Orlando is the third largest metropolitan area in the state of Florida. The city, known as the “Theme Park Capital of the World,” is one of the most visited cities in the nation. While theme parks are among the many tourist attractions in Orlando, there are plenty of other cool things to do in the city.
10. Sea World
One of the most well known animal parks in the world, Sea World is well worth the stop. Approximately 5,000,000 people visit the park each year. Attractions include a number of animal exhibits, shows, amusement park rides, and special activities, such as their dolphin encounter. The park has restaurants and gift shops, including shops that sell items visitors might need for the day. Guests can take tours, interact with some of the animals, and learn about conservation. Hours vary by date. Hours of operation can be looked up by date at the website. Tickets are available online, as well.
9. The Orlando Eye
If you would enjoy taking in a view of the city’s skyline from above, you’ll want to check out The Orlando Eye. The Eye takes guests up in a 400 foot Ferris wheel inside 30 private glass cars. The cars offer a 360-degree view of the city. Guests are treated to a 4D film before the ride. Visitors can choose among a number of ticket options. The VIP ticket, ideal as part of a romantic weekend, includes a glass of champagne or a soft drink, and allows the ticketholders to avoid waiting in line. Tickets can be purchased online.
8. Universal Studios
If you like movies, you’ll want to pay Universal Studios a visit. The park is jam packed with things to do. Visitors can ride movie-themed roller coasters, explore movie sets, and participate in 3d games. Enjoy live shows, movies, live music, and shows specifically for kids. Visitors can purchase tickets for special events packages that include hotel accommodations. The park has something fun for people of all ages. There are even bars and nightclubs for the adult crowd. Customers can choose from a variety of ticket options, which are available to purchase online.
7. Artegon Marketplace
If shopping is what you like to do, pay a visit to the Artegon Marketplace. This mall, located at 5250 International Drive, has 65 stores and services, including Bass Pro Shops, Ron Jon Surf Shop, Cinemark Theaters, and Gods & Monsters. This mall is special because it features distinctive shops and handmade merchandise in its Artisan Marketplace, as well as more familiar mall stores. The Village at Artegon Marketplace has 165 artisans making local goods and food. The mall also has an indoor playground and a glow-in-the-dark miniature golf course, and hosts numerous events.
6. Chocolate Kingdom – Factory Adventure Tour
One of the more unusual things to do with family and friends in Orlando is to take the Factory Adventure Tour at Chocolate Kingdom. The 45-minute tour takes visitors on the journey chocolate takes from the cacao tree to the chocolate bar. For those who would like an interactive experience, the factory offers a Chocolate Making Experience, a Wine and Chocolate Pairing Experience, or a Chocolate Fountain Galore package, all for groups. The factory is open from 10:30 AM to 6:00 PM every day. Tickets can be purchased online.
5. Harry P. Leu Gardens
The Harry P. Leu Gardens, located at 1920 North Forest Avenue, is a botanical garden spread out across 50 acres inside the city. Guests can stroll the trails under the trees and past lakes on their own, or take advantage of a variety of tours. Amenities at the park include a museum, a gift shop, and a library. The venue hosts a number of events, both public and private. Visitors can take in an outdoor movie, or take a Beekeeping for Beginners class. The gardens are open every day except Christmas. There is an admission fee, but children 4 and under get in free, and the gardens schedule free days as well.
4. Lake Eola Park
Lake Eola Park, located downtown at 512 East Washington Street, is a popular area of events and recreation in the city. Visitors can rent paddleboats, feed the swans, or participate in events like the farmer’s market, which is held every Sunday. The park has several landmarks, including The Chinese Ting, the Japanese Rock Garden, war monuments, an amphitheater, and more. The Lake Eola Fountain is a famous landmark in the city. Every night at about 8:00 the fountain presents a light show set to music, running about six minutes.
3. CityArts Factory
CityArts Factory is an art collective of seven galleries located at 29 S Orange Ave. The collective features all local art in a wide variety of mediums. The non-profit organization displays art for viewing, and hosts’ public events, as well. Visitors can get refreshments at the beer, wine, and coffee bar while they are there, or visit the SAK Comedy Lab. The venue is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM, and features new exhibits each month. There is no admission charge, and they will validate your parking for you.
2. Church Street Station
Originally a railroad station, Church Street Station is a retail and entertainment complex today. The original depot, built in 1889, is still there. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. The district is made up of four buildings housing restaurants, bars, retail establishments, and entertainment venues. Rooms can be rented for private occasions. Located across the street from the Amway Event Center, it’s a great place to grab a bite with friends before a concert, or enjoy some nightlife afterwards. The station is a stop on the new Florida Sunrail line.
1. Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
One of the more uncommon attractions in the area is the Kennedy Space Center. Located just a little way outside the city, on Cape Canaveral, the center offers a number of exciting and interesting exhibitions and activities to visitors. See 3D images from the Hubble Space Telescope on a 5 story high IMAX screen, meet a veteran NASA astronaut, experience what it’s like to take off in a space shuttle in a simulated launch, and more. Kids will enjoy the Children’s Play Dome, which has lots of interactive, space-related activities. Tickets can be purchased at the box office. There is a fee for parking, but the center provides a kennel service for free.
These are some of the best places to visit in Orlando. Whether you enjoy shopping, checking out an art gallery, or strolling around a lake, there are plenty of things to do in this city. Those who are interested in the history of the city will find an abundance of beautiful historic sites and artifacts in the area.