Fort Lauderdale Slang

Fort Lauderdale Slang

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Located in Broward County on South Florida's east coast, Ft. Lauderdale, like many cities, has a language its own. Here's a brief guide to some of the top Fort Lauderdale slang terms, nicknames and endearing expressions.

Which Lauderdale do you mean?
While outsiders will call Ft. Lauderdale by its proper name, locals simply call it Lauderdale. And while this can be confusing to visitors because of its closeness to other cities with a similar name, such as Lauderdale-by-the-Sea and Lauderdale Lakes, area residents know that Lauderdale means Ft. Lauderdale.

In the local language, Fort Lauderdale is also known as Fort Liquordale. This name gained popularity when the city suddenly became "Spring Break Central" for college students after the movie "Where the Boys Are" was filmed there in 1960. It's also affectionately called that because of the more than 4,000 bars, restaurants and nightclubs that permeate the popular tourist spots and are scattered throughout the city and surrounding areas.

Federal and what?
Another time when names can be confusing is when you're told that some place is located just on or off of Federal. This refers to North or South Federal Highway, which is a major roadway that stretches north to south through the city. Also known as Route 1 or U.S. Highway 1, North Federal Highway runs north of Broward Boulevard in downtown Ft. Lauderdale and South Federal Highway runs south of Broward Boulevard. However, once the road crosses the Lauderdale boundaries, determining whether it's North or South Federal Highway becomes a bit trickier to determine. In fact, outside of Broward County, Federal might be called something totally different. So when looking for an address on Federal, ask about its location in reference to major crossroads to avoid spending hours searching for your destination.

Snowbirds: When does the season start? When does the season end?
In the world of Fort Lauderdale slang, snowbirds are not to be confused with tourists who visit Lauderdale for brief periods. Snowbirds migrate down from the north each fall and stay until spring, with many owning second homes in the area, living in resident hotels or renting apartments for the season. While stores and restaurants hail their arrival and the influx of cash they bring, year-round Lauderdale residents often look upon the snowbirds' descent with dread and their departure at the end of the season with glee.

When is "the Flea Market "not a flea market?
When most people hear the term "flea market," they usually think of a place where locals buy and sell used merchandise. However, in the lingo of Fort Lauderdale, the Flea Market actually refers to the Festival Flea Market Mall in nearby Pompano Beach. Because the site is home to 500 booths of new merchandise including clothing, accessories, beauty supplies, electronics, home decor and more, the owners tried to rename it The Festival Marketplace to give it a more upscale image. But, sticking with their lingo, Fort Lauderdale locals continued to call it the Flea Market, so the shopping center returned it to its better-known name.

Festival Flea Market
2900 W Sample Rd
Pompano Beach, Florida 33073
(954) 979-4555
Open Mon-Fri 9:30AM to 5PM; Sat-Sun 9:30AM to 6PM.

The Spaghetti Bowl has nothing to do with pasta.
If you're traveling south to Miami along I-95 from Lauderdale, you'll find yourself having to navigate what locals call the "Spaghetti Bowl." Properly known as the Golden Glades Interchange, it's where I-95 converges with State Road 826 (aka the Palmetto Expressway), the Florida Turnpike (aka the Ronald Regan Turnpike), State Road 7 and U.S. 441. Ultimately, all the twisting and turning resembles a large bowl of roadway spaghetti.

"The Strip" isn't only in Las Vegas.

While Las Vegas Boulevard is commonly known as "The Strip" in Sin City, Ft. Lauderdale also has an area known as "The Strip" in the local language. Many Fort Lauderdale hotels, public beach parking lots, indoor and outdoor restaurants, bars and souvenir shops can be found on this section of beach property. It runs along A1A, goes roughly from Las Olas Boulevard north to Sunrise Boulevard and is home to the city's largest area of public beaches.

A chickee hut isn't where chickens are kept.
A form of Seminole and Miccosukee Indian architecture used from the Second Seminole War, chickee huts are outdoor structures and a common part of local architectural lingo. Fort Lauderdale homes now have these huts as open-sided patio and pool coverings. They're generally supported by four or more bamboo, cypress, or other sturdy posts and are covered with a pitched thatched roof made from dried palm fronds. You'll also find chickees as outdoor coverings for bars and restaurants around Lauderdale. They're remarkably strong and durable and most require only minimal maintenance even after hurricanes.

Just because you live in Florida doesn't mean you have a Florida room.
This slang term refers to what is otherwise known as a sunroom. Generally surrounded by glass windows or doors on at least three sides, Florida rooms in Lauderdale are usually attached or semi-attached rooms that allow you to enjoy the view while being sheltered from the elements. While Florida rooms are often air-conditioned, during the cooler months you can enjoy the weather through the cross-ventilation of open screened windows.

When you're crossing the Alley from Ft. Lauderdale, you're not going between two buildings.
To quickly get between Florida's east and west coasts from Ft. Lauderdale, you have to cross "The Alley". Also known as Alligator Alley, I-75, State Road 93 or the Everglades Parkway, the Alley cuts through the Florida Everglades on an 85-mile, four-lane highway. This thoroughfare allows you to watch the sun rise over the Atlantic Ocean on a Lauderdale beach and then watch the sun set over the Gulf of Mexico on the same day.

You can't get there from here without a SunPass.

A SunPass is an electronic prepaid toll device that you attach to the windshield of your vehicle for use on the area's toll roads. The SunPass makes it possible to go through many toll booths without even having to slow down, much less stop and dig around for change to pay the toll. On some exits of the Turnpike or Sawgrass (aka the Sawgrass Expressway or State Road 869) you can't exit the road without having a SunPass because there are no other toll collection devices available.
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