Orlando is alot more than just Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, Sea World and Kennedy Space Center, in fact, most locals rarely ever set foot in a theme park much less anywhere near the tourist areas. Here are a few recommendations of “Off the Beaten Path” areas that most visitors miss:
The city center of Orlando, the downtown area is filled with not only unique modern skyscrapers, but is also rich in history and local arts and enterntainment. Be sure to take a stroll on Lake Eola Park, a beautifull area of downtown where you will find the famous Lake Eola Fountain (picture-perfect spot), the Walt Disney Amphitheater, and many unique shops, sidewalk cafes, and restaurants along Thornton Park. At Heritage Square you can find the historic Orange County Regional History Center and the impressive Orlando Public Library. Nearby is Wall Street Plaza, a big nightlife spot and popular place to watch Orlando Magic games during NBA season. Also be sure to follow Orange Avenue to Orlando City Hall and peek in to the luxurious Grand Bohemian Hotel, the perfect place to enjoy a fine dining experience at The Boheme restaurant or just stop by for some coffee at Starbucks Coffee also located inside the hotel. If you have time, also be sure to checkout the latest performance at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre or catch an Orlando Magic NBA basketball game or a big concert at the Amway Arena. The Downtown Orlando area is easily accessible from both Interstate 4 and Toll 408 (East-West Expressway) and there is a free bus system within the dowtown area called Lymmo. For more information on Downtown Orlando visit this website: www.downtownorlando.com
Orlando Arts & Culture District
Be sure to visit Lock Haven Park, a beautiful historic park home to the Orlando Museum of Art, the exciting Orlando Science Center, the Orlando Shakespeare Theater, the Orlando Repertory Theatre, and the historic Orlando Fire Museum. The Orlando Science Center recently hosted the world-famous exhibit “Our Body: The Universe Within” drawing thousands to the center. Current exhibits at OSC include the Titanic Exhibition and other exhibits, the center also features the impressive Dr. Phillips Cinedome, a massive IMAX dome-screen theater with a unique variety of fascinating films.
Harry P. Leu Gardens
Harry P. Leu Gardens is a beautiful botanical garden and historic plantation, a popular venue for weddings. There are many types of plants and flowers and gardens to walk through. They have plant sales periodically through the year that gives you free admission into this attraction. Also, Monday before noon there is free admission every week. Leu Gardens also hosts weddings and concerts. The concerts are usually Jazz bands that you are allowed to bring a picnic and lay out under the stars to watch in the evenings. Visit the park website for more information: www.leugardens.org
Park Avenue & Historic Winter Park
This is a beautiful historic area just north of Downtown Orlando. Winter Park is a historic suburb of Orlando famous for its tree-lined brick streets filled with sidewalk cafes, the prestigous Rollins College, the Morse Museum of American Fine Art and many fine shopping district. A must-see for historical enthusiasts, shoppers, artists, couples seeking a romantic experience, families, or anyone just seeking a nice stroll in the park. For more information in this area visit this website: www.parkave-winterpark.com
Vietnamese / Thai District
In the north-eastern section of Downtown Orlando along Mills Avenue you will find a large section of many interesting shops and restaurants with very authentic Thai, Chinese, and Vietnamese cuisine. This area includes stores that sell anything from Asian DVDs to specialty foods and furnishings.
Mall of Milennia is the premier mall in Central Florida. Convenient to both Disney and Universal (closer to Universal), Mall of Milennia has it all. It is a cool and relaxing shopping experience too. Most of the mall is upscale including Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdales, plus a large array of designer shops. Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co and many more! Save in Orlando has the latest news on the Orlando shopping scene.
Orlando Fashion Square Mall is a nice two-story indoor mall, the closest mall to Downtown Orlando. The mall is popular among locals due to its central location. Mall anchors include Macy’s, Premier Cinemas, JC Penny, Sears, and Dillard’s.
Baldwin Park is a beautiful residential development that features an impressive town center filled with shops, sidewalk cafes, and restaurants. A nice place to enjoy lunch.
University of Central Florida main campus is located in East Orlando, one of the largest universities in the country. If you happen to be in the area during College Football season grab tickets to watch a UCF Knights home game at the new on-campus stadium. Nearby you will also find shopping and entertainment at the Waterford Lakes Town Center.
Bike paths are a plenty in Orlando. There is a really nice bike system in this city and many miles of pathways. For more information on Orlando’s many city parks and trails visit the city website at: www.cityoforlando.net
College Park – Located just north of downtown, a residential area filled with restaurants and stores, popular among immediate locals.
If you are looking for oter discounts and online coupons, check out www.orlandocouponbuddy.com as he has many printable coupons for you to use while here in Orlando.
And lastly, the theme parks. The reason that most travelers come to our state is to visit our world famous theme parks. Please read our blog for all of the inside information at the attractions and visit our web site for all of your discount Disney tickets, Universal Studios Tickets and more.