When you think of Orlando you may imagine Disney World, Universal Studios and Sea World but Downtown Orlando actually contains none of the major theme parks…
Located in Orange County, Florida and with an estimated 52 million visitors a year, Downtown Orlando has developed to cater for all ages and tastes – and has plenty to offer on its own.
Based a short drive away from some of our most exclusive luxury Orlando villas, there is plenty to do in this thriving city, which boasts year-round sunshine and is home to an endless array of historic sites, museums, parks and eclectic galleries.
The city’s historic downtown district runs along Church Street, between Orange and Garland Avenue. Century old oak trees line the worn brick streets and surrounding neighborhoods such as Thornton Park and Lake Eola Heights which are home to some of the oldest houses in Orlando and based around the nearby iconic lake.
Church Street also boasts the best nightlife that Downtown Orlando has to offer. Check out a wide range of bars and night clubs where you will something to suit every taste as well as regular drinks offers and seasonal specials.
- Choose from a range of frozen drinks and craft beers at Chiller’s Party Bar.
- Take a trip to Big Belly all-American beer lover’s bar.
- Check out the dizzy heights of Latitudes roof-top bar where you can soak up the stunning Orlando skyline.
- See one of the frequent concerts on the bandstand at nearby Wall Street Plaza.
This picturesque swan-filled lake surrounded by stunning parkland remains an unchanging emblem of Downtown Orlando. A majestic fountain marks the centre of the lake where visitors can hire graceful swan boats and soak up the impressive Orlando skyline.
Things to do at Lake Eola:
- Take a stroll at any time of the day.
- Feed the live swans and birds.
- See a concert at the historic open-air amphitheatre.
- Grab a bite to eat at the Relax Grill set within the grounds.
- Visit nearby dining and shopping hub Thornton Park, South Eola District and the Central Business District.
Gardens and Parks
There are plenty of picturesque gardens and parks in Downtown Orlando where guests can take a stroll at any time of day and see exotic plant and bird species from all over the world. Many of the parks offer free entrance and are open during the day time and evening.
Arboretum – Located on Central Florida Boulevard, this arboretum and botanical garden contains more than 600 species of plants. Entrance is free of charge.
Harry P. Leu Gardens – Breath-taking landscaped gardens and lakes are set in nearly 50 acres of land, featuring flora and fauna gathered from around the globe since 1936. Take a tour around the The Leu House which dates back to the 1880′s.
Historic Bok Sanctuary – Immaculately landscaped gardens filled with an exotic array of flowers and trees. The gardens are home to a colony of wood ducks and wild birds and are located on Tower Boulevard.
No trip to Orlando is complete without a trip to one or more of its many museums and galleries.
- Charles Hosmer Morse Museum ofAmerican Art — Houses an impressive collection of Tiffany art glass, leaded-glass windows, lamps, jewellery, pottery, paintings. Entrance is free between 4pm and 8pm with a small charge thereafter.
- Cornell Fine Arts Museum- Based in Winter Park this fine art exhibition is open from 10am to 4pm during the week and until 5pm on weekends. Entrance is $5.
- The Orlando Museum of Art – An exhibition of American portraits, landscapes, impressionist works and ancient American art. Open Monday – Sunday.
So whether you want to soak up the culture in Downtown Orlando, embark on an action-packed adventure at nearby theme park haven Lake Buena Vista or simply laze in the luxury of your villa near Disney, the options are endless and the choice is yours.
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