off-the-wall bar and restaurant. With its décor, it’s worth a stop just to look around. But, to top it off, it even has great food! Their burgers were featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show and were deemed the No. 1 Burger in the Nation by GQ magazine in 2006. Since it’s inception, it’s been a venue where the locals lurk. But I guess now they’re willing to share it; and you should take total advantage of that.
2:30 – 4 p.m. / Beach
While you are here, enjoy Hollywood’s famous coastline and catch some of those rays that Florida is known for on the white sandy beach. You know how to do it. Sit back, relax and soak.
4 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. / Downtown Shopping
When it’s time to find air conditioning, drive over the intercoastal and into downtown Hollywood. The historic downtown is much like Miracle Mile in Coral Gables, but a little more quaint. Walk around and find the nearest ice cream shop for a cool-down. I recommend Kilwins ($5 and the cookies and cream ice cream is a personal favorite). This historic district still functions as Main Street for Hollywood residents. Stroll with your ice cream, and you begin to feel like you’re in another era. (Like I said, this place is magical.)
6 p.m. / Drinks at Vino
1910 Harrison Street, Hollywood
Some may say that ice cream and wine don’t mix; but I say, ‘Let them eat cake.’ After devouring your favorite chill, walk over to Vino and enjoy a refreshing glass of your favorite, well, vino. You will feel like you’ve walked into a Prohibition-era bar, except that they have a state-of-the-art Enomatic Wine Serving System, which is so 21st century. They have over 60 vintage wines for you to choose from. Decisions, decisions. After making your choice(s), may I suggest a toast to Joesph W. Young and his ‘dream city’? And cheers to another wonderful day in the neighborhood.