You have probably landed on this blog because you are a local Floridian who wants to explore the southeastern coast of Florida beyond the glitz of Miami. Or you are someone like me who loves to visit new cities and towns to find hidden gems and partake in local experiences. In either case, you will be elated to read this guide and learn how to spend a budget-friendly and fun day at Hollywood in Florida (not California).

Located between Fort Lauderdale and Miami, Hollywood is an up-and-coming nexus of art, culture, entertainment, and natural beauty. This contemporary city touts white sand beaches and creative spaces perfect for a chill day of exploration.

There are two main areas - the Beach and the Downtown. I suggest you visit the attractions in the order I have listed below but feel free to mix it up to accommodate your schedule.

Hollywood Beach

The Beach

Hit the beach first thing in the day or later in the evening to avoid the high Floridan temperatures. On a perfectly sunny day, the magical blue water will call you to swim in it. Play volleyball at the court or simply tan yourself reading a book.

Beach rentals such as chairs and umbrellas can get as expensive as $20 a day. For a more quiet time, put your umbrellas at the southern side of the beach strip.

The Broadwalk

Yep, you read it right. It’s Broadwalk and not the boardwalk. That’s because it is a one of a kind promenade paved with bricks as opposed to wood. The Broadwalk imparts a lovely vacation vibe with palm trees on one side and an array of shops, hotels, and restaurants on the other.

After all the beach fun, tour the Broadwalk for any activities, shopping, and eateries you are interested in. If you want to try the most cliched activity of this beach, rent a surrey bike or a three-wheeler and cruise through the Broadwalk.

#TravelSmart Tip

Need some vibrant shots for the gram? Use the colorful hotels and houses on the Surf Road as a backdrop, next street from the Broadwalk.

Charnow Park

If it has gotten too hot, Charnow Park at the center of the Broadwalk provides some shaded areas that you can sit and relax under. A fountain centers the park where you'll find several kids playing in the water.

You can also watch some locals play handball in the courts adjacent to the restrooms that lead from the park.

Taco Spot

While there are a variety of food joints along the boardwalk to eat at, if you're looking for something cozy and cheap at the same time, go to The Taco Spot. They serve Tex-Mex dishes at very low prices, and their combos give the best bang for the buck.

An exotic Tiki themed decor with a view of the palm trees and white sand in front of you while some upbeat music is playing in the background - it's a tropical experience to enjoy. Top that up with their signature cocktails, namely Pineapple Pina and Cocoloco served in a pineapple and a coconut, respectively.

Hollywood Beach Theater

In case you plan to hang out till sunset at the beach, check out the schedule for live music entertainment at the open-air outdoor Hollywood Beach Theater. Local artists perform in front of a mural backdrop on the stage between 7 pm and 9 pm from Wednesday to Sunday.

Dance and sing along in this great ambiance while enjoying your drinks. There is an open cup policy in the area around the theater. The performances are arranged by the nearby Margaritaville Resort.

#TravelSmart Tips

  1. Public parking in this most visited part of the city is $4 an hour, but some private properties offer cheap parking for $10-15 for a full day. You’ll be able to find them in advance on SpotHero.
  2. If you forget or do not find it, look out for someone holding a ‘Park Full Day for $10’ placard along the Surf Road. These spots provide an added advantage to drive your car in and out throughout the day, so it turns out to be very flexible if you plan to explore around by car and return later.

Downtown Hollywood

#TravelSmart Tips

  1. Use this brochure to find free parking in the downtown district.
  2. A $1 per ride trolley runs between the beach and the downtown. Check out this brochure for stops and timings.

ArtsPark at Young Circle

Depending on the day of your visit, you’ll find different things to do at this urban park. Visit the Arts Pavillion for a glimpse into the visual and performing arts culture of this city through classes and displays.

Every Monday evening, many from Hollywood and the nearby cities engage in a grand feast as over 25 food trucks line up and serve a variety of food. Friday nights are fun movie nights at this park.

Various festivals and concerts take place now and then at the large amphitheater that has a capacity of 2500 guests. Check out their website for up to date information on activities to participate in.

Even if you don't find any events, take a stroll at this modern green park while calm breezes are flowing through it - it is indeed rejuvenating.

You can also choose to extend the art day by paying a visit to the Art and Culture Center across the street. Costs are $7 for adults, $4 for students and free on the 3rd Sunday of every month.

Glass Blowing

Hollywood and some nearby cities have a long history of innovative glass blowing. It is a technique to create fascinating artifacts by blowing air through a tube of molten glass.

You can see several impressive pieces at the Wiener museum in Dania Beach, but I'll suggest a much better immersive experience to get the hang of this culture.

Hollywood Hot Glass in Arts Park hosts walk-in glass blowing workshops every day. They engage the attendees and help them create a glass item. The cost of a session to make a small or large item is steep, $50 and $100 respectively. A Groupon can bring it down to $40 and $80 respectively.

#TravelSmart Tip

I don’t suggest paying so much. All of the walk-in workshops are free to watch. I noticed that the instructors do most of the challenging parts of the glass blowing work for safety reasons, of course. Watching the instructors teach others is equally informational and free, so why not begin with that. Then, if you feel inspired to get a first-hand experience, you can sign up for the workshop. Note that they charge a $5 fee for an advance reservation over the phone.

Downtown Hollywood Mural Project

West of the Young Circle lies the artsy and charming Hollywood Blvd lined up with upscale restaurants and nightclubs. If you're a sucker for wall art, you’ll appreciate the art deco walls painted under the Downtown Hollywood Mural Project. Use this map for the locations of the murals.

Seminole Hard Rock Casino

If you haven't experienced one of the nine Hard Rock Casinos in the USA, check it out in Hollywood. It may not be comparable to the Vegas or Atlantic City experience, but it is a great place to unwind at the end of the day.

Some of you may be disappointed by the lack of any real Roulette and Craps tables, but the video tables might just be enough for the others. Cards players have the options of Poker and Blackjack.

You may want to keep your budget spree on and not try your luck. In that case, walk around appreciating the walls decorated with music-related exhibits and quotes from famous artists. Or head to the Hard Rock Cafe for food.

Well, I hope this itinerary helped you plan a super fun day in Hollywood. Don't shy away from sharing your experience and any new insights beyond what I have shared here. Happy Exploring!