Orlando has become synonymous with oranges and theme parks. But there’s more to this sunny Florida outpost than candy floss, the citrus trade and mascots.
With cheap flights to Orlando readily available, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t go to explore just what makes it such a fantastic holiday hotspot.
Fun Things To Do in Orlando Florida
To help you on your way, here are our top tips for a perfect holiday in Orlando:
Picnic on the lake
Orlando is a city of lakes. Most are relatively small, but all are charming, and some of the larger lakes (Lake Eola is our favorite) are perfect for a family picnic or a romantic stroll; seeing the city’s skyline reflected in the placid waters on a summer’s day or even a crisp autumn morning, the swan-shaped boats bobbing gently on the surface, is enough to make even the most hardened of hearts soften to sentimentalism.
There are plenty of bars and cafés around for a quick bite and a good, strong coffee and the grounds, replete with Chinese pagoda, are pleasant to walk through.
Swim with the fishes
No, this isn’t what you think. Kelly Park in Rock Springs is just a short ride away from the city centre and rather than an indoor pool where you have a limited time to share space with a dolphin, this is the real deal.
The park sits in an impressive 248 acres of land, where the main attraction is to go tubing down a natural spring.
The journey lasts a total of about 25 minutes, with lagoons and pools along the way.
The park can get crowded in peak season, so I would suggest getting there already at 9.30 am when it opens.
There’s even the option to hop on a canoe down to Wekiwa Springs, and the rest of the park is beautiful to walk through, with camping options available.
For the trendy, arty side of Orlando, head to the Downtown Media Arts Centre. Kitted out on the inside upstairs level like a cool independent picture house and on the outside with a wacky green Gothic-style façade, this is the place to catch cutting edge films and documentaries from the American and international scene.
Tickets are relatively cheap and the venue is intimate, with only 80 seats upstairs. The cinema operates on an interactive basis during their film slam season, so check ahead to see what’s on during your visit.
Get to the market
The Audubon Park Community Market is not your usual farmers’ market fare.
With bespoke baking amongst the locally farmed, sustainable, organic food on offer, as well as live music and a general bohemian atmosphere, this is one creative market you’ll want to visit.
Come to grab a drink, mingle with the locals and learn about local produce and sustainable farming.
Orlando city has a history that stretches back beyond the theme park takeover. The problem is, not many people know much about it! Get informed at the Orange County Regional History Centre.
Located in the Orange County Courthouse, the collection here covers three floors worth of space, charting the 12,000 year history of Central Florida.
From the arrival of the Spanish to indigenous flora and fauna, the exhibitions give a fascinating insight into the history of the area and its place in the world.