A bustling centre of commerce by day and an entertainment hub in the evening, Downtown Orlando boasts fine-dining restaurants, theatres and art galleries. It offers access to a buzzing nightlife scene, concerts and sports at Amway Center and live theatre performances, offering authentic local culture outside the city’s big-ticket attractions.
Things to do
Downtown Orlando’s main strip on Orlando Avenue features rooftop bars, laid-back pubs and clubs with live DJs. Head to the Church Street District to find a mix of bars and world-class dining in its historic buildings that date back to the 1800s or watch the Orlando Magic play at Amway Center.
The picturesque Lake Eola is minutes from the downtown area on foot and features a swan-filled lake and an iconic water fountain. Pack a picnic and admire the water views against Orlando’s skyline, rent a swan paddleboat and float around the lake or stroll along the walking trails.
Just steps from Lake Eola Park, Thornton Park has a collection of upscale eateries, neighbourhood bars and trendy boutiques along its brick-lined streets. Visit Dexter’s Thornton Park to enjoy mimosas and bloody marys with Nutella Belgian waffles.
For a dose of culture, head to Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts to see live shows like “The Lion King” and a “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back” concert with the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra. The theatre is a hub for both international and local artists, where you can sit the 2,700-seat Walt Disney Theater or catch a live concert in the historic Bob Carr Theater.
Downtown Orlando’s compact streets can be explored on foot, while a car is needed to visit Greater Orlando. Taxis, pedicabs and Uber are readily available, or you can take a ride on the SunRail train from Winter Park, Lake Mary and Kissimmee. Orlando International Airport is less than a 20-minute drive away.