Things to do in Orlando, FL
Get Your Bearings in Orlando
Summer and school vacations are prime time for the theme parks and when you'll find lines longest and most exhausting. Upgrading to your chosen park's "express" ticket option (where available) is well worth it.
Loch Haven Park is home to the Orlando Museum of Art, Orlando Shakespeare Theater, Orlando Fire Museum, Orlando Philharmonic and hosts all kinds of festivals year-round, making it a phenomenal choice for those with limited time and an art fetish to feed.
Monorail-access properties (Disney's Contemporary, Polynesian and Grand Floridian) make hitting the Magic Kingdom a breeze. Change lines at the Transport and Ticket Center and you can add EPCOT to your drive-free repertoire, as well.
Don't let the oft-tight parking on Winter Park's Park Avenue turn you off. Just half a block off Park Avenue North you'll find a couple of free lots and one multilevel garage where (shh!) there's free all-day parking on the fourth and fifth levels.
- Best Restaurants
- Best Value
- Dinner Theaters
- Disney® Character Dining
- Family Friendly
- Family Friendly Restaurants near Theme Parks
- Fine Dining
- Gluten-Free Baked Goods
- Group Friendly
- Ice Cream
- International Drive's Best Restaurants
- Late Night
- Outdoor Dining
- Restaurants near Amway Center
- Restaurants near Bright House Networks Stadium
- Restaurants near Champion Stadium
- Restaurants with Gluten-Free Menus
- Restaurants with Healthy Menus
- Romantic Dining
- Thornton Park Area's Best Restaurants
- Universal's Best Restaurants
- Walt Disney World ®'s Best Italian
- Walt Disney World ®'s Best Restaurants
- Walt Disney World ®'s Best Seafood
- Walt Disney World ®'s Best Steaks
- Winter Park's Best Restaurants
Dress codes are no joke in some of the more expensive downtown-area nightclubs, especially for men. Save the sneakers and t-shirts for the gym or try a more casual bar instead.
Dig drag? Pointe Orlando's Funky Monkey Wine Company is home to Danielle Hunter & Company's dazzling show every Friday at 9 p.m. Reservations strongly recommended.
C'mon. Do you even have to ask? Hit up one of Downtown Disney's varied shops for your choice of iconic Mouse treasure, whether you prefer it emblazoned on a ball cap or t-shirt, or pressed into a collectible. Fresh citrus also ranks high, but tastes best if you pick it yourself.
Things to do in Orlando
Orlando is known for...
1. Theme Parks:
You could plan a whole week's vacation around the big three theme parks - Walt Disney World Resort, SeaWorld Orlando and Universal Orlando Resort - and barely scratch the surface. At Animal Kingdom you can lunch with zebras and giraffesright outside the window. Discovery Cove, a sister park of SeaWorld, has guests touring the lagoon via An Atlantic bottlenose dolphin’s dorsal fin. Universal lets you fully immerse yourself in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Don't miss this if you're a Harry Potter fan!
2. The Orlando Magic:
Playing pro basketball in a brand new arena in downtown Orlando, the Orlando Magic have a loyal local fan base which swells with ticket-holding visitors. If your city doesn't have an NBA team, then check the team's calendar before you travel. You may get to enjoy the excitement of pro basketball while you're in central Florida.
The Orange County Convention Center is the second largest convention center in the nation. It plays host to trade shows and conventions that attract people from around the globe. The Surf Expo, Southern Women’s Show and the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions/IAAPA to name a few. This place is so large, in fact, if Chicago’s Sears Tower, 1,454 feet in height, was placed on its side, it would fit lengthwise inside the Orange County Convention Center’s exhibition space, including the antenna atop the Sears tower. And, get this: the Valencia Ballroom is larger than a football field, including the end zones. It can hold up to 6,000 people at one time. Pretty impressive.
No matter what floats your boat, you can do it in Orlando. Downtown Disney and Universal CityWalk provide adults with a one-stop destination for all sorts of entertainment. CityWalk is home to Blue Man Group, Hard Rock Cafe, Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville, and a host of bars and dance clubs. Downtown Disney is the permanent home to Cirque du Soleil (a must if you've never been, and great for families) as well a House of Blues stage, and Pleasure Island . . . another cluster of bars and dance clubs. Sand Lake Road holds countless restaurants with live music. Downtown is legendary for weekend festivals. And International Drive has everything from helicopter rides and simulated skydiving to a Ripley's Museum and cinema multiplex. B.B. King's Restaurant & Blues Club has one of the best house bands in America; dancing is irresistable here. Get your party on in Orlando.
5. Natural Beauty:
Orlando not only has plenty of green space, it also has lots of lakes. . . there are nearly 100 of them! From boating to jet skiing to fishing, there are a number of ways to enjoy being out on the water. Parks are easy to come by, too. Stroll alongside Lake Eola Park, admire the award-winning Camelias at Harry P. Leu Gardens, or pack a picnic lunch and head for Cypress Grove. Theme Parks give the impression that everything in Orlando is man- made, but what Mother Nature put here first is magnificent.