Things to Do in Orlando
Sandwiched between the sizzling beaches of Miami and the white sands of Key West, the 1.5 million-acre Everglades National Park stands in stark contrast to its seductive neighbors—but don’t make the mistake of passing it by. Visit the park and discover for yourself the spectacular swampy weirdness that draws over one million visitors every year and constitutes a one-of-a-kind destination for nature lovers.
The Kennedy Space Center has been hurtling humans and shuttles into space since 1968 and is still a primary site for NASA launches. Parts of the sprawling campus are open to the public with daily tours offering opportunities to interact with real astronauts, test your skills with a simulated space flight, and see artifacts from the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs.
Walt Disney World®, the world's biggest amusement park, is a self-contained city, covering an area twice the size of New York's Manhattan. Four main parks comprise the bulk of Walt Disney World®—Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios®, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom®—each with its own themed areas, shows, rides, and attractions. More than 50 million visitors pass through the gates each year into the self-proclaimed “Happiest Place on Earth” and home of Mickey Mouse.
Universal Orlando Resort™ combines three of Orlando’s top theme parks with dining and entertainment options, all in one convenient location. Heroes and villains from blockbuster movies and TV shows—Harry Potter,Transformers,The Simpsons, andMarvel to name a few—come alive at Universal Studios Florida™ and Universal’s Islands of Adventure™, and park-goers can cool off from the Florida heat at the third theme park: Universal’s Volcano Bay™ water park.
Go behind the scenes, beyond the screen, and jump right into the action of your favorite movies at Universal Studios Florida™, the world's premier movie and TV-based theme park. This Orlando favorite, part of Universal Orlando Resort™, offers rides, shows, movie sets, and attractions that bring to life blockbuster movies likeTransformers,Despicable Me, andHarry Potter.
With expansive white sand beaches on the Gulf of Mexico, Clearwater Beach is a waterfront Florida community known for its aquatic activities and warm, turquoise waters. Clearwater Beach is an ideal launching pad for kayaking, parasailing, boating, and biking. It’s known as being more low-key than its southern neighbor, the bustling St. Pete Beach, and many consider Clearwater Beach to be among the best beaches in America.
Step into the Florida Everglades at Wild Florida Airboats and Gator Park, located outside Orlando, where visitors can explore the Florida wilderness and its resident animals. Spend the day spotting alligators, white-tailed deer, sloths, and tropical birds and take an adventurous airboat ride at this popular family attraction.
Conveniently located between Orlando and Tampa, LEGOLAND® Florida Resort is one of Central Florida’s most imaginative theme parks. Opened in 2011, the resort comprises a theme park, water park, and a botanical garden, and is home to more than 50 rides, sideshows, and restaurants.
Stretching for 17 miles (27 kilometers) between the Orlando Premium Outlets to Walt Disney World, Orlando’s International Drive (I-Drive for short) serves as the city’s tourist hub. Six of Orlando’s top theme parks—SeaWorld, Discovery Cove, Wet ’n’ Wild, Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, and Aquatica—are located along this stretch.
Soar high above Orlando and enjoy a unique vantage point on the Wheel at ICON Park. Towering 400 feet (122 meters) above the ground, the biggest observation wheel on the United States East Coast treats passengers to 360-degree views of the Central Florida landscape—day and night.
More Things to Do in Orlando
Set on Florida’s Gulf Coast, Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park is best known for its population of West Indian manatees. The park is primarily a rehabilitation center for the creatures, which swim in the freshwater spring while they are treated. On land, native Florida wildlife thrives in the dense surrounding forest.
Fun fact: four presidents have visited Winter Park, Florida, including Barack Obama in 2012. With those notable stop-ins, this former resort town exudes charm and encourages relaxation even today. The suburban city in Orange County showcases some of the best natural scenery in Central Florida, and nature lovers flock here to enjoy the more than 70 parks in the city. For those still looking for a resort feel, Winter Park also has top-notch golf courses and a popular shopping district.
The city’s Main Street is a lively area. It serves as a cultural hub, complete with art galleries, a liberal arts college, museums, a cemetery and even a beach. Boaters enjoy having easy access to a launch nearby, and two of Winter Park’s most famous attractions are Rollins College and the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of Art. The latter destination is home to the United States’ largest collection of Tiffany glass.
A firm departure from the everyday, WonderWorks Orlando offers what most attractions cannot – a spin on this thing we call reality. Built to resemble an upside-down laboratory, this science museum offers over 100 hands-on exhibits built to test your belief of what is real and what is illusion. Filled with “oh, wow” moments that include rope obstacle courses, zip lines and laser tag, WonderWorks Orlando is an engaging step into science and discovery – one that will leave the whole family full of wonder.
Also known as the Orlando Odditorium, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Orlando is on normal attraction, a fact you’ll discover as soon as you walk up. Designed to look off kilter, the appearance of Ripley’s is the first of many interesting oddities you’ll find here.
This wild and wacky world is filled with wonder, and families can experience it all without leaving the city of Orlando. Filled with bizarre exhibits and mesmerizing optical illusions, Ripley’s includes life-size Terracotta warriors, a real shrunken human head, a two-headed dog
skeleton, a shooting range and much more. Perfect for a step outside of the ordinary, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Orlando has got the market cornered on quirky Florida attractions.
One of the United States’ most storied racetracks, the Daytona International Speedway is best known for hosting the Daytona 500: the most important annual race in the NASCAR calendar. Built in 1959 and located just a few miles from Daytona Beach, the course also holds other events, including Motocross racing, triathlons, and more.
Go back in time to the night of April 14, 1912, when the “unsinkable” ship sank to the bottom of the Atlantic. With full-scale room replicas, hundreds of objects recovered from theTitanic, and immersive interactive exhibits, Orlando’s Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition offers a real-world connection to a defining moment in history.
Established in June 1990 and located at the Universal Studios in the CityWalk entertainment complex, the Hard Rock Cafe in Orlando, Florida remains a hugely popular entertainment attraction in a city where there’s always something to see and do.
In fact, Orlando’s Hard Rock Cafe is the largest in the world. It features huge, grand pillars and a vast collection of rock memorabilia to rival all other Hard Rock Cafes. The complex boasts a multi-level version of the famous cafe, as well as a Hard Rock Live music venue, which has a 3000-person capacity and hosts all types of concerts and other events.
In the restaurant itself, diners can feast on classic burgers, nachos, wings, ribs, salads, and steaks as they take in the music memorabilia that adorns the walls and rock out to the non-stop Hard Rock beats.
Part of the Walt Disney World®Resort near Orlando, Disney's Hollywood Studios®doubles as a theme park and working movie studio where animation and motion pictures are made. The park’s attractions and rides are all inspired by Hollywood films, television shows, and the best of Broadway.
Universal’s Islands of Adventure™, set inside Universal Orlando Resort™, is slightly larger than the neighboring Universal Studios Florida™. The 120-acre (49-hectare) park is divided into several themed “islands”— Marvel Super Hero Island, Toon Lagoon, Jurassic Park, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter™, the Lost Continent, and Seuss Landing—where thrill rides stand front and center as heroes and monsters from the big screen come to life.
Boats glide alongside actual swans on Lake Eola, at the heart of Lake Eola Park. The site isn’t big by many standards – a mile around – but it packs a big punch as an oasis in the middle of bustling, crowded Orlando. Locals and visitors flock here – like the geese they feed out of hand – to take in a little nature. The Orlando skyline rises in the distance, a stunning contrast to the peace and quiet of the park and a beautiful reminder of the nearby city.
There are countless things to do in Lake Eola Park, including a weekly farmers’ market to visit, complete with fresh produce and live entertainment. Children run amok on the Lake Eola playground, and the iconic swan boats are a favorite for all ages. The park also has its own performance space, the Walt Disney Amphitheatre, which hosts events throughout the year. There’s even a restaurant on the premises; the Relax Grill promises to live up to its name.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom® takes the best parts of a theme park and a zoo, blending them seamlessly into one encompassing experience. Visitors can go on safari through the Sahara (and see real animals in naturalistic habitats), explore the world of Pandora from Avatar, ride the rapids of an Asian river, or encounter a yeti on Mount Everest.
Universal CityWalk™ is where daytime fun and nighttime excitement meet. It’s everything you’re looking for. And anything but ordinary. Here you can enjoy the fine cuisine of Emeril’s Orlando, the world’s largest Hard Rock Cafe®, Jimmy Buffett’s® Margaritaville®, and unique eateries like The Cowfish®, VIVO Italian Kitchen™, AntojitosAuthentic Mexican Food™, NBC Sports Grill & Brew™, and The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen™.
Catch your favorite bands live in concert or play a game of miniature golf -- the choice is yours! There is also a 20-screen movie theater and a variety of shops and boutiques. You can even sing karaoke with a live band and backup singers. The Universal CityWalk dining and entertainment complex is open nightly until 2 am. There’s no admission fee, although some venues with live entertainment do have cover charges*.
Emeril’s ® Emeril Lagasse. Hard Rock Cafe, Hard Rock Cafe International (USA), Inc. Jimmy Buffett’s ® Margaritaville® Jimmy Buffett. The Cowfish and all related logos TM The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar, LLC. All rights reserved. © 2018 BMP. Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. TM & © 2018 AMC © 2018. IMAX® is a registered trademark of IMAX® Corporation. Hollywood Drive-In Golf and associated logos are trademarks of Adventure Golf Design & Development, Inc. TM & © 2018 NBCUniversal Media, LLC. All rights reserved. Universal elements and all related indicia TM & © 2018 Universal Studios. Allrights reserved.
Orlando’s infamous Amway Center hosts some of Florida’s biggest sporting, music and entertainment events. The 875,000-square-foot arena captivates visitors of all ages with its variety of restaurants, bars, kid zones and retail shops. With space to accommodate 20,000 guests and modern décor for travelers and locals alike, the venue is unique in its sustainability; environmentally-friendly features such as water efficiency and energy optimization are included throughout the design. Orlando Magic fans will appreciate the home team’s 42-foot-high scoreboard, the largest of its kind in the NBA — now that’s a slam dunk.
Icon Orlando 360 is a new entertainment complex on one of Orlando's main drags, International Drive, commonly known as I-Drive. Opened in May 2015, Icon Orlando 360 (formerly known as I-Drive 360) includes a variety of restaurants, shops, and tourist attractions – including an aquarium, a Madame Tussaud's, and the 400-foot observation wheel called the Orlando Eye. You'll find popular eateries like Shake Shack and Outback as well as hopping nightlife at Cowgirls Rockbar, with the only mechanical bull in the city.
The centerpiece is the massive observation wheel. It has 30-passenger compartments, each one air-conditioned, and each one can carry up to 15 people. Your ticket to the Orlando Eye includes a 4-D movie experience and a ride around the wheel.
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