What To Do In Orlando This Summer To Find Non-Touristy Fun
Each year, 50 million travelers agree that Orlando, Florida, is pretty magical. Consistently ranked as America's most visited destination due in part to its title of "theme park capital of the world," it's easy to forget just how much Orlando has to offer in terms of dining, shopping, culture, and natural beauty. In fact, the city’s official nickname is “The City Beautiful,” and it’s full of lush parks that just beg you to step out of theme park lines and into the grass.
That’s why in partnership with Crocs, we created this summer guide to Orlando. We've skipped the obvious attractions in favor of outdoor activities that will help you see a whole new side to this seemingly familiar city. Even if you’re there for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Disney’s Haunted Mansion , we’ll introduce you to Orlando’s path-less-taken so that you can truly enjoy it all.
Best Outdoor Dining
Enzian and Eden Bar
Whether you enjoy their signature flatbreads and sandwiches for lunch during the day or prefer a more upscale dinner at night, Eden Bar offers some of the best al fresco dining in Florida and comes complete with a grove of 400-year-old oak trees. And if that’s not enough to entice you, Enizian, an outdoor movie theater, is also just steps away.
Best Outdoor Performance Venues
Universal Music Plaza Amphitheater
The Universal Music Plaza Amphitheater is host to Orlando's biggest concerts and a variety of shows presented by Universal. Check out this summer's concert series, which begins on June 13.
Best Place To Have Fun By Foot
Lake Eola Park
Lake Eola Park, the largest and most central public park in the city, is the best place to take a stroll -- day or night. With its stunning view of the cityscape and the iconic Lake Eola Fountain, the official symbol of Orlando, this park is also host to a variety of surprises in architecture and natural scenery. From the colorful and charming Walt Disney Amphitheater to the Chinese pagoda, there's tons to do and see. It's also very child-friendly, with several playgrounds throughout the park.
Best Outdoor Nightlife
One80 Grey Goose Lounge
Whether you're there for the stunning view of Orlando, a drink or two, or even VIP bottle service, One80 Grey Goose Lounge has become one of the trendiest spots in the city. It's located atop the Amway Center, and you'll definitely want to arrive early to nab outdoor seating.
Latitudes Rooftop Party Bar
If One80 Grey Goose Lounge is where you wear your tightest club dress with heels, Latitudes is where you can cut loose in the Central Florida uniform of shorts and flip-flops. Drinks are cheap and the crowd is laid-back and friendly.
Best Outdoor Festivals
Orlando Farmers Market
Residents of the area flock to the Orlando Farmers Market at Lake Eola Park every Sunday to enjoy the best of Central Florida. Come here to find the most delicious produce (citrus, citrus, citrus!) or even some whimsical treats like push-up cupcakes and homemade jams. One unique feature of this farmers market, aside from the usual gourmet food trucks and produce stands, is the beer garden situated in the middle of the market grounds.
Fireworks At The Fountain
If you're in Orlando for July 4th, head to Lake Eola Park for Fireworks at the Fountain. With food stands, live entertainment for both adults and children, and craft vendors, this event is a must-attend for Orlando natives. The reflection of the fireworks over Lake Eola and a coordinated light show over the water make for an unforgettable experience.
Rockets Launching From Cape Canaveral
While its Fourth of July fireworks are undeniably spectacular, Orlando’s greatest light show comes thanks to America’s space program. Although space shuttles stopped launching in 2011, satellites and private-sector supply vessels still regularly launch from NASA's Cape Canaveral base, 50 miles east of Orlando. These take-offs are visible from almost anywhere in the city, but for a more detailed guide to finding the best viewing spot, check out the Orlando Sentinel's guide.
This post is sponsored by Crocs.