Having just touched down from the amazing city myself I wanted to share with you seven amazing and alternative ideas and things to do when travelling to Orlando, other than the obvious theme parks!
When you think of Orlando Florida thrilling rides, dancing film characters and wild water flumes spring to mind. The home of Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and Wet ‘n’ Wild, Florida is the go-to destination for frivolous fun. It’s often perceived that the theme parks and brightly lit board walks are the sole reason as to why people travel to Orlando but having spent just short of week in the fun city I can assure you there is so much more to do than ride!
1. Shop with Divine Discounts
Orlando is home to some of the best shopping in all of America with a number of sizeable centres and two huge outlet malls. Orlando International Premium Outlets & Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets are where you will be able to buy an amazing range of items from clothing to home-wear for a fraction of the recommended retail price, all year round. The famous outlet stores are a great place to swing by when in Orlando, with over 300 stores between the two, you’ll be spoilt for choice on where to make the savings. As a discount example, at Vineland I picked up an All Saints jacket for $118 which I had seen priced at £660.00 the previous week in a London shop. With an amazing mix of designers such as Prada and Burberry and some great high street stores such as Converse and Gap, if you are headed out to Orlando the premium outlets are not to be missed!
2. Enjoy the atmosphere on Park Avenue
Park Avenue is probably my favourite street in Orlando. With a really cool central American laid back, friendly feel the street is lined with cute boutique stores, cafes and restaurants. I spent just a few days in Orlando and walking down Park Avenue was the first time I really felt like I was in the USA. I highly recommend Boca for grabbing a bite to eat, the food is great, service impeccable and the cocktail list awesome! Girls, if you have funds left after shopping with Simon’s, make sure you pop into Florena, it’s one of the most beautiful clothing and jewellery shops I’ve ever seen with cute one-of-a-kind designs and a signature candle that you’ll want to make room in your suitcase for!
Park Avenue has much to offer, so much so that it leads me on to my next two suggestions for alternative things to do in Orlando.
3. Visit the Morse Museum
For those of you who love art and are thinking of travelling to Orlando, the Morse Museum is an absolute must. The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art houses the most comprehensive collection of the works of Louis Comfort Tiffany found anywhere in the world and the modern building is filled with mesmerisingly magical stain glass windows and art designs. You can wander through at your leisure and then continue on to the quaint collection of streets that make up Orlando’s Winter Park.
4. Go Wine Tasting at The Wine Room
Arguably the best way to spend an evening in Orlando is at The Wine Room, an electronic wine tasting store. You add credit to a store card and work your way through hundreds of wines from around the world, self serving your glass by the dollar 😉 There’s a lively outdoor space to enjoy your tipple and snacks, including delicatessen cheeses, can be ordered to compliment your wine. There is something so quintessential about the atmosphere in this area and to enjoy the spirited vibe of it all, whilst doing a ‘Vino world tour’ is, in my opinion, pretty darn marvellous!
5. Snack in East End Market
Somewhere a little different to your average hang-out in Orlando is East End Market. The cute collection of indoor food stalls and hand crafted shops are all locally sourced and completely unique. The market is the perfect place to spend a few hours soaking up local treats and talents. The small centre also hosts a bakery called Gideon’s that has been described by many, as the best cookie house in the whole of the USA! My intolerance to gluten got in the way of me trying it but the group of lovelies I was with all attested that it was indeed the best!
6. Wander through the Botanical Gardens
If you are craving some green in-between theme park visits thenThe Harry P. Leu Gardens are for you! The 50 acre expanse of semi-tropical and tropical gardens make for one of the prettiest walks in Orlando. Wander at your own leisure through the lush vegetation and escape the hustle and bustle of the city for a few hours whilst looking up at the towering trees in awe. There’s also an opportunity to hang out with some of the Florida locals as crocodiles, otters and snakes are all spotted here.
7. Spend a Secret Evening in Downtown
If you are looking for a great night out without having to duck around the children and teenagers from the theme parks then head to where the locals drink in downtown. There’s a number of great bars and restaurants in the area and there’s understandably more of an adult vibe on the cobbled streets. For a real ‘wow-factor’ evening head to Mather’s Social Gathering, the speak easy bar is a must-see and is especially beautiful at christmas time! As it’s a speak easy (a secret bar) I don’t want to give too much away but if you are in town be sure to check it out for yourself, it’s located on 30 S. Magnolia Avenue 😉
To see all of these seven suggestions come to life check out this video:
Have you been to Orlando? Comment below on where you would suggest to go, I fully intend to head back next year 😉
I was in Orlando as part of a group press trip. A big thank-you to Simon Shopping Destinations for inviting me to this four night trip in Orlando and also to Visit Orlando for showing me around their amazing city!
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