Orlando, FL is known as the theme park capital of the world. Millions of people visit Central Florida every year to enjoy the theme parks (Disney World, Universal Studios, Sea World, LEGOLAND, and Busch Gardens in Tampa). While these alone make for a great vacation, if you want a break from the theme parks there are also other fun places in the city to visit.
Here are the top picks for things to do in Orlando
International Drive (aka I-Drive) literally has everything you didn’t know you needed. This road stretches for 11 miles and there is a trolley service and public bus options to take you around. For a complete list of all the shops, hotels, restaurants, and attractions check out I-Drive Resort Area website.
Orlando EYE and I-Drive 360
Located on I-Drive, is the new Orlando EYE. This 400 foot Ferris Wheel opened in 2015 and features beautiful views of the Orlando area. The whole complex that was built around the EYE is known as I-Drive 360. This area features a Madame Toussad’s, dining, shopping, nightlife, and other smaller attractions. All of the information and pricing can be found here.
While Fun Spot still might be a little “theme park-y” it is included on this list because it is free to go into, and it brings back memories of going to the carnival as a kid. They have some crazy rides there that we are too scared to go on, but are a lot of fun to watch! There are also many family friendly rides, and classic attractions such as Go-Karts. There is a Fun Spot in Orlando and one in Kissimmee.
Connected to the Fun Spot Kissimmee is Old Town. This is a really fun place to walk around. It brings back the 1950s-style “Main Street USA” with shops, restaurants, and entertainment. Every Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening there is a cruise down Main Street where people can bring their American-made classic cars to show off. There is no cost to go into Old Town either and there is plenty of free parking in the surrounding area. Check out their website for more information and the various events throughout the year.
We love going to Farmer’s Markets. They are a great way to experience some local flavor and try new things. In Orlando there is a great Farmer’s Market every Sunday morning near the beautiful Lake Eola. Here you can get local produce, handmade jewelry, artwork, and lots more. Visit the Orlando Farmers Market website for the location and vendors.
Bok Tower Gardens
This one is actually outside of Orlando, but is on our list because it is just a beautiful and relaxing place to visit. The Bok Tower Gardens are in Lake Wales and features the famous Singing Tower. There are also gardens, walking trails, The Pinewood Estate, and more. Their website has directions and ticket information.
Lake Eola Park
Lake Eola Park is located in downtown Orlando and is a gorgeous area to walk around. There is a 0.9 mile walking path around the lake and you can rent swan-shaped paddle boats. There are numerous special events here throughout the year, so check out the website for more information.
Orlando sure has lots of great shopping. There are 2 upscale malls: The Mall at Millenia and The Florida Mall. The Mall at Millenia is a very beautiful shopping center to walk around. There also are 2 great Orlando Premium Outlet Malls. The outlet mall on International Drive has a Victoria’s Secret outlet store. Both outlet malls have Disney stores with discounted merchandise as well. Check out this website for more information.
What are your favorite non-theme park things to do in Orlando?