Summer of Black Joy: South Florida Edition


In the face of the turmoil that is our current social climate, self-care is essential. For some of us taking care of ourselves can mean bubble baths, massages, or journaling. For others that can mean boarding a flight and escaping, if only for a little while. While I am pro-excursions (especially in times like these) I know that no matter where we go we can’t escape our bank accounts. So here’s a list of fun and affordable things to do, places to visit, and food to eat if you’re in the Ft. Lauderdale/Miami area. Take care of yourselves fly girls!

Tip: Unlike “Up North” where states have reliable and speedy public transportation, we don’t. You should save yourself the hassle and rent a car. This will be especially useful if you plan on traveling between Ft. Lauderdale and Miami a lot (which you should).




If you’re in the mood for an affordable gourmet burger, with exceptional customer service, eat here. They have awesome carnival inspired treats, like funnel cakes, fried oreos, and now fried mac 'n' cheese. Tip: There’s very limited seating so you may have to grab your burger and go. Get ready beforehand, here's the menu.


Yardbird has maintained a certain level of notoriety in Miami’s soul food category, however a contender is the less pricey Fingalickin. Also, because he owns the place it’s very likely that you’ll get to share lemon pepper wings with DJ Khaled. A girl can dream right? Look up some of their fingalickin menu before heading over.

            Jaxon’s Ice Cream

This place is a childhood favorite. I had my twelfth birthday party here, so I am biased and unapologetic. Jaxon’s is a must if you end up going to Dania Beach. Grab a cone, stick your face through the cardboard cut outs, and take a spin on the electronic carousel. You will only regret not doing these things. Here's the menu.

Sloan’s Ice Cream

If instead you decide to go to the Ft. Lauderdale beach, cool off with a cone from Sloan’s. It’s a lovely 50's style ice cream parlor with awesome decor and amazing sweets. Check it out: menu.

            Mr. M’s

This sandwich shop has been in the same location since my mom was a child, and with their fresh ingredients, I can’t imagine them ever closing. Tip: Pack your sandwich up and take it with you to Dania Beach. Here's the menu.


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Social Xchange

This group throws rooftop parties regularly in Miami for Black millennials. Check their Instagram for dates and ticket links. Tip: You’ll probably need a ticket which is usually less than $15. Check out the site here.

        Art Central Miami

This inexpensive art scene centers Black artists in a way that no one else is down here. Like Social Xchange they host events regularly and usually in the Miami area. Tip: Tickets are usually required but they are usually less than $10. Visit their official IG here.

Au Naturel

This group hosts events targeting young Black women. There’s a high chance that if you attend an event you’ll leave with a new friend and a sample size packet of detangling cream. Who could ask for more?! Visit their official IG here.


Shoppers walk amongst vendor booths at the Swap Shop flea market and drive-in movie theater in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S. on Tuesday, June 16, 2015. The next consumer confidence reports are expected to be released on June 26, 2015. Photographer : Luke Sharrett / Bloomberg

The Swap Shop

This place is a Ft. Lauderdale staple. Vendors here sell everything from fresh fruit and leather jackets to jewelry. This huge flea market boasts an expansive arcade, year-round fair rides, and at night, the drive-in theater is open! Tip: Parking is usually free but bring cash because most of the vendors won’t know what an e-card reader is. And try the roasted corn. You have to try the roasted corn. I had to say it again for impact. Check out the site here.

            Wilton Manors

Wilton Manors is a predominantly gay area in Ft. Lauderdale that’s filled with lively bars and one of the most interactive drag shows at the restaurant, Lips. I recommend skipping the food, grabbing a drink, and raining singles down on the very talented celebrity impersonators. Check out the site here.

            Little Haiti

Just 10 minutes from the Wynwood neighborhood, is Little Haiti--A vibrant (not yet-gentrified) community, and an often overlooked gem. Check out the Cultural Center’s calendar to see what beautiful performances you can catch. Right across the street is a lovely museum of Haitian history. Check out the site here.

            African-American Research Library & Cultural Center

Housed in Ft. Lauderdale, this space is open to the public. There are always themed exhibitions and Black art that are totally free to view. Other events although not free, are usually inexpensive (under $20). Fun Fact: There’s a life-like robot on the first floor. Check out the site here.

            Yeleen Art Gallery

  This expansive gallery is in Miami, in the Little Haiti area. The gallery’s curator consistently chooses pieces that speak to the diverse experiences of the African diaspora. Check out the site here.

Wynwood Miami

All of those cool murals people who visit Miami are standing in front of are probably one of Wynwood’s Walls. Wynwood houses tons of galleries and restaurants and, at night, vendors come out. I once bought an original Dreamgirls soundtrack for $6, so it’s serious. Tip: The second Saturday of every month is the ArtWalk, and there are tons of people, vendors and food trucks. It’s free to get into, there are ususally multiple stages and diverse music playing concurrently. I once saw a fashion show in one area, a vendor selling Frida Kahlo panties in another, and some people twerking to rock. Wear comfortable shoes. Check out the site here.

Choosing the right beach is important and often overlooked by tourists in particular. These are brief descriptions of what you can expect from each of them because you can't come to Florida and not visit the beach.


The infamous South Beach is best for seeing interesting and people is swarms. Dania Beach is more family friendly and Ft. Lauderdale is a great "in-between". Choose the one that most suits you.

This should cover it. Whether you're a local or you're visiting from other place, America, use this list as your summer guide. Thank me later!

Ashely TisdaleAshely Tisdale is a recent graduate of Florida A&M University. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in English, and is currently in the process of pursuing a PhD. She is a big sister, dreamer, prayer, girlfriend, and underemployed window shopping enthusiast. She thinks "Black Girls Are Fly because history has simultaneously deemed us un-credited trendsetters and undesirable. Despite these consistent inconsistencies, we celebrate ourselves." Find her: