Things to do in Orlando
January 4, 2004 3:26 PM   Subscribe

So, I'm moving to Orlando tomorrow for my job for a period of some months. What is there to do there other than the obvious Mouse-related activities? Any good restaurants or bars? Museums? Parks?
posted by GriffX to Travel & Transportation around Orlando, FL (7 answers total)
Where in Orlando? "Orlando" can mean either the city or just the general area.

The Orlando Sentinel is our local paper - you might find some interesting things listed.

Phantom of the Opera is here this month, if that's your thing. We have a local orchestra, too. We have some smaller museums - a museum of Art, a mostly Tiffany Museum, and a Science Center.

Stay away from the theme parks for the rest of this month to let the tourist crowd die down. I would say that includes the Millennium Mall, but I'm just a jaded local. If you like coasters, make Islands of Adventure your priority. Busch Gardens, Tampa, is the other Florida coaster park.

Pointe Orlando has a lot of shops, some bars, and an IMAX screen. Your best bets for stadium theaters are in Winter Park or Altamonte Springs, which brings up another point - learn the outlaying cities, such as Lake Mary, Winter Park, Altamonte, etc. We consider these to be part of the Orlando sprawl.

There is a springs state park in Wekiva, but I suggest driving up to Blue Springs instead. Real nice, though I'm not sure if the manatees are around this time of year.

Kissimmee is a possible day trip - it has the space center, mainly (jardly an all-day affair, though). If you're looking for beaches, I'd suggest New Smyrna over Daytona. For a better beach experience, go to the gulf side, such as Sannibel Island.

Alas, as a non-drinker, I have no bar recommendations. The downtown scene took a downhill turn several years ago when Church Street went under. Your best bet is to open the paper and see what strikes your fancy.

Oh, and I4 is a real bitch. Stay the hell off it if you can.
posted by Sangre Azul at 5:54 PM on January 4, 2004

My limited knowledge of Orlando: Eat here for Italian and here for Thai
posted by m@ at 6:28 PM on January 4, 2004

yeah, it really depends where in orlando you're going to be. downtown has some sort of quaint restaurants, bars and public spaces, and there are some beautiful state parks and lakes. winter park has some nice restaurants and things near rollins college, and the enzian theater is the local arthouse/festival locale. i think has an orlando tribe - you may be able to meet some locals that way.
posted by judith at 7:02 PM on January 4, 2004

Nearby Ocala is home to Silver Springs, famous for their Glass-bottomed Boats.
posted by grabbingsand at 5:51 AM on January 5, 2004

If you don't mind the skeeters and gators, the canoe run between Rock Springs (in nearby Apopka) to Wekiva Springs is a great all day activity. I agree with Sangre Azul that Blue Springs is better, but Rock Springs is a bit closer.

However, I would avoid Pointe Orlando and most other places in southwest Orlando, unless touristy areas are your thing.

Also, I haven't lived in Orlando for three years, but the last I remembered, downtown was actually becoming more vibrant. New clubs/bars were opening and people were moving into new "luxury" apartments overlooking Lake Eola (downtown focal point).
posted by Boydrop at 6:49 AM on January 5, 2004

I dj'ed in downtown Orlando...some time ago, at a club called the was, excellent.

Varied music policy - although my night there was exclusively trance...
posted by mattr at 7:30 AM on January 5, 2004

A friend of mine is working down there and when I visit we go to this dive bar called the "Big Bamboo." It is GREAT! I could not even begin to guess location but you have to know where it is to find it.
posted by Dr_Octavius at 1:29 PM on January 5, 2004

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