20 Of The Best Places To Visit & Things To Do In Orlando, Florida

Orlando is one of the biggest tourist hotspots in America, with visitors coming from all over the world.

While many may only focus on the magic of Walt Disney World, there’s more to Orlando than Disney.

20 Of The Best Places To Visit & Things To Do In Orlando, Florida

There is a wide range of theme parks, museums, shopping centers, and more.

Instead of focusing only on Disney and Universal Studios, come and see some of the other attractions Orlando offers.

To help you find where to go, we’ve compiled a list of 20 of the best places to visit while you’re in Orlando.

Whether you’re there for thrill-seeking or a relaxing experience, there are plenty of places for you to get the most out of your experience.

1. Walt Disney World

Most visitors will focus on Walt Disney World as being one of the only attractions that Orlando has to offer.

It’s no wonder why, especially if we consider the size of this legendary theme park.

When you go to Disney World, you don’t only visit one Park. There are so many, but we can’t just class each park as separate, either.

You’ll find a variety of theme parks, where you’ll find a host of rides to go on and shows to see. All follow a specific theme so that each park will have something different.

These are the main parks you think of when you’re thinking of visiting the Walt Disney World Resort:

  • Magic Kingdom
  • Epcot
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Magic Kingdom was the first theme park that opened in 1971, followed by Epcot in 1982. Hollywood Studios opened in 1989, and Animal Kingdom was the most recent, opening in 1998.

All of these parks can take an entire day on their own, especially if you want to savor your experience.

2. Disney Springs

Disney Springs is a resort dedicated to enjoying food and buying plenty of merchandise. It’s essentially Disney’s own shopping center.

Here there are 102 shops and 66 different places to dine. But don’t worry, because you’ll also find 24 different attractions, including shows and events.

Disney Springs is a great daytime activity for the family, as there’s so much to see and do. There’s live music, balloon flights, and Amphicar tours.

When the kids leave, you’ll find there are numerous late-night shows and activities for adults too.

If you want a day out to do some shopping and dining, then Disney Springs offers a light-hearted and relaxing atmosphere to do so.

However, if you do want to go to some restaurants, make sure to book in advance!

3. Typhoon Lagoon And Blizzard Beach

As our last element for Disney, we have their two water parks: Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach. Typhoon Lagoon is home to one of the world’s largest outdoor wave pools.

Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach will be closed depending on when you visit.

Usually, they close for maintenance at different times of the year. If one is closed, then the other will remain open for visitors to enjoy.

Both Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach have different themes to them. Typhoon Lagoon is based on a giant typhoon that wreaked havoc on their tropical paradise.

Due to that, you’ll find there are a variety of different items decorating the park. You’ll see ships, fishing gear, and random surfboards around the park.

Meanwhile, Blizzard Beach is based on the idea of a freak snowstorm hitting Florida, which led to the making of the first Florida ski resort.

However, after the weather returned to normal, they used it to create a snow-themed water park.

There are a host of different slides, but if not, you can always go down the lazy river or enjoy the wave pool.

If you want to relax and have something to eat or drink, then you can always head over to one of the dining areas as you take a break from the water.

4. Universal Studios Orlando

Universal Studios is one of the only resorts you would think of while visiting Orlando.

If you’re not big on Disney, you can head over to Universal Studios, Walt Disney World’s biggest competitor.

Here at Universal Studios, you’ll find various rides based on Harry Potter, The Simpsons, Transformers, and Minions.

There’s so much to do and see, with plenty of rides to go on and different restaurants to dine in.

There are not only restaurants. Several parks have been opened in the resort, with Universal Studios Florida being the first park. However, the second park is Universal’s Islands of Adventure.

Islands of Adventure is based on different films, such as Marvel’s Superhero Island, Jurassic Park, Hogsmeade, and Toon Lagoon.

Of course, these are only a few for you to look forward to. They’re currently working on their third park: Epic Universe, which Universal plans to open in 2025.

If theme parks aren’t your thing, you can also explore Universal’s own water park: Volcano Bay. At Volcano Bay, you’ll find many water slides and attractions, with two lazy rivers to go on.

You don’t have to worry too much about queues either, as the park uses a TapuTapu to alert you when you should make your way to your ride.

5. Universal CityWalk

Although technically one of Universal’s parks, Universal CityWalk is a relaxing experience where you can go shopping and eat at restaurants.

It serves as the entrance to the actual theme park, where you’ll find an outdoor concert venue along with dining areas.

As an entrance to the two parks, you can either go from Universal Studios Florida or over to Universal’s Islands of Adventure.

It’s a great way to travel between parks if you want to stretch your legs instead of waiting for the Hogwarts Express.

Some of the main restaurants at Universal CityWalk include the Hard Rock Cafe, Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen.

There are also plenty of other restaurants to go to, including theaters and escape rooms.

If you want a more relaxing experience, you can always go to CityWalk to relax for a little while traveling between parks.

6. Fun Spot America

Not all theme parks in Orlando are related to Disney and Universal Studios. One of the best theme parks to visit is Fun Spot America.

At Fun Spot America, you’ll find a host of classic and unique rides that are great for visitors of various ages. They’re even home to the only wooden roller coaster in Orlando.

Not only do they have rides, but they have some brilliant games to play too. You could try out the latest arcade games or try your hand at some Midway games.

You can play balloon bust, hot shot, and have some water gun fun to earn a host of prizes.

Plenty of rides are perfect for younger children and more exciting and adventurous rides for older visitors.

Regardless of what you’re looking for, there’s something for everyone at Fun Spot America.

7. International Drive

Not far from Universal Studios is International Drive, or I-Drive, as it’s sometimes shortened. International Drive is full of different attractions, shops, and restaurants.

International Drive is even home to the world’s largest McDonald’s, which also has an arcade and play area.

However, you don’t have to only eat at McDonald’s as there are Tapas, Chinese buffets, Japanese restaurants, pizzerias, and much more.

However, you won’t only find restaurants and shopping, but also plenty of places to play too. You’ll find play areas, golf courses, VR experiences, ax throwing, and many more.

You don’t have to have dinner normally either, with dinner shows that will keep you and your family entertained while enjoying a hearty meal.

After dark, you can enjoy various activities and drink a few drinks!

Plenty of activities are available at International Drive, making it a perfect place for tourists to explore.

8. ICON Park

One of many places available on International Drive is ICON Park, a central hub for daytime entertainment and nightlife.

There’s plenty to do for families and visitors of all ages. You could visit Madame Tussauds or explore the wonders of the Museum of Illusions.

Kids can enjoy the Pearl Express Train, but it’s not only limited to children. Older kids and adults are also welcome.

If you want to see the night sky, the best ride to go on is The Wheel, which is an 18-minute ride where you can admire the views of Orlando.

You’ll be able to see the lakes and plenty of Florida landmarks from outside of Orlando too.

If you want, you can even explore the Sea Life Orlando Aquarium, where you can travel through a 360-degree ocean tunnel to get the best views of the sea creatures there.

It’s a must-visit area where you’ll find activities perfect for the whole family. There are so many reasons to enjoy ICON Park.

However, the nightlife is where the adults can have a perfect time and enjoy drinks at nearby bars and restaurants.

9. Ripley’s Believe It Or Not!

Kids and adults will love visiting Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Featuring a host of oddities and exhibits, Ripley’s is a brilliant museum dedicated to the unbelievable.

There are a host of different exhibits and an exciting mirror maze.

Both the Odditorium and Mirror Maze are separate events at Ripley’s.

Over in the auditorium, you can lose yourself in immersive experiences and appreciate items you need to see to believe.

You’ll love the odditorium if you want to satisfy your curiosity. There are plenty of exhibits you can get involved with, making it perfect for adults and children.

The Mirror Maze is separate from Ripley’s Odditorium. The maze is filled with LED lights and infinity mirrors designed to disorientate weary travelers.

You can travel the mirror maze with friends and see how long it takes you to experience victory.

If you want to appreciate Ripley’s, you’ll find it on International Drive. You can’t miss it, after all, how many sloping buildings can you see?

10. WonderWorks

Ripley’s may have a sloping building, but one more will catch your eye: the upside-down house.

WonderWorks is an amazing center dedicating 28,000 square feet to edutainment.

Families and adults will adore WonderWorks, where not only are there a host of exhibits but action-packed adventures too.

WonderWorks has six distinct Wonder Zones, where you must go through an inversion zone to realign yourself.

In the Weather Zone, you can experience the Tesla Coil, where you can experience being a human lightning bolt with a mesh and steel armor glove.

You can even relive the Quake of ‘89 in the Earthquake Cafe or experience the Hurricane Shack and how cold it was when the Titanic sank.

In the physical challenge zone, you can lie on a bed of 3500 nails, explore the Bubble Lab, and check out how far you can pull yourself up with Pulley Power.

Try on a space suit and try the astronaut training challenge, enter the Mercury Capsule, or try out the Wonder Coaster, where you can choose your own dream coaster.

If you’re more into art, you can explore the illusion art gallery or view Dr. Seuss’s Unorthodox Taxidermy.

You can even enter the Light and Sound zone, where you can dance, strike a pose, or try out the giant piano!

Lastly, there’s the imagination lab, where you can get as creative as possible.

Dig around the interactive sandbox to build your own world, or arrange some interlocking gears to see what happens next.

Then, when you’re done, you can explore the indoor ropes course or go on the 4D XD Simulator Ride.

Of course, if you’re feeling competitive, there’s always some laser tag for friends and family to duke it out.

11. Orlando Science Center

Visitors of all ages will love the Orlando Science Center, where families and friends can enjoy the host of exhibits on display.

Your young kids will love KidsTown, where they can make exciting discoveries and begin an appreciation of science early on.

They can enjoy a wide range of interactive activities and performances, with many encouraging explorations.

The exhibits are ever-changing, so no visit will ever truly be the same.

Early 2023 focuses on the Earth Matters exhibit, where you can learn about sustainability by seeing how our actions affect the planet.

It’s a fully interactive exhibit that will teach you more about the environment and our planet.

Then, in late 2023 there will be an exhibit called Life, where you’ll learn more about nature and conservation, and you can even handle animals such as snakes.

You will learn about animal care and how to care for natural resources.

More permanent exhibits include Food Heroes, where you’ll learn about sustainable farming.

The Kinetic Zone will encourage you to learn about physics and engineering principles.

Meanwhile, The Hive will offer a collaborative workspace to allow you to work with others and turn your ideas into a reality.

Not only does it focus on science, but you’ll also find new inspiration by looking at FUSION: A STEAM Gallery, where you can combine STEM with arts.

Fans of dinosaurs will also love the DinoDigs exhibit, where you’ll learn more about prehistoric creatures and the fauna that was once there.

Of course, you can also learn about the atmosphere too, understand the weather better and learn how the Earth lives.

To see how everything makes a difference, you can even go on a Tiny Green Home Tour to raise environmental awareness.

As you can see, there’s a host of exhibits for families and visitors of all ages to enjoy.

12. Orlando Museum of Art

The Orlando Museum of Art was founded in 1924, and since then, it has inspired creativity, passion, and curiosity for generations.

You may think of art galleries as being too formal, but here is a gallery that encourages visitors of all ages to appreciate the arts.

The exhibitions are ever-changing, so you’ll find that another will take its place when some exhibitions end.

Currently, there are two ongoing exhibitions: The Radical Abstract Art from the Orlando Museum of Art Collection and the J. Hyde Crawford and Anthony Tortora Collection.

The two exhibitions that end in 2023 are Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From and the American Journey.

Not only are there exhibitions, but there are family programs and adult programs that encourage involvement with art.

Families can book birthday parties or go on an art adventure.

There are so many activities for children and families to get involved with, including family workshops and even stroller tours.

Adults can enjoy a night out or even have a lunchtime program with speakers available. Literature fans can also get involved with book clubs.

Check out the website for any current information on the events going on at the Orlando Museum of Art so that you can keep up to date with their exhibits and activities.

13. Amway Center

If you want entertainment, then look no further than Orlando’s Amway Center.

Home to both the Orlando Magic, Orlando Solar Bears, and the Orlando Predators, this sports arena has been open since October 2010.

Many games have taken place since it first opened, but don’t just think this is home to games.

Over the years, there have been a host of A-list artists who have graced Amway Center.

But not only can you expect sports, but you can also find live WWE RAW matches too.

You can visit restaurants in the center, where you can enjoy drinks.

Fans of Orlando Magic will also be delighted to find they can buy official merch there too.

So if you have any Orlando Magic fans, they’ll be thrilled to see what’s available to them.

If you want to see what events are going on, check the events page in advance and ensure you have your tickets.

You’ll be able to enjoy the show and have an experience you’ll cherish forever.

14. Crayola Experience

Families will love the Crayola Experience as there’s something for everyone. There are over 70,000 square feet of attractions for you to enjoy.

There are over 27 hands-on attractions for you to enjoy, and most families will spend nearly 4 hours here.

But best of all, many visitors return again, as there are so many fun activities.

There are a whole host of artistic activities for families to enjoy, such as learning how Crayola products are made, jumping around the playground, dance sessions, factory shows, drip art, and many more.

These activities are filled with a host of colorfully fun adventures for your kids and you to embark on.

If you have kids who enjoy art, then they’ll love the Crayola Experience.

When you’re visiting, you’ll find that the whole family can make memories together, even in the form of a coloring page.

15. Lake Eola Park

Do you want to enjoy a romantic day out with a loved one? You’ll find that Lake Eola Park in downtown Orlando is the best place to go.

This beautiful, scenic location is perfect for a day out for anyone.

You could rent a swan-shaped paddle boat or even take photographs of the various birds and swans that inhabit the park too.

If you don’t want to do much, you can also relax around the beautiful flower beds and enjoy Orlando’s skyline.

You’ll find that they also display concerts, movies, or plays at the Walt Disney Amphitheater in the park too.

There are many events to enjoy, too, such as the Orlando Farmer’s Market for anyone who wants to enjoy fresh and organic produce.

If the discussion of Farmer’s Markets has made you hungry, then don’t worry.

There are also plenty of nearby restaurants for you to eat from if you don’t have a picnic available.

Lake Eola Park is a perfect destination for anyone who wants to experience a day out while on a budget.

16. Harry P. Leu Gardens

One of the best places to visit when you want to relax is Harry P. Leu Gardens.

These Gardens expand across 50 acres and are considered a botanical oasis.

If you want to explore the garden and appreciate its array of plants, you can always explore this magnificent garden.

Harry P. Leu and his wife, Mary Jane, officially owned the Leu Gardens. They treated the gardens until they donated the deed to the city in 1961.

In the gardens, you’ll find the graves of the original owners and the cottage in which the Leus lived.

There are a host of camellias of different strains that the Leus looked after for years.

There are camellias and many other plants and gardens, such as ferns, hibiscus, mallow, and herbs. It’s a romantic garden, so it’s no surprise that it’s also a fine wedding destination too.

Harry P. Leu Gardens is the place to be if you love botanical gardens and nature.

There are so many different types of flowers and plants that you can see.

Many birds have made their homes in the garden, which makes it a must-see for bird lovers.

17. Discovery Cove

Discovery Cove is an all-inclusive day resort that is perfect for the whole family.

When you get to Discovery Cove, you’ll have a freshly prepared breakfast, a gourmet lunch, and endless snacks and beverages, and it has been designed to have all guests feel like a VIP.

For this reason, booking in advance is best, as reservations are required for all guests.

There’s only limited access to the park so you can guarantee an intimate experience.

You can relax in tropical rooms and float through the Wind-Away River to travel through a rainforest environment.

Here you’ll pass breathtaking waterfalls and experience the free-flight aviary, where you’ll find a host of birds flying through the sky.

Of course, for those who don’t want to just relax, you’ll find that you can play with animals too.

Feel free to swim with dolphins, snorkel with tropical fish and rays, or feed the exotic birds.

In the Freshwater Oasis, you can play with otters and marmosets too.

Regardless of your age, Discovery Cove is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

18. Gatorland

Have you ever wanted to see and learn about alligators and crocodiles?

Then you’ll be able to see them in an environment that’s been designed for them.

Gatorland was born to create a fun family environment to educate people about gators. Of course, they have other animals too.

You’ll find that not only do they have alligators and crocodiles, but there are also wild cats, capybaras, birds, snakes, critters, and tortoises too.

There are many events to look forward to with experiences you won’t have anywhere else.

Head onto the Screamin’ Gator zipline, where you can view the alligators safely from above.

You can even go on an off-road adventure on a 12-foot-high custom off-road monster vehicle.

For anyone who wants to see the alligators in their natural habitat, you’ll be able to go on a night shine tour.

While you’re here, you’ll see these gators come to life around you.

These are only a few of the exciting events you’ll find at Gatorland.

19. SeaWorld

SeaWorld is one of the biggest theme parks in Orlando, and it’s no wonder why.

SeaWorld is one of the best places to see an array of sea creatures that you would only otherwise see in the wild.

There are dolphins, sharks, pelicans, manatees, mantas, flamingos, penguins, and orcas.

You can learn more about these creatures and admire them at SeaWorld. Of course, that’s not all you can do at SeaWorld.

A host of events occur throughout the year so you can enjoy different types of food.

One of the biggest events is the Seven Seas Food Festival, which takes place on select dates throughout the year.

Of course, SeaWorld is a theme park, too, so you’ll be able to enjoy some water rides and high-speed roller coasters.

2023 will see the launch of Pipeline, a high-thrill surf coaster that visitors will love.

Among the other rides are Ice Breaker, Mako, Kraken, Manta, Infinity Falls, Journey to Atlantis, and Sesame Street Land.

Naturally, we should warn you that you should make sure you pack your waterproofs, so you don’t get drenched.

20. Aquatica

Aquatica is a water park that you’ll find by SeaWorld. Here at Aquatica, you can either sit back and relax or enjoy the thrills.

You can lounge by the pools in one of the complimentary lounge chairs or even book your own cabana.

Sip your drinks by the poolside, or enjoy delicious snacks or meals.

Of course, if you still want to lounge in the pool, you can always have a casual float down the lazy river, where you’ll be able to get underwater views of fish and dolphins.

For anyone who craves adrenaline on their journey, you can always check out some of Aquatica’s many rides.

You can go on numerous slides, including the Reef Plunge, the Riptide Race, the KareKare Curl, or the Ray Rush.

You can even experience the two wave pools too: Cutback Cove and Big Surf Shores. You can enjoy so many slides that we can’t list them all here!

All you need to know is that there’s definitely something for everyone, with children’s playgrounds also available for kids to enjoy safely!

If you want to sit back and relax after a day at the pool, you’ll find there are also Beach Nights too.

At this event, you’ll find plenty of food and drinks to enjoy while appreciating a different movie each week.

You’ll even be able to play games too, so what’s not to love?

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there’s so much to look forward to when you visit Florida.

Even if you’re not a thrill seeker, there are so many activities available for everyone, regardless of whether you’re visiting from abroad or you just want some new activities for the weekend.

There’s always something new to try when you visit Orlando. Besides, who said you couldn’t go back to visit again?

Hopefully, you’ll find something new to enjoy that will be perfect for the whole family!

Alex Kallen
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