Orlando is a major city in central Florida whose claim to fame has to be the several theme parks scattered throughout it. While everyone knows this city as a theme park haven, some aren’t sure what to do near Orlando, Florida, other than visit theme parks.
Whether you’re planning to move to Orlando or planning a great trip, there’s something there for everyone. Here are some of the best things to do in Orlando, rain or shine.
Orlando, Florida, Theme Parks
Orlando is arguably most famous for being the world’s theme park capital, so we can’t discuss things to do without discussing Orlando, Florida, theme parks. Each one has something for people of all ages to enjoy.
Walt Disney World is what Orlando is most known for. With four theme parks and two exciting waterparks, it’s no wonder people of all ages flock to the Walt Disney World Complex.
You can purchase park hopper tickets to several Disney theme parks or choose one for your trip. Either way, here’s a quick look at some that you’ll have a fantastic time visiting.
No trip to Disney World is complete without a visit to Magic Kingdom. This theme park is the original Disney World theme park and features the large Cinderella Castle that most people associate with Disney World.
You’ll love walking along Main Street, seeing all the balloons and character parades, and enjoying rides that are suitable for people of almost every age.
Animal Kingdom is an excellent park for all animal lovers to spend a few hours or all day at. Exhibition Everest is one of the most popular attractions at this park, but there are plenty of other rides and things to do there.
You’ll be able to see characters such as Timon and Pumba, watch wildlife from a safe distance, and travel throughout the “worlds” in the park.
EPCOT is a Walt Disney theme park that focuses on technology. The park’s full name is Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, so you’ll find a lot of innovative rides and concepts.
All can enjoy this park, but adults tend to like this park more than children. You can travel through 11 countries, tasting different cuisines and sampling drinks associated with each culture.
Blizzard Beach Water Park
Blizzard Beach is one of the two water parks at Walt Disney World. As the name might suggest, all the decor makes you feel like you’re in a blizzard. You’ll find several water slides, a wave pool, and other water fun that everyone can enjoy.
Adults will love the wave pool, water slides, and lounging in the comfortable lounge chairs throughout the park, while the kids will love the smaller water slides.
Star Wars Launch Bay
For “Star Wars” fans, Star Wars Launch Bay is a must-see while you’re in Orlando. This particular attraction is inside Disney’s Hollywood Studios theme park, so you’ll need tickets for this park to experience it.
It’s a theater that lets you get up close and personal with all your favorite “Star Wars” characters, actual movie props, and more.
Besides Disney World, Orlando is famous for another theme park complex – Universal Studios. This massive area is excellent for families and older individuals, but there are still plenty of things for young kids to do here, too.
The central theme park, Universal Studios, features movie sets and attractions based on some of the company’s best movies.
Islands of Adventure
Islands of Adventure is the park right next to Universal Studios and has more thrill rides than Universal. You’ll love this park if you love roller coasters and other thrill rides. The Incredible Hulk Coaster is one of the most prominent rides here, but people love the Jurassic Park-themed rides and area, too.
There’s nothing like spending a day at a waterpark when it’s 90-plus degrees outside. Volcano Bay is Universal Studios’ water park and a fun place to spend your time in Orlando.
Volcano Bay features a large volcano at the center of the park, making you feel like you’re on a tropical island. There are dozens of water slides, wave pools, and things to do while you’re here.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
The Potterheads out there will love spending time wandering around the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. This area is located inside Universal Studios and takes up a large portion of the parks.
You’ll find several themed areas and rides that even those who aren’t huge fans of Harry Potter will love. Be sure to purchase a wand, your Hogwarts house’s attire, and try the butter beer.
SeaWorld is another theme park you can visit in Orlando. It’s the perfect combination of an aquarium and a theme park. What makes this park so famous is its famous Shamu. Even if the only reason you visit this park is to watch the show, you won’t regret it.
Other things you can do throughout the day at SeaWorld Orlando are ride several thrilling roller coasters, watch animal feedings, and play carnival games.
For a more immersive water experience, Discovery Cove is the water park at SeaWorld. We recommend booking an all-inclusive package that allows you to go snorkeling and swim in their lazy river and provides all the gear and amenities you need.
A great experience here is swimming with the dolphins. You’ll get to take a great photo with the dolphins that you’ll cherish forever.
Fun Spot America
Fun Spot America is a smaller theme park in Orlando that’s perfect when you want a theme park experience but don’t want to spend the thousands of dollars you might at Disney World or Universal Studios.
This small theme park is easily doable in half a day and offers plenty of rides, games, and shows to watch when you want to sit down for a little bit.
Last but not least, the best theme park in Orlando is LEGOLAND. This theme park is a fun time for all and is dedicated to everything that involves constructing and playing with LEGO.
The entire park feels like a life-size LEGO construction and features plenty of games, unique builds, and characters you can take photos with. There are several rides suitable for people of all ages that you’ll want to check out.
Fun Things to Do in Orlando Besides Theme Parks
Even though most people travel to Orlando to visit at least one of the theme parks, there’s so much more to do than experience the theme parks. If you’re looking for other things to do in Orlando, these are some of the best activities that don’t involve costly theme park tickets.
Airboat Rides on the Everglades
Florida is home to the Everglades, which features dozens of species of animals, including the infamous alligators. If you’re looking for something unique to do in Orlando, take an airboat ride into the marshy swamps.
You’ll sit in an airboat, zooming through the marsh with a tour guide that will talk about the area and the animals that live beneath the surface. It’s a unique experience, but Florida can get hot, so this might be a better activity when the weather cools down.
Central Florida Zoo
Who doesn’t love spending a few hours of the day at the zoo? Viewing the various animals and attractions is something everyone can enjoy. The Central Florida Zoo is a little over 110 acres and features more than 350 animals you can admire.
This zoo features over 100 different species, including giraffes, Indian rhinos, leopards, giant tortoises, and more.
While at the Central Florida Zoo, you might as well take some time to wander around the botanical garden. The botanical garden is on the same property as the zoo.
Even if you aren’t interested in the botanical garden at the zoo, there are several other botanical gardens in Orlando. These are the Mead Botanical Garden, Arid Garden, and Harry P Leu Gardens, which are peaceful and beautiful to visit.
Orlando Tree Trek Adventure Park
An exciting thing to do in this city is visit Orlando Tree Trek Adventure Park. This aerial course sits high in the sky and offers a variety of ropes and obstacle courses for you to take on.
There’s a massive zipline, over 97 aerial challenges, and a separate kids’ course so everyone in the family can enjoy their time there. You can swing on Tarzan ropes, leap onto netting, and do other adrenaline-inducing activities.
Real Florida Adventures
If you’re interested in day trips from Orlando but want someone else to handle the planning, Real Florida Adventures is a tour company that offers exciting tours throughout the state. They have plenty of day trips leaving from Orlando.
You can take a day trip to snorkel with the manatees in Crystal River, head to the Kennedy Space Center, travel to Clearwater Beach to enjoy a speed boat tour, or have lunch on a pirate ship.
Wallaby Ranch Hang Gliding Flight Park
On the outskirts of Orlando is Wallaby Ranch Hang Gliding Flight Park. This was the first full-time aerotow hang gliding park to open in the world and has been open seven days a week since its grand opening in 1991.
You can take hang-gliding classes and learn all there is to know about this activity before taking flight. Tandem flights are great for people who haven’t done this before.
If you’ve ever wanted to go on a safari, you can go on one in Orlando! You can use your vehicle to drive through the area if it has a top and is not a motorcycle. You’ll get to see giraffes, bison, antelope, and other free-roaming animals from the comfort of your car.
Fun Things to Do in Orlando for Adults
While Orlando is a great destination for kids, adults can thoroughly enjoy their time there, too! If you’re looking for fun things to do in Orlando for adults, these are some of the best choices.
Downtown Orlando Bars and Restaurants
There is a hotspot with dozens of downtown Orlando bars and restaurants to visit. They have upscale, casual, and middle-of-the-road options so every adult can find one they love. These are seven of the best downtown bars and restaurants in Orlando.
The Guest House
At first glance, The Guest House doesn’t look like anything special, but don’t judge a book by its cover. This elegant and modern spot is the perfect happy hour spot when you walk inside. It’s chic yet casual, and you can enjoy discounted drinks for a few hours each night.
Locals and visitors love their craft cocktails best, but they have plenty of wine, beer, and nonalcoholic drinks. If the weather’s nice, you’ll love the outdoor patio.
Mathers Social Gathering
Mathers Social Gathering is housed in an 1800s antique furniture store, and it still has a vintage atmosphere. This cocktail bar is a unique spot in downtown Orlando that needs to be on your list of bars to try. The space is filled with antiques, comfortable seating, delicious small plates, and even better cocktails. It’s a sophisticated place with a set of rules that patrons must follow.
McQueens Social Lounge
One of the top bars in Orlando is McQueens Social Lounge. This downtown bar features dim lighting, brick walls, and a lively yet casual atmosphere. It’s a great place to go for happy hour when you can’t make it out until later, because theirs doesn’t start until eight in the evening. It turns into a lively bar with DJs and live music at night.
Hanson’s Shoe Repair
If you’re looking for a speakeasy to visit, Hanson’s Shoe Repair is one of the best downtown. You’ll need to get the password to enter, but it’s not too difficult. There’s a small patio with greenery to enjoy craft and old-school cocktails with friends. To add to the speakeasy feel, the building the bar is in was built in the 1800s, adding a historic ambiance.
Whether you’re looking to celebrate a milestone, impress a date, or enjoy a delicious meal, you can’t go wrong with Kres Chophouse. This steakhouse has a classic steakhouse vibe with dim lighting, knowledgeable staff, and elegant dishes. It’s in a beautiful historic building and features a lovely happy hour and late-night food options.
An excellent downtown restaurant to hit before seeing a comedy show at the SAK Comedy Lab is Artisan’s Table. This spacious restaurant serves American cuisine with global twists all day and late into the night. It’s pretty laid-back, with great appetizers to share, entrees, and adult beverages to sip on.
The Stubborn Mule
For those who love a good Moscow mule, The Stubborn Mule is a must-try cocktail bar in Orlando. The entire restaurant is dedicated to that cocktail, with mule artwork and signature mule cocktails throughout the menu. Even if you don’t like mules, they have a full bar stocked with spirits, wine, and beer, plus a great lunch, brunch, and dinner menu.
Nightlife and Entertainment
Orlando’s nightlife and entertainment scenes are always fun and lively. The following areas feature several excellent restaurants, bars, and music venues where you can catch shows at frequently.
Disney Springs, formerly known as Downtown Disney, is an entertainment complex in Orlando. The area is perfect for people of all ages, but mainly adults. There’s shopping, restaurants, and the Orlando House of Blues, where you can see artists perform regularly.
When visiting Disney Springs, some of the restaurants you might want to try to include the Rainforest Cafe, The Boathouse, and Cookes of Dublin. You’ll find the LEGO Store, Disney stores, and plenty of other shops here.
Depending on which way you’re heading into Orlando from, you’ll pass by International Drive. This massive area is filled with shopping and other activities to keep adults busy all day and night. You’ll find plenty of shopping opportunities, restaurants, and Orlando’s top attractions adults and kids will love on the massive road. There’s a giant Ferris wheel, dinner shows, arcades, and more.
Universal’s version of Disney Springs is Universal Citywalk. You’ll walk through this area to get to Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios, and it’s a great place to grab a bite to eat, listen to live music, and more.
Voodoo Doughnuts, Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, and The Hard Rock Cafe are some of the most popular restaurants here.
Downtown Orlando and Thornton Park
The Thornton Park district of Orlando is like downtown Orlando for adults. The area is very walkable, with shops, restaurants, and bars. The best thing about this area is that there are a lot of farmers’ markets. This area is filled with plenty of things to do in Orlando for young adults.
You don’t need to spend all your time eating and drinking while in Orlando if you’re an adult. There are plenty of fun activities that grown-ups can enjoy in the city.
Escape rooms are a great way to burn an hour or so in Orlando. There’s a bunch to choose from with different themes. You can go with another person or gather a group to solve clues to get your way out of the escape room.
To get up close and personal to alligators in Florida, Gatorland is a great attraction. You can view alligator feeding shows, crocodiles, and one of the only albino alligators in the world.
Lake Eola Swan Boats
The swan boats on Lake Eola are a fun little activity to do with a friend, partner, or by yourself. You’ll paddle around the lake, taking in the sights. It’s best to do this when summer dies down.
Madame Tussauds Orlando
Madame Tussauds is an exciting wax museum that features life-size wax figures of all your favorite celebrities, politicians, and fictional characters. Madame Tussauds Orlando is one attraction you won’t want to forget to take photos of.
Museum of Illusions Orlando
Prepare to have your mind blown at the Museum of Illusions. There are over 50 optical and physical illusions to experience here, and everyone is sure to have a great time.
The Wheel at Icon Park
For some great views of Orlando, you can take a ride on the Wheel at Icon Park. This 400-foot-tall Ferris Wheel is air conditioned and offers adults the option of bringing their favorite beverage on board for the ride.
Orlando might not be known for its wines, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t some fantastic wine-tasting options in the area. If you’re looking for the best wine tastings Orlando has to offer, you can’t miss Eola Wine Company and Quantum Leap Winery.
Fun Indoor Things to Do in Orlando
It’s no secret that Orlando can get overwhelmingly hot and often sees plenty of rain even though it’s in the Sunshine State. If you need some ideas for fun indoor things to do in Orlando, you can’t beat these great activities.
Andretti Indoor Karting and Games
For a variety of activities all in one place and inside, Andretti Indoor Karting and Games is perfect. There are go-karts, arcade games, bowling, mini-golf, and plenty of other things to do.
You’ll find the Crayola Experience inside the Florida Mall. This indoor attraction is bright and colorful, and offers you the chance to create artwork, watch shows, and more.
By far, one of the most prominent indoor attractions in Orlando is Dezerland Park. It has over 3,000 square feet of space and features dozens of things to do. A few of the most popular things here are ax throwing, the Orlando Auto Museum, and the trampoline park.
You can show off your ax-throwing skills at Dezerland. You’ll have a lane for you and your group and take turns seeing how good your aim is. Be sure to wear closed-toe shoes.
Orlando Auto Museum
The Orlando Auto Museum is an excellent experience for all car enthusiasts. You’ll get to see vintage cars from countries such as Israel and France and vehicles from Buckingham Palace.
The trampoline park here is one of the best things to do. You’ll get to bounce around for an hour with other people and, if you have kids, it’s a great way to burn extra energy.
In the Game ICON Park
The Game is at ICON Park and offers some exciting things to do. It has almost every arcade game imaginable, a mirror maze, and a 7D motion picture theater that is a must-experience.
SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium
With over 5,000 marine animals, SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium is a place where you could spend hours and enjoy yourself every second. It has animals such as bonnethead sharks and octopuses and is the only aquarium with a 360-degree underwater tunnel.
Kennedy Space Center
The Kennedy Space Center is less than an hour from Orlando and makes for an excellent activity for all space-obsessed people. Even if you don’t want to make the drive to Merritt Island, there’s a Kennedy Space Center Store inside Orlando International Airport.
Ripley’s Believe It or Not
It’s nearly impossible not to have a good time when you’re at Ripley’s Believe It or Not. You’ll get to see hundreds of rare and unusual artifacts and try hands-on activities that will put a smile on your face or drop your jaw.
If you love a unique museum with various activities, then you’ll love WonderWorks. You’ll know you’ve arrived when you see a building that appears upside-down. There are dozens of hands-on experiences, laser tag, and a 6D theater.
Fun Things to Do in Orlando with Kids
Of course, kids will love going to the theme parks, but that isn’t all they’ll enjoy while in Orlando. These are fun things to do in Orlando with kids besides theme parks.
ICON Park is an entertainment complex in Orlando with a giant Ferris wheel, shopping, arcade games, and other kid-friendly activities.
Blue Man Group Show
The Blue Man Group show is a great experience for kids and adults. The performers are covered head to toe in blue and play music, providing an entertaining show for visitors.
Kelly Park is an excellent choice for kids when you want a break from city life. There are swimming holes, walking trails, and fields in which to play games and enjoy a picnic.
Orlando Watersports Complex
This aquapark allows you and the kids to go water skiing, wakeboarding, and more. They have all the equipment you need and offer beginners and advanced individuals opportunities to have a fun time.
World of Chocolate Museum
What kid doesn’t love chocolate? Spending a few hours at the World of Chocolate Museum is exciting, and you’ll get to see how chocolate is made and chocolate sculptures that the kids will love.
While you can go to the Crayola Experience without kids, it’s a great place to bring kids, too! They’ll love embracing their creative side and all the bright colors surrounding them as you make your way through the building.
Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour
Winter Park is a beautiful area of Orlando with stunning homes and greenery. You can take a scenic boat tour on Lake Osceola and have a peaceful time enjoying the outdoors with the children.
KidsTown at Orlando Science Center
The Orlando Science Center is a great science museum for people of all ages, but their KidsTown is the perfect activity for children. They have several exhibits that cater to children, where they can learn and have fun simultaneously.
You can’t miss taking the kids to Santa’s Farm when winter rolls around. This Christmas tree farm has plenty of wintertime activities that kids will love, and you can pick out the perfect tree to take home and decorate. Visiting Santa’s Farm is a fun thing to do with an infant, because they can get their picture taken with Santa.
Sporting Events in Orlando
Did you know Orlando is home to several major sporting teams, large sporting complexes, and stunning golf courses? If you didn’t, you’ll surely be impressed with all the sporting events in Orlando. Here’s a look at the sporting complexes, teams, and golf courses you can spend time at.
College and Professional Sports
Orlando is home to the University of Central Florida, so they have plenty of collegiate sports teams visiting the city. Plus, they host professional sporting events regularly, too.
Camping World Stadium – Hosts College Football Games
Several NFL and collegiate bowl games are held yearly at Camping World Stadium. These include the Citrus Bowl, the NFL Pro Bowl, and the Camping World Bowl.
Orlando City Soccer Club
Orlando City Soccer Club is a professional soccer club playing in the Eastern Conference of Major League Soccer that’s thrilling to watch.
You must catch an Orlando Pride game if you love women’s soccer. In 2016, the Orlando Pride joined the National Women’s Soccer League as its tenth team.
Basketball is popular in Orlando, and the leading team there is the Orlando Magic. They play in the NBA’ Eastern Conference, Southeast Division.
Orlando Solar Bears
Orlando is home to an ECHL hockey team known as the Orlando Solar Bears. While they’re not as huge as the NHL teams across Florida, their games are thrilling and a great time.
Here’s a quick look at some of the best sports complexes in Orlando you can catch a game at or visit.
US Tennis Association National Campus
One of the coolest sporting complexes in Orlando is the US Tennis Association National Campus. It’s a state-of-the-art facility that allows local, national, league, pro, and collegiate tennis players to hone their skills and hosts circuit events.
ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
The ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex is on the Walt Disney World Complex and spans 220 acres. It has nine venues and hosts various sporting events from amateur to professional annually.
Orlando is home to several championship golf courses. These are some of the most popular golf courses, whether you’re looking to watch a match, play, or attend an event.
Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club & Lodge
This private golf club features 18 holes and was designed by Dick Wilson in the 1960s. You must have a membership or stay at the hotel to play here.
Shingle Creek Golf Course
Designed by the Arnold Palmer Design Company, Shingle Creek features elevated greens and runoff areas that golfers of all levels will love playing.
Legends Course is more than just a golf course. It’s a golfing center. There are 18- and nine-hole courses, two driving ranges, and three different pro shops and places to rent clubs.
Reunion Resort features three signature courses that offer a different experience for every golfer. It has several tee times and hosts tournaments regularly. PGA tour legends designed all the courses.
Grand Cypress Golf Club
Grand Cypress Golf Club is a tribute to the Old Course at St. Andrews, Scotland. It’s highly ranked and beloved by golfers of all levels.
Orlando Florida Sightseeing
Even though Orlando is packed to the brim with fun activities for people of all ages, it still has a rich history that many people don’t know about and plenty of beautiful sights. Check out some of these fun Orlando, Florida, sightseeing activities.
Corpus Christi Catholic Church
Even if you’re not religious, there’s no denying that churches are beautiful structures. The Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Orlando was created by the Vatican and is worth seeing at least once.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
While Disney’s Hollywood Studios is a theme park, it’s a great sightseeing location even if you don’t want to go on any rides or watch shows. Everything is immaculate and picture-worthy.
Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary
Did you know that a lot of Catholic tourists visit Orlando? The Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary was designed to serve these tourists. Even if you’re not Catholic, it’s a beautiful sight to see and experience.
Titanic Artifact Exhibition
Seeing the movie is one thing, but experiencing the Titanic Artifact Exhibition is another. It features artifacts from the Titanic and allows you to experience what life was like aboard this cruise liner.
Some of the best sightseeing in Orlando is done by walking downtown. There are modern office towers, 19th-century buildings, and plenty of great restaurants and shops to browse.
Characters in Flight
Besides the Ferris wheel at ICON Park, a great way to see Orlando from above is with Characters in Flight. You’ll find it in Disney Springs and ride the Aerophile Balloon 400 feet into the air. You’ll get great views and fly with some of your favorite Disney characters, such as Tinkerbell.
Thornton Lane and Avenue became the famous Thornton Park neighborhood in Orlando in 1915. This walkable neighborhood is excellent for sightseeing older homes and storefronts while shopping at the farmers’ markets.
Church Street Station
Church Street Station is a historic train station. It’s surrounded by housing and entertainment centers, but walking through the historic area is a great way to experience Orlando.
Orlando Speed World Dragway
If you’re into drag racing and car racing, you’ll love seeing the Orlando Speed World Dragway. This massive track is home to plenty of drag racing and similar events.
Summary of Things to Do in Orlando
Orlando has at least one thing everyone will enjoy. This city has theme parks, excellent golf courses, delicious restaurants, vibrant nightlife, and fun attractions that you won’t want to miss.
No matter what you decide to do when you visit or move to Orlando, you won’t regret your time there.