There is so much more to do in Orlando, even beyond the Must-Do big-name theme parks that surprise both first-time and repeat visitors, making every visit something new and extraordinary. Whether you’re a first-time visitor, locals on staycation or seasoned Orlando vacationers to The City Beautiful the list of activities, entertainment, attractions and events is a seemingly endless opportunity for discovery. Even locals or people from outlying areas can take time to discover the many riches the Orlando area has to offer, whether wandering the major tourist areas or heading off the beaten path. The man and the mouse may have helped put Orlando on the top tourist destination map, but Central Florida has a rich history, a wealth of alternate activities for guest exploration, and a potpourri of cultural venues and activities that make a vacation to Orlando “new” every time you visit. Here are just a few of the recommended Must-Do Orlando activities that that will enhance the pleasure, enjoyment and high expectations of your vacation to Central Florida:
Visit the “Big Three” – Walt Disney World® Resort, Universal Orlando® Resort and SeaWorld® Orlando. See “The Big Three” on the Orlando destination home page for descriptions and rides that rule!’
On a nice evening, take a horse-and-carriage or bicycle rickshaw ride through downtown Orlando.
Get up close and personal with reptiles one-on-one and during exciting shows, zip line over the gator pond and enjoy thrills and chills of a different kind at Gatorland.
Visit the Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens, zipline through the park and even “adopt” an animal.
Explore the history of Orlando Regional History Center or Harry P. Leu Gardens.
Take a scenic and historically narrated boat ride through the Winter Park Chain of Lakes that departs of Interlachen near Park Avenue in downtown Winter Park.
Visit Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center with Key West,. St. Augustine and the Everglades under one roof.
See golf greats in person at a PGA or LPGA as they tackle the tour events
Inhale fresh air as you pedal down the Atlantic boardwalk at Disney’s boardwalk.
Taste the rich tang of oranges you personally picked from the tree.
Catch a spring training game at Disney’s Wide World of Sports® Complex during season February—April, or visit Ripley’s Believe it or Not! or WonderWorks.
Enjoy the all-inclusive, resort-style benefits and swim with a dolphin and other marine life at the tropical oasis, Discovery Cove® Orlando—part of the SeaWorld Orlando parks.
Consider one of many Florida eco safaris by foot, kayak or horseback though historically original Native American trails.
Be lost in a merry sampling of the nearly 150 wines sold by the ounce at The Wine in Winter Park through high-tech Enomatic dispensing machine.
Recall the Seminole Indian War history at Fort Christmas.
Be a child and play in snow at Celebration at Christmas.
Take in an Orlando Magic game or a concert at the new, state-of-the-art Amway arena or a Broadway-style show at Bob Carr Theater for the Performing Arts, both of which are located downtown.
Shop Lake Buena Vista Village, which is full of unique and indulgent shops and is especially dazzling at night around the holidays.
Hold your hat and take an airboat ride through the Everglades, gators and all.
Tee up at almost 200 different golf courses to work on your skills or your handicap.
Feel the shiver of holding a gator or snake or ziplining over a gator pond at Gatorland.
From beginners to advance, try wakeboarding on the motorized cableways at Orlando Water Sports Complex.
If you’re a foodie, explore Orlando’s explosive culinary scene, with everything from American to International fare by renowned chefs, like Scott Hunnel at the prestigious AAA Five Diamond award-winner Victoria & Albert’s at the Grand Floridian. Another hotspot is LUMA on Park (Park Avenue) with Chef Brandon McGlamery and his popular seasonal dishes. While there, indulge in high-end retail therapy of the prestigious Park Avenue and Hannibal Square,
Enjoy a few samplings at Lakeridge winery or a margarita at the Universal Studios Florida’s City Walk.
Go jamming and dance to some reggae music with friends at Bob Marley’s open-air house at Universal City Walk.
Enjoy the grace and beauty of ballet dancing at an Orlando Ballet Production.
Head west on I-4 for the two famous beaches within an hour’s drive of Orlando, New Smyrna and Daytona, or go east to hit Cocoa Beach and the Kennedy Space Center.
Jump out of a plane with Skydive Orlando or brave a first-time free-fall experience indoors at iFly.
Get the ultimate aerial view of Orlando ad all its splendor with a helicopter tour or a hot-air balloon ride over the land.
See the closing Disney fireworks show set off nighlty at least once during your stay; something about it is just magical.
Explore some of the smaller but charming cities like Winter Park, Bay Hill, Windermere, College Park and Baldwin Park for trendy boutiques, antiques, diverse cuisine and mom-and-pop-style shops.
Grab a cocktail and outside café seating in Thornton Park, overlooking Lake Eola, a downtown landmark and beautifully sculpted grounds perfect for scenic strolls or a spin across the lake in one of its signature swan boats. There’s also a playground the kids.
Visit Mount Dora and its rich arts community, and check out the growing community and Medical City in Lake Nona.
View the amazing sculptures and grounds of the Albin Polasek Museum, and visit the popular and prestigious Mennello Museum.
Witness the world’s most comprehensive collection of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany at the Morse Museum on Park Avenue in Winter Park.
Enjoy happy hour at Dexter’s in Winter Park’s Hannibal Square, near Park Avenue or downtown—a popular favorite to sit, sip and socialize with great food, an ideal social atmosphere and awesome dirty martinis with stuffed olives.
Visit the Eatonville original home and museum of Zora Neale Hurston, one of the pre-eminent writers of twentieth-century African-American literature.
Escape the heat and swim the natural aqua springs at Wekiwa Springs or Blue Springs parks all year-round!
Study the art of glass-blowing is available at City Arts Factory in downtown Orlando.
Taste your way around the world at Epcot, and explore the explosive culinary scene all over Orlando, including the smaller cultural eateries off the beaten path for authentic native cuisine from a wide variety of influences.