When you think of Orlando, you might immediately picture thrilling roller coasters and beloved theme parks. However, there’s a whole world of enchantment waiting beyond the park gates. Let’s explore the diverse and captivating aspects of Orlando that go beyond the rides and mascots.
Choosing Your Orlando Haven: Where to Stay
The Alfond Inn, Winter Park
Orlando’s charm extends beyond its theme parks, and Winter Park exemplifies that charm. This delightful area offers a unique experience with its independent boutiques, beautiful parks, and cobbled streets. The Alfond Inn, nestled just off Downtown Park Avenue, provides a cozy retreat. Its wood-paneled rooms and marble bathrooms offer comfort and luxury. The lobby doubles as an art gallery, showcasing contemporary pieces from the Rollins Museum of Art.
Unveiling Orlando’s Hidden Gems: What to Do
Explore Winter Park’s Lakes on a Boat Tour
Discover the elegance of Winter Park by taking a boat tour on its seven pristine lakes. Glide through picturesque canals and admire lavish lakeside residences. Learn about the area’s history, famous residents like Tom Hanks, and even spot local wildlife, including alligators.
Paddleboarding with Pugs
For a unique water-based adventure, embark on a guided paddleboarding journey with Epic Paddle Adventures on Spring Lake. The tranquil, crystal-blue waters make it perfect for beginners. What makes it even more memorable? Adorable pugs accompany you on your paddleboard adventure!
Visit a Brewery
Ivanhoe Village in the Orlando area boasts independent restaurants, shops, and breweries. Sip on craft beers, like guavication, at Ivanhoe Park Brewery. GB Bottle Shop offers a wide selection of unique ales and sours. Prefer wine? Head to The Imperial, a neighborhood bar inside Washburn Imports at Ivanhoe Village.
Experience Orlando’s First Alcohol-Free Cocktail Lounge
The BANDBOX in Ivanhoe Village caters to non-drinkers with a menu of non-alcoholic cocktails curated by mixologists. Browse vintage clothes while enjoying your beverage.
Orlando’s Vibrant Nightlife: Where to Party
Downtown Orlando comes alive at night with bustling streets, nightclubs, rooftop bars, and dive pubs. Sly Fox, covered in graffiti with a vintage photo booth, is a unique find. Wall Street Plaza offers seven different bars, including a tiki bar and a club in an old moonshine warehouse.
Speakeasy Vibes and Halloween Magic
Hansons Shoe Repair provides a speakeasy experience, with a changing password needed for entry. Cocktails & Screams embraces a Halloween theme all year round.
Delightful Dining in Orlando
The Hall On The Yard
For a casual yet inventive dining experience, visit The Hall On The Yard in Ivanhoe Park. Order from an app and enjoy a variety of cuisines from different food places. Options range from Italian delights at Norma’s to classic Southern fried chicken and waffles at Shay’s Kitchen.
AVA MediterrAegean, located in Winter Park on Park Avenue, offers a chic and sexy Mediterranean dining experience. Don’t miss the mezze-style dining and the delectable flame-grilled halloumi.
Navigating the Theme Park Adventure
Orlando’s theme parks are a dream come true, but you don’t need two weeks to enjoy them fully. Staying in an on-site theme park hotel provides convenience, with direct transportation and early access to the parks. Loews Sapphire Falls Resort at Universal Orlando, for instance, offers stunning park views and a relaxing pool area.
Walt Disney World
Walt Disney World offers a mix of enchantment beyond roller coasters. Visit Magic Kingdom for iconic sights and parades. Explore EPCOT’s unique 1.3-mile promenade. Don’t miss Disney Hollywood Studios for classic coaster fun.
Universal Orlando Resort
Universal Orlando Resort, comprised of Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure, provides an immersive experience. Enjoy iconic attractions like The Incredible Hulk Coaster and Jurassic World VelociCoaster. The two Hogwarts areas are a must-see. These parks truly make you feel like you’re part of a movie or TV show.
Orlando is brimming with surprises and adventure, and now you have a roadmap to explore its enchanting facets beyond the theme parks. Whether you’re savoring Mediterranean cuisine, paddleboarding with pugs, or embarking on thrilling rides, Orlando offers something for every traveler.