There are TONS of things to do in Orlando besides the several amusements parks that seemingly define the Orlando area itself. You can’t really blame them though, because they’re so widely popular that anytime you think Orlando, you think Disney World or Universal Studios. BUT – there are tons of other things to do and they’re super fun!
1. Lake Eola Park
Lake Eola Park gives a great view of the downtown Orlando Skyline, and it’s such a pretty park for a walk!
I’m always weary of downtown areas because parking is typically a nightmare, we lucked out getting a spot close, but you can google “Lake Eola Parking” and it will show you different garages and streets you can park on!
2. Love Mural
We didn’t get the chance to see this mural, but I thought it was a really cool way to show tribute to the people harmed in the Pulse night club shooting. I think what I like the most about this art piece is that despite such a hate-charged tragedy, they put up love. It’s also very surreal to be in a place that experienced something like that.
3. Coca Cola Eye/ International Drive
International Drive is sort of the center of all the attractions in Orlando. A lot of people like to stay here for the convenience, but there are also a few cool things to do here as well! There’s the big ferris wheel, Escape games, helicopter tours, mini golf, iFly (indoor skydiving!) and more! There are also tons of restaurants, shows, and stuff like that.
4. Greetings from Orlando
The Greetings Tour is Victor & Lisa’s cross country project. They are painting and photographing these postcard murals to capture “town pride” They hope to reach each state and have been working since April 2015! You can read more here.
5. Orlando Hot Air Balloons
It’s on my bucket list. I’m also terrified. So this didn’t happen yet. LOL. But Davenport is located right outside Orlando and they have different packages for what kind of ride you want to take! Ugh – still dreaming. (Visit website here)
I used to live in Florida so the excitement surrounding Florida’s famous alligator is … dull? I guess? I’m just not super interested in it anymore, but Gatorland is fantastic for people who are not from the area and want a close up look at these cool animals! This place also offers other exciting activities, like zip-lining, shows, and other animals!
7. Disney Springs
Disney Springs is one of my favorite things because you don’t need a ticket, there’s tons of food and drinks, tons of walking, and tons of shopping!
There is a 3 story Coca Cola store with tasting on the third story, which has a great outdoor view of the Springs! They also have a lot of cool little trinkets in the store – I got Kyle a bottle opener from here for Christmas and he SWEARS by it!
Sprinkles is a must stop, obviously. I’m sure everyone has heard of or seen the famous cupcake ATM’s – I even had to try it for myself last time I was here! This time I walked in for a water, but came out with a shot. THEY HAVE FROSTING SHOTS ON THE MENU. I looked at the cashier and was like “why is this a thing?” and she said, “yeah, I cringed when I saw it on the menu, but.. I guess people like it.” I agreed with her and made a face that was lead one to believe I was also against this idea, but then I ordered one for myself. I mean, it’s really no different than licking the icing off the cupcake, right? Kyle and I shared the top half and then we tossed the rest. Way too sweet for us!
If you’re anything like me, you’re probably obsessed with Free People and their boho, flowy, beautiful clothing. But the price tag just ain’t worth it. But you know the second I saw shades for $20 I walked out that place acting 50 shades of boujee with my FREE PEOPLE BAG. YES I WANT A BAG – EVERYBODY NEEDS TO KNOW I PURCHASED FREE PEOPLE. hahahaha.
There is currently a Groupon out right now for the Disney Springs balloon ride. It’s not a ride ride like the other one, this one stays attached to the ground, so I wasn’t too nervous about it. But sadly, it was too windy for us to go. PSA: if you go before 8am regular tickets are only $10 which is cheaper than the Groupon!
Sugarboo&Co ^^ One of my favorite stores EVER!
Kyle and I made Lego people of each other at the Lego store!
Tipsy @ Disney?
As usual… when I can’t finish my drink, he does! CHUG CHUG CHUG.
7. Islands of Adventure
Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios are like sister parks in my mind. They have a lot of similar things but are also totally different! Islands has Hogsmead from Harry Potter and Universal has Diagon Alley. I think they both have a little bit of the Dr. Suess stuff, and so on. My mom, sister, and brother went to Islands the first day in Florida, and we all went to Universal the next day. There’s a train (The Hogwarts Express) that even goes between the two!
8. Springs & Manatees
I sooooo wish, wish, WISH – we could have done this. There are sooo many amazing springs in the central Florida area that you can visit and they all have their own unique little characteristics. There are some that you can even find manatees at and swim with! A DREAAAAMMM.
9. Glass Bottom Boats
These are big at the springs, because the water is so clear that you can see under the water. I’d rather snorkel and swim, but if you aren’t into that, these boats are so perfect!
10. Universal Studios
I think the last time I was here, I was in middle school & Kyle had never been so we were very excited.
We didn’t even ride anything because it was hot and we’re not line people…. we’d rather pop in and out of all the air conditioned shops and just eat and drink all day.
hey babe. #IloveyouJimmyFallon
HOW MANY CANDY STORES CAN WE PUT IN ONE PARK?
Diagon Alley was SO COOL. It was literally just like in the movie- but I’m not sure what we expected it to be like. It was just as crowded. Just as claustrophobia inducing. LOL.
If you come to Universal, be sure to visit the stores, get a wand, and grab a butter beer! Then take your photo and throw it in the trash, because IT AIN’T GOOD. I have a sweet tooth like NO OTHER, and this stuff was too much for me.
There are so many cool things to do here, but it was just way too crowded for me to care. I didn’t want to spend $50 on a wand, although my sister did. And I didn’t understand half of what was going on because I only watched the movies, so I guess I’m not a REAL FAN.
This was actually my favorite part of the park, I’m not gunna lie. And I’m not even like.. the biggest Simpson’s fan either. I’m just neutral about everything here, aren’t I? But they had TACO TRUCK, GIANT DONUTS, AND LOTS OF FUN THINGS GOING ON. So obviously I was sold.
We watched the pilot episode to some new show and got $20 gift cards. (I spent it on my butter beer that a threw away)
The horror makeup show was HILARIOUS. I’m not a big show person, but I was dying of the hot sun so we popped inside to chill out a minute and it was actually really funny. I totes recommend you go watch it. It was only like 20 minutes, and it was really cool. We learned all about horror makeup and the mechanics behind some of the first horror movies ever.
Kyle wouldn’t pose with any of the characters walking around the park, but he’d pose with this duck…. Also, can we just talk about these poor people walking around in these head-to-toe mascot-esque costumes in the Florida heat? HOW ARE THEY ALIVE IN THERE? Is it secretly like rigged up like an ice box so they’re not sweating to death??? I’m genuinely curious.
Love at first sight.
LOOK WHAT WE FOUND!
Remember that giant donut I was talking about? Here it is.
The best purchase of the day.
ok how, though?
I was hot and grumpy when we left the park, but we hung out at City Walk for a while after, so I was fine. Like after a milkshake, a margarita, froyo, and shramps… then I was fine.
11. Disney World
For one, I recommend buying Disney gear at the gift shops OUTSIDE the park because it’s a hell of a lot cheaper. It won’t spoil the experience, I promise. If you have kids, there are certain parks that are better than others, if you’re older and just want to go to see it, I would probably recommend Epcot and Magic Kingdom, because.. 1- dranks. and 2- it’s Magic Kingdom… I mean. Ok. I haven’t been here since I was about 10, but I want to go back to Epcot so bad, and I want to bring Kyle to all the parks he didn’t go to when he was a kid. Disney world always confused me when I was younger because every park I had ever been to was all in one place, and Disney has each park in a different location. LIKE WITH DIFFERENT ROUTES AND EXITS AND EVERYTHING. Thank God for GPS- honestly.
12. Kissimmee rock statue
South of Orlando, in Kissimmee, is a cool little thing called the Monument of States. It’s just a statue of rocks from every state in America. I thought it was cool, ok?
13. Bok Tower Gardens
Even further south, in Lake Wales, is Bok Tower Gardens. It’s such a gorgeous location and they always have stuff going on, so check the calendar!
14. City Walk
First stop: The Chocolate Emporium.
It’s not only a gift shop and restaurant, but they have tons of different dessert options and milkshake concoctions!
I got strawberry shortcake for the sole fact that it was aesthetically pleasing and came with a chocolate covered strawberry. The milkshake itself was too cream cheesey.
Going to move here. I belong here. ^^
Prettiest building I’ve ever seen in my life.
THIS VW VAN IS A BAR!!
I’m not sure what I expected from their margaritas at MARGARITAVILLE but I drank half of this was a drunky little lady. Kyle yelled at me to pace myself. On one drink. I’m an embarrassment. But also not, because I mean.. I’m a cheap date! Joke’s on you.
Their surf n’ turf burger was AMAAAAZING. Also, there aren’t many things I want to recreate after I eat it in a restaurant but their Lava Lava Shrimp was TO DIE FORRRRR.
Have you been to Orlando? There are so many other things to do outside of the amusement parks and Disney World!