There are two sides to the city of Hollywood, founded by visionary planner Joseph Young in 1921: the 35-acre beachside Broadwalk Historic District with its Mediterranean Revival and Art Moderne-style architecture mixed with quaint cafes, restaurants, small lodgings and resorts; and the sophisticated Historic Downtown Hollywood, an urban village setting packed with an eclectic array of cafes, galleries, boutiques and other businesses. This fusion of Old Florida style and modern charm creates a scenic backdrop for around-the-clock adventures, only 10 minutes south of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport.
The city's trolley service links the area's historic beachfront and promenade and the historic downtown with a guided tour for only $1. Tour guides on board point out significant sights along the route, day or night, including the home of Joseph Young and the Historic Hammerstein House, located in the historic Hollywood Lakes residential area between the beach and downtown.
Hollywood By Day
1. Take a bicycle tour. HT4 Kewl Tours offers The Hollywood Trails: Historic and Eco-Adventure Kewl Bicycle Tours, featuring four routes that depart from the Broadwalk district (at Sun & Fun Cycles) and range from five to 27 miles. The Historic Architecture trip includes the 1925 Mediterranean Revival home of the city's founder; the City of the Arts tour visits the Art and Culture Center of Hollywood and several local galleries; two eco-tours cruise to the mangrove-filled wetlands of Anne Kolb Nature Center.
2. Discover ArtsPark. Located at Young Circle in downtown Hollywood, this 10-acre arts and entertainment park contains a children's play area, a plaza that hosts special events, tables with game boards embedded in their tops; a lush, shady lawn; the Visual Arts Pavilion where resident artisans hone their crafts; and "Millennium Springs," a water sculpture created by artist Ritsuko Taho with movements dictated from the energy patterns of a nearby baobab tree.
3. Satisfy your taste for excitement in Historic Downtown. Characterized by quaint sidewalk cafes, brick-lined walks and six blocks of unique boutiques, shops, art galleries and dozens of excellent restaurants along Hollywood Boulevard and Harrison Street, the pedestrian-friendly environment is the perfect place to enjoy South Florida. Just minutes from the beach, the downtown district is on the National Register of Historic Places and is the backdrop for year-round festivals, street markets and entertainment.
4. Think healthy. Hollywood Beach's brick-lined pedestrian promenade bustles with joggers and skaters, and its six miles of sands create a soothing natural spot for yoga or Tai Chi. Post workout, head to Josh's Organic Garden on the Broadwalk, which sells fresh-from-the-tree fruit smoothies.
5. Experience cultural immersion. The city hosts special events throughout the year that celebrate Hollywood's culture, heritage and architecture. The annual Vintage South Florida festival at ArtsPark (just a $1 trolley ride from the Broadwalk district) features an antiques and collectibles market, dancing, art, live music and historic tours in March. The annual Hollywood Historical Society home tour, also in March, gives visitors a chance to take a walking tour of the historic Lakes district. Every first Sunday from September to May, Historic Hammerstein House tours showcase what prominent Hollywood architect Bayard Lukens called "Tropical Modern" architecture (also located in the Hollywood Lakes area). If art is what you're looking for, find one-of-a-kind crafts at the Seaside Craft Fair on the Broadwalk in January and enjoy the Downtown Hollywood ArtWalk, every third Saturday.
Hollywood by Night
1. Enjoy open-air dining. With the Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Intracoastal Waterway to the west, Hollywood Beach is an oasis for outdoor, waterfront dining. Downtown, sidewalk cafes are nestled among trendy shops and galleries, perfect for people watching.
2. Listen to live music. The Broadwalk Friday Fest brings free cultural arts performances, ranging from Afro-Cuban concerts to blues bands, to the 500-seat, open-air Hollywood Beach Theatre every second and fourth Friday of the month. Downtown's ArtsPark at Young Circle presents free blues concerts on Thursdays and jazz on Sundays each week.
3. Stroll into the sunset. USA Today named Hollywood Beach's 2.5-mile seaside walkway one of the top 10 nostalgic promenades in the country, making it the postcard-perfect spot to catch the final light of day.
4. Dance in the moonlight. The stage is set for romance every Monday through Wednesday evening with the Dancing Under the Stars series at the Hollywood Beach Theatre, located on the Broadwalk just steps from the sand. Music ranges from R&B to rock and easy listening.
5. Get a good night's sleep. The visithollywoodfl.org web site features a "Hot Deals" section for area hotels that not only offers reduced winter rates but also special discounts for Florida residents – options include everything from large beach resorts to Superior Small Lodgings with less than 50 rooms.
To plan your own beach getaway to Hollywood, call 877-672-2468 or visit www.visithollywoodfl.org. Check out www.visithollywoodfl.org/accommodations.aspx for more information on accommodations.