30 Things to Do in Orlando, FL
By Janet Benoir – October 20, 2023
Orlando, Florida is a popular destination for many tourists who often flock to its world-famous theme parks. However, there’s more to this vibrant city than just Walt Disney World and its enchanting characters. As a former theme park employee with over a decade of experience, it’s worth noting that Orlando’s best treasures can be found when venturing beyond the parks.
This article aims to shed light on some of the lesser-known, yet captivating experiences that both tourists and locals can enjoy in Orlando. Whether you’re looking for family-friendly outings or activities tailored specifically for adults, this comprehensive guide has you covered. So, buckle up and get ready to discover the hidden gems nestled in the heart of Florida.
Walt Disney World Resort
Walt Disney World Resort, located in Orlando, Florida, offers a vast array of activities and experiences for you and your family to enjoy. Start your adventure with a visit to the Magic Kingdom, where you can immerse yourself in a world of fairy tales and enjoy popular attractions like Space Mountain and Pirates of the Caribbean. Epcot, another theme park within the resort, showcases technology innovations and international cultures, providing a unique experience.
For those who love movies and television shows, Disney’s Hollywood Studios is a must-visit. You can enjoy thrilling attractions such as The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Animal lovers will appreciate Disney’s Animal Kingdom, where you can embark on safaris and encounter diverse wildlife. Throughout your visit, don’t forget to take advantage of the various dining and shopping opportunities that await you at Disney Springs.
Universal Orlando Resort
When visiting Orlando, one of the top attractions you should check out is the Universal Orlando Resort. This amazing theme park offers a variety of thrilling rides, entertaining shows, and immersive experiences that cater to the interests of people of all ages. Some of the park’s notable features include The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, where you can explore the magical world of Hogwarts and Hogsmeade, and the adrenaline-pumping roller coasters at Marvel Super Hero Island.
In addition to the thrilling attractions, Universal Orlando Resort also provides countless dining and shopping options to satisfy your cravings and help you bring home the perfect souvenir. If you’re looking for a break from the excitement, enjoy some time at the CityWalk, an entertainment complex that offers nightlife, dining, and more. With all these options and more, your visit to Universal Orlando Resort will be an unforgettable adventure.
When visiting Orlando, one of the top attractions you won’t want to miss is SeaWorld. This renowned amusement park offers a unique blend of thrilling rides, fascinating marine life exhibits, and entertaining shows featuring amazing aquatic creatures.
At SeaWorld Orlando, you can hop on roller coasters that plunge into virtual ocean depths or soar high above the park. Engage with magnificent marine animals such as killer whales, dolphins, and sea lions during one-on-one encounters or informative presentations. After you’ve explored the depths of the ocean, unwind at one of the park’s ambient dining locations for a delectable meal. SeaWorld is an experience that can be enjoyed by everyone, from adrenaline-seekers to nature enthusiasts.
While exploring things to do in Orlando, don’t miss out on visiting LEGOLAND Florida. This family-oriented theme park is ideal for kids aged 2 to 12, offering more than 50 rides, shows, and attractions all inspired by the popular LEGO brand.
When at LEGOLAND Florida, you’ll have an immersive experience walking through themed zones like LEGO City, where you can test your driving skills at the Ford Driving School, or get your adrenaline pumping on the thrilling LEGO Technic roller coaster. Create lifelong memories at this incredible and interactive destination in Orlando.
When visiting Orlando, one memorable experience awaits you at Discovery Cove. This unique park allows you to interact with a variety of animals, particularly the majestic bottlenose dolphins. You’ll learn about their anatomy and behaviors while enjoying an unforgettable swim alongside them.
Discovery Cove also offers a chance to snorkel among vibrant fish and rays in the Grand Reef. You can appreciate the beauty of nature as you watch colorful birds up close in the Explorer’s Aviary. To unwind, take a leisurely float down Wind-Away River or simply relax on white sandy beaches. This immersive oasis is surely a must-visit destination while in Orlando.
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
When you visit Orlando, a must-see attraction is the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. At this remarkable destination, you’ll dive into the world of space exploration and uncover fascinating facts about NASA’s history. Get ready to immerse yourself in the wonders of the universe and learn about the trailblazing accomplishments of astronauts and scientists.
Your experience at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex will be both engaging and educational. Marvel at the stunningly authentic Space Shuttle Atlantis, try your hand at various interactive exhibits, or take a thrilling ride aboard the Shuttle Launch Experience simulator. Don’t forget to check out the Rocket Garden, where you’ll witness the incredible rockets that powered some of America’s most impressive space missions.
Orlando Science Center
When exploring Orlando, consider visiting the Orlando Science Center, which offers a variety of interactive exhibits and captivating experiences. Engaging demonstrations, hands-on learning stations, and a planetarium enable you to delve into the world of science in a fun, immersive way.
This well-rounded attraction caters to adults and children alike, fostering curiosity and instilling a sense of wonder in its visitors. So, during your stay in Orlando, don’t miss the opportunity to uncover the marvels of science at the Orlando Science Center and create lasting memories.
The Wheel at ICON Park
Visiting Orlando, you should definitely experience The Wheel at ICON Park. This massive observation wheel, standing at 400 feet tall, offers a spectacular view of the city and its surroundings. Hop into one of the air-conditioned capsules, and enjoy a 20-minute ride as you take in the stunning scenery.
While at ICON Park, make the most of the numerous attractions available, such as the SEA LIFE Aquarium, Madame Tussauds, and plenty of shopping and dining options. With something for everyone, it’s an essential stop for your Orlando adventure.
Andretti Indoor Karting & Games
If you’re looking for a thrilling activity in Orlando, consider spending time at Andretti Indoor Karting & Games. Here, you’ll find an impressive selection of go-kart tracks and various gaming options to entertain both children and adults. The modern electric karts, designed to reach high speeds, provide an adrenaline rush that you won’t forget. Additionally, the venue offers cutting-edge virtual reality experiences, an arcade, and more.
While enjoying the fun at Andretti Indoor Karting & Games, be sure to check out the equally exciting rope course and zip line adventures. With multiple levels of difficulty, these activities will challenge your agility and courage. When you’re ready to recharge, grab a delicious meal at their on-site restaurant, serving a wide variety of food options. Exploring Andretti Indoor Karting & Games contributes to a well-rounded Orlando experience, making for an unforgettable adventure.
Fun Spot America
When you’re in Orlando, don’t miss the opportunity to visit Fun Spot America, a popular amusement park that offers thrilling experiences for people of all ages. With roller coasters, go-karts, and a variety of other attractions, there is something fun for everyone to enjoy.
As you continue to explore the park, indulge yourself in their carnival-style rides or test your skills at the arcade games available. Don’t forget to check out their impressive SkyCoaster, which will provide you with an adrenaline-pumping adventure and a stunning view of Orlando. Make the most of your visit to Fun Spot America and create memories that will last a lifetime.
When you’re in Orlando seeking entertainment, why not give Topgolf a try? This modern sports venue offers the perfect opportunity for both golf enthusiasts and beginners alike. Imagine a unique twist on the traditional driving range: climate-controlled hitting bays, state-of-the-art technology, and plenty of food and drink options await you.
As you enjoy a fun-filled day at Topgolf Orlando, you can compete with friends or family in a variety of engaging games on offer, each designed to test your golfing skills. The venue also caters to events, social gatherings, or even just a casual night out, ensuring a wonderful experience for all.
When exploring Orlando, make sure to visit the Universal CityWalk. This entertainment complex offers a wide variety of attractions for people of all ages. You can find shopping, dining, and nightlife activities all in one place. Experience popular restaurants like The Cowfish, a unique fusion of burgers and sushi, or the Toothsome Chocolate Emporium, where you can indulge yourself with delectable desserts and tasty treats.
CityWalk also features several live entertainment options, such as the Blue Man Group, known for their extraordinary multimedia performances, and numerous clubs where you can dance the night away. For family fun, you can try mini-golf, watch movies at the Cinemark theater, or simply enjoy live music throughout the complex. Universal CityWalk is a must-visit for anyone looking to have a great time in Orlando.
When exploring Orlando, be sure to visit Disney Springs, a charming entertainment, shopping, and dining complex. As you walk through the area, you’ll find it’s separated into four distinct parts: The Marketplace, The Landing, Town Center, and West Side. In these areas, you can discover a wide range of experiences catering to diverse interests.
Take time to shop at popular stores such as World of Disney and Uniqlo, or have a scrumptious meal at one of the many restaurants available. Savor delightful dishes at Morimoto Asia or The BOATHOUSE. For entertainment, enjoy live music at various stages throughout Disney Springs, or consider catching a movie at the AMC Dine-In theater.
Orlando has a wealth of activities and attractions for you to explore, and one such destination that should be on your list is Old Town. This charming, nostalgic entertainment district offers a unique glimpse into the past, with its brick-paved streets and classic American architecture.
During your visit, you can stroll through various specialty shops, enjoy delicious meals at local restaurants, or catch a weekly car show. Old Town also has amusement park-style rides and a haunted house for thrill-seekers. Make sure to add this captivating area to your Orlando itinerary for a memorable experience.
Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens
This hidden gem in the city of Sanford offers a delightful experience for both animal enthusiasts and nature lovers. At the Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens, you’ll find a wide variety of animals, including rare and endangered species. Stroll along the well-maintained paths, and take in the sights of majestic lions, elusive leopards, playful otters, and many more fascinating creatures.
Additionally, immerse yourself in the lush greenery and diverse flora of the botanical gardens. While walking around, you’ll encounter native Florida plants, vibrant flowers, and unique landscapes. Don’t forget to also explore educational exhibits, participate in interactive animal encounters, or simply relax and enjoy a peaceful day surrounded by nature.
Harry P Leu Gardens
Nestled within Orlando, the Harry P Leu Gardens offer a serene escape, allowing you to explore and appreciate the beauty of nature. Encompassing 50 acres, this verdant sanctuary is home to an extensive variety of flora. As you meander through the pathways, you’ll encounter breathtaking displays of roses, palms, camellias, and much more. The gardens’ romantic atmosphere makes them an ideal destination for couples and anyone looking to unwind amidst natural beauty.
During your visit to the Leu Gardens, make sure to stop by the Leu House Museum, a beautifully preserved 19th-century home located on-site. Gain insight into the local history and admire the numerous pieces of period furniture and decor. Additionally, the gardens host various educational programs, workshops, and special events, providing you with ample opportunities to learn and engage with your surroundings.
Bok Tower Gardens
This national historic landmark offers a serene and tranquil experience away from the bustling city. Stroll through the beautifully landscaped gardens, featuring a variety of flora and fauna native to Florida. The centerpiece of the gardens is the majestic Singing Tower, a 205-foot tall, Gothic and Art Deco-style carillon tower, which houses one of the world’s finest carillons with 60 bells.
In addition to the gardens and Singing Tower, Bok Tower Gardens has several other attractions for you to explore. Visit the Pinewood Estate, a stunning 20-room Mediterranean-style mansion, to step back in time and witness the elegance of the 1930s. There are also multiple walking trails that take you through various natural habitats, providing ample opportunities for birdwatching and photography.
Lake Eola, located in the heart of downtown Orlando, offers a variety of activities for you to enjoy. Take a leisurely walk around the picturesque lake or rent a swan-shaped paddleboat to explore the water. The park surrounding the lake features beautiful gardens, outdoor artwork, and a playground for children – perfect for a relaxing afternoon.
In addition to the activities around the lake, you can also catch live concerts and theater performances at the Walt Disney Amphitheater. Throughout the year, numerous events and festivals take place at Lake Eola Park, including the beloved weekly Farmers Market. Be sure to check the schedule for special events during your visit to make the most of your time at this iconic Orlando destination.
When planning your trip to Orlando, be sure to visit Wekiva Island, an ecological oasis that promises adventure and relaxation. With both thrilling water-based activities and peaceful nature walks, you’ll find something for every traveler’s taste.
Take a canoe, kayak, or paddleboard journey down the scenic Wekiva River to explore its unique wildlife and stunning natural beauty. After your adventure, unwind in the beautiful waterfront cabanas and enjoy a refreshing beverage, live music, and delightful dining options at the Tooting Otter, bustling with local charm.
Kelly Park – Rock Springs
Visiting Kelly Park should be on top of your list when exploring things to do in Orlando. This natural gem, located in Apopka, provides countless recreational activities for you to enjoy. Experience the beauty of Rock Springs, which features a crystal-clear, natural spring with a year-round water temperature of 68°F. This picturesque spot is an ideal place for a refreshing dip or to unwind in the serene surroundings.
In addition to swimming, you can try various other outdoor activities at Kelly Park. Kayaking, canoeing, and tubing on the gently flowing creek are popular options among visitors. For those interested in exploring the area’s lush flora and fauna, hiking and nature trails are available. You can also take advantage of the park’s picnic areas and playgrounds, making it a perfect destination for a fun-filled day with family and friends.
When you’re in Orlando, one unique attraction you should consider visiting is Gatorland. This 110-acre wildlife preserve and theme park is dedicated to showcasing alligators and crocodiles. You’ll be able to witness these magnificent creatures up close while learning about their habitats, behaviors, and conservation efforts.
In addition to the reptile shows and exhibits, Gatorland offers several other outdoor activities for you to enjoy. There’s the thrilling Screamin’ Gator Zip Line that takes you soaring over the park, the Gatorland Express Train Ride, and the Stompin’ Gator Off-Road Adventure.
Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures
If you’re looking for a thrilling experience in Orlando, consider embarking on a Boggy Creek Airboat Adventure. These exhilarating tours offer a unique way to explore Florida’s natural beauty. Skimming across the water at high speeds, you’ll have the opportunity to admire Orlando’s diverse wildlife, including alligators and various bird species, all while enjoying the thrill of the airboat ride.
During your adventure, knowledgeable guides will share insights about the fascinating ecosystem of the area, ensuring you have both an entertaining and educational experience. Whether you’re a local or visiting Orlando, the Boggy Creek Airboat Adventure is a must-do activity, providing an unforgettable combination of excitement and appreciation for Florida’s remarkable wildlife.
Horseback Riding at Lake Louisa State Park
Lake Louisa State Park offers you a fantastic opportunity to explore the beautiful central Florida landscape on horseback. This park, located just west of Orlando, boasts over 4,500 acres of land, where you can ride your horse for a truly memorable experience.
To plan your horseback riding adventure, you have several guided trail options to choose from based on your skill level and interest. The park’s staff ensures that both you and your horse have a safe and enjoyable time. So, next time you’re looking for an unforgettable activity in Orlando, head to Lake Louisa State Park and engage in the thrill of horseback riding through Florida’s stunning nature.
SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium
SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium offers you an immersive experience where you can explore the fascinating underwater world right in the heart of Orlando. With a variety of marine exhibits and interactive displays, you will get up close and personal with a diverse range of aquatic life, from coral reefs to underwater tunnels showcasing breathtaking creatures such as sharks, rays, and sea turtles.
During your visit, don’t miss the opportunity to attend various educational talks and demonstrations, like learning about the aquarium’s conservation efforts or participating in dive shows. Make your trip unforgettable by participating in exclusive behind-the-scenes experiences, feeding resident sea creatures, and taking part in unique touch pools where you can feel the unique textures of sea stars, sea anemones, and other animals.
If you’re looking for a unique and entertaining experience in Orlando, consider visiting WonderWorks. This interactive attraction combines education and entertainment, giving you the opportunity to have fun while learning. With over 100 hands-on exhibits, you will be able to explore various scientific concepts, participate in engaging activities, and enjoy thrilling attractions.
While at WonderWorks, you can immerse yourself in activities such as laser tag, a ropes course, and a 4D theater. Don’t miss the opportunity to experience the effects of natural disasters like earthquakes and hurricanes in their interactive displays. This exceptional destination in Orlando is perfect for all ages, promising a good time for everyone.
Orlando offers many colorful and creative activities, and one you shouldn’t miss is the Crayola Experience. Located at the Florida Mall, this interactive attraction brings out your inner artist and offers a unique blend of fun and creativity for all ages. Upon entering, you’ll find numerous hands-on activities, ranging from personalized crayon making to designing and cutting out unique shapes.
Don’t forget to explore the various stations, each focusing on a different Crayola product. You can create digital drawings, experiment with melted wax art, or indulge in some coloring. The Crayola Experience is not only a place for children but also a fantastic destination for adults seeking a nostalgic trip down memory lane.
Orlando Museum of Art
As you explore things to do in Orlando, don’t miss the chance to visit the Orlando Museum of Art. This esteemed institution offers a vibrant and diverse range of art exhibits that cater to various artistic tastes and preferences. You’ll find engaging displays of contemporary and traditional art, as well as special exhibitions that showcase outstanding local and international artists.
By visiting this museum, you’ll get to appreciate the rich cultural heritage and creativity that Orlando has to offer. With its array of stunning pieces and curated collections, the Orlando Museum of Art will certainly be a memorable and inspiring highlight of your trip to the city.
Winter Park, a beautiful gem of a location near Orlando, offers a plethora of activities to enjoy. Stroll along Park Avenue, where you’ll find unique shops, restaurants, and charming cafes that are perfect for people-watching. Don’t miss the Winter Park Farmers Market, held every Saturday, for delicious treats and local vendors showcasing their products.
For those who prefer nature, the lush Mead Botanical Garden and Kraft Azalea Garden invite you to immerse yourself in their picturesque green spaces. Central Park is also a popular destination for outdoor events, picnics, and relaxation. If you’re an art enthusiast, Winter Park’s many art galleries and museums, such as the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art and the Albin Polasek Museum and Sculpture Gardens, will captivate your interest.
Orlando Tree Trek Adventure Park
Looking for an exciting outdoor experience in Orlando? The Orlando Tree Trek Adventure Park should be on your list of things to do. This aerial adventure park offers thrilling challenges for visitors of all ages. With a combination of zip lines, rope bridges, and swinging logs, you’ll surely have an adrenaline-pumping day.
Before you begin your treetop adventure, trained instructors provide a safety briefing and demonstrate all the necessary techniques. Once you feel confident, it’s time to conquer various obstacle courses tailored to different skill levels. You’ll navigate through the treetops, pushing your limits and admiring the surrounding Florida landscape.
When you’re in Orlando, make it a point to visit the renowned Amway Center. Nestled in the heart of downtown Orlando, the Amway Center is a state-of-the-art sports and entertainment venue. Home to the Orlando Magic (NBA) and the Orlando Solar Bears (ECHL), this venue offers excitement for both sports enthusiasts and concert attendees alike.
In addition to sporting events, the Amway Center also hosts a myriad of concerts, family shows, and special events throughout the year. With its cutting-edge design, the arena provides amazing sightlines and acoustics that will undoubtedly enhance your experience. Delve into the lively atmosphere, relish in the delightful dining options, and create unforgettable memories at the Amway Center.