Of course, you know about that world attraction starring Mickey Mouse and friends that resides in Orlando, Florida, but what else can you do in the Sunshine State? Below, you’ll find top tips for those headed to Florida who (already) know about the Magical Kingdom of Orlando.
Flickr CC C Lambert
Art lovers gravitate toward parts of Florida, including St. Pete, but Orlando has plenty to offer art lovers. The CityArts Factory has seven art galleries that feature local and international artists. Artists’ creations are constantly in rotation, so check local listings to see what’s in store. The third Thursday of each month features new openings from 6-9 pm.
Alternatively, the Cornell Fine Arts Museum is open each day except Mondays, and hosts an impressive permanent collection of art from around the globe. Whether you’re staying at the Grand Bohemian Hotel or one offered via Hipmunk, you can visit the Bohemian Gallery for no cost.
If Disney is not your thing or you’ve already been, head to Old Town, featuring its own amusements and shopping area. If you have a penchant for vintage entertainment, then you’ll want to attend the park on Saturdays, with vintage car parades taking place in the afternoon, and Wednesdays, when a doo-wop band covers classics from the 50s and 60s.
Lake Jessup offers Black Hammock Adventures. See live alligator and bird exhibits, featuring a 12-foot, 650-pound gator named Hammy. The on-site restaurant features live music on Friday and Saturday nights.
The entire city of Orlando seems to cater to the young, but specifically, the Children’s Library hosts storytelling, arts and crafts, and every third Thursday, features movies, board games, and live music. Resorts on Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake feature an Electrical Water Pageant with sea-themed floats and a light show. The hour-long show starts near the Polynesian and ends at the Contemporary Resort.
If you’re healthy and have an appetite for organic foods, head to Chamberlain’s Market Cafe, featuring free classes and guest speakers who educate attendants about eating and cooking for better health. Howl at the Moon is a hopping place for those over 21 years of age who want to mingle and listen to dueling pianos. Specials are scheduled all week, so check the website for days of interest. If you enjoy beer and wine tastings, Knightly Spirits is the place on Friday and Saturday nights.
Music and Theater
Go to the Bach Festival Society of Winter Park, which features free concerts. See choirs and instrumental displays at Annie Russell Theatre and Knowles Memorial Chapel. Moreover, the Fred Stone Theatre regularly features student-produced and free shows.
Outdoors and Wilderness
A short ride from East Orlando rests the Fort Christmas Historical Park, which has historical structures and pioneer demonstrations (Have you ever seen a live cannon fired?!) Alternatively, head to Kelly Park to dive in the natural springs after you’re done hiking along its 245 acres. Lake Eola Park, in the middle of the city, features an 80-foot sinkhole and a spectacular view of Orlando’s skyline. Next, see over 600 plant species at the University of Central Florida Arboretum. It features eight ecosystems, a Swamp Habitat, and a 9-acre lake.
Because it has over 170 golf courses, 20 golf academies, and hosts a number of tourneys, Orlando is on any golfer’s wishlist. Actually, it is home to more pro golfers than any other city in the world! You may not be able to rub elbows with the pros but you sure can golf at a number of awesome destinations. Eagle Creek Golf Club, Hawk’s Landing, and Bay Hill Club and Lodge are just a few destinations on most golfers’ wishlists.
Golfers love Orlando, and shoppers do too. Whether you’re searching for designer brands or something unique from local designers, you’ll fall in love with the Mall at Millenia, the Florida Mall, and premium outlet centers. If shopping is your brand of therapy, head toward Vineland Avenue and International Drive.
Lynn Sanchez is employed as a flight attendant. She likes to post about her travel experiences on the web. Her articles can be found on many vacation and travel sites.