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Most visitors spend their time in southwest Orlando, whether ride-hopping in one of the three theme park complexes (Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, and SeaWorld) or networking at the Orange County Convention Center on International Drive. Yet Orlando offers far more, from leafy bricked streets in downtown Orlando’s historic districts to the ritzy golf communities of Dr. Phillips and the old-money hideaway of Winter Park.

Orlando Neighborhoods

Lake Buena Vista

A Walt Disney Company-controlled municipality that holds everything belonging to the kingdom that Mickey built, Lake Buena Vista encompasses the four Walt Disney World theme parks, the Downtown Disney dining/shopping/entertainment complex, two water parks, golf courses, and a couple dozen hotels.

International Drive

Lined with conference hotels, I-Drive, as it's often called, also overflows with family fare, including mini golf courses, interesting indoor attractions, and chain eateries. Universal Orlando’s two parks and SeaWorld’s three parks are nearby.


Experience vintage small-town American life in a master-planned community that was originally developed by Disney. Tidy homes cluster around a pedestrian-friendly lakeside central plaza filled with boutiques and restaurants.

Downtown Orlando

Escape the theme parks by heading to the city's heart. There’s little to see in the urban center, but mere blocks beyond the high-rises you’ll find 43-acre Lake Eola Park, the hip Thornton Park neighborhood, the charming College Park vicinity, a Vietnamese district, and the Loch Haven cultural center (a bit north).

College Park / Lake Ivanhoe

Go antiquing near the lake or make like Jack Kerouac, one of the area's most famous former denizens, and chill in this unpretentious 'hood’ near downtown.

Dr. Phillips

An affluent residential area located between I-Drive and Disney World at Sand Lake Road, aka Restaurant Row, it's the central destination of choice for dining away from the theme-park crowds. A series of attractive high-end strip malls house local favorites and upscale chain eateries.


Just southeast of Disney, the city of Kissimmee (pronounced kiss-IM-ee) includes a load of budget motels and a charming historic town center. Themed dinner theaters and downscale tourist attractions make the destination a bit cheesy.

Winter Park

Charm that feels more Southern than subtropical abounds in this historic spot, where live oaks drip Spanish moss and many streets are paved with brick. Browse the Park Avenue and Hannibal Square shops, take a boat tour, or visit the city’s three art museums – one with a significant Tiffany glass collection.

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