Orlando Beyond Disney

I'm aware that most visitors come to Orlando to visit Disney but there's so much more to do in Central Florida for people with all different interests from food to sports, attractions, festivals, and entertainment. The locals know the secret to enjoying Orlando and avoiding the crowded Disney area.

Downtown Orlando
Orlando has a really fun downtown where the locals go to enjoy some amazing Sunday brunch restaurants along with the bar hopping nightlife and the dog-friendly restaurants in Thornton Park.


There's also a local farmer's market every Sunday around Lake Eola where you can purchase produce, food, and art from local vendors. Several festivals are hosted around Lake Eola such as Paws in the Park which is an annual pet festival coming up in February.

iFly Orlando
This Indoor Skydiving place gives you the opportunity to experience the skydiving experience in a safe environment. I, personally, am afraid of heights so will never do the real thing but I had no hesitation to try indoor skydiving.

Orlando City Soccer Club
Our Major League Soccer team is a fairly new addition to Orlando's sports teams but the fan base caught on quickly and everyone here can enjoy an inexpensive evening watching some soccer at the family-friendly Citrus Bowl.

Cocoa Beach
This is not technically Orlando but it is the closest beach that most locals frequent during the warmer months. Port Canaveral also has some amazing waterfront seafood restaurants that we like to grab dinner at after spending hours at the beach.

Wekiva Island is an amazing facility to visit on the weekend to enjoy some kayaking and canoeing along with lunch and drinks at the onsite restaurant. It's great place to relax along the river and get some Vitamin D plus it's pet-friendly so everyone brings their dog to enjoy the outdoors.

This 400-foot observation wheel located on International Drive was built in 2015 and is one of Orlando's newest attractions that allows you to enjoy breathtaking views of Central Florida. We went on it in December at sunset and enjoyed seeing the sun go down along Orlando's skyline.

Amway Center
The Amway arena is the home of the Orlando Magic basketball team but they also host most of the big concerts such as Taylor Swift who I saw perform a couple years ago.

Winter Park
Park Avenue in Winter Park has a historic strip of boutique shopping and restaurants. It's a great place to walk around and go for lunch or some happy hour with friends. They also host an Art Festival that features work from local artists for sale.

Universal City Walk
You can enjoy family fun here with a variety of restaurants, entertainment and shopping. My two favorites are Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville and Bob Marley's for some live reggae music and Jamaican cuisine. The nightlife is always hopping here so it's a fun place to go to celebrate a birthday or bachelorette party.

Orlando Improv
 Everyone loves a good laugh. Lots of great comedians come to Orlando Improv to perform. It's a nice venue that serves food and drinks while you enjoy a funny comedy show.

Orlando is dubbed "The City Beautiful" and I couldn't agree more. There's so much to do here that makes living here never a dull moment.


  1. I'm glad you shared all of this! My favorite thing is when people as where I'm from, I say Florida and they instantly ask - Orlando or Miami LOL! I have never been to winter park so I need a visit soon! xo, Biana -BlovedBoston

  2. SO many fun things! People definitely think of Disney when they hear Orlando, but there's so much more to do and explore! Hopefully I make my way down there again at some point soon to get to see it all (and you maybe!)

  3. i love this list! proves there's lots to do in orlando. it's not just an amusement park city!

  4. i love this post! and yay for making in a few pics hehe. now i want to go explore :)

    xoxo cheshire kat

  5. I actually think more of Universal, but hey, I'm a huge Harry Potter fangirl, so that's that.
    I hate that we missed most of these things when we went. We did one of the Universal packages for our honeymoon, so we stayed across the street from Universal and spent all of our days there. We did actually eat at Bob Marley's. We got crappy service at first, but ended up getting free drinks out of it! Also, the Hard Rock Cafe there is one of the biggest in the world (it may be THE biggest). Regardless, we had so much fun in Orlando at Universal! :)

  6. Isn't our city amazing?! Most of my favorite things to do and places to go are way outside from the theme parks. And you can't beat Sunday Brunch around here - YUM <3
    Green Fashionista

  7. Love this, and love the Orlando I got to see with you and the girls. It's a great place and MUCH more than Disney!

  8. Thanks for sharing this! I really want to make a trip to Orlando sometime in the near future (because I really want to go to Harry Potter World), but my husband I also really love exploring the non-touristy, local stuff, and these all sound like great recommendations!

  9. This is great! I am dying to get to Olrando one day!! Mainly for Disney as I've never been, but this could probably convince my husband more haha

  10. I love visiting family in Orlando, after the initial thrill of Disney in the first couple visits we really started to do more!

  11. I love reading about all of the fun adventures that y'all have in Orlando, and it's nice that you know exactly where to go to get away from the chaos of all the tourists! Last time I was in Orlando for training we actually went to an Orlando Magic game, and we had so much fun! And you're so right, there's so many fun places to visit on City Walk!

  12. You totally wrote this post for me, right?!? ;) We really want to stop at the beach on the way down and do the Orlando Eye! I also want to add that skydiving place to my list for this trip, too.

  13. this is fabulous! KC and I would love to come back to visit Universal again, but not Disney, and we definitely want to see more of Orlando. thanks for sharing!

  14. I have been to Orlando twice for work and have got to do zero things other than eat at a few nice restaurants around Disney. I would love to check out all of the things you mentioned above! It looks like a great city to live in. You know...if you can handle all that heat! haha!

  15. Great idea for a post! While I've never been to Florida (hope to go!), I definitely associate Orlando with the main theme park attractions. Fabulous list, looks super fun all around.

  16. Ooo... I would be allll over the dog friendly restaurants and the Orlando Eye!