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Orlando Beyond Theme Parks

Think outside the theme parks with these fun things to do in Orlando.

You probably already know all about Orlando’s thrilling, world-renowned theme parks. But beyond the magical worlds of full-day attractions, you’ll discover an abundance of unique, fascinating activities worth exploring. Here are some other must-dos when visiting “The City Beautiful.”

Discover Art, Culture and History

For adults and kids alike who appreciate art and science, head to Orlando’s family-friendly cultural complex at Loch Haven Park. The city’s most educational attraction is also a local family favorite. Especially great for a rainy day, the all-indoor Orlando Science Center melds play and learning for kids of all ages over hours of stimulating hands-on exploration.

Take in phenomenal live performances of classic plays or new family favorites on intimate stages: Orlando Shakespeare Theater and Orlando Repertory Theatre. Be moved by inspiring visual exhibits ranging from classical to the eclectic with a visit to the Orlando Museum of Art, which also offers parent/child painting workshops.

At the nearby Mennello Museum of American Art, you can view the acclaimed masterpieces by Florida folk artist Earl Cunningham in an extensive permanent collection.

Downtown, the Orange County Regional History Center showcases permanent and special exhibitions bringing the area’s cowboy, citrus and theme-park heritage to life.

Shopping, Shopping, Shopping

Outlet malls to eclectic boutiques. Unique character merchandise to one-of-a-kind antique finds. Whatever you’re looking for, Central Florida shopping offers a perfect fit. Snag posh name-brand bargains at Orlando’s popular Premium Outlets, located on the north end of International Drive and at its south end on Vineland Avenue.

Spend some entertaining hours browsing delightful collectibles and mementos at Disney Springs, which includes World of Disney, the world’s largest Disney store.

For a relaxing local experience, venture just north of Orlando’s downtown to the heart of Winter Park. Stroll down scenic Park Avenue, perusing charming boutiques, outdoor cafés and elegant museums.

Embark on your own antiques roadshow daytrip to Mount Dora, where you can hunt through a treasure trove of dealers’ wares, including those at Renninger’s Twin Markets. While you’re there, board the Orange Blossom Cannonball for an old-fashioned locomotive ride on Central Florida’s historic “Movie Train” to nearby Tavares and then hop on an aerial seaplane for a soaring tour over the aptly named Lake County.

Orlando Premium Outlets / Photo courtesy of Visit Orlando

Attend a Sporting Event

Orlando hosts a range of choice large-scale sports and live entertainment events. Check out what’s scheduled during your next vacation to share an unforgettable game or concert together.

The 20,000-seat Amway Center impresses with its upscale design, family-friendliness and diverse lineup of events. Home to the NBA’s Orlando Magic, this already legendary venue lets you experience exciting teams and performers on a whole new level of wow.

Take them out to the ballgame. MLB’s Florida Grapefruit League holds Spring Training practices and games at Champion® Stadium, part of the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, and spring home of the Atlanta Braves. Located within the Walt Disney World® Resort, the ESPN complex also showcases hundreds of amateur sports events throughout the year.

Soccer has taken Orlando by storm, with Major League Soccer’s Orlando City SC and their counterparts in the National Women’s Soccer League, the Orlando Pride, doing battle in beautiful new Orlando City Stadium.

Experience Nightlife

When the warm Florida sun goes down, Orlando’s nightlife lights up with evening entertainment destinations as thrilling as the theme parks themselves.

The playful district of Disney Springs fuses fun for every family member throughout its dramatic themed restaurants, shops and live music venues. You’ll also find comfy and even eat-in movie theaters, retro-themed bowling and a host of family-friendly entertainment options — or just enjoy the people watching.

The entertainment mega-complex that is Universal CityWalk® encompasses a colorful array of blockbuster nightclubs, restaurants, shops and cinemas, plus headliner music and comedy concerts at Hard Rock Live®.

Making your way down International Drive to the Pointe Orlando area, you can select from unique evening activities: Catch a movie at Regal Pointe Orlando Stadium 20 & IMAX, play bowling and billiards games at Kings Orlando, sing along with dueling pianos at Howl at the Moon, or drink in the coolness at the Minus5° ice bar.

In Downtown Orlando, you’ll find plenty of options ranging from dance clubs to dive bars along Orange Avenue and Church Street. Enjoy the breezy Florida weather at Latitudes, an outdoor rooftop bar with a Jimmy Buffett vibe, or grab a drink at Tanqueray’s, an intimate underground spot with live jazz musicians. Oenophiles shouldn’t miss The Imperial Wine Bar and Beer Garden in nearby Ivanhoe Village, with Balinese furnishings and a hip yet relaxed atmosphere, and the Wine Room on Park Avenue in Winter Park, with 156 bottles set up in tasting machines, each dispensing 1-, 2.5- or 5-ounce pours.

Howl at the Moon / Photo courtesy of Visit Orlando

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