What would you like to do when you land in Florida? Explore like a local? Immerse yourself in the local culture? Hit the tourist trail? Thankfully, The Sunshine State is one of those unique places where you can do it all. While it openly and warmly welcomes tourists, it also embraces its own culture at every turn.
Here are 10 places where your time and money will be well spent.
If you’re partial to a spot of swanky wining and dining, live theatre and immersive art, then Ivanhoe Village is a must-visit area. Here, you’ll find a diverse range of dining options and bars, and both the Mennello Museum of American Art and the Orlando Museum of Art, as well as Orlando’s own version of a Shakespearian theatre. And to top it all off – there’s the Orlando Science Center to investigate, too.
Although this is certainly an area the majority of visitors will explore at some point, it’s still a long way from the glitz and fantastical glamour of Disney. Whichever time of year you visit, you’re sure to find yourself with entertainment options aplenty. Be sure to visit Lake Eola Park for a leisurely walk, or join in the joggers who hit the paths day and night.
Close to Downtown, College Park is one of those areas every city seems to have where history is forever embraced. Even so close to the city, it still has that classic small-town feel that you’ll be familiar with from movies and TV shows. From here, you can also see incredible contrasting views of the wider city.
The Milk District
Its name is a homage to the iconic dairy company founded in the 1920s, T.G. Lee Dairy, and the area is now one of Orlando’s most popular commercial districts. Here, you’ll find food, fashion, gifts and vibrant nightlife galore, including one of Orlando’s oldest and most prestigious music and movie venues, The Plaza Live.
Among the many cultural attractions in Winter Park is the Morse Museum, where you’ll find the largest collection of works by Louis Tiffany – one of the most iconic stained glass artists of the 19th century. You can also take a walking tour dedicated to none other than the TV icon Fred “Mr” Rogers.
As you’d imagine, this long stretch of International Drive does exactly what it says on the tin. An entire mile of dining options awaits you, including some of the best American cuisine you’ll find in Orlando. Just be sure to hire a car if you plan to explore the whole stretch before choosing where to eat!
The Theme Parks
Yes, most of these magical places probably stretch far enough to count as areas of their own – but no visit is really complete without a ticket to at least one. And given that Walt Disney World alone has four different parks, it’s recommended that you book theme park tickets and even fast passes early to save yourself time.
This modern hipster hub is where creativity meets culture – and the result can be exquisitely surreal. Here, you’ll see walls adorned with remarkable murals, thought-provoking graffiti, and Orlando’s Asian community offering up a taste of contemporary Chinese, Thai and Korean cuisine.
University of Central Florida
Yes, it’s a university, but the surrounding area is also home to more than 60,000 students. Subsequently, there is a wide range of bars, restaurants and, of course, coffee shops to explore. This is a must-visit for an experience of American college spirit and camaraderie.
The sky above
All of those organising Orlando holidays for 2020 have the opportunity to see the area by land, water and even by air. By balloon, you can see the vast forests and swamps below, or even explore the local wildlife by horseback. Guided tours of the vast conservation area around Orlando are highly recommended – it all depends how high you want to go to see it!
To read more on topics like this, check out the travel tips category.