Do the theme parks in Orlando, then go explore the city’s quieter side. This chic urban oasis flourishes in tropical lushness around wide lakes and shady bungalow communities. It’s a city of snowy egrets, elegant swans, and striking architecture. Friendly enclaves host fashionable restaurants, cool boutiques, and places to simply stroll and enjoy.
Some places to check out in Orlando:
Thornton Park and Downtown High rises reflect on Lake Eola, a gathering spot at sunrise and sunset. Everyone comes here: to rent a swan paddleboat, to see performances at the band shell, to jog around the lake (about 1 mile), to picnic, or even to join tai chi. It’s one of the most visitor-friendly areas. You don’t need a car. Free public transportation of buses and pedicabs (bicycle taxis) makes getting around easy.
SHOP: Several boho-inspired boutiques wrap around the brick-lined streets at East Central Boulevard and Summerlin Avenue.
Urban Think! Bookstore: A bastion of independence, this terrific book store caters to folks looking for great reads, and even better conversations with the amiable shopkeepers.
Zou Zou Boutique: Divas discover primping props at this place where stylish bags and fancy dresses make your credit cards faint.
Hue: This most popular after-work spot straddles the Central/Summerlin corner with a progressive American menu. Try the crispy fried oysters with a wasabi caviar.
Wildside BBQ Bar and Grill: Hearty eaters love this spot on Summerlin for the casual menu and friendly prices. Order a pulled pork sandwich and a mug of ice-cold beer out on the open-air porch.
Sky 60: Top off your evening by sipping cool libations with the hip crowd on the rooftop terrace at this bar on Orange Avenue.