Orlando’s Secret Spots: Exploring the City Beyond the Theme Parks
Orlando is a world-class city primarily known for its iconic theme parks. But did you know that there’s much more to the city than thrilling rides, friendly mascots, and fairy-tale castles? While the magic of Disney World and the excitement of Universal Studios are undeniably enchanting, there’s a whole other side to Orlando waiting to be discovered.
In this insider guide from the experts at Devon Self Storage, we’ll explore some of the more unique things to do in Orlando for adults and kids alike. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned local, these hidden treasures will add a new dimension to your Orlando experience.
Tranquil Parks and Nature Escapes
Orlando isn’t just about theme park life. It also caters to those seeking outdoor recreation and natural tranquility. One nearby gem is Harry P. Leu Gardens, a botanical oasis near downtown Orlando with a stunning array of plants, tropical flora, and scenic landscapes that provide a peaceful retreat from the city’s excitement.
For a more immersive nature experience, head to Tibet-Butler Nature Preserve. Tucked away from the more crowded tourist trails, this preserve offers hiking trails, boardwalks, and wildlife observation points, allowing visitors to reconnect with nature in a relaxing setting.
Historical Sites Rich in Culture
Learn more about Orlando’s rich history by exploring its many historical sites. The Wells’Built Museum of African American History and Culture is a hidden gem that showcases the contributions of African Americans to Orlando’s vibrant history. From artifacts to interactive exhibits, this museum is one of the best things to do in Orlando, as it provides the chance to get a nuanced understanding of the city’s diverse past.
Another historical site worth exploring is the Harry P. Leu House Museum. Nestled within the Leu Gardens, this historic home offers a glimpse into Orlando’s past, complete with period furnishings and beautiful gardens that transport visitors to a bygone era.
Cozy and Diverse Neighborhoods
Beyond the shadows of the towering structures of downtown Orlando, you’ll discover several quaint neighborhoods that have their own unique charm. With its eclectic mix of local shops and eateries, Audubon Park is a favorite among locals. Take a leisurely stroll down Corrine Drive for a taste of Orlando’s culture, as it’s lined with several boutiques, shops, and cafés.
Thornton Park is the place to be if you’re in the mood to explore a more artistic atmosphere. This historic neighborhood features tree-lined streets, beautiful Lake Eola, and a vibrant arts scene. Explore the local galleries, grab a coffee at a sidewalk café, and soak in the artsy ambience to experience a different style of life in Orlando.
Local Eateries and Culinary Delights
Orlando’s culinary scene extends far beyond the confines of Harry Potter butterbeer, Mickey-shaped pretzels, and other theme park fare. Venture into the Mills 50 District, known for its diverse dining options. This district is a food lover’s paradise, from Vietnamese pho to Mexican street food.
For those with a sweet tooth, East End Market is a must-visit. This local market blends artisans, farmers, and chefs, offering a delightful array of handcrafted goodies. Indulge in artisan chocolates, fresh pastries, and unique culinary creations that showcase Orlando’s gastronomic range.
Vibrant Arts Scene
Orlando’s arts scene is a well-kept secret waiting to be uncovered by those willing to explore beyond the gates of the parks. The CityArts Factory, located in the heart of downtown Orlando, is a hub for contemporary art. Featuring multiple galleries, this venue showcases the works of local and international artists, providing a dynamic and ever-changing artistic landscape.
For a more immersive experience, catch a show at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. From Broadway productions to local performances, this cultural hub adds a touch of sophistication to Orlando’s entertainment scene.
Family-Friendly Fun Outside of Disney
While the parks are the most popular choice, there are many other exciting things to do in Orlando, FL, for kids and families. The Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Garden, located in Sanford just north of Orlando, is a hidden gem for wildlife enthusiasts. With a diverse range of animals and lush plant life, it’s an educational and entertaining day out for the whole family.
If you’re looking for something more adventurous, Gatorland provides a thrilling alternative. Known as the Alligator Capital of the World, Gatorland offers close encounters with these incredible creatures, including shows featuring skilled trainers interacting with alligators and other exotic animals.
Rent Affordable Storage in Orlando With Devon Self Storage
The magic of Orlando extends far beyond the walls of Disney World, EPCOT, Universal Studios, and the city’s other iconic attractions. The city truly has something for everyone, from interesting historical sites to a diverse culinary and arts scene.
While this may be the case, there’s not always enough space for everything you own in Orlando. That’s why Devon Self Storage offers convenient and affordable options for self storage in Orlando, with units available in several convenient sizes. Our size guide can help you figure out what you need to rent. Whether you’re looking for personal storage or commercial storage space, we’ve got you covered.