a Complete Travel Guide From a Local

Orlando is a sprawling metropolitan metropolis in Central Florida, an hour from the Atlantic Ocean and about two hours from the Gulf Coast. It truly is finest regarded for its world-famous concept parks and resorts like Walt Disney World and Common Orlando, and draws as quite a few as 70 million website visitors yearly. 

In advance of I moved to Orlando from South Carolina more than a decade in the past at age 20, I might only visited twice, both of those occasions as a vacationer, so my information of the city was minimal to the theme parks and nearby shorelines. But right after just a few months of performing in town and mingling with other citizens, I discovered an eccentric, buzzing local lifestyle that seldom tends to make its way to the web pages of visitors’ brochures. 

When friends and loved ones back home check with what I like most about dwelling in Orlando, my solution is the city’s diversity. In this city, you’ll appear throughout just about each individual nationality, delicacies, and ideology you can consider. Orlando has people who hail from all more than the globe, and is also famously LGBTQ-celebratory, with once-a-year festivities like Come Out With Pleasure and Gay Days Orlando. It is a town intended, purposely, for everybody.

Genuine to its century-aged nickname, the City Beautiful offers quite a few lovely sights, from palm tree-lined streets and superbly manicured town parks to downtown’s picturesque Lake Eola. But if you inquire a neighborhood — and of course, by now, I consider myself 1 — the correct attraction of Orlando lies in its individuals.

Alison Datko Orlando Florida restaurants the Hall on the Yard

The creator at a single of her preferred Orlando dining places, Hall on the Lawn.

Alison Datko

Citizens usually refer to Orlando as “a large modest town.” Irrespective of the seasonal influxes and departures of snowbirds and holidaymakers, the town is dwelling to a lively, 12 months-round arts scene, quickly burgeoning tech and foodie cultures, and much more invigorating regional sights.

In the time I have lived right here, I’ve been fortunate sufficient to expertise new cuisines at hundreds of fascinating dining establishments, forge friendships with artists and musicians, attend meetups with tiny-organization homeowners and tech specialists, and cross almost every single musical act off my live performance bucket list. 

Anytime buddies or family pay a visit to, I delight in coming up with individualized suggestions for their stays. In a metropolis so substantial, to me it feels like you can in no way operate out of points to do.

From striking normal landscapes to award-profitable eateries and a lot extra, Orlando is filled with surprises for site visitors to find. This is my greatest guide on the finest points to do, spots to take in, and everything else you need to know to system the fantastic Orlando family vacation. 

→ A resident’s ideas on how to get to and all around Orlando

→ Where to spend the evening in Orlando — 10 neighborhood-favored lodging, which include boutique hotels and an upscale Disney Vacation resort

→ 15 of the ideal locations to eat in Orlando, from Asian-fusion tacos to vegan-welcoming Ethiopian food

→ 10 should-do routines to get pleasure from in Orlando, from soccer video games to museums, and a lot more

What an Orlando neighborhood would like visitors to know in advance of the City Stunning — weather advisories, packing recommendations, and far more