Orlando is one of the most popular destinations in the world- thanks largely in part to one infamous mouse. However, Orlando and the Central Florida area have so much more to offer away from the crowds and castles of the theme parks. For those who are interested in skipping the long lines and truly experiencing Orlando the way a native Floridian would (yes, we do exist!), check out what Orlando is really about!
- Orlando is about food
Orlando offers some of the best authentic cuisine sure to please any palate. Just a bit north of Orlando, you will find restaurants offering authentic German and Cuban cuisines, for example. In the Mills 50 District area, you will find a plethora of authentic Asian cuisines ranging from southern Chinese Dim Sum to Vietnamese and Thai. On the side of Hwy 44 near Deland, you will find a tiny restaurant with some of the tastiest seafood. When it comes to Orlando cuisine, dare to venture away off the beaten path and into those small venues. Your stomach will thank you.
- Orlando is about nature
Of course, just outside of Orlando you will find beaches. However, Orlando has nature of its very own. You will find boutique, show gardens of gorgeous plant life that you can visit year around. You will also find State Parks that offer gorgeous natural springs for swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, horseback riding, and even tubing. For the even more adventurous, there are countless bike trails and air-boat rides through some of the most gorgeous lowland areas. You never know what you might spot!
- Orlando is about soccer
Whether you call it soccer or futbol, Orlando is all about it! The Orlando City Soccer male franchise, and the new female Orlando Pride, have brought soccer fever to Orlando. In Orlando, you can sit in a packed stadium of strangers and feel like family. You don’t have to be a fan of the team (although, why wouldn’t you be?) to get caught up in the excitement and the energy that is an Orlando soccer match.
- Orlando is about art
The art community can be found throughout Central Florida. In Loch Haven Park, you will find the Orlando Museum of Art and Orlando Repertory Theatre. The Artegon Marketplace is the newest addition to the Orlando art scene with its unique blend of shopping, dining, and entertainment for the most eclectic tastes. Stroll the Artegon and take in the hand painted arts or crafted gifts, take part in one of their face beer or wine strolls, or even stop for a coffee at the Gods & Monsters comic shop.
- Orlando is about tradition
Just like any city, Orlando is always changing. There are certainly many instances of the bigger, better, newer, fancier, more modern this or that showing up each and every day. However, Orlando is also about tradition. Places like Gatorland, which was founded in 1949, are still alive and thriving in the community. Generation after generation have experienced the once-in-a-lifetime attraction.
Whether it is your first visit to Orlando, or fifteenth, there is more to see and do than you could ever imagine. Consider this your invitation to skip the lines and check out the other Orlando!