Activities & Sports
Hike, swim, go boating, canoe, kayak, bicycle, snorkel, or scuba dive in one of the many surrounding parks. Try the Blue Spring State Park, De Leon Spring State Park, Hontoon Island State Park, Lake Eola Park, Lake Louisa State Park, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, Moss Park/Split Oak, Sebastian Inlet State Park, Tomoka State Park and Wekiwa Springs State Park.
A few places offer horseback riding tours, like the Grand Cypress Equestrian Center, Horse World Riding Stables and Westgate River Ranch.
At last count, Orlando counted around 170 golf courses. This could be considered a golfer’s paradise for sure. Here are some favorite public courses to help you pick which to play when you visit:
Boggy Creek Golf Club, Cypress Creek Country Club, Dubsdread Golf Course, Eaglewood Golf Club, EastWood Golf Club, Fairways Country Club, Faldo Golf Institute by Marriott, Grand Cypress Resort: Four Courses, Grande Pines Golf Club, Lake Orlando Golf Club, MetroWest Golf Club, Ritz Carlton Golf Club, Shingle Creek Golf Club, Stoneybrook Golf Club, and Ventura Country Club
Local sports teams include the Orlando Magic (NBA) basketball team and the Orlando Predators (AFL) football team. The Florida Citrus Bowl is a stadium in Orlando built for American football and its main events are the Capital One Bowl and the Champs Sports Bowl.
The Orange County Regional History Center has exhibits and artifacts from the earliest days of this region, the Seminole Indians, to the modern day history, including the Civil Rights era and the Disney period.
Attractions & Sights
Disney World is THE famous attraction. The Walt Disney World resort is the area's largest attraction with its many facets such as the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney-MGM Studios, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Typhoon Lagoon, Blizzard Beach, and Downtown Disney. There are also dozens of hotels, plenty of shopping and dining districts, and eight golf courses.
Next in fame is Universal Orlando Resort, comprised of Universal Studios, CityWalk, and the Islands of Adventure theme park.
SeaWorld Orlando, is a large adventure park that features numerous zoological displays and marine animals alongside an amusement park with roller coasters and water park. Right across the street is Discovery Cove, which lets you get even closer to the sea life by allowing you to swim with fish, stingrays and the park's main attraction, Bottlenose dolphins. Only 1,000 visitors are admitted daily so it is often sold out, even with its steep admission fee.
Gatorland houses thousands of alligators and crocodiles. The park combines a petting zoo, bird sanctuary, mini-water park, eco-tour and outdoor entertainment, including daily alligator wrestling.
There are many, many more theme parks and family attractions such as: Wet 'N Wild water park, Cypress Garden Adventure Park, Dinosaur World, Green Meadows Petting Farm, Ron Jon Surfpark, Silver Springs, and Wonderworks.
Downtown Orlando has a lot to offer on its own. Orange Avenue is packed with bars, clubs, and restaurants, so it is closed most nights to cars for pedestrians. Nearby Lake Eola is a picturesque park containing a light fountain that has been established as an icon of the city and a historic outdoor shell theater. The Mary, Queen of the Universe Shrine Catholic church gets many visitors as well.
Several wonderful museums are worth visiting, such as the Cornell Fine Arts Museum, the International Trolley and Train Museum, the Orlando Museum of Art, the Orlando Science Center, and the Morse Museum of American Art located in nearby Winter Park. Two unusual attractions are the Holy Land Experience, a biblical theme park and museum, and Ripley's Believe It or Not! Orlando Odditorium where visitors can explore bizarre artifacts, strange collections, weird art/hobbies and interactive exhibits.
The nearby town of Kissimmee has a few attractions of its own. The Old Town has a classic car show on the weekends, lots of shops and a couple restaurants, and a ferris wheel as well as other rides. The Warbird Air Museum specialises in restoring WW2 aircraft to flying condition. Guided tours are available of the work shops and hangers.
The city’s nightlife is centered mostly on Central Boulevard and Orange Avenue in downtown Orlando. Bars and dance clubs abound with urban rhythm. The tiny Thornton Park District has dozens of cafés and pubs. Suggestions include: Mulvaney's Irish Pub, Rhythm and Flow, Dexter's, Burton's Frosty Mug, and HUE.
At the theme parks, there is Pleasure Island at Disney World and the CityWalk at Universal Studios offering entertainment. There is also Hard Rock Café, Hard Rock Live, and Hard Rock Hotel.
Dinner theatre is definitely an option here: try Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament, or Arabian Nights.
Here is one especially for kids: the World's Largest McDonald's PlayPlace is located on the corner of Sand Lake Road and International Drive. The interior features an arcade with over 60 games with prize.
Cirque du Soleil performs La Nouba in Downtown Disney West Side. Check schedules for the Orlando Ballet, the Orlando Opera, the Orlando Philharmonic, and other performing art venues.
A lovely area to check out is Altamonte Springs, a northern suburb of Orlando, Florida. Here you can visit the Cranes Roost Park, a 37 acre lakeside park featuring a long lit boardwalk and covered pavilions, various ornamental plants and huge shade trees. Catch a local event in its 900 seat amphitheatre. There are several more parks to explore or picnic in around: Hermit's Trail, Lake Lotus Nature Park, Lake Orienta Public Boat Ramp and Recreational Area, Sunshine Park, and Turnbull Avenue Park. Golfers can play a round at The Links golf course featuring 9 holes 1,220 yards par 27.
Busch Gardens, a combined amusement park and top-notch zoo, is a mere 60 minutes out of Orlando. There are rides, shows and the Serengeti Safari Tour.
If you go spend a day at Cocoa beach, make sure to spend some time at the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral. There are regularly scheduled tours and sites where you can check things out.