We all know that the fantastic theme parks that call Orlando home triumph on almost every must-visit places list in Orlando. But, there’s so much more to this great city besides its theme parks.
For starters, Orlando has beautiful parks, nearby beaches a short drive away, and a bustling downtown. Similarly, the restaurant scene in this city is impressive as it offers every type of cuisine. Then there are its museums, clubs, and events that can keep you busy for days.
So, without much further ado, let’s dive deep and look at the top 10 must-visit places in Orlando besides theme parks.
1. Universal Orlando Resort
It is a legendary resort that has everything you can imagine. From witches and wizards to superheroes straight from the comic books. The Universal Orlando Resort is excellent for film fans, kids, and adults alike. You also have the option of staying on-site. This allows you priority entry to the park – an hour before other visitors are allowed. Imagine the bliss of skipping queues and having the whole place to yourself.
The resort is home to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, the Transformers, and Spiderman. There so much to do that you could virtually immerse yourself in endless fun-filled experience.
Gatorland is not for the faint of heart. It is a theme park, and a wildlife preserve at the same time that offers you the opportunity of rolling up your sleeves and wrestle an alligator! There’s still a lot to do if you don’t like the idea of grappling a gator. You can try their Screamin’ Gator Zip Line – a 30mph speed ride that takes you over the park’s Nile Crocodiles. Also, you can enroll in their Trainer-for-a-Day program, which will allow you to spend some time feeding baby alligators.
3. Morimoto Asia
Consider yourself lucky if you land a reservation at this place. Morimoto Asia is an establishment from the Japanese Iron Chef himself, Masaharu Morimoto. It is a two-level building that offers delicious meals that are a treat for your taste buds.
The Morimoto is one of the best Pan-Asian restaurants in the country, and a must-visit for individuals who like to try different cuisines. Furthermore, a significant attraction of this restaurant is the exhibition kitchen, where you see expert chefs prepare Peking duck and dim sum.
4. Winter Park
Winter Park has become Orlando’s high-end spot. Located a short drive towards the North, this park hosts several independent retailers and famous restaurants. The park covers 10-blocks in the area and is beautifully lined with oak trees. Moreover, you’ll find 140+ shops and boutiques that sell everything from unique footwear to pet-friendly restaurants.
This fantastic destination also hosts the Winter Park History Museum and world-class dining options such as Prato and the Ravenous Pig.
5. Orlando Museum of Art
If you are an art lover, then the Orlando Museum of Art is the right place for you. The museum is home to several permanent art collections. These collections include African and contemporary art along with the famous “Art of the Ancient Americas.” Initially, the museum was founded in 1924, and it was aimed to develop a better understanding of art within people.
Orlando is home to America’s most excellent and most vibrant art scenes. In this museum, you’ll get to check out OMA’s array of contemporary and ancient art. Moreover, the museum is famous for hosting the world’s most recognized collection of ceramics, Tiffany glass, and jewelry.
6. Thornton Park
Thornton Park is where people go for a fun night out. It is a combination of exclusive bars and restaurants that are around the East Central Boulevard. If you are a fan of laid-back dinners and drinks, consider visiting Graffiti Junktion. Whereas, if you like wine, you can visit the Lake Eola Wine Co. Similarly, for beer lovers, the World of Beer is the place to go.
7. Forever Florida
This one is for nature-loving thrill-seekers. It is a wildlife conservation area covering 4,700-acres. Located an hour southeast of Orlando, Forever Florida offers a chance to explore the wild without much hassle.
Forever Florida comes with different adrenaline-packed activities. From ziplining to horseback riding, you can enjoy whatever suits you. Most people like to visit the 1300 ft zipline and the 70-foot freefall. Similarly, people want to visit is the greater reserve, which hosts big cats, black bears, deer’s, and alligators.
8. Revolution Off-Road
The Revolution Off-Road offers different off-roading experiences. From getting behind the wheel of an all-terrain vehicle to driving a dune buggy – this place has it all. Located just 22 miles west of Downtown Orlando, this place is all about off-road fun. However, if you don’t like the idea of getting filthy, you can try out other options, including fishing and archery lessons.
9. Renninger’s Twin Markets
If you are looking for a cheaper shopping option, consider paying a visit to these twin markets. Located just 30 minutes away from the city, they offer a plethora of different shopping options. You can stop at these markets by the weekend and shop among the antique barn crammed with treasures. Similarly, you can head to the flea market and buy things at a bargain. Also, don’t forget to try some of the local eats from the farmer’s market. Divine.
This beautiful city (on the northwest of Lake Tohopekaliga) is located just south of Orlando. If you are looking for a peaceful getaway, consider heading to this chill city. Kissimmee is a natural playground with a lush lakefront park. This park features playgrounds, airboat rides, and walking paths. Similarly, the park recently added 32-mile Shingle Creek Regional Trail to boost its mountain biking scene.
The Takeaway: There’s Much More to Orlando Than the Happiest Theme Park on Earth
You might love the idea of a Florida getaway over the holidays. But, don’t let the expense of visiting the happiest theme park hold you back. You can spend one day in that park to satisfy the kiddos. Then, branch out and explore all the rest of the culture that Central Florida offers.
You will be pleasantly surprised at all the budget-friendly family fun that you’ll find. Also, feel free to take advantage of our special Orlando hotel rates through our travel partners–unbeatable value on holiday travel!