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Theme park visitors and conventioneers comprise the bulk of tourists landing in Orlando, so obviously Disney, Universal, and SeaWorld are big draws. Be sure to make room in your agenda to experience Orlando’s other attractions, however, as museums and outdoor pursuits such as boating and hiking are also on the menu for visitors.

Things to do in Orlando

Antique Row/Ivanhoe Row

Scour the half-mile stretch of thrift stores and antique marts near Lake Ivanhoe for restored furniture, estate jewelry, and kitschy-cool collectibles. It's also home to Rock & Roll Heaven, a temple for vintage vinyl and jukebox 45s.

Orange Avenue between Colonial Dr. and Princeton St., FL,
Tags: family | shopping | expensive | things to do | antiques


With its new Aquatica, SeaWorld wows the water park crowd with live underwater creatures. Commerson’s dolphins frolic as visitors slide through enclosed tubes. While meandering along the lazy river called Loggerhead Lane, guests spot exotic fish swimming by. The attraction has cabanas, a kiddie area, and wave pools.

5800 Water Play Way, FL, 888-800-5447, www.aquaticabyseaworld.com
Tags: family | things to do | aquarium | water park

Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art

This museum is renowned for its collection of Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933) glass, including mosaics, lamps, pottery, and jewelry from every period in his life. Highlights: the Daffodil Terrace with glass daffodils atop 11-foot marble columns, and the Tiffany Chapel from the1893 Chicago World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, with its 16 mosaic columns and a 10-foot by 8-foot chandelier.

445 N. Park Ave., FL, 407-645-5311, www.morsemuseum.org
Tags: family | historic | art | things to do | culture

CityArts Factory

Instead of mouse ears, take home an original painting from a local artist at the Kiene/Quigley Community Gallery, or a landscape from Bret J. Donnelly Photography. This 20,000-square-foot visual and performing arts space also hosts free exhibitions within its multiple galleries and an artsy espresso bar.

29 S. Orange Ave., FL, 407-648-7060, www.cityartsfactory.com
Tags: shopping | smart splurge | art | things to do | crafts

Discovery Cove

Swim with dolphins, wade in a lagoon filled with rays, snorkel on a coral reef, and hand-feed birds at Discovery Cove, a 30-acre tropical park that promotes wildlife conservation. Admission includes all wildlife encounters, breakfast, lunch, snacks, parking, and snorkel gear. Reserve one to three months in advance (attendance is limited to 1,000 people per day).

6000 Discovery Cove Way, FL, 877-434-7268, www.discoverycove.com
Tags: family | snorkeling | smart splurge | things to do | swimming | aquarium


Get acquainted with Florida's largest reptiles at this 110-acre park, which also houses an alligator wrestling show, a petting zoo, birds, and a gator-free splash zone for kids. In fall 2010, Gatorland added a 1,200-foot Eco Zip Line that soars (safely) above the alligator breeding marsh and jumping Cuban crocodiles.

14501 S. Orange Blossom Trail, FL, 800-393-5297, www.gatorland.com
Tags: family | things to do | wildlife | aquarium

Harry P. Leu Gardens

Acres of live oak trees dripping with Spanish moss, rose and butterfly gardens, and sweet smelling magnolia groves centered on a pretty lake, make this park one of downtown Orlando’s hidden jewels. Live concerts and outdoor movie screenings are staged here throughout the year (check the website for dates and times). A springtime stroll will show you Orlando at its natural best.

1920 N. Forest Ave., FL, 407-246-2620, www.leugardens.org
Tags: family | great value | things to do | gardens | park

ICEBAR Orlando

Fifty tons of ice went into constructing one of this Nordic-themed nightspot's two lounges, from the sculptures and seating to the bar itself. Timed entries allow for 45 minutes of photo ops and vodka drinks in the icy bar (capes and gloves provided); the adjoining Fire Lounge relegates ice to cocktails only. It’s more a novelty stop than an all-night hangout.

8967 International Dr., FL, 407-426-7555, www.icebarorlando.com
Tags: nightlife | lounge | things to do | cover charge

Loch Haven Park

Culture connoisseurs can get a fix at the Orlando Museum of Art, the Mennello Museum of American Folk Art, and the Orlando Science Center, conveniently packaged in a scenic 45-acre park. Nestled between three lakes, with green spaces for lounging, it's also home to the Orlando Shakespeare Theatre and Philharmonic Orchestra.

900 E. Princeton St., FL, www.cityoforlando.net
Tags: family | art | things to do | culture

Market Street

Like the town in which it resides, Celebration’s klutch of one-of-a-kind shops and galleries along brick-paved Market Street mimic a kinder, gentler era. Shop for children'swear at the Lollipop Cottage and adult apparel at Unique Boutique and Soft as a Grape.

Market Street, FL, www.celebrationtowncenter.com
Tags: shopping | things to do | jewelry | gallery

Orlando Premium Outlets

This open-air outlet mall stands out in the city's crowded field, with over 140 discounted shops from high-end brands. Bargain-hunt for designer duds and accessories at Ralph Lauren, Barneys New York, Diesel, Fendi, Giorgio Armani, Burberry, Dooney & Bourke, Tumi, and more. A sister Premium Outlets at the northern tip of I-Drive features Last Call, Off-Fifth, St. John, and dozens of other outlets.

8200 Vineland Ave., FL, 407-238-7787, www.premiumoutlets.com
Tags: budget | shopping | great value | things to do | designer | clothing | factory outlet

Park Avenue

Local boutiques (Thread, Jacobson's) rub elbows with national chains like Restoration Hardware along Winter Park’s main thoroughfare, a lovely brick street dating to 1887. Sidewalk cafes and a nearby park dotted with century-old oaks enhance the outdoor browsing experience.

Park Avenue, FL, 407-644-8281, www.parkave-winterpark.com
Tags: family | shopping | moderate | boutique | things to do | clothing

Pirate's Cove Adventure Golf

Mini golf courses are as prevalent as full-size links in Orlando and this is one of the best. Hilly terrain and water features keep players on their toes, and the courses are nicely landscaped. Interesting pieces of pirate history accompany each hole, making for a fun and educational outing.

12545 SR 535 (at I-4), FL, 407-827-1242, www.piratescove.net
Tags: family | things to do


Watch orcas and dolphins defy gravity, feed a sea lion, and meet the beluga whales of the Wild Arctic. A trio of hair-raising coasters accompany the aquatic exhibits: The floorless Kraken, the thundering Journey to Atlantis, and the Manta, which holds riders face down to replicate a ray flying through the sea. Hours vary daily; check website for exact times.

Central Florida Parkway between International Drive and Sea Harbor Drive, FL, 800-327-2424, www.seaworld.com
Tags: family | editor pick | things to do | aquarium

Swan Boat Rentals at Lake Eola Park

Orlando kitsch was never so fun – hire a giant plastic swan boat and pedal your way around downtown Orlando’s centerpiece waterway, Lake Eola. Make it a goal to pedal out to the floating fountain in the middle before heading back to shore to grab lunch at the water’s edge at one of the lakeside cafes. Call 407-246-4485 for rental information. Electric swan boats will be available soon. Boats are available for rent between 12-6pm Monday-Friday; 10am-8pm Saturday-Sunday.

195 N. Rosalind Ave., FL, 407-246-2827 (park headquarters), www.cityoforlando.net
Tags: family | things to do | outdoors

Universal CityWalk

Theme-park showmanship meets adult nightlife in this 30-acre entertainment complex at the entrance to the Universal parks. Sip martinis at the Red Coconut Club, get wasted away in Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville, listen to karaoke at Rising Star, or catch a concert at Hard Rock Live. Feeling low-key? There's a 20-screen cineplex, too.

6000 Universal Blvd., FL, 407-363-8000, www.universalorlando.com
Tags: nightlife | things to do | bar

Universal Orlando

Universal Orlando encompasses two theme parks, a dining/shopping/entertainment area called CityWalk, two Loews hotels, and a Hard Rock hotel. Islands of Adventure combines its adult-size coaster thrills with The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (opened June 2010), a mini-park within the park; browse the Hogsmeade shops, drink butterbeer, and accompany Harry on his adventures courtesy of two coasters and a jaw-dropping ride that fuses film and never-before-used robotic technology. Visit sister park Universal Studios for movie- and TV-themed attractions and the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, a roller coaster that lets you select the song for your run. Hours vary daily; check website for exact times.

6000 Universal Blvd., FL, 407-363-8000, www.universalorlando.com
Tags: family | things to do | amusement park

Walt Disney World

The fantasy of the Magic Kingdom and the safari style of Animal Kingdom are ideal for young children, while the movie-making attractions of Disney's Hollywood Studios and the global and futuristic themes at Epcot skew toward older tastes. Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon water parks help beat the Central Florida heat. Hours vary daily; check website for exact times. For more information, see our Walt Disney World Travel Guide.

FL, 407-939-6244, www.disneyworld.com
Tags: family | editor pick | things to do | culture

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