Known as the “Theme Park Capital of The World,” Orlando, Florida, was put on the map when Walt Disney World® Resort opened in 1971. But there are so many things to do in Orlando apart from Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando™ Resort, and SeaWorld® Orlando. This vibrant destination in the heart of the sunshine state is also home to lots of great restaurants, attractions, entertainment, and more.
There really is no shortage of things to do in Orlando, including taking in the view of the city atop a giant Ferris wheel or hopping onboard a pedal-powered swan boat on Lake Eola. When you’re planning your trip, here are five can’t-miss things to do in Orlando to add to your itinerary.
With nearly 200 shops and restaurants, plus dazzling experiences and live entertainment, Disney Springs is definitely a favorite thing to do in Orlando. Shop and stare in awe from inside the World of Disney — the world’s largest collection of Disney clothing, accessories, gifts, and more. Or, if you’re looking for those must-have trends, you can peruse some of the world’s most popular brands like Anthropologie, Kate Spade New York, and Lacoste.
After you’ve taken care of souvenir shopping, take a bite out of Disney Springs’ exceptional and varied dining scene. Choose from table- or counter-service restaurants with something for every budget and taste. Catch a performance from the authentic Irish musicians and dancers at Raglan Road while enjoying fish and chips. Or, if you’re looking for hearty, messy barbecue, grab a quick bite at The Polite Pig.
If you’re looking for things to do in Orlando centered around arts and culture, the thriving city center of downtown Orlando is the place to be. Just a 30-minute drive away from the theme parks, the area’s most famous attraction is the swan-filled lake right in the middle of the city. You can spend a day relaxing by the shore, or rent a swan-shaped boat to cruise around the water. On Sundays, this area even hosts the bustling Orlando Farmers Market.
For arts and culture in downtown Orlando, be sure to visit the Orlando Museum of Art, catch a show at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, or explore the Mills 50 district — where you can stop to grab a photo in front of the colorful collection of #OrlandoMurals.
Ready. Set. Shop. If shopping is on your list of things to do in Orlando, you can browse one of the sprawling outlets in Orlando. If you’re staying near Walt Disney World Resort, the Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets® is nearby. This luxury outlet is where you can find brands such as Jimmy Choo, Prada, Burberry, and more.
You can also check out the Orlando International Outlets®, which can be found right in the heart of International Drive attractions and just five minutes away from Universal Orlando Resort. The largest outlet shopping destination in Florida, browse more than 180 outlet designer and name brand stores. While you’re at it, you might want to buy an extra suitcase to take home all your brand-new styles.
Even if you aren’t spending the day at the theme park, Universal CityWalk at Universal Orlando Resort is perfect for a night out and one of the best things to do in Orlando. Enjoy a meal at one of the quick- or full-service restaurants like Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food, or Toothsome Chocolate Emporium.
Then, see a show filled with energy, color, humor, and music, with tickets to the Blue Man Group. Since CityWalk is open until 2 a.m., you can dance the night away at the Red Coconut Club or take to the stage at CityWalk’s Rising Star, a karaoke bar complete with a full band and backup singers.
A hub for Orlando attractions and dining, ICON Park on International Drive is where you can go for both buzzing nightlife and family-friendly attractions. Take to the sky in The Wheel, a 400-foot-tall Ferris wheel with enclosed, air-conditioned capsules. Strike a pose with your favorite wax celebrities at Madame Tussauds, or go under the sea at the Sea Life Aquarium. Looking for an immersive adventure? Solve puzzles and put your sleuthing skills to the test in one of the six challenges games at The Escape Game Orlando.
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