Things to do in Orlando (besides the Theme Parks)!

When someone mentions Orlando, the first two things that usually come to mind are Disney World and Universal. Well, there are many other things to do in Orlando besides the theme parks! Orlando has so much to offer. Below is a list of some of my favorite things to do in Orlando besides Disney World and Universal Orlando.

Trapeze class
Trapeze class

My friend and I took a trapeze class and it was so much fun! I wasn’t that great at it, but I still loved it, and watching others was fun, too. I was really nervous once I got up on the platform, but you just have to take a leap of faith! Down the street there is also an indoor skydiving area. I haven’t done this yet, but it looks awesome!

World of Chocolate Museum
Taj Mahal made of chocolate

I went to the World of Chocolate Museum with a group and thought the tour was neat! I loved seeing the sculptures of chocolate carved into all sorts of art. There were walls of candy bars and art paintings made of chocolate. The tour was very interesting. When you go on the tour you get free samples of chocolates at the end, but stay and order something from the menu, too!

Castle made of chocolate
Gatorland

 

Gatorland

If you love the outdoors and alligators, then go! It’s basically a zoo full of mainly alligators. There is also a panther you can feed, a train ride, zip line, and snakes. You can also feed the turtles around the park! I love walking around Gatorland, the swamp is beautiful. There’s even a path that takes you through the beginning of the Everglades.

Gators at Gatorland
One of the biggest alligators I’ve seen at Gatorland
Pointe Orlando
Pointe Orlando

If you want to go somewhere to shop, eat, and maybe see a movie, Pointe Orlando is the place to go! It’s an outdoor mall with restaurants and a giant movie theater. There is also laser tag, a comedy club, an ice bar, and more. Pointe Orlando is on International Drive (I Drive), so you can walk around the area and go to places like WonderWorks and the Coca-Cola Orlando Eye!

The Coca-Cola Orlando Eye
The Orlando Eye

On the Orlando Eye you can get a great view of Orlando, especially since Florida is so flat. The area around the Orlando Eye is nice too, it’s on International Drive (I Drive) so there are plenty of restaurants to eat at and things to do. In the area where you get your tickets for the Eye, you can also go to the Sea Aquarium or wax museum. A bowling alley is close to the Eye, and you can explore I Drive. Go at night so you can see the Orlando Eye lit up!

Disney Springs
Boat ride at Disney Springs

Okay, so even though the area is owned by Disney, it’s not technically a theme park! Disney Springs is another outdoor mall area with plenty of restaurants and shops. You can take a small boat ride around to check out some of the nearby resorts. Disney Springs has a theater, bowling alley, Cirque du Soleil, and an interactive arcade called DisneyQuest. The House of Blues is also in Disney Springs and a lot of concerts are held there. There is even a hot air balloon you can go up in to see all of the area!

City Walk
Boat ride to the Portofino Hotel at City Walk

City Walk is the entrance to Universal Orlando. It’s full of restaurants, entertainment, and shopping. The Hard Rock Cafe has concerts and if you want to watch a football game you can go to the NBC Sports Grill and Brew – they have over 90 TVs! City Walk is the place to go to at night if you love clubs. It’s so surreal walking around with all the lights and music, even though I’ve been going for years I still love it! You can also take a boat over to the Portofino hotel.

Orlando Soccer
Orlando City soccer game

If you’re visiting Orlando during the soccer season go to a game! The fans are so into it and it makes the experience even more fun!

Downtown Orlando

After the game you can head downtown with the rest of the crowd and go to the bars or just walk around the city at night. It’s a gorgeous place to walk around.

 Lake Eola in Downtown Orlando
View of Lake Eola

Lake Eola is beautiful and is often overlooked by visitors! The lake is at the center of downtown and it makes a great spot to get outside for some air and take a walk. There are giant geese around the park that you can feed. You can even take a boat ride across lake Eola. On Sundays there is a farmers market and at night the fountain lights up different colors. You’re also in the perfect spot to explore downtown Orlando!

Airboat Ride
Lake Toho airboat ride

Airboat rides are iconic to Florida! While you’re in Orlando, be sure to book a trip. You will get to see natural Orlando, learn more about the area, and see a lot of wildlife, including alligators! Read more about airboat rides here

 

Artegon Marketplace
Artwork in Artegon Marketplace

Artegon Marketplace is a trendy mall that is so much fun to walk around! The whole area is decorated in art and local vendors have shops here. Artegon has a great theater (you can choose your seats when you buy your ticket!). There are wine walks once a month, motorized animals you can ride around on, and even an indoor ropes course called Sky Trail at the front.

Things to do Outside of the Orlando Area

Kayaking
Kayaks lined up for the bioluminescent kayak tour

There are many places to get on the water in the Orlando area, but my favorite place to go is Titusville. It’s beautiful out there and you may even see manatees. You can rent a boat, kayak, canoe, or paddle board. During season, you can even go on a bioluminescent tour at night! Read more about going on a  bioluminescent kayak here

Reflections on the Wekiva River

Another one of my favorite places to get out on the water is Wekiva River. It’s beautiful and exciting to spend time in nature with all the wildlife. Read more about Wekiva here

Winter Park
Boat ride in Winter Park

A popular city outside of Orlando is Winter Park. There’s plenty of shopping and good restaurants downtown and you can even go on a boat ride! The surrounding lakes are gorgeous, and you learn so much about the area while on the boat tour.

Everglades
Shark Valley Observation Tower

While you’re in Florida, you need to check out the Everglades! The Everglades are beautiful and full of wildlife. I went to the Shark Valley Observation Tower and the view is amazing. Read more about my Everglades trip here

Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse
Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse

Ever been to a light house? If not, check out the Ponce de Leon lighthouse in Ponce Inlet. The climb to the top is 203 steps, but the view is worth it! After the climb, you can visit all the museums around the lighthouse.

Additional Information

As you can see, there are so many things to do and see in Orlando and the surrounding areas! You may have noticed that I don’t have any of the springs near Orlando listed on this blog. Going to all the different springs is a favorite pastime of mine & I will be writing a post on this soon, so stay tuned!

Do you have any suggestions on things to do in Orlando besides the theme parks? If so, let me know!

Update on 7/13/2017:

I’m  excited to announce that this blog post has been added as an app for GPSmyCity! Click here to download my article app! You will be able to download and read it offline. You also have the option to upgrade for GPS navigation. Enjoy!

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