Welcome to Hollywood, Florida, an undiscovered jewel nestled between Miami to the south and Ft. Lauderdale to the north. If you want beaches, great shops and restaurants, and plenty of diversity for less than what you’ll pay at the larger cities, Hollywood is the place: http://www.hollywoodfl.org/ The true center of downtown Hollywood is the Art Park at Young Circle. Here we found gardens, fountains, reflecting pools, an amphitheatre, and sculptures. It’s a serene oasis in the middle of the city hustle: http://www.artsparkatyoungcircle.org/ Surrounding Young Circle are many wonderful restaurants and shops. Hungry and in the mood for … A true culinary delight is Mama Mia’s, a neighborhood Italian restaurant on Young Circle. If it’s Spanish you’re craving, La Barraca will hit the spot: http://www.labarracatapas.com/ There is live entertainment on weekends, and we enjoyed it very much! Greek? Taverna Yiamas. American classic? The Rainbow Café. Wine and appetizers? Hollywood Vine: http://hvine.com/ A cold beer or a shot of Scotch? Kelly’s, which has a great history. Chinese, Thai, Cuban? They’re all there. For nightlife, try Sushi Blues Café and Blue Monk Lounge: http://www.sushibluescafe.com/ or Harrison Wine Bar!: http://www.southflorida.com/nightlife/24315,0,3480844.venue
Clothing boutiques, new age stores, a pet store, art galleries, a yoga studio, arts and crafts, are all there waiting to be discovered in Hollywood.
A perfect place to set up base is the Ramada Inn on Harrison Street, in the hub of the city. We could walk to almost anywhere from there: http://www.ramada.com/Ramada/control/Booking/property_info?propertyId=10223
A short drive from downtown, also accessible by bicycle, is Hollywood Beach, a unique blend of historic and modern. For those with an active lifestyle, there is the beach, rental bikes, rollerblading, pedal cars, parasailing, and wave runners. For those inclined to a more laid back lifestyle, we found great places to shop, snack, and have a cold drink while you people watch and enjoy the beautiful ocean views.
Just a short drive west is a Hollywood landmark, Ricky’s Bar and Grill, since 1955. Ricky’s is renowned for their chicken wings, but also feature a full menu ranging from steaks to lobster to sandwiches. The staff is friendly and helpful. The bartenders, Doug (also the manager), Hooter, and Troy, are especially professional and helpful. We always enjoy eating at Ricky’s: http://rickeysrestaurant.net/ If you’re in the western area, and you want a good Mexican or Cuban meal, try Guacamole’s. The fajitas and shredded beef are delicious! When we were there on Saturday night, there was live entertainment, which we thoroughly enjoyed.
If you want to take a drive out west to Pembroke Pines, a suburb of Hollywood, you’ll find a vibrant up and coming community loaded with shops and restaurants. http://www.ppines.com/ It’s about a 30 minute drive. We particularly enjoyed The Pub, in the Pembroke Pines Mall on Pines Blvd. It’s an authentic Irish Pub serving a wide variety of British fare. The flaming Manhattan is a specialty. We love it! http://www.luvthepub.com/pub_pemb_gi.html
Elsewhere in the mall, you will find many high end specialty shops such as Coldwater Creek, Bath and Body Works, Victoria’s Secret, DKNY, and many, many more: http://pembrokegardens.com/
A stay in Hollywood, with a side trip to Pembroke Pines, is a fun couple’s getaway, family vacation, or friend’s weekend.