15 Best Things to Do in Downtown Orlando - Travel Lens (2024)

Orlando is a city in Florida, United States of America.

After Miami and Tampa, it is Florida’s third-largest metropolitan region.

The climate in this city is ideal year-round, and its diverse array of attractions caters to visitors of all interests.

Orlando is the ideal destination for a fun-filled family vacation as well as a romantic getaway.

Tourists flock to Orlando every year, making it the most popular city in the United States of America.

While many people visit Orlando, Downtown is the one area they don’t get to see.

There is a different feel in downtown Orlando compared to the rest of the city.

On either of Downtown Orlando’s two major streets, you won’t find any cartoon characters or fantasy castles.

A cosmopolitan district with outstanding public art, a lakefront park, museums, and shops is what you’ll discover there.

A luxurious spa, a comedy event, or a co*cktail in an underground bar are just some of the options available.

Orlando’s Downtown area is a must-see when visiting the city.

These fifteen must-do activities in DT Orlando are an excellent place to start:

Stroll Around Lake Eola Park

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While visiting Orlando, make sure to stop at Lake Eola Park, one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions.

The tale of Lake Eola Park’s development began when its first inhabitants arrived a long time ago.

It is now one of the most popular tourist attractions in Orlando because of its beautiful landscape.

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The Centennial Fountain in the park is also attractively illuminated with lights around it.

However, if you’re looking at the scenery, you’ll be surprised by what you find in this park.

It’s available to the public, so you may run, jog, or trek through it.

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A sinkhole rather than a lake lies in the center of the park’s water feature, which is sure to catch you off guard.

Nature’s beauty is apparent in the nicely kept grass, attractive flowerbeds, and abundance of trees such as cypresses and palms that line the banks of this sinkhole.

If you want to catch a movie or play, head to the Walt Disney Amphitheatre, located on the west side of Lake Eola Park.

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Ride the Observation Wheel at ICON Park

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One of downtown Orlando’s most popular attractions, Icon Park is a popular destination for travelers visiting the area.

The 400-foot-tall observation wheel is one of the park’s most popular attractions.

As the tallest observation wheel in Florida, it is also the tallest on the Eadu coast.

Some pleasure and some luxury are in store for those who take the wheel.

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Each wheel pod has an air conditioning system and provides a stunning perspective of the neighboring cities and the state.

At the center of the wheel are around 30 capsules, each holding up to 15 people.

You’ll be able to see Kennedy Space Center, Universal Studios, and other great Orlando attractions as you board the space capsule.

Relax at Harry P. Leu Gardens

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As one of downtown Orlando’s top attractions, Harry P. Leu Gardens is a great place to begin or end a sightseeing excursion.

As its name suggests, Mr. Harry P. Leu Gardens is an industrialist’s collection of botanical gardens that he established.

Palm, bird, and butterfly gardens are just some attractions you may find at Harry P. Leu Gardens.

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When Mr. Leu returned from a trip abroad in the 1930s, he brought back some uncommon, exotic, and distinctive seeds and plants, which he planted in a 50-acre plot of land he had purchased.

Over 230 varieties and roughly 2,000 plants are in the Gardens.

As a bonus, you’ll get to observe new kinds of plants and flowers.

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In these gardens, tropical and semi-tropical plants are common.

The Camellias and Shady Oaks in these gardens provide shade for those who stroll across the grounds.

For this reason, the garden appears to change dramatically throughout the year.

Check out the Leu House Museum, located where Mr. Leu resided during his time in the gardens.

Have a Good Laugh at SAK Comedy Lab

SAK Comedy Lab should be at the top of your list if you’re looking for a great time in Downtown Orlando.

A slogan for the SAK Comedy Lab may be ‘expect the unexpected.’

This Downtown Orlando improv theater has been putting up impromptu shows every night for over three decades.

The theater, located on Orange Avenue, has a capacity of 250 people and specializes in making people laugh via spontaneously created comedy acts, songs, and one-liners.

Spectators are encouraged to offer personalities or topics to inspire the performers, leading to humorous outcomes.

Catch a Show at Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts

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Magnolia Avenue in Downtown Orlando is home to the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, a multi-venue entertainment complex.

At the moment, there are two theaters here, with a third one currently under development.

Its Walt Disney Theater has a capacity of over 3,000 people and showcases the most celebrated musicals, including operas and plays.

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Meanwhile, the Pugh Theater can accommodate three hundred people for more personal performances.

As a bonus, the DeVos Family Area, a glass-walled room for private events, and its Della Phillips Lobby, where patrons can relax before the show, are located in the middle of the complex.

Meet Different Personalities at Madame Tussauds

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Madame Tussauds must be on your list of things to do in downtown Orlando if you want to check it off thoroughly.

Madame Tussauds is Orlando’s most famous museum, located in the ICON Park just a few blocks from the Big Wheel.

Since now and then, the museum adds a new wax figure, a single visit to Madame Tussauds isn’t enough; instead, revisit this museum for fresh experiences from time to time.

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There are wax replicas of famous people that you could know because of their lifelike resemblance to the real thing.

Meet Oprah Winfrey, Jackie Chan, and Anne Hathaway, and countless others in their wax .forms

Madame Tussauds has themed sections where you can get up close and personal with some epic sequences from blockbusters like Justice League: A Call For Heroes.

You’ll also get the chance to stand amid the likenesses of the celebrities in their comic-book-inspired costumes.

Go on a Gallery Date at the Orlando Museum of Art

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The Orlando Museum of Art is a great place to visit with your significant other if you’re in town. It’s one of Orlando’s most popular attractions.

Here, you can see art from ancient America, contemporary artists, and even African artists’ representation in the museum’s permanent collection.

An art museum was established in Orlando, Florida, in 1924 to foster an appreciation for and knowledge of the visual arts.

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Photography by Wikipedia User:MrX, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

As a result, it has become one of the region’s most important cultural institutions.

When in Orlando, don’t miss the chance to visit this fantastic museum.

Remember that visitors can take photos of themselves on the museum premises, but they cannot take images of artworks in the gallery.

Take Photos With the Nine See Art Orlando Sculptures

If you want to see Art Orlando, a collection of nine cutting-edge artworks located around Downtown Disney, get a map at the Downtown Orlando Information Center and explore on your own.

You’ll learn a lot about the city as you wander about, but you’ll also be in awe of these fantastic pieces of art.

Metal birds in the Take Flight sculpture adorn the coast of Lake Eola and look to be in perpetual flight.

The movement of the Union’s curving metal wings is captivating.

It’s hard to believe, but the Cedar of Lebanon, a three-story art installation, represents the life of a tree.

Take a picture of yourself in the hands of the Muse of Discovery.

Half-buried in mud and vegetation, a gigantic statue of an unconscious lady stands out.

The list goes on and on.

Each of the nine Art Orlando sculptures is a great photo opportunity.

Remember to take snaps of each one.

Rent a Bike at Juice Bike Share to Explore Downtown Orlando

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Take advantage of the Juice Bike Share program to get a cost-effective and healthy way to see the sights in Downtown Orlando.

On a pay-as-you-go rental, you can use the bike for 45 minutes.

It becomes more affordable the longer you keep it.

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It’s easy to get around the city on a bike so park your vehicle at one of the hubs in the downtown area.

You don’t have to deal with traffic in DT Orlando because of its extensive network of bike lanes, which are well-marked.

Metroplan Orlando has lane diagrams available for purchase. Plan out a few routes ahead of time, and don’t forget your helmet.

Explore the City’s Past at Orange County History Center

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Learn about Orlando’s history and the rest of Florida by visiting the Orange County History Center, which has five floors.

It stands in a late 1920s neoclassical building that was once a courthouse in downtown Orlando.

Agriculture, aviation, and space exploration are just a few of the many topics covered in the museum.

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Replicas of pioneer cottages, Native American stories and artifacts, and examples of Florida’s flora and wildlife are all on display.

As Florida has evolved from an agricultural state to a tourist destination over the past century, the History Center sheds light on how people’s daily lives have changed.

Have a Fun Family Day at Fun Spot America

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Downtown Orlando’s Fun Spot America is a must-visit amusem*nt park for visitors.

Visiting Fun Spot America is a must-do amusem*nt park since it brings back a less corporate and more traditional amusem*nt park format.

With free entrance, you and your kids may ride the roller coasters at the park for a meager price.

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They may want to ride the White Lightning and SkyCoaster roller coasters at this theme park as well.

Its top speed is roughly 44 mph, and it has a 20-meter drop.

White Lightning is a wooden rollercoaster ride in the park.

Games, classic rides, bumper cars, and more are available for your children to enjoy.

Take Your Young Ones to SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium

The only worldwide aquarium chain-style display in Florida is SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium.

It’s a must-see for any admirer of marine life, and there’s plenty of excitement waiting for you here.

As you walk through the aquarium, you’ll witness a wide variety of aquatic species, some of which you’ve never heard of before.

There are a variety of aquatic animals that you may observe, including fish, turtles, eels, and sharks.

If that isn’t enough to entice you, you can also catch one of the many regularly scheduled performances at this aquarium.

At the touch tanks, your kids may touch starfishes and other sea animals like octopuses.

They’ll be able to brag about it to their peers.

Watch a Concert at the Walt Disney Amphitheater

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Located in Downtown Orlando’s Lake Eola Park, the Walt Disney Amphitheater hosts concerts and other events.

In a nod to the 1950s, the music shell-style architecture is a popular venue for festivals, dance performances, and outdoor concerts all year round.

On three sides of the Amphitheater are bodies of water.

It has over 1,000 seats and is uses the latest audio and lighting equipment.

On the 4th of July, the Walt Disney Amphitheater in Downtown Orlando hosts an annual fireworks display.

There’s no better place to watch Downtown’s spectacular fireworks display than here.

Catch the Breathtaking Orlando Sunset

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When we’re on vacation, we all have a soft spot for sunsets.

When it comes to sunsets in Orlando, where is the finest spot to see them?

Icon Park’s 400-foot observation wheel is a great way to observe Orlando from above, as well as catch some spectacular sunsets.

Check the sunset time to know when to get on the wheel.

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Renting a boat adds to the enchantment of the trip.

Observing the sunset from Lake Ivanhoe Park is an additional option.

If you come early, you’ll have plenty to keep you occupied while you wait for the sun to set.

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For a truly unique experience, consider renting a luxury sailing boat to explore Lake Fairview at sunset.

Take a two-hour sail on the 25-foot MacGregor on Lake Fairview around sunset.

An unforgettable adventure awaits you here, so don’t waste any time.

Hop on a Spooky Tour With American Ghost Adventures

Downtown Orlando has a tumultuous history and isn’t without its share of ghastly characters to this day.

Learn about the great history of the Downtown from an American Ghost Adventures tour ambassador before embarking on a paranormal investigation of haunted structures.

There’s a four-hour trip with even more advanced ghost hunting gear available if that whets your appetite for more time spent in the haunted locales.

If you’re courageous enough, you’ll receive a commemorative t-shirt as proof of your bravery.

Final Thoughts

That said, there is a lot to see and do in Downtown Orlando.

Use our list as a starting point, plan your holiday, and don’t forget to have fun!

15 Best Things to Do in Downtown Orlando - Travel Lens (2024)


Is Downtown Orlando worth visiting? ›

Trust us when we say that you'll only be missing out if you don't! Easily one of our favorite areas of the city, Downtown Orlando is the city's bustling historic center and carries an entirely different energy well worth checking out.

What is the number one tourist attraction in Orlando, Florida? ›

1. Walt Disney World

One of the best things to do in Orlando, Florida, is a trip to the world's biggest and most magical theme park: Walt Disney World.

What is the famous street in Downtown Orlando? ›

International Drive, also known as I-Drive, is where you'll find many of Orlando's world-class theme parks and attractions.

Where to walk around Downtown Orlando? ›

Top trails (5)
  • Lake Eola Loop. Easy• 4.5(354) #1 - Lake Eola Loop. ...
  • Orlando Urban Trail. Easy• 4.3(296) #2 - Orlando Urban Trail. ...
  • Shingle Creek Regional Trail: Sand Lake to Oak Ridge. Easy• 4.3(136) ...
  • Lake Davis Park Loop. Easy• 4.4(119) ...
  • Downtown Orlando Cultural Walking Tour. Easy• 4.0(38)

Is it safe to walk around downtown Orlando at night? ›

When asked how safe people feel in downtown, 80% of those surveyed said they feel safe or very safe during the day, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. But from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m., 83% said they felt unsafe, or very unsafe. The survey asked people what they feel is hindering economic growth downtown.

Does Orlando have a walkable downtown? ›

The area is pretty small, so you can easily walk around the quaint city streets for the day, while Disney World and Universal are all just a short drive away.

Which of the following is the top activity for visitors to Florida? ›

The most popular activities for domestic visitors in 2022 were beach or waterfront activities (34%), typical restaurant dining (22.8%), and shopping (22%). Overseas visitors in 2022 cited shopping (86%), sightseeing (71%), and amusem*nt and theme parks (46%) as the most popular activities while in Florida.

Where to see Gators near Orlando? ›

GatorWorld Parks – Drive-Through Alligator Attraction near Orlando, Florida. Entering through the main gateway, 1 mile w/of I75 on HWY 44 in Wildwood, FL, provides views of some of the 400+ rescued & relocated alligators that call GatorWorld Parks of Florida home.

What is the most visited destination in Florida? ›

Here are Florida's most visited cities:
  • Miami – 2,759,000 visitors.
  • Orlando – 1,223,000 visitors.
  • Fort Lauderdale – 506,000 visitors.
  • Tampa – 190,000 visitors.
  • West Palm Beach – 169,000 visitors.
  • Naples – 84,000 visitors.
  • Jacksonville – 70,000 visitors.
  • North Port – 56,000 visitors.
Aug 10, 2023

Does Orlando have a historic downtown? ›

The Downtown Historic District was designated in 1980 as the City's first local historic district.

Does downtown Orlando have a nightlife? ›

Nightclubs and bars

Downtown Orlando has been the region's dance floor for decades, and while the places may change, where to find them is easy.

What is the main street in Orlando called? ›

City District Main Street - City of Orlando.

Is it free to go to Downtown Disney Orlando? ›

Uncover an array of unique shops, world-class eateries and eclectic entertainment inside Disney Springs and the Downtown Disney District, where there's no admission fee to enter.

What do you wear to the city walk in Orlando? ›

Seriously, there is no dress code, but a collared shirt at citywalk is a good idea. Never, EVER, wear socks and sandals.

What park is best for adults in Orlando? ›

EPCOT is easily Orlando's most adult-oriented Disney theme park, with the World Showcase inviting you to drink and eat around the world.

Is Downtown Orlando the same as Disney Springs? ›

First opened in 1975 as Lake Buena Vista Shopping Village, it has been expanded and rebranded over the years as Walt Disney World Village (1977), Disney Village Marketplace (1989), and Downtown Disney (1997), becoming Disney Springs in 2015.

Is it worth going to Orlando without Disney? ›

There's plenty of things to do in Orlando for those who crave a gentler thrill. Central Florida is a traveler's paradise - fabulous weather, delicious cuisine, and attractions to appeal to any and all visitors. Explore your cultural side with museums. Cultivate your tan on the beach or a cruise.


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