A Local’s Guide to Orlando

On February 12, 2019

Orlando, Florida is a highly toured city because of the many theme parks here but if you live here, you know there are so many other things to do. Orland from a local’s perspective is not all about the magic and sparkle, but instead about the local culture and experience. In this local’s guide to Orlando, stray from the beaten path with these amazing locations.

1. Farmers Market

Looking for ways to support local vendors and taste some homegrown fruits or vegetables? Check out the farmer’s markets around town.

One of the best things about Orlando is the climate that lends itself so well to grow a big variety of plants. With so many buying options, you won’t be disappointed in the selection.

Two great places to check out, are East End Market, open every day of the week, and the Winter Park Farmers Market, located in the old train depot every Saturday. Make it part of your weekend routine and meet plenty of other locals in the area.

2. Bar Hopping Downtown

Downtown Orlando is a place where people can get plenty of shopping and dining in during the weekdays and partying on the weekends. The social scene is one of the many highlights of going downtown. The temperatures are always pleasant in the evening, so a lot of people are out walking around, checking out all the different bars.

If you are looking for one localized street, Wall Street has a great offering of bars. It also features an alley that is perfect for pedestrians to walk in and out of, sampling all the different atmospheres and menus.

3. Tibet-Butler Nature Preserve

One great park to visit is the Tibet-Butler Nature Preserve. With 440 acres, visitors have plenty of area to spread out and enjoy the natural beauty of Florida.

In the late afternoon, the path is shady and offers a relaxing place to get your steps in or enjoy the quiet.

There are trails that cater to every crowd, with six varying options. Choose the path that is only ½ mile if you are in a hurry, or brought the kids with you. If you’re up for more of a challenge, take one of the trails that cover several miles.

If you watch carefully, you might just spot some wildlife favorites, like the gopher tortoises, bobcats, and even bald eagles.

4. Support the Local Sports Teams

There are a couple of options for watching local sports teams. The Orlando Magic are an obvious favorite, with plenty of games to watch during the basketball season.

Watch the UCF Knight football team at the Spectrum Stadium and see why it is called The Bouncehouse.

If soccer is more your vibe, watch an Orlando City Soccer Club game.

Let’s not forget that Daytona Beach is nearby too. For those who want to watch cars go around a big track at top speeds, there really is no better place to go.

Whatever your favorite spectator sport is, there are plenty of options in Orlando.

5. Harry P. Leu Gardens

Another great spot to observe nature is the Harry P. Leu Gardens. These botanical gardens are not a tourist hotspot, meaning you can just go and enjoy the beautiful rose bushes (over 1,000!) during the springtime.

If roses aren’t your thing, come see the largest collection of camellias in North America.

Beautiful fountains and walkways wind through a citrus grove and there is even a butterfly garden. While this garden may be on the smaller side with 50 acres, it highlights a lot of beautiful things about Orlando and is worth a visit at least once while you are here.

6. Dining

Orlando is a great place to taste your way around the city. There are so many great places to eat, but a few must-try places are Pharmacy, a trendy place with cool drinks and great food; The Ravenous Pig, a place that focuses on freshness and flavor; Orchid Thai Cuisine, for when you really need good Thai food; and Pom Pom’s Teahouse & Sandwicheria, a unique place to get sandwiches or try a lot of different types of tea.

Find your own favorites with so many cultures and styles of dining to choose from all packed into one big city.

There are so many touristy spots to eat, like Margaritaville and the Hard Rock Café, that you can stay away from or just eat at a few times a year.

7. Theme Parks

There really is no way to avoid going to some of the theme parks or attractions at least occasionally. Being a resident of Orlando means that you can get all kinds of discount passes, whether it is a discount card or deals on an annual membership.

If you are going to be here, you might as well enjoy some of the things that everyone loves to see from around the world.

The best benefit to having an annual pass to any of these locations is that you can find the less popular times to go, drop in for an evening or special event, and get additional discounts within the attractions.

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