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When you think of Orlando, Florida, you probably think of a family friendly holiday at the happiest place on Earth, Disney World. While visiting Disney World (and Epcot Center, Sea World, Lego land, and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter) is a big part of most Orlando itineraries, there are a lot of other great attractions for kids and adults, as well as a great range of places to stay, from budget hotels to swanky villas. Check out this list of things to do in Orlando, besides the theme parks.
Sure, Orlando isn’t a coastal city, so it’s known for its beaches, but there are some great beaches within a day-trip’s distance. Orlando is situated about an hour from the Atlantic coast, and 2 hours from the Gulf of Mexico. The two closest beaches are Cocoa Beach and the more famous Daytona Beach, on the Atlantic coast. Both are great for a day trip, when you feel like you need a dose of sand and sun in your vacation.
Just minutes from Downtown Orlando, you’ll find the hidden botanical oasis of the Harry P Leu Gardens. This botanical garden stretches for 50 acres, much of which is on the shores of Lake Rowena. In the formal gardens, there are 75 types of roses, and across the gardens, you’ll find orchids, oaks, palms, azaleas and much more. Guided tours cost only $9, and entry is free Mondays from 9am to noon.
Believe it or not, the city that has become synonymous with Disney also has a great selection of museums, for those inclined to add a bit of history and culture to their holiday. Visit the Mennello Museum of American Folk Art, Wells’ Built Museum of African American History, the Pioneer Museum, the Holocaust Memorial Center, and my personal favorite, the Tupperware Museum of Historic Food Containers!
In Orlando, Highway 192 is well known for being the restaurant corridor. Options range from American steak houses to Asian restaurants and everything in between. Downtown Disney is another great place for good eats – ranging from world class fine dining to fast food and some fun themed restaurants.
Orlando is an international destination for all kinds of travelers, so you can expect top notch nightlife to suit everyone’s needs. An often overlooked option are the comedy clubs, like The Orlando Improv and Bonkerz Comedy Club, where you can often see celebrity comedians and great up-and-comers. Of course, Orlando also has a great selection of bars, lounges and clubs, depending on what kind of night you’re looking for. Check out Howl at the Moon for an amazing dueling piano bar, or the speakeasy style pub, Hanson’s Shoe Repair, housed in a an old cobbler’s shop from the 1800′s!
For something a little more entertaining, you can catch one of the famous Cirque du Soleil shows, as well as magic shows, and live music shows.
Yup – if you’re the type who likes to do some shopping on their holiday, Orlando won’t disappoint. There are malls, boutiques, and outlets aplenty!
All of these things and more are available for tourists and travelers, passing through Orlando Florida Whether you’re the type to stay in budget hotels or you’re looking for villas in Orlando, this city has accommodation and entertainment to suit everyone style and budget.
What’s your favorite thing to do in Orlando? Let us know in the comments!