Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and Sea World theme parks attract millions to the Orlando, Florida area every year. And while we all love the excitement of the big parks and all they have to offer, there are loads of other fun and interesting things to do and see in “The City Beautiful.”
Whether you are in the Central Florida area for the day, a weekend or longer, consider going to any of these 40 places to get a real taste of the real Orlando.
1. Watch an Orlando Magic basketball game or see a concert in the new Amway Arena.
2. Shop at a bevy of premium outlet malls.
3. Visit the Morse Museum of American Art and marvel at the Tiffany glassworks.
4. Stroll around scenic Lake Eola and feed the ducks and swans.
5. Drink, dine and peruse upscale shops on Winter Park’s Park Avenue Historical District.
6. Catch a movie and bite to eat at the unique downtown Plaza Cinema Café.
7. Take a pontoon boat ride through Lake Osceola and gaze at lovely historic homes and natural Florida beauty on the Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour.
8. Visit the Mennello Museum of American Folk Art and see a collection of paintings by artist Earl Cunningham.
9. Dine at TheRavenous Pig restaurant and ask for some “ugly ends.”
10. Paddle the swan boats around Lake Eola.
11. Visit Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World offering 150,000-square-feet of shopping and fun, and a 7,000-gallon super aquarium.
12. See endangered amur leopards and other fascinating animals at the Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens.
13. Shop and dine at the beautiful Mall at Millenia.
14. Explore the Orlando Science Center and learn the mysteries of outer space at the Crosby Observatory.
15. Enjoy a tasty cupcake at Sweet! By Good Golly Miss Holly bakery, created by owner Hollis Wilder, a two-time winner of The Food Network’s Cupcake Wars.
16. Catch a play or concert at the Bob Carr Theater.
17. Grab a gourmet burger at Hamburger Mary’s on Historic Church Street.
18. Walk, jog, bike or roller blade around Lake Baldwin.
19. Eat sushi and other fine Japanese cuisine at Ichiban downtown.
20. Tour the picturesque Rollins College campus in Winter Park.
21. Bowl, dance, play video games and more at the Firkin & Kegler Family Entertainment Center.
22. Visit Wells’ Built Museum of African American History.
23. Enjoy dinner and drinks with your movie at the Enzian Theatre.
24. Explore the city on the 3 ½-mile Cady Way Park and Trail.
25. Grab an organic vegan meal and some delicious brew at Dandielion Communitea Café.
26. Visit Pioneer Museum and trace Osceola County’s history.
27. Enjoy 700 acres of wild Florida at Wekiwa Springs State Park.
28. Attend the Holocaust Memorial Center, one of the oldest Holocaust museums in the nation, founded in 1982.
29. Explore three miles of paved scenic walkways through 50 acres of Old Florida-styled gardens at Harry P. Leu Gardens.
30. Taste Vietnamese cuisine at its finest at Little Saigon.
31. Visit Cornell Fine Arts Museum located on the Rollins College campus in Winter Park.
32. Tour the internationally acclaimed Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens.
33. Visit the Tupperware Museum of Historic Food Containers.
34. Hike through 5.22-acre Kraft Azalea Garden.
35. Play miniature golf at Congo River Adventure Golf and explore caves and waterfalls in a lush tropical environment.
36. Interact with animals at the Green Meadows Petting Farm.
37. Visit the Train Land International Trolley & Train Museum, with one of the nation’s largest indoor tracks.
38. Cook your own food at the table on a sizzling rock or in a boiling pot at Colorado Fondue.
39. Get close to Florida’s favorite reptile at Gatorland, the Alligator Capital of the World.
40. Walk, sit and dream under the sprawling old oak on Princeton Ave., believed to be around 800 years old.