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Orlando is a large city located in Orange County, Florida. Orlando, for most people, conjures up the image of theme parks, mainly Walt Disney World, but it has a lot more to offer than that. (In fact, Disney World is not in Orlando, but is in nearby Lake Buena Vista). With the estimated 52 million tourists a year, Orlando and many other areas in the region have developed a lot to offer the less theme park minded (or theme park exhausted) traveler. Other cities in the metropolitan area include Altamonte Springs, Davenport, Kissimmee, and Winter Park. (less...) (more...)
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Points of Interest in Orlando
The Go Orlando Card is very useful.
Gardens & Parks
- Arboretum, University of Central Florida, 4000 Central Florida Blvd, ☎ +1 407 823-3146. An arboretum and botanical garden covering 80 acres (32 hectares), containing more than 600 species of plants (including more than 100 bromeliads) in cultivated gardens. Its cultivated areas currently include a Conservatory Compound, a Bromeliad Sanctuary, Cycad Garden, Fern Garden, Palm Collection, Rose Garden, Swamp Habitat, and Wetland Plants Display. Free.
- Harry P. Leu Gardens, 1920 N Forest Ave, ☎ +1 407 246-2620. Beautiful landscaped gardens and lakes set in nearly 50 acres of land, featuring flora gathered from around the globe since 1936, including the largest rose garden in Florida and America's largest camellia collection outside of California. The Leu House, Harry P. Leu's former home set within the grounds and dating back to the 1880's, has tours every 30 minutes around its museum illustrating Florida living at the turn of the 20th century (closed during July). You can get married in various places in the gardens and there are special events held throughout the year. 9AM-5PM daily except Christmas Day. Last garden admission at 4PM. Admission $7 (free Mondays, 9AM-noon).
- Historic Bok Sanctuary, 1151 Tower Blvd, ☎ +1 863 676-1408. Lake Wales. The Bok Sanctuary features acres of intricately landscaped gardens filled with an exotic array of flowers and trees. The gardens are home to a colony of wood ducks and many other wild birds. In the middle of the gardens sits the Bok Tower, with its 60-bell carillon playing music daily at 3PM. 8AM-6PM daily with last admission at 5PM. Visitor Center 9AM-5PM daily. Admission $10.
- Torii Shinto, College Park, ☎ +1 407-484-6099. Torii Shinto is a private tropical garden. To visit the garden you must make an appointment as the garden is a private residence that is open to garden club tours, wedding and commitment ceremonies and for private tours to enthusiasts of horticulture. The garden hosts rare palms, bromeliads, heliconias, orchids and thousands of other plants from around the world. The species you will discover in this garden include: Carpoxylon Palm or Aneityum Palm - Carpoxylon macrospermum, Tahina spectabilis (discovered in Madagascar in 2007, described in 2008) thus this Tahina is a small specimen seedling (about 3'), Flame Thrower Palm - Chambeyronia macrocarpa, White Elephant Palm, King Thai Palm - Kerriodoxa elegans, Foxy Lady Palm - Wodyetia X Veitchia bifurcatum x arecina to name a few. Hercules, a 21.5' diameter Live Oak provides protection from the few cold days that Orlando hosts, Hercules is listed at the ninth largest Live Oak in Florida on the Live Oak Society registry. The garden hosts a view to a bald eagle nest in a neighboring pine. The garden is divided into several outdoor rooms with fountains, hand carved Bali lanterns and hand carved volcanic stone statuary. The owner is a landscape architect and indicates that tours for plant enthusiasts are always welcome. Free/Donation.
- A World of Orchids, 2501 Old Lake Wilson Rd. Kissimmee. Closed since mid-2012. Do not believe the large signs on the highway.
- Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art — Houses the world's most comprehensive collection of the works of Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933) including Tiffany art glass, leaded-glass windows, lamps, jewelry, pottery, paintings, and the chapel interior he designed for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. The Museum's holdings include a major collection of American art pottery and representative collections of late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century American paintings, graphics, and decorative arts. $3 adults, $1 students, and free for children under 12. Free between 4PM-8PM Nov-Apr each F.
- Cornell Fine Arts Museum, 1000 Holt Ave, ☎ +1 407 646-2526. Winter Park. Rollins College. Features items from Cornell's renowned permanent collection. Tu-F 10AM-4PM, Sa Su noon-5PM. $5.
- The Orlando Museum of Art. — Ongoing exhibitions of American portraits and landscapes, American impressionist works, and art of the ancient Americas.
- The Orlando Science Center. — A 207,000 ft² (19,000 m²) hands-on learning center with hundreds of interactive exhibits for visitors of all ages. Images surround visitors on the giant screen of the Dr. Phillips CineDome. Other attractions include the Body Zone, teaching health and fitness, as well as an observatory. The center has the largest refracting telescope in Florida.
- Orange County Regional History Center, 65 E Central Blvd, ☎ +1 407 836-8500, toll-free: +1 800-965-2030. Features exhibits and artifacts from the earliest days of the region to the modern day. Includes information on everything from the time of the Seminole Indians to the founding of the city to the Civil Rights era to the Disney period to today. M-Sa 10AM-5PM, Su noon-5PM. $9-12.
- International Trolley and Train Museum — Features 14 model railroad trains with sound and lighting traveling through an indoor garden with 12 ft (4 m) high mountains, waterfalls, and more than 30 trestles and tunnels. Also on display are toy trains from the 1920s to the present. Visitors can catch a ride in a California Victorian-style half open/half closed trolley or the 5/8-scale replica of an 1880 locomotive (a Mason Bogey) with its passenger cars.
- Ripley's Believe It or Not! Orlando Odditorium. — 8201 International Dr, +1 407-363-4418. Located in a building artfully constructed to appear as if it were collapsing to one side. Visitors can explore bizarre artifacts, strange collections, weird art/hobbies (for example, check out the 3/4-scale model of a 1907 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost automobile made entirely of matchsticks and glue), and interactive exhibits in sixteen odd galleries. Seriously schlocky, yet fun.
Most tourists visit Orlando between June and August, while another peak time for tourism is March and April. Ironically, the less busy times for tourism correspond to the best weather in the Orlando area; the summer months can be exceptionally busy with families who are making a trip while kids are on summer vacation. Visiting when the weather isn't so hot means less people in the area and that provides some advantages, but you will be able to enjoy cooler weather.
Many say central Florida has two seasons: hot and hotter. Orlando has warm, balmy springs and autumns; hot summers complete with daily thunderstorms; and temperate winters affected by the occasional cold front. That being said:
- Spring in Orlando has highs in the 80s (27°C) in March & April transitioning to around 90°F (32°C) in May and low-mid 90s in June. Spring is the driest time of year here, and in the past decade some spring months have seen less than a half-inch of rain! This is the time of year in which many small wildfires appear around the region, but this should not bother anyone who stays within the urban area. March and April are great times to visit with dry days, clear skies, and warm temperatures (and no cold fronts). However, late May and early June are arguably the worst time to visit filled with hot, humid, dry days.
- Summer begins with the start of daily thunderstorms around mid-June. Highs from mid-June to mid-September are in the mid 90s, with 90ºF (32°C) often being reached by 10-11AM, and lows in the 70s (23°C). Due to Orlando's proximity to two coasts, thunderstorms form everyday during this period from ocean breezes which heat over land, rise, and cool in the atmosphere to create sometimes violent thunderstorms (see the "Stay Safe" section). However, they often will drop temperatures into the low 80s (28°C) after passing...a welcome relief from the hot temperatures earlier in the year.
- Autumn varies much more from year to year than spring. The daily thunderstorms taper off in September leaving highs in the mid-high 80s (29°C) until mid-October. The first cold front of the season will usually pass between mid and late October, plunging highs into the 70s (24°C) and lows into the 50s (12°C) and high 40s (10°C). The cooling trend continues into November and December, with highs falling into the 70s (24°C) by late December and lows into the 50s (12°C), affected only by the occasional cold front which can plunge highs into the 60s (18°C)(Nov) and 50s (12°C)(Dec) and lows into the 40s (7°C)(Nov) and as low as freezing (32ºF/0ºC) by mid December.
- Winter is much the same as November and December. Highs are in the 70s (24°C), lows in the 50s (12°C), affected every week or two by cold fronts. Following a cold front, highs can drop into the 50s (12°C), lows into the 30s (2°C). Sub-freezing mornings typically occur two or three times a year.
- Revolution: The Off Road Experience. Offers 4-wheeling, 4x4, dune buggying and more.
- Enzian Theater. A cinema for the indie/alternative crowd that also offers food and alcoholic beverages.
- Discovery Cove. A 30-acre tropical retreat with beaches, snorkeling and relaxation.
Orlando is one of the biggest tourist destinations because of the nearby theme parks and resorts. Close to International Drive is Universal Orlando Resort, which includes two theme parks, three hotels and a large shopping district. SeaWorld Orlando is a marine theme park featuring Kraken, the biggest rollercoaster in the Orlando area, as well as Believe, the new Shamu adventure. About 35 minutes southwest of downtown Orlando is Walt Disney World. Comprising four theme parks, two water parks, dozens of hotels, two shopping and dining districts, five golf courses, and much more, it is the largest privately managed tourist destination on the planet. Not far from Disney World lies the Alligator Capital of the World: Gatorland.
- Walt Disney World (18 mi S of downtown in Lake Buena Vista). The acclaimed gold standard of theme parks on the planet. Hours vary by park and season.
- Universal Orlando Resort, International Dr, ☎ +1 407 363-8000. 9AM-closing times varying from 6PM-10PM. Top-ranked challenger to Disney, with two theme parks -- the original Universal Studios Florida and the second theme park, Islands of Adventure -- a nightclub and restaurant complex, CityWalk, and three resort hotels. Discounts are given for purchasing tickets online. 
- SeaWorld Adventure Park Orlando, SeaWorld Dr, ☎ +1 407 351-3600, toll-free: +1 800-327-2424. 9AM-closing times varying from 6PM-10PM. A beautifully landscaped 200-acre marine theme park featuring fantastic shows, thrilling rides, and fun exhibits -- a more laid-back alternative to Disney and Universal. Variety of discounts may be available by purchasing tickets online.
- Aquatica, 5800 Water Play Way. Hours vary by season. Opened in 2008 water park by Sea World.
- Discovery Cove, 6000 Discovery Cove Way (9AM-5:30PM (until 9PM on selected evenings)), ☎ +1 407 370-1280. A unique companion to Sea World, it is often sold out as admission is limited to 1000 guests per day but admission does include all your equipment, food, drink and 30-minute interaction with the dolphins in the water. $259-279, $159-179 for non-dolphin package.
- Holy Land, 4655 Vineland Rd. Closed Tu. Either inspirational or kitschy, depending on your proclivities, this biblical-themed park is designed to look like Jerusalem. Discount on tickets purchased online.
- Gatorland, 14501 S Orange Blossom Trl, ☎ +1 407 855-5496, toll-free: +1 800-393-JAWS. 9AM-5PM daily. A small alligator and reptile themed park.
- Wet 'N Wild, 6200 International Dr, ☎ +1 407 351-1800, toll-free: +1 800-992-WILD. Hours vary by season. Waterpark.
- Basilica of Mary, Queen of the Universe, 8300 Vineland Ave, ☎ +1 407 239-6600. This extravagant Catholic church has become a tourist attraction in itself, thanks in part to the millions of Catholics from around the world who visit it and the rest of Orlando every year. Note: It is not a parish and therefore it cannot perform weddings, funerals, or baptisms.
- Florida EcoSafaris at Forever Florida (Zipline Safari), 4755 N Kenansville Rd, ☎ +1 407 957-9794, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Reservations required. Journey deep into Forever Florida, a 4700 acre eco-ranch and wildlife conservation area, preserved just as nature intended. This beautiful site boasts 9 distinct Florida ecosystems and an endless array of natural flora and fauna including alligators, black bears, nearly two hundred species of birds and the endangered Florida panther. Choose your own fully-guided adventure: Coach Safari, Horseback Safari or, soar through the treetops on the Zipline Safari.
- Orlando Watersports Complex, 8615 Florida Rock Rd, ☎ +1 407 251-3100. A cable park for watersports. Offers lessons and two separate cable systems, a beginner and an advanced. A perfect way to experience Orlando's reputation as the watersport capital of the world.
- Orlando Magic (Amway Center), 400 W Church St, ☎ +1 407 89-MAGIC, e-mail: email@example.com. Member of the National Basketball Association (NBA), the Magic is the city's only member of the big four.
- Orlando Solar Bears (Amway Center), 400 W Church St, ☎ +1 407 951-8200, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Member of the East Coast Hockey League (EHCL).
- Orlando Predators (Amway Center). Member of the Arena Football League (AFL).
- Orlando City (Citrus Bowl), ☎ +1 855-ORL-CITY. Professional soccer. Currently minor-league, will become a Major League Soccer (MLS) team in 2015.
- UCF Knights. The teams representing the University of Central Florida—with the largest undergraduate enrollment of any single university campus in the country—compete in NCAA Division I sports, currently as members of the American Athletic Conference. UCF has heavily invested in athletics facilities in recent years, with the most notable example being the football team's home of Bright House Networks Stadium.
- Downtown Orlando Information Center, 201 S Orange Ave. Ste 102, +1 407-254–INFO (4636). Has two interactive kiosks and electronic message boards with information about local Downtown eateries, retailers, accommodations, special events, etc. M-F 9AM–6PM.
Despite the proximity of theme park haven Lake Buena Vista, the city has a lot to offer on its own. Downtown Orlando  is a growing area centered around Orange Avenue that is packed with bars, clubs, and restaurants, as well as theaters and concert venues. The main strip on Orange Avenue is closed most nights because of the large volumes of pedestrians. Just a few blocks over is Lake Eola, a picturesque park situated around a swan-filled lake. In the middle of the lake is a lighted fountain that has been established as an icon of Orlando, and on one side of the lake stands the historic outdoor shell theater, where tourists and locals alike can see a version of the Nutcracker every December. Swan-shaped paddle boats are available for rental as well. Taking over for Church Street as the main night time hot spot is Wall Street. It is a small pedestrian only alley off of Orange Avenue that houses several restaurants and bars. They also have frequent concerts on Wall Street, providing a stage for bands to play for everything from Cinco de Mayo to the Capital One Bowl and Citrus Bowl celebration weeks.
- Bay Hill Club & Lodge, 9000 Bay Hill Blvd, ☎ +1 407 876-2429. Two courses: 18 holes, over 7,205 yards with a par of 72 (Private Non-Equity); 9 holes, over 3,409 yards with a par of 36 (Private Non-Equity).
- Boggy Creek Golf Club, 3650 8th St, ☎ +1 407 857-0280. 9 holes, over 3,250 yards with a par of 36 (Public).
- Country Club of Orlando, 1601 Country Club Dr, ☎ +1 407 425-2319. 18 holes, over 6,591 yards with a par of 72 (Private Equity).
- Cypress Creek Country Club, 5353 Vineland Rd, ☎ +1 407 351-2187. 18 holes, over 7,014 yards with a par of 72 (Public).
- Dubsdread Golf Course, 549 West Par St, ☎ +1 407 246-2551. 18 holes, over 6,055 yards with a par of 72 (Municipal).
- Eaglewood Golf Club, 5800 Pga Blvd, ☎ +1 407 351-5121. 18 holes, over 2,516 yards with a par of 58 (Public).
- EastWood Golf Club, 13950 Golfway Blvd, ☎ +1 407 281-4653. 18 holes, over 7,176 yards with a par of 72 (Public).
- Fairways Country Club, 14205 E Colonial Dr, ☎ +1 407 282-7535. 18 holes, over 5,332 yards with a par of 70 (Public).
- Faldo Golf Institute By Marriott, 12001 Avenida Verde, +1 888-463-2536. 9 holes, over 2,308 yards with a par of 32 (Public).
- Ginn Reunion Golf Resort, 1000 Reunion Way, ☎ +1 888 418-9611. Reunion. 54 holes, 3 championship golf courses designed by Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson (Private).
- Grand Cypress Resort, 1 N Jacaranda St, ☎ +1 800 835-7377. Four courses: 18 holes over 6,773 yards with a par of 72 (Public); 9 holes over 3,462 yards with a par of 36 (Public); 9 holes over 3,521 yards with a par of 36 (Public); 9 holes over 3,434 yards with a par of 36 (Public).
- Grande Pines Golf Club, 6351 International Golf Club Rd, ☎ +1 800 371-1165. 18 holes, over 7,012 yards with a par of 72 (Public).
- Lake Nona Golf Club, 9801 Lake Nona Rd, ☎ +1 407 851-9091. 18 holes, over 7,011 yards with a par of 72 (Private Non-Equity).
- Lake Orlando Golf Club, 4224 Club House Rd, ☎ +1 407 298-1230. 18 holes, over 6,803 yards with a par of 72 (Public).
- MetroWest Golf Club, 2100 S Hiawassee Rd, ☎ +1 407 299-8800. 18 holes, over 7,051 yards with a par of 72 (Public).
- Orange Tree Golf Club, 7540 Woodgreen Dr, ☎ +1 407 351-2521. 18 holes, over 6,968 yards with a par of 71 (Private Non-Equity).
- Rio Pinar Golf & Country Club, 8600 El Prado Ave, ☎ +1 407 277-5121. 18 holes, over 6,929 yards with a par of 72 (Private Equity).
- Ritz Carlton Golf Club, 4048 Central Florida Pkwy, ☎ +1 407 393-4900. 18 holes, over 7,122 yards with a par of 72 (Public).
- Shingle Creek Golf Club, 9939 Universal Blvd, toll-free: +1 866-996-9933. 18 holes, over 7,213 yards with a par of 72 (Public).
- Stoneybrook Golf Club, 2900 Northampton Ave, ☎ +1 407 384-6888. 18 holes, over 6,820 yards with a par of 72 (Public).
- Ventura Country Club, 3333 Woodgate Blvd, ☎ +1 407 277-2640. 18 holes, over 5,467 yards with a par of 70 (Public).
- Orlando Tennis Center, 649 W Livingston St, ☎ +1 407 246-2161.
- Lake Cane Tennis Center, 5108 Turkey Lake Rd, ☎ +1 407 254-9170.
- Fort Gatlin Recreation Complex, 2009 Lake Margaret Dr, ☎ +1 407 858-3290.
- Orange County Convention Center (OCCC), 9860 Universal Blvd, ☎ +1 407 685-1061. With 2.1 million-square feet of exhibition space, the OCCC serves as the area's convention and meeting center.
- Universal Orlando Meetings & Events, 1000 Universal Studios Plaza, toll-free: +1 888-266-2121. From 20 to 20,000 guests, a Universal event ensures that you will give your attendees something truly out of the ordinary.
A wide variety of restaurants can be found in CityWalk at Universal Orlando, including Margaritaville, Hard Rock Cafe, Pastamore, NASCAR Cafe and much more. Parking is $14 during the day and $3 after 6PM (except during holidays or special events, such as Halloween Horror Nights). Much choice can also be found in Downtown Disney, including Rainforest Cafe, Planet Hollywood, and Wolfgang Puck Cafe. Or, if you are rich, you can go to Texas de Brazil, a churrascaria, or Brazilian steakhouse.
- 310 Lakeside. Classic American cuisine overlooking Lake Eola.
- A Land Remembered, 9939 Universal Blvd, ☎ +1 407 996-9939. A legendary Orlando steakhouse named after Patrick Smith's rich novel featuring Florida's historical moments and landscapes. Serving a variety of cuisine and accompanying wine list as succulent and filling as its namesake. Proudly serving Harris Ranch all Natural Prime Black Angus Beef, as well as menu items catering to all tastes.
- Boston's Fish House, 6860 Aloma Avenue, Winter Park, FL 32792, ☎ +1 407 678-2107. People drive from hours away to this charming family-owned restaurant that brings the fish and flavors of Boston to Orlando. Authentic New England Clam Chowder, Cod, steak tips and more. A hidden gem away from the hustle of all the theme parks, and worth the wait for a fresh meal made to order.
- Bubbalou's Bodacious BBQ, 3 locations. BBQ ribs, sandwiches and other smoked delights. Atmosphere has a home-style feel and plenty of pig companions.
- Calypso Bar and Grill, 6300 Parc Corniche Dr. Great menu with a Key West themed dining experience.
- Everglades Restaurant, 9840 International Dr, ☎ +1 407 996-9840. A one-of-a-kind gourmet dining experience featuring unique regional specialties, served in an enchanting setting dedicated to the Florida Everglades. Periodic Vine & Dine wine dinners featuring gourmet cuisine and fine wines.
- Jack's Place, 9700 International Dr, ☎ +1 407 996-9700. Tantalizing gourmet menu featuring prime steaks and fresh seafood in a whimsical atmosphere featuring the world’s largest collection of autographed star caricatures.
- Gabriel's Subs, 2840 Curry Ford Rd. Excellent hot veggie subs.
- Hamburger Mary's. A gay-friendly burger joint with drag shows and drinks.
- K Restaurant Wine Bar. Upscale American dining.
- Le Coq Au Vin. A modern twist is given to classic French foods at this restaurant.
- Kres Chophouse. An upscale steak house located downtown.
- Luma on Park. American cuisine with an extensive wine list.
- Norman's, 4000 Central Florida Pkwy (at Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes), ☎ +1 407 393-4333. Chef Norman Van Aken. Prix-fixe $55 and up.
- Ponderosa. An American steakhouse with a wide and varied buffet, from sausages to muffins all day. Great for those with a sweet tooth.
- Raglan Road Irish Pub, 1640 East Buena Vista Drive, Lake Buena Vista, Orlando FL 32830, ☎ +1 407 938-0300. Irish Pub at Downtown Disney. A fantastic menu with something for everyone, and great entertainment featuring live music and Irish Dancers. Reservations strongly recommended. $$.
- Uncle Jones BBQ, 1370 E Altamonte Dr, Altamonte Springs. Serving great potatoes, along with lima beans, BBQ pork, corn bread, fried okra, and Texas toast.
- Urban Flats. Flatbreads and wine are the centerpiece of this modern-casual restaurant and wine bar.
- El Inka Grill Ceviche, 4106 Town Center Boulevard, ☎ +1 407 730-7979. El Inka Grill is the perfect restaurant that you can enjoy the peruvian seafood and other peruvian food. Ceviche the one of signature serve of El Inka grill which made with fresh lemon juices is one of the must have experience.
- Funky Monkey Wine Company. A restaurant featuring a variety of sushi and wine.
- Garden Cafe, 810 W Colonial Dr. Fantastic vegetarian (mostly vegan) Chinese food.
- Khasiyat Indian Cuisine, 852 W Lancaster Rd, ☎ +1 407 888-2147. Vegetarian/Indian cuisine.
- Ming Court. Nightly oriental folk music performances compliment a wide selection of sushi, dim sum and more.
- Cala Bella (Creek Beautiful), 9939 Universal Blvd, ☎ +1 407 336-3393. Benvenuto! Cala Bella, Rosen Shingle Creek’s upscale Italian Restaurant features Italian classics, with Mediterranean and American inspiration, accompanied by a diverse list of top quality wines.
- Cuba Libre. A Cuban restaurant that turns into a Latin dance club by night.
- Garibaldi Mexican Restaurant, 929 N Semoran Blvd. The best dishes are chili relleno and cheese enchilada.
- Rolando's Cuban Restaurant, 870 Semoran Blvd, Casselberry. Serves excellent rice, yucca, eggplant, plantains, and guava.
- Rossi's Pizza, 5919 S Orange Blossom Trl (corner of Oak Ridge & Orange Blossom Trl), ☎ +1 407 855-5755. Highly recommend the 12 inch thin-crust pepperoni pizza.
- Stefano's Trattoria, 1425 Tuskawilla Rd, Winter Springs (Red Bug and Tuskawilla), ☎ +1 407 659-0101. Small, family-run, quiet (but still delicious) Italian/Sicilian restaurant five minutes out of Orlando. A local gem! (Best advice on dishes: Ask Stefano to personally make a recommendation, he walks around the restaurant and will tell you exactly what you want to eat!) $$.
- Tony's Deli, 1323 N Mills Ave. Best dishes: fava bean salad, hummus and the baklava.
- Vito's Chop House, 8633 International Dr, ☎ +1 407 354-2467. Great cooking and great wine. $15-30.
- Anatolia Orlando, 8 7600 Dr Phillips Blvd, ☎ +1 407 352-6766. 11AM-10PM. Turkish, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern Cuisine with affordable prices. $10-20.
Orlando nightlife away from the theme parks is centered mostly around Central Boulevard and Orange Avenue in downtown Orlando. Here you can walk and find many bars. A short walk away is the tiny Thornton Park District, located near the intersection of Washington and Summerlin. Among the dozens of cafes and pubs, you might stop in for a drink and a quick bite at Dexter's on Washington. For local flair head across the street to Burton's Frosty Mug, or sample the hip urban environment at the trendy HUE at the corner of Washington and Central.
Although most of the downtown Central avenue crowd is comprised of the "twentysomething" generation, for a more 30's and over entertainment experience, one can enjoy live jazz on many nights in the lounge of the Grand Bohemian Hotel located downtown on Orange Avenue. The jazz is excellent and the ambiance is quite comfortable, although drinks tend to be pretty pricey here.
Also, for a more professional crowd with a Latin twist, there is the Samba Room, located on Sand Lake Road, about 3/4 west of I-4. This is a lively restaurant and happy hour type of place. The look is chic and the locals and tourists alike gather here for a quality food, beverage and people watching experience. You should ditch the shorts and flip-flops for a more casual chic look, but if you do you will be rewarded with a nice experience here. If you are traveling west on Sand Lake Road, after passing I-4, The Samba Room is on the left in a large shopping plaza. Latin food, music and mojitos are just some of the specialties here.
Across the street from the Samba Room, on Sand Lake Road, is the Old Vines wine bar, featuring live jazz usually from Thurs. through Saturday nights. The wine selection is extensive and the live jazz is some of the best in town. The jazz is performed in the front of the room by the entrance. There is a divider that separates the more intimate rear portion of the establishment, which is the main dining area.
There are quite a few places to enjoy quality dining and drinks along Park Avenue in Winter Park, an adjacent suburb which is just northeast of Orlando. Winter Park is known for its many older grande homes that dominate the more historic sections of this suburb affectionately referred to by many as the center of Orlando's "old money." Park Avenue is an active pedestrian street featuring trendy shoppes, galleries, restaurants and nightspots. It has recently grown from becoming a one street attraction to more of a district, as several nearby streets have now added similar attractions.
Of particular interest and uniqueness on Park Avenue is the Wine Room, a converted bank featuring literally hundreds of wines available for self serve sampling. The mode of purchasing here is to pre-load a wine "credit card" supplied by the Wine Room. You are then at liberty to peruse the entire building and select any wine you wish to try, merely by inserting your "credit card." Each wine station automatically deducts the value of your current purchase and advises you of your card balance. Dress is very casual here and you are likely to meet both locals and visitors, all sampling and enjoying their vinos of choice throughout the night.
At the theme parks, CityWalk at Universal Studios. For a nominal admission fee, both sites offer numerous venues for libations and entertainment. If you're staying along International Drive, there are plenty of bars, pubs, and clubs.
- Corona Cigar Company's Superstore & Cigar Bar, 7792 West Sand Lake Road, ☎ +1 407 248-1212. If you're interested in cigars and all the different kinds of cigars, then this place is for you. The Corona Cigar Company allows its customers to sample different cigars. They also serve drinks.
- Howl At The Moon, 8815 International Drive, ☎ +1 407 354-5999. Entertainers perform songs at request all night. A place where people can go to listen to music, dance, drink, and have fun.
- Orena Sports Bar, 6159 Westwood Boulevard, ☎ +1 407 370-0303. Orena Sports Bar caters to both locals and tourists. The bar serves food and drinks. Visitors can go to eat, play games, watch sports games and more.
- Velvet Bar at Hard Rock Hotel, 5800 Universal Boulevard, ☎ +1 407 503-3463. Sit down, relax and listen to music. Velvet Bar also has live bands.
- Blue Martini, 4200 Conroy Road Suite H246, ☎ +1 407 447-2583. Blue Martini is a very high end martini bar. People can enjoy live entertainment at the bar.
- Dave & Buster's Inc., 8986 International Drive, ☎ +1 407 541-3306. Dave & Buster's is family friendly. Kids and adults can enjoy a great meal and play a variety of games. There is also a bar for the adults where they can sit, order drinks, and watch a sports game.
The Florida Mall,  — The largest mall in Orlando located at the crossroads of Orange Blossom Trail and Sand Lake Road, about a mile north of the Orange Blossom Trail/Florida Turnpike/Beachline Expressway interchange. Home to over 200 shops including Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy's, Dillard's, Nordstrom, JC Penney, and Sears. You can go an entire day in this mall and still not finish. Popular among international tourists wishing to stock up on cheap American goods, but of better quality than found at the many outlet malls/stores.
The Mall at Millenia,  — This is Orlando's most upscale and beautiful mall. Find everything from Tiffany's to Hugo Boss and Gucci. Also home to upscale department stores like Macy's, Bloomingdales and Neiman Marcus. This also features Apple and Sony Style selling computers and related products. This mall is part of the very new and trendy Millenia area of Orlando. Conroy Road exit off of I-4 a few miles south of downtown.
Orlando Fashion Square,  &mdash, E Colonial Dr and Macguire Blvd, more than a mile NE of downtown.
Orlando Premium Outlets - Vineland Ave,  — Home to the biggest designers such as Armani, Fendi, Burberry, Ferragamo, Lacoste, Coach. Also home to Tommy Hilfiger, Nike, Polo, Nautica and many more. Located off of 535 and visible from I-4 closest to the Disney World area. This is the best mall to pick up bargains from all the name brands and designer wear.
Orlando Premium Outlets - International Drive (formerly Beltz/Prime Outlets) — Home to many designers such as Polo, DKNY, Nike, Reebok, and Liz Claiborne. The mall has completed a major renovation recently, resulting in a beautiful outdoor mall with a wide variety of stores.
Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores,  — Select from over 300 designer and name brands such as Gap, Reebok, Carters and Eddie Bauer. Stores offer factory direct, quality merchandise at savings up to 75%. Off of SR-535 near International Dr and Disney.
Little Saigon, East Colonial Dr (around N Mills). Here you will find Vietnamese and Asian grocery stores, gift shops, and a few herbal healing stores, which stock items from China, Vietnam, Hong Kong, etc. Also home to many good inexpensive Vietnamese and other Asian restaurants.
Little India area — This area is a bit spread out. You will find many Indian stores in the South Orange Blossom Trail area on the main streets and side roads. Starting with Lancaster Road, which houses a video store and Indian restaurant, and then traveling south you will see a few Indian shops in clusters every mile all the way to 417 where you end at the local Indian movie theater
Little Brazil, the north end of International Dr. Several Brazilian restaurants, bakeries, stores, hairdressers, imports and exports shops. Some are hiding on the back of strip malls, some others are easy to find right up front flying the Brazilian flag.
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