Orlando offers so much more than just theme parks. With beautiful scenery and all kinds of activities to try, you’ll find plenty of things to do in Orlando besides the theme parks
Go back in time at the kid-friendly district of Old Town, pit your wits against a treetop zip-line ride, or head out to Kissimmee’s swamps where you can get up close to alligators.
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Family things to do in Orlando besides theme parks
1. Go back in time
Located in Kissimmee, Old Town will make you feel like you’ve gone back in time. Styled as a classic old Florida town, it boasts more than 60 unique shops and restaurants, plus free weekly entertainment and attractions. In addition, there’s an amazing 86-foot-high Ferris wheel, an exciting family fun center, and it hosts colorful weekly car cruises. You can check out our guide to Old Town here.
2. Stay in a themed vacation home
The fun doesn’t have to stop when you get home. With Top Villas you can stay in incredible villas that have themed bedrooms, movie rooms and games rooms! Reunion Resort 9000 is home to the ultimate in entertainment with its incredible movie room, huge pool and themed games rooms and bedrooms.
3. Get your heart racing
Although it’s a theme park, Fun Spot America is a little different as it’s the only family-owned and run amusement park in Orlando. Located in Kissimmee, it has exciting rides and attractions for the whole family including go-karting, arcades, carousels, tea cups and many more!
4. Rent a Polaris Slingshot
Experience the ultimate joyride and rent a unique Polaris Slingshot vehicle. This car/motorbike hybrid is super cool, and you’ll love feeling the breeze in your hair as you take to the open road in this 3-wheeled roadster. Get ready to be the center of attention!
5. Take wake-boarding lessons
Head to Windermere and let Florida Ski School teach you how to wakeboard. Even if you’ve never done it before, you’ll be in good hands with a range of individual and group lessons – starting with dry land instructions, moving on to the boom bar, short rope and finally behind the boat. This is definitely one to try if you want to learn a new skill.
6. Fly in a real combat aircraft
If you’ve ever wanted to fly in a fighter jet, this is your chance! Make the hour-and-a-half trip from Orlando to Tampa’s Fly Fighter Jet Center, where you can ride in an L-39 Albatros military jet right above the Gulf of Mexico. You won’t need any flight experience to get on board, and a flight instructor will be with you at all times.
7. Play mini golf
Congo River Golf is Orlando’s award-winning miniature golf experience. Located at various locations around the city, you can bring the whole family to tee their way through tropical rainforests, tranquil waterfalls and mysterious caves. As if that’s not enough, you can even feed the live alligators at the parks!
8. Go jet skiing
One of the top Orlando attractions for water lovers. You can get your heart pumping and hire a jet ski from Extreme Jet Ski of Orlando. Located 4 miles from Disney, this place lets you take an exciting ride across the lake for an amazing adventure.
9. Hit an epic shot
Located at Universal’s CityWalk, Hollywood Drive-In Golf is Orlando’s premiere miniature golf experience with vintage sci-fi and horror movie themes. It has two family-friendly courses, where you can putt through the open mouth of a giant space worm, under a giant spider and around an enormous alien robot!
10. Speed your way into victory
Visit the fastest indoor go-kart track in Central Florida at I-Drive NASCAR. Open daily, the track has 8 turns, 3 hairpins, 1 chicane and “The Senna S”, and each race is 8 minutes long. After channeling your inner racer, relax and grab something to eat at the trackside restaurant The Grandstand, serving all-American grub and draft beer.
11. Solve impossible games
For a fully immersive and innovative escape game experience, look no further – Lockbusters Escape Game tests your problem-solving skills and takes you on five unique challenges that you must solve in 60 minutes, such as the Pirate Adventure, Bank Heist and The Collector. It’s located on International Drive.
12. Eat and have fun at International Drive
The Main Event Entertainment complex on International Drive is your top destination for dining and entertainment, with state-of-the-art bowling, billiards, virtual video games, high ropes adventure courses and multi-level virtual laser tag. You also enjoy dining choices that cover everything from fast and casual meals to chef-inspired dishes.
13. Learn to paddle-board
Have you ever wanted to paddle-board? Paddle-board Orlando offers paddle classes for beginners, as well as rentals and tours at Winter Park, Butler and Conway, taking you around the most beautiful waters in Central Florida.
14. Take on a tall challenge at Tree Trek Adventure Park
For the thrill seeker in you, Orlando Tree Trek Adventure Park in Kissimmee offers 97 unique challenges to push you to your limit! Their elevated outdoor obstacle courses feature Tarzan swings, hanging nets and a giant 425-foot zip line!
15. Bounce around on trampolines
Kids love AirHeads Trampoline Arena, featuring 107 trampolines! Not only can they jump around ’til their heart’s content, they can also play trampoline basketball and air dodgeball! Times vary depending on the time of the year.
16. Go on a wild ride
For an all-out-fun experience, visit one of Orlando’s most unique entertainment destinations, Andretti Indoor Karting & Games. You and the kids will not know where to start, with tons of things to do like karting, ziplining, laser tag, bowling and plenty of arcade games.
17. Interact with animals
Get in touch with nature at Brevard Zoo over on the east coast. It’s home to more than 900 animal species from around the world. Guests can pet rhinos, hop with kangaroos and even kayak next to giraffes! It’s a zoo like no other.
18. Indulge yourself at the Chocolate Factory Orlando
Make like Charlie and take a tour of Chocolate Kingdom Factory Adventure Tour – a real-life chocolate factory! You’ll learn all about how chocolate is made, from a bean into a bar, assisted by your personal chocolate tour guide. You’ll also have the opportunity to customize your own chocolate bar.
19. Take a safari trek
A little over an hour away from Orlando is Giraffe Ranch. The whole family can embark on a safari expedition through 47 acres of rolling countryside. This hands-on interactive experience includes giraffe feeding, camel petting and more.
20. Learn to clown around
If your family want to learn a new skill, why not visit Orlando Circus School? You can participate in unique classes and activities like learning the flying trapeze! Lessons start with basic tricks such as swinging, and progress to more impressive tricks and catches.
21. Play ball
Visit the WhirlyDome on International Drive for a unique game of WhirlyBall – a mix of basketball, hockey and jai-alai played while riding a bumper car! You can also play arcade games and laser tag with your crew!
Sightseeing in Orlando
22. Explore natural Orlando attractions
If you want to explore Orlando by water then you must take an airboat tour on its lakes. Wild Florida Airboats takes you through an animal park where you can watch an alligator-handling show before taking a boat trip through the Everglades, while Spirit of the Swamp Airboat Rides takes you through the marshes and swamps on an alligator-spotting tour!
23. Kick back and take in the artistic atmosphere
The Audubon Park Garden District is a stylish suburb known for its hip shopping area, coffee shops, beer bars and bakeries. You can stop here to relax, shop and admire its residential streets lined with well-maintained 1920s and mid-century homes.
24. See local art
Take in art from local and international artists at the City Arts Factory, the largest collective of art galleries in Downtown Orlando. Exhibitions are rotated monthly and there’s free admission Tuesdays to Saturdays.
25. Admire exceptional architecture
Also known as the Old Orlando Railroad Depot, Church Street Station is a beautiful historical event venue, home to some of Orlando’s top restaurants, bars as well as live entertainment and events. Don’t forget to take your camera, this building is definitely one to remember!
26. Take a tour of the city
Gray Line Orlando takes you on tours in and around the city. If you’re in the mood for all things space, you can take a Kennedy Space Center tour on the east coast, or if you want to explore Orlando, there are plenty of tours to suit your needs. Prices and timings vary depending on which tour you want to take.
27. Relax in beautiful gardens
Orlando’s most beautiful and popular gardens, the Harry P. Leu Gardens are home to an amazing 50-acre botanical oasis. You can bring the family to enjoy picnics, movie nights and story time sessions among the stunning seasonal blooms. The gardens are open daily.
28. Hike among nature
If you fancy a hike, visit the Tibet-Butler Nature Preserve in Windermere. The park is a big, beautiful nature center that offers you a wilderness sanctuary away from the hustle and bustle of Orlando. The walks are lovely and gentle, perfect for the whole family.
Unique things to do in Orlando besides theme parks
29. Watch a rocket launch
An hour’s drive from Orlando, The Kennedy Space Center is the place for those who love space. Not only can you get up close to a real space shuttle and learn about NASA’s astronauts and missions, but if you time your trip right, you’ll also be able to watch a live rocket launch!
30. Have a magical day out
Located in Old Town, the Great Magic Hall features magic shows, as well as rooms exploring the history and artistry of magic. It’s way more than a regular magic show! You’ll find it at the Happy Days Family Fun Center at Old Town.
31. Look inside the Titanic
At the Titanic Artifact Exhibition you can step inside a recreation of the famous ship and see the recovered items from the wreckage. Housed on International Drive, it’s home to a full-scale imitation of the ship’s grand staircase, a first-class parlor suite, the boilers and the promenade deck, as well as a 3-ton section of the ship’s hull.
32. Visit an upside-down mansion
One of the top things to do in Orlando, WonderWorks is an indoor amusement park inside an upside-down mansion on International Drive. You will be wowed by its six interactive wonder zones where you’ll find out about natural disasters, physical challenges, light and sound, space discovery, imagination and art!
Things to do in Orlando besides theme parks at night
33. Try an evening kayaking tour
For one of the best after-dark activities in Orlando, try an exciting bioluminescent kayaking tour. Your night will feel extra magical as you kayak through Florida’s bioluminescent waters in a clear kayak for a truly unforgettable experience.
34. See inside the mafia world
Experience the mysterious world of old gangland Chicago at Capone’s Dinner & Show. Shrouded in secrecy, you’ll arrive at the location in south Orlando, knock 3 times on the door and give a secret password before gaining entry to the fabulous show featuring singing, dancing and gangster action. And let’s not forget the fantastic Italian-style buffet.
35. Check out the sights on a helicopter tour
Take a fantastic tour of Orlando and see the city like never before on a ride with Orlando Heli Tours. Choose from a variety of tours including the Disney Spectacular, the Kissimmee Tour or the Celebrity Grand Tour.
36. Watch a gig at a famous venue
The House of Blues at Disney’s Springs is one of the most famous nightlife venues in the US. If you want to unwind and watch a live concert, this is the place to be. You can catch everything from EDM and pop to acoustic artists and thrash metal as well as blues, of course, all inside this impressively huge venue.
37. Go bowling
Head to Kings Dining & Entertainment on International Drive for an evening of fun and delicious food. Here you can dine, play bowling and party among 30,000 sq ft of space! The diner serves an American menu of burgers, wings and sliders.
38. Watch a medieval duel
The Medieval Times Dinner Show takes you back to a time of knights and feasts. Watch the live 2-hour medieval jousting tournament featuring real weapons, and dine on a delicious history-inspired 4-course meal. Shows are put on twice daily.
39. Catch a family theater show
The Mad Cow Theatre presents compelling works of theatre for the whole family. You can enjoy both classic and contemporary plays from the best of American and world literature. Prices and times are dependent on shows.
Things to do in Orlando besides theme parks for adults
40. Watch the Blue Man Group
For time away from the kids, check out a Blue Man Group show at Universal Orlando Resort. It’s a multi-sensory experience with comedy, theater, concert and a dance party all in one!
41. Shop ’til you drop
Fancy upgrading your closet? Head to Central Florida’s largest shopping center, The Florida Mall. You’ll find a choice of more than 250 retail, dining and entertainment options, including outlets like Guess and Abercrombie & Fitch.
42. Try beer around Orlando
Want to taste the best brews in Orlando? Hop On! Brewery Tours take you on a flavorful tour of breweries across Downtown Orlando including Bowigens Beer Company, Castle Church Brewing and Broken Cauldron Taproom – to name a few.
43. See the Orlando Ballet
Visit the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts at the right time of year to catch a show by the Orlando Ballet. If you go in December you’ll catch a fantastic performance of The Nutcracker. Shows vary depending on the season.
44. Laugh the night away
Laugh your way into the late hours at Orlando Improv Comedy Club, where you’ll not only catch the best names in stand-up comedy, but you’ll also be able to check out rising stars and open mic nights every Wednesday. Prices vary depending on the acts.
45. Cheer on a basketball game
Head to the Amway Center to watch local heroes, Orlando Magic. If you like basketball, you’ll enjoy cheering on this legendary team. You might even catch a game with one of your other favorite NBA teams.
Free things to do in Orlando besides theme parks
46. See an ancient tree
Hike, eat and admire the numerous trees that Big Tree Park has to offer. Start with a short stroll along the boardwalk, taking in the forest – one of the trees here is more than a thousand years old! The park is open 7 days a week from 8am until sunset.
47. Learn about art
Visit Cornell’s Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College to add a touch of culture to your day. You can expect to see examples of ancient art, artifacts, contemporary art, rotating exhibitions and ongoing programs.
48. Discover Disney Springs
If you’re in the mood for an eclectic mix of unique shops, one-of-a-kind restaurants and lively entertainment head to Disney Springs. Here you’ll find gifts like scented candles, delicious food from all over the world, live entertainment and beautiful sights such as the Riverboat Square and Waterview Park.
49. Take a spooky tour
For a spooky experience, join a Greenwood Cemetery Moonlight Walking Tour for an historical walk around the cemetery. Guides will take you to visit 100 graves of notable people in Orlando’s history.
50. Discover Winter Park’s secret garden
Kraft Azalea Garden is a stunning 5-acre secret garden, the perfect place to recharge your batteries. The park overlooks Lake Maitland and has a beautiful dock leading up to it. There are plenty of benches and picnic areas.
51. Catch a film alfresco
Pack up your blankets and a picnic and head to Central Park for Popcorn Flicks in the Park. On the second Thursday of every month, Enzian theater puts on a completely free screening of family friendly movies for everyone to enjoy, so don’t miss out!
Cheap things to do in Orlando besides theme parks
52. Learn about African art
Looking for interesting Orlando attractions? See the largest collection of rare African bronze sculptures in the world at the Bronze Kingdom African Art Gallery. Discover the history of the continent and check out more than 2,000 one-of-a-kind art pieces from across Africa.
53. Make a splash at Orlando’s natural springs
Cool off at one of Central Florida’s natural springs, where you can swim, snorkel and canoe. Blue Spring State Park is a 30-minute car ride from Orlando – it’s a designated manatee refuge in winter, so you might spot a few if you’re visiting then. The park is open daily from 8am until sundown.
54. Watch a film
Enzian is a non-profit arthouse cinema. It’s perfect if you are on a budget and want to do something indoors. The movie theater shows everything from the classics to family friendly cartoons to live theater and blockbuster hits. If you visit at the right time, you can also attend its many festivals, such as the Florida Film Festival and Reel Representation.
55. Get launched 390-feet above ground with Slingshot Orlando
Located on International Drive, Magical Midway is packed full of thrilling rides! It’s home to one of the largest arcades in Orlando, as well as go-kart tracks, bumper cars, a high swing ride and the Sling Shot, which catapults you 390-feet above ground at the force of 3-5 Gs! Entry to Magical Midway is free.
56. See a child-friendly play
Take the kids to the Orlando Repertory Theatre to see entertaining and educational plays for a younger audience. Expect to see shows such as Seuss and Shrek The Musical. Admission is free for children under 3 years old.
57. Explore the mysteries of the universe
Take a hands-on approach to science at the Orlando Science Center. You and your family can explore the wonders of space in the ‘Our Planet’ area, observe science in motion in the ‘Kinetic Zone’, learn about prehistoric predators in DinoDigs, enjoy giant-screen films and more, all included in general admission!
58. Have an evening full of laughs with Orlando Improv
If you’re up for some laughs, head to SAK Comedy Lab, Orlando’s best-rated live improv comedy club. Some of the best American comedy writers and performers have performed here and you will not want to miss the next generation of comedic talent. Ticket prices vary depending on the show.
59. Ride around historical towns
Take a bicycle tour of Central Florida’s historic towns with West Orange Trail Bikes and Blades. You can explore Orlando’s scenic trails and towns checking out the sights as you go.
60. Enjoy the sights and culture of Winter Park
Located 20 minutes away from Orlando, Winter Park is known for its beautiful parks and outdoor spaces. Visit Central Park, an 11-acre park with stunning fountains and a beautiful rose garden, or Lake Osceola, where you can enjoy a scenic boat tour across Winter Park’s chain of lakes. The city also boasts galleries like Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens.
Where to stay in Orlando
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