There are loads of surprising and fun things to do in Orlando, and we’re not just talking about the big-name attractions like Disney World and Universal Studios. Here are some of the best things to do in and around the City Beautiful!
Fun things to do in Orlando
Cool off at the water parks
Orlando can be incredibly warm, especially during the summer months, so any relief from the heat is welcome. Where better way to escape the heat than at one of the many water parks?
Discovery Cove and Aquatica are both great options when you’re looking for fun things to do in Orlando for the whole family to enjoy. At Discovery Cove you can swim in the tropical lagoons, winding rivers and waterfalls. You can also swim with dolphins, snorkel with fish and stingrays, and get close to armadillos and sloths. Some of the best rides include KareKare Curl, a steep slide that whizzes riders up a vertical ‘wave wall’.
Volcano Bay is another great option for anyone looking to make a splash! The park is split into four different areas. The Volcano is at the heart of the park and towers 200 feet high; here you can take on the Krakatau Aqua Coaster where you’ll get on board a four-person canoe and slide up through dark twists inside the volcano before falling through a waterfall. At the Rainforest Village, you can get on the Maku Puihi Round Raft Rides on a six-person raft that will take you through dark tunnels before dropping you through a deep volcanic gorge. The Wave Village and the River Village are for those who would rather chill out; here you can swim and float on its lazy rivers and enjoy the warm Florida sun.
Ride, dine and drink
For an all-round day of fun, head to Icon Park on International Drive, where you will find plenty of attractions and dining experiences to suit your every need. You can reach new heights inside The Wheel, a 400-ft-tall giant observation wheel, and the Orlando StarFlyer, a swing 450 feet above the ground that rotates at 45 mph!
At Icon Park you can also visit the Sea Life Aquarium, where you can see more than 5,000 aquatic species and meet the aquarium’s rescue sea turtle Ted. You can snap pictures with your favorite celebrity at the Madame Tussauds wax museum and learn about animals at Orlando’s only natural history museum, Skeletons: Museum of Osteology.
For dining, you have a choice of burgers at Shake Shack, Spanish cuisine at Tapa Toro Spanish Restaurant, steaks at Outback Steakhouse, french desserts at iCafe de Paris, and many more!
Enjoy a workout with a difference
It might not sound like one of the most fun things to do in Orlando but how about enjoying a workout with a difference? If you head to Nona Adventure Park at Lake Nona you can try out different water sports like water skiing and wakeboarding. There’s even a floating obstacle course! At the Rixen Cable Park wakeboarders of all levels can enjoy the tracks, while at the floating Union Aqua Park course you can challenge yourself with weird and wonderful obstacles such as the Ninja Jump, the Whirlpool and the Tire Run.
Prefer to stay dry? Climb 60 feet up the Climbing Tower on a rope course, or test your strength on the two 50-foot-high climbing walls. Obstacles on the tower include the Jungle Trail, the Wobble Bridge and the Caterpillar.
The Orlando Watersports Complex is a great alternative to Nona Adventure Park – it’s home to the largest wakeboarding cable park in the US. You can also find the 10,000 square feet Aquapark floating obstacle course with 40 features and 3 different skill levels.
Stay at a spectacular vacation home
Why let the fun stop just because you’re heading back to your vacation home? At some of the best places, like these rentals offered by Top Villas, you can come home to amazing facilities like private pools, home theaters and themed children’s bedrooms. Kids will love exploring Reunion Resort 10, where a ‘fireplace’ leads to a secret playroom.
At Reunion Resort 82, the kids will have tons of fun pretending to be mythical sea creatures in their own underwater themed room, while at Reunion Resort 1008 you can watch the latest blockbuster in a cool drive-in theater-themed cinema room.
If you’d rather stay in your own candy wonderland, try this sweet-themed 5-acre private gated estate, with 10 bedrooms, a game room, movie theater, campfire, and a playground. It even comes with its own mini golf course, theme park and water park!
Explore Orlando’s nature
Orlando is not just all about amusement parks; there are some incredible opportunities for enjoying forests and wildlife a short drive away.
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At Forever Florida you can explore the forest on horseback or a trail buggy guided tour, and at the end of the night you can set up camp at their campgrounds or even rent your own cabin.
If you want to see the manatees, go to Blue Spring State Park where these “sea cows” come to spend the winter months between mid-November to March. You can also take boat tours, go hiking, or swim, snorkel and scuba dive.
At Lake Tohopekaliga, you could take an airboat ride with Wild Willy’s to go alligator-spotting. Its daily one-hour tour takes you through the Everglades while you enjoy the Floridian wildlife. You might spot blue herons, bald eagles and even wild gators!
About an hour’s drive from Orlando, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge provides habitat and protection for wildlife and endangered species. Some 358 species of birds and more than 140 species of fish call this place home, as do bobcats, otters and alligators.
Watch a dinner show
Another activity that tops the list of fun things to do in Orlando is to go and watch a dinner show.
At Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament, you get to watch a two-hour live medieval jousting tournament while enjoying a four-course feast.
Capone’s Dinner & Show takes you to the seedy underground of 1930’s mafia featuring not only a delicious Italian buffet, but also gangster action mixed with singing and dancing.
Mango’s Tropical Cafe Dinner & Show has a different theme each night, celebrating Latin culture and cuisine. You can expect to see a salsa and bachata show, a Caribbean Soca Limbo Carnival, tributes to Jennifer Lopez and Tina Turner, and a Mariachi show.
If you love rock and pop, you can’t miss the Rock Dinner Show. It puts on an incredible tribute show of music’s most influential artists of past and present: Prince, Stevie Wonder, Elvis, Adele and Katy Perry. This is accompanied by a fantastic menu of roasted chicken, pasta, beef and salmon.
Dance the night away
Orlando really comes alive at night with so many fun things to do and places to go!
Head to Disney Springs and watch a concert at one of the country’s most famous nightlife venues, House of Blues. You can grab a drink, dance and watch amazing shows featuring the world’s best artists.
Located in a converted 1920s cinema, The Beacham is Downtown Orlando’s ultimate nightclub and one of the largest venues in the city. The club plays a mix of dance, EDM, hip-hop and top 40s, but it also hosts concerts; the likes of Lauryn Hill, Flo Rida, 50 Cent, Afrojack and David Guetta have all performed here.
EVE Nightclub is a blend of the Vegas nightlife and the luxury of Hollywood, separated into three sections: a laid back lounge, a main dance room and a large open terrace. If you want an extraordinary experience, you should reserve a table at a VIP area where you can get full bottle service. Depending on the night you go you can also catch acoustic concerts, DJ events and modelling shows.
If you’re looking for something other than flashing lights and club music, Cowboys Orlando offers live country music, line dancing, billiards and sports games showing on its 30 TVs around the club. You’ll also find food trucks and free line dance lessons every Thursday and Friday from 8.30–9.30pm.
Hang out at the Orlando parks
Sometimes you need to step away from the busy atmosphere of the city and find quiet respite in Orlando’s many parks.
At Harry P. Leu Gardens, you can have a picnic amongst its 50-acre beautiful gardens. One of Orlando’s most popular gardens, you can explore around and find Florida’s largest rose garden and a beautiful butterfly garden.
You don’t have to just relax in the parks. At Lake Eola Park there are regular film nights that take place there, with themed activities happening before the movie. You only have to bring chairs and snacks.
Take a scenic boat ride across Winter Park’s lakes to explore the abundant fauna and flora that the city has to offer. You can expect to see cranes, alligators, towering trees and tropical flowers across its seven lakes.
If you’d like to not only see but interact with the city’s wildlife, head to the Exotic Animal Experience in Orlando. Here you will have one-on-one interaction with sloths, lemurs, kangaroos, and many others.
Eat your way around the city
You can have great fun exploring Orlando’s many restaurants and the city’s eclectic cuisine.
If you’re looking for fine dining, Victoria & Albert’s in the Magic Kingdom Resort Area is a place you cannot miss. The dining room is warmly lit with freshly-cut flowers adding to the romantic atmosphere. The menu consists of caviar, lobster, rohan duck, elk tenderloin and Kobe-style beef.
At Winter Park, Hamilton’s Kitchen presents a traditional Southern cuisine with a twist, consisting of pork steamed buns, wild halibut, shepherd’s pie and braised short rib. The restaurant was named after Hamilton Holt, the 8th president of Rollins College, who would tell people “if you can find a chair, you’re welcome in my kitchen”, and that reflects on the style of the restaurant where you can find mismatched chairs dotted around.
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Grab a bite at Domu, a modern Japanese restaurant serving authentic ramen and small Asian plates. You can find the restaurant at Orlando’s East End Market, where the atmosphere is laid back and the staff are always friendly.
Black Bean Deli is a Cuban deli serving traditional cuisine for over 15 years in three locations around Orlando: Mills 50 District, Winter Park and Amway Center. With low prices and big portions, the food is guaranteed to satisfy your hunger. The menu includes empanadas, Cuban sandwiches and of course rice, beans and plantains. Every day of the week a special dish is served, such as ropa vieja and masa de puerco frita.
Although not exactly different, it’s definitely worth checking out the world’s largest McDonald’s on International Drive. At around 19,000 square feet and three stories high, the restaurant has stools facing the kitchen so you can sit and watch the food being prepared. There’s also a 30-foot tall statue of Ronald McDonald, an arcade and a climbing structure for the kids. Apart from its usual menu of burgers and fries, this McDonald’s also serves omelets, sandwiches, customizable pastas and pizzas (cooked in a real brick over), as well as Belgian waffles and deluxe sundaes.
If you’re looking for fun things things to do in Orlando, you can have a lot of fun learning about art and culture around the city.
At the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art in Winter Park you can see the largest collection of Louis Comfort Tiffany’s works such as jewelry, art glass, windows and paintings. The museum also includes late 19th-century American paintings, art pottery and decorative art.
Free to get in, the Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins college is Florida’s first college museum to be accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and it houses Florida’s finest collections of art, including Orlando’s only collection of the European Old Master paintings.
The Orlando Museum of Art echoes the growth of art and culture in Florida with 12 exhibitions on-site and 13 exhibitions off-site annually, art lectures, studio classes, video programmes and gallery tours. The museum’s mission is to inspire passion, creativity and intellectual curiosity through art.
Learn all about chocolate at the Chocolate Museum & Cafe. You will learn all about the history of where chocolate comes from and how it’s made. You’ll also have the chance to try the best selection of chocolates from around the world and see 25 chocolate sculptures of some of the world’s most famous people and landmarks, such as the Taj Mahal, Barack Obama, Mount Rushmore and many more.
Hit the theme parks
No list of fun things to do in Orlando would be complete without visiting some of the world’s most famous theme parks.
Disney World is perhaps the best-known theme park in the world with four parks and two water parks encompassing 40 square miles of Central Florida. Some of the best and most famous rides in Disney World include Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, Avatar Flight of Passage, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and the brand new Star Wars attraction: Galaxy’s Edge.
Universal Orlando Resort is incredible fun for those who love Hollywood’s blockbusters; the rides are all based on famous films and television shows. Universal Orlando Resort has two theme parks and one water park, where you can find amazing rides such as E.T. Adventure, The Simpsons Ride, Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, Jurassic Park River Adventure and Men in Black Alien Attack.
At Seaworld Orlando, which is best known for its animal attractions, you can also enjoy amazing rollercoasters. Rides here include Manta, Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin, Kraken and Journey to Atlantis. You will even be able to interact with animals by feeding them and learning how to take care of them.
Younger kids might enjoy Legoland at Winter Haven. Based on the famous building blocks, the park has a whopping 13 lands to be explored and all the rides are made of Lego bricks! Children can get their ‘driving license’ at the Junior Driving School, ride The Grand Carousel, visit a replica of US cities at Miniland USA, refresh themselves at Duplo Splash & Play and conquer The Dragon rollercoaster ride!
The family-owned Fun Spot America in Central Florida is ideal for those who love classic rides such as the carousels, tea cups, go-karting and arcades. You can also find the Headrush 360, Screamer and the Freedom Flyer.
Ready for your fun Orlando vacation?
Book with Top Villas where you can find a wide range of vacation homes in Orlando. Our villas and condos are ready to book through our simple online system, or if you want a quote or more information before booking, you can submit an enquiry and one of our luxury villas specialists will be on hand to assist.
What’s more, our guest experience assistants can provide you with amazing travel extras to make your vacation even more special such as attraction tickets, private chefs and airport transfers.
Need any more advice about fun things to do in Orlando? Just ask and our travel experts will be happy to help.
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