Patti Roth, a veteran Broward freelance writer, is the editor of Fort Lauderdale on the Cheap. Patti, who has lived in Florida since her teenage years, was previously a staffer at the Sun-Sentinel for about 14 years. As a freelancer, she’s written for many publications, including The Miami Herald, Florida Travel and Life, New Times, E Environmental Magazine, Dog Fancy, Cat Fancy, US Architecture and

Nov 272014
holiday events

Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale offers a free holiday event.

Musicians, Santa, vendors, sledding on an ice mountain and skating are among the activities and highlights.

The Christmas on Las Olas events are 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. December 2.on Las Olas Boulevard, Southeast Sixth Avenue to Southeast 11th Avenue.


Nov 272014

Savor the weekend without emptying your pockets. These are some of our favorite deals and free things to do during the weekend in South Florida, including events in Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood and Pompano Beach. To keep up with latest news on deals, discounts and free events in South Florida, sign up for the daily Fort Lauderdale on the Cheap newsletter. You can also follow us on Facebook and on Twitter. Here are our top picks for free and cheap weekend fun on the cheap: Free events

Entertainment and activity deals

Dining deals

Also in South Florida


Nov 262014
Gulfstream Symphony of Lights

Holiday lights dance and flash in a lively free display titled Symphony of Lights at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach.

The dazzling synchronized musical exhibit to the tunes of Trans-Siberian Orchestra is hourly 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.  November 28 to December 31. An exception is December 22 for a menorah lighting event.

Gulfstream Park shopping and entertainment plaza is at 501 S. Federal Highway, Deerfield Beach, 954-378-0900



Nov 262014


The free Tow To Go program, a partnership of AAA and Bud Light,  works to keep drunk drivers off the road on holidays.

It’s a good reminder to think before you go out, and designate a driver who’ll stay sober.

Tow To Go, which is offered various holidays in Florida such as Thanksgiving weekend  provides AAA tow trucks — when possible based on the  workload — to transport inebriated drivers and  vehicles to a safe location.  To request a ride, phone 855-2-TOW-2-GO or 855-286-9246

Nov 252014


With a non-perishable food item for a food drive,   Flamingo Gardens in west Broward is offering a discount of 25% on the entry fee.

The offer is valid in November. One discount with each food item.

A narrated tram tour is an extra fee.

The regular prices are $18 for guests age 12 and older, $10 for ages 3 to 11, and free for younger tots.

Flamingo Gardens, 3750 South Flamingo Road, Davie, 954-473-2955

Nov 252014


For extra value with gift purchases, various restaurants offer an enticing reward for doing holiday shopping with them.

In addition to restaurants, sometimes other merchants offer bonus deals.

This is how it works — with an eligible minimum purchase of gift cards during the holiday shopping season, participating restaurants  typically toss in a bonus card.  Usually, the bonus cards feature tight restrictions on when they are eligible to be redeemed.

Different restaurants set different rules and minimum spending requirements for their gift card bonuses. An extra gift card is quite nice when purchasing a gift for someone else — or yourself.

These are an assortment of bonus gift card deals.

Nov 242014
homosassa riverside resort

By Patti Roth

Our travel deals page features  a wide assortment of discounts at hotels and resorts, including South Florida, Orlando and Sarasota.

Some deals feature discounts of 40 percent to 50 percent, or more.

These are a few of the freshest Florida deals.

Browse more travel deals in Florida and around the world are featured in Groupon Getaways and Living Social Escapes and our travel deals page.

Nov 242014

bru kidsVarious restaurants in South Florida offer  family-friendly deals, including free food for kids.

Many free kid’s meal deals require purchase of at least one adult entrée.

With these deals, participation at individual restaurants may vary and restrictions and exceptions may apply.

  • Free kid’s meal with adult entree purchase at participating Bru’s Room restaurants in South Florida 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesdays, many restaurants feature  kid-friendly entertainment
  • Kids eat free Tuesdays at Ikea in Sunrise. The free  meals for youngsters are valued at $2.99. Ikea is at 151 NW 136 Ave., Sunrise, 954-838-9292
  • Duffy’s restaurants in South Florida offer a kids-eat-free deal Wednesdays, with purchase of an adult entrée. Duffy’s restaurants in South Florida include Fort Lauderdale, North Miami Beach, Plantation, Deerfield Beach, Jupiter, Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Boynton Beach, West Palm Beach, North Palm Beach and Coconut Creek.
  • Kids eat free deals are offered at participating Denny’s restaurants, usually 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesdays.
  • Kids eat free Wednesdays at Pizza Loft in Davie, with eligible purchase of an adult meal
  • Some Lime Fresh Mexican  restaurants offer a free kid’s meal with purchase of an adult entrée  5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesdays.  The offer is for kids age 10 and younger. Participating restaurants are 1535 N. Federal Highway, Ft. Lauderdale, 754-200-6631, and 4425 Lyons Road, Coconut Creek, 954-586-2999
Nov 232014
holiday snow person

Entertainment, workshops and a bazaar are among the array of free holiday activities at Broward libraries.

These are some of the events. A few require phoning ahead for reservations or tickets.

Nov 232014
winterfest boat

The dazzling and popular Winterfest Boat Parade  in Fort Lauderdale offers a grandstand seating area, and discount tickets are on sale. Living Social offers tickets to the grandstand area in Birch State Park for $20. The grandstand area, offers amenities before the parade, including music performances, food vendors and activities. The regular price for adult tickets is $25. Tickets for youngsters are $20 and $22 for military personnel and seniors age 65 and older. The parade  is  December 13 at 6:30  p.m. with boats trekking east on the New River in Fort Lauderdale and north along the  Intracoastal Waterway about 12 miles to Lake Santa Barbara in Pompano Beach. Information about the Living Social deal is on the link, discount tickets for grandstand seating at the Winterfest Boat Parade.

Nov 232014
water trolley

For a fresh approach to navigating Fort Lauderdale, hop on a  free water trolley.

The Riverwalk Water Trolley, offered by Downtown Fort Lauderdale Transportation Management Association, Fort Lauderdale government and Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale,  ferries guests to an assortment of stops along the New River.

The trolley runs 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 4 to 11 p.m. and accommodates guests with bicycles.

The ferry pulls up to various access points, including Esplanade Park, Riverfront Plaza, Huizenga Plaza, Smoker Park and Downtowner Saloon. Information about schedules and access points is on the website for the water trolley.





Nov 202014
artspark theater

You can see free family-friendly films outdoors Friday nights in Hollywood. The movies are 8 p.m. most Fridays  at the amphitheater at ArtsPark. ArtsPark is on Hollywood Boulevard at U.S. One, 954-921-3500 Portable seats and blankets are welcome.

Here’s the schedule:

  • December 5: Frozen – PG
  • December 12: Deck the Halls – PG
  • December 19: The Santa Clause – PG
  • December 26: NO MOVIE
  • January 2: The Nut Job – PG
  • January 9: Spy Kids 4 – PG
  • January 16: Pride – PG
  • January 23: NO MOVIE
  • January 30: NO MOVIE
  • February 6: Red Tails – PG-13
  • February 13: Marley & Me – PG
  • February 20: Rio 2 – G
  • February 27: Remember the Titans – PG
  • March 6: The Lion King – G
  • March 13: Babe – G
  • March 20: Apollo 13 – PG
  • March 27: The Rookie – G
Nov 192014
recycle f

Objects and art pieces fashioned from discards and recycled items are showcased in a free exhibit in Hollywood.

Trash 2 Treasure presents Trash 2 Art featuring entries from adults and kids at ArtsPark in Hollywood.

The exhibit is displayed noon to 6 p.m. Mondays to Saturdays to December 6. ArtsPark is at Hollywood Boulevard and US One in Hollywood, 954-921-3500