Just twenty short minutes away from attractions hub, International Drive, stands Orlando, the City Beautiful. Though downtown Orlando is home to over 43,000 residents, this metropolitan area is largely overlooked by visitors every year. Over the years, this city has transformed from a small political center to a sprawling landscape of arts and entertainment of all kinds including unique galleries, live performances, and so much more. Here are just a few things you can look forward to when you venture into Downtown Orlando.
Historic Church Street Station
Built in 1889, this railroad station once taxied passengers from Sanford to Tampa before expanding out as far as southern Georgia. Since 1972 Church Street has seen many changes as it slowly became the entertainment hub it is known as today. While you won’t be able to enjoy nickle beers at Tosie O’Grady’s Good Time Emporium anymore, you can still get your fill of live music and entertainment. Church Street is lined with unique restaurants and entertainment venues such as the Mad Cow Theater which is run by a local acting company. With all the upgrades, Church Street still maintains its classic charm reminiscent of Orlando living in the early 20th century.
A few blocks away you’ll come to our very own central park, Lake Eola. Surrounded by local shops, eateries, and upscale condos this local favorite is the heart of our city. Declared a public park in 1888, this beautiful public space has a few charming quirks many people don’t know. One fun fact being that Lake Eola is actually a giant sinkhole that formed in the middle of our city in 1873. It became a beautiful lake thanks to the undiscovered natural aquifer below and seasonal storms.
Lake Eola is home to a variety of swans, Orlando’s iconic fountain, and the Chinese Ting pagoda. This park is also host to dozens of annual events, weekly farmers’ markets, live performances on the stage, charity 5k races, and holiday showcases, which often include dazzling fireworks displays. It has become a community gathering place filled with unique installation artwork and history, perfect for an afternoon picnic or morning jog. You can find a list of upcoming events on the city’s website.
Speaking of upcoming events and shows, our theater community has boomed in recent years and with the opening of the Dr. Philips Performing Arts Center we’ve seen all kinds of amazing shows grace our stages. The Orlando Ballet, Orlando Shakes, and over a dozen other theater and dance troops call Orlando home.
At any given time, you have your pick of performances to enjoy when you visit Orlando. It’s worth taking stock of the selection and getting to know our local arts scene during your next visit.
Wall Street Plaza
If you’re looking for nightlife, we’ve got plenty of that too. Every weekend, downtown Orlando is crawling with locals hoping from venue to venue and most of them start with Wall Street Plaza. Propped up in a little nook in the city, this plaza is surrounded by dance clubs and bars. Annual holiday events, including Plazaween—the hugely popular Halloween bar crawling experience—Cinco De Mayo, Fat Tuesday, St. Patrick’s Day, as well as a few unique festivals such as Rum Fest and City Skip Day bring this plaza to life throughout the year. It’s a local favorite and can easily become yours as well, so make sure you don’t miss out on the fun at the Wall Street Plaza!
We LOVE our teams. At any given time, you’ll probably see our streets lined with purple and gold, the colors representing Orlando City Soccer. Our residents are FILLED WITH PRIDE. You’ll see it all year with dozens of events before, after, and during the season which include games, parades, and special events in support of Orlando Pride. Click here to find out more about Orlando Pride here.
If soccer isn’t your thing, Orlando is also home to the major league basketball team, Orlando Magic. Or you can catch a football game featuring any of the local colleges and universities such as the UCF Knights during college football season.
There’s really something for everyone when visiting our brilliant city so booking a central base is important to all your vacation plans. Book with us today and take advantage of daily services to the local theme parks and our close proximity to the City Beautiful.