“The Island City” was incorporated in 1947 – not even 2 square miles in size, the nickname comes from the fact that the city is surrounded by forks of the Middle River, offering a variety of ways to enjoy wildlife and the outdoors, like kayaking the seven-mile loop around the community.
Because of the city’s small size, it’s also comfortably compact and walkable, at any hour of the day or night.
According to the 2010 Census, Wilton Manors has a population of just over 12,000 people, and with approx. 14% of its population identifying itself as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender (LGBT+), it has been a very diversity-welcoming and progressive place to live, work and play for many years.
In addition, it’s home to nearly a dozen family-friendly parks – the largest of which are Hagen Park, Richardson Historic Park and Nature Preserve, Island City Park Preserve and Colohatchee Park – a weekend farmer’s market next to City Hall, and a nature trail that winds through a mangrove-lined preserve on a raised boardwalk, offering a pristine view of primordial Florida. Not astonishing then is the fact that Wilton Manors is a Certified Wildlife Community Habitat.
The equivalent of Main Street in Wilton Manors is Wilton Drive. Formerly a sleepy street lined with small retail shops, Wilton Drive is now the city's arts and entertainment district, home to numerous restaurants, bars, shops, condos and rental developments that have blossomed over the last decade. "The Drive" has become a local, regional, and national destination for tourism. In late 2018 a "Complete Streets" project began that will see wider sidewalks, on-street parking, buffered bike lines, and the reduction of vehicular lanes from four to two. Construction of the roadway portion of the project is projected to be completed in late 2019, to be followed by the landscaping portion of the project.
The city is home to a sizable number of modernist homes, built from the mid-century to today. Citywide real estate prices increased with, and even ahead of, the national trend during the expansion of the housing bubble 2000 to 2007. As that bubble burst, Wilton Manors real property taxable values fell by 36% until 2011. An upward trend in values resumed in 2012 and has continued through the present, with Wilton Manors consistently ranking in the top tier of cities in Broward County with the highest increases in taxable property values.