It’s no lie that Central Florida, Orlando especially, is a really popular tourist destination. People like to travel to Central Florida for obvious reasons, such as Walt Disney World and Universal Studios. But those who are current residents and call themselves locals know that there’s so much more than the world-famous theme parks, which is why we have to let you know what it is like living in Orlando!
It’s incredible the variety of things to do in Orlando that people don’t know about it. You can choose from trendy bars and coffee shops to nearby amazing beaches, such as Daytona Beach. So get ready to take a break from city life! Let’s get into the best places and activities you can take part in while living in Orlando!
- Restaurants in Orlando Area
- Bars in Orlando Area
- Coffee Shops in Orlando Area
- Brunch & Snacks in Orlando Area
- Free Activities in Orlando Area
- Theme Parks in Orlando Area
- Farmers Markets in Orlando Area
- City Parks in Orlando Area
Living in Orlando: The Best Food, Drinks, and Orlando Nightlife
Step into the daily life of an Orlando local and challenge your taste buds! From traditional authentic food to quick-service American food, Central Florida has plenty of options for amazing restaurants. So grab your besties and try all the delicious foods and great cocktails offered at these highly-rated restaurants.
Restaurants in Orlando Area
Orlando, especially Winter Park and Lake Nona, is not that well known for its fine dining establishments. However, we have some local hidden gems that vary from fresh healthy foods to authentic foods, and also dining with amazing views.
- The Hall on The Yard: A food court-style collection of nine diverse culinary offerings, five curated event spaces, and three premium cocktail bars, showcased in one eclectic building. With an eye beholden to the details, The Hall boasts a sophisticated environment, inviting all walks of life to enjoy a refined atmospheric experience. This is the perfect escape from your day-to-day life.
- DOMU: Some of the best wings in Orlando! Happy Hour daily from 5 pm -6:30 pm and all-night Tuesdays.
- Bar Louie: Happy hour Monday through Friday from 4 pm-7 pm.
- Neon Beach: A mid-range bar/restaurant in downtown Orlando. They offer an excellent, yet creative menu featuring in-house smoked meats, new American cuisine, and island-inspired dishes. Also, they provide a large craft and tiki-style drink menu along with all the classics you’d find on the Islands.
- Bounce House Social Eats: Eat, drink, bounce! Happy hour Mondays from 4 pm -8 pm.
- Twenty Pho Hour: America’s first 2D noodle bar… so cool that you have to check it out for yourself!
- Vietnomz: An affordable, 2-location restaurant that invites you to try their unique, modern take on all the popular Vietnamese cuisine and street fare, including pho noodle soups, bowls, banh-mi subs, street tacos, baos, and more! Its mission is to showcase the flavors of Vietnam with quality and wholesome ingredients. Inspired by the streets of Saigon, the Nomz team is dedicated to delivering one simple concept: freshness in every bowl.
- Lazy Moon Pizza: Serves one of the biggest pizza sizes in Central Florida offering 20-inches and 30-inches for you to share with all your friends.
- Gringos Locos: Voted Orlando’s Best Taco! Check out their daily happy hour from 4 pm-8 pm.
- Don Julio Mexican Kitchen: Don Julio wants to provide you with an incredible experience, a pleasant atmosphere, a varied menu, and great service. This place offers authentic Mexican cuisine that follows Doña Pepa’s original recipes. What sets Don Julio Mexican Kitchen and Tequila Bar apart is their use of fresh and unique ingredients that give each dish an exquisite touch.
- Pepe’s Cantina: Authentic Mexican grill in Downtown Winter Park. Check out their happy hour Monday through Friday from 11:30 am-6 pm.
Bars in Orlando Area
Nightlife in Orlando is definitely something worth checking out. Orlando’s continued growth has brought some of the best bars for you to explore. Maybe you went to an Orlando City soccer game during the day and are looking for a fun place to go after? Or maybe you’re just wanting a night out with the girls. You will find great cocktails at any of the places we mention!
18+ Bars & Clubs
- The Boheme: The edgy and intriguing Bösendorfer Lounge at The Boheme is a favorite local hot spot with happy hour and crafted cocktails. When you’re hungry for an exceptional dining experience in Downtown Orlando, The Boheme restaurant will satisfy you. Featuring some of Central Florida’s hottest jazz musicians, The Boheme’s Brunch allows guests to indulge in the finest culinary offerings while contemporary jazz sounds emanate from the Imperial Grand Bösendorfer Piano.
- Elixir: Offering a different approach to pre-gaming with DJ Chino every Saturday from 8 pm-10 pm with food, drinks, and good vibes.
- The Patio: Indoor/outdoor club with two themed rooms, multiple DJs, and the best drink specials around. Downtown’s open-air party spot for dancing under the stars.
- The Wellborn: A hidden oasis, featuring hand-crafted cocktails and chef-driven small bites. This charming cluster of three historic buildings, each from a different period, includes the Norment-Parry House, the city’s oldest documented residence, which was built in 1883 by Judge Richard B. Norment of Baltimore. They offer happy hour from Tuesday through Friday from 5 pm-7 pm where you can enjoy $2 off signature cocktails, wine, and beer. They also have brunch Saturday and Sunday from 11 am-5 pm.
- Chillers: Wednesday special is $1 all you can drink… dangerous. Gather all your gals because Friday Night = Ladies’ Night! Free cover for ladies all night and ladies also drink for free from 10 pm-1 pm.
- Saddle Up: Downtown Orlando’s Premier Country Bar. “Country with a little bit of Rock ‘n Roll”. $4 lineup specials Tuesday through Friday from 7 pm-10 pm.
- Celine Orlando: Orlando’s premier entertainment venue is located in the heart of downtown. This multifaceted entertainment space hosts live music, corporate rentals, weekly parties, private events, and more! Boasting a capacity of 1,000 occupants, Celine was created to fill the void and need for a centrally located top-of-the-line entertainment complex.
- Gilt: Orlando’s biggest concert venue featuring the hottest weekly and DJs from around the world. On Famosos Fridays (Latin Night), ladies get free entry until 12 am and free drinks until 12 am. Guys 21+ enter free until 11 pm and drink free until 11 pm. $125 bottles until 12 am.
- Knight Library: The UCF hangout bar. Happy hour on Fridays from 4-9 pm and free entry for ladies until 4:30 pm. That’s not all they have going on. Check out the full list of specials they offer.
21+ Bars & Clubs
- The Treehouse Orlando: Remember that secret club you had as a kid? Combine that with the best adult beverages in Orlando and you start to get the idea. You can find Orlando’s coziest cocktail bar inside the green door downtown.
- AC Sky Bar: Against the backdrop of boundless city views, guests at the hotel’s Sky Bar Rooftop Terrace can enjoy Spanish-inspired tapas and bites, artisanal cocktails, and local craft brews from its 18th-floor perch. They offer their happy hour on weekdays between 5 pm—7 pm for $3, $4, $5, and $6 drinks along with $5 select small plates.
- Ember: Downtown Orlando’s premier outdoor terrace restaurant, Ember is reminiscent of the easy-going social taverns seen all over Europe and the Mediterranean. Check them out on hump day for their Wine Down Wednesday from 5 pm-10 pm. They also offer happy hour on Friday from 4 pm-7:30 pm.
- Hanson’s Shoe Repair: Housed in an old shoe repair shop, this is the most secret bar around. Left just like it was back in the 1800s. The drinks were spectacular. You can find crafted cocktails and live music during the evenings. Although this is a fun rooftop terrace, the views of the city could be better elsewhere.
- Aloha Beautiful: A tropical retreat paired with tiki cocktails and karaoke. Latin Night on Tuesdays with specialty drinks paired with our Latin Night Karaoke hosted by Nino from 9 pm-1:30 am. They also have Late Night Karaoke from 12 am-1:30 am.
- Mather’s Social Gathering: Sophisticated yet alluring paired with vintage cocktails and boutique spirits. Mathers offers half off their hand-crafted cocktails and social potions every Tuesday through Saturday from 4 pm-7 pm.
Coffee Shops in Orlando Area
If you’re like us, a coffee every day is essential. There are plenty of coffee shops in Orlando that allow you to take a break from city life and relax. Even if you are not a fan of coffee, you can visit these places for their side pastries and authentic food. However, if you’re in the mood for something fruity, you could try some of the best smoothie places in Orlando.
- Stardust Video & Coffee: Coffee and tea. Vegan and Vegetarian-friendly sandwiches and salads. Cafe with a full liquor bar with frequently rotating cocktail specials, a curated scotch selection, and a wide variety of beers and wine. Extensive collection of used books for sale. Weekly farmers market on Monday nights! Occasional live music and open mic events.
- The Robinson: Innovative and sustainable food, meets forward-thinking cocktails and espresso-based drinks. Happy Hour is Monday through Thursday from 5 pm-7 pm.
- Foxtail Coffee Co.: Foxtail specializes in roasting the freshest coffee from all over the world using state-of-the-art coffee roasting equipment with the highest standard for quality in the business.
- The Salty Donut: At ‘The Salty’, they believe in the transformative power of a freakin’ good donut, baked goods, and a perfectly crafted coffee. They strive to tell stories through their ever-changing menus of new flavors and weave ourselves into the fabric of the neighborhoods they’re in. They do this to create spaces for the community to gather and positively affect those around them. Simply put, they like to make people feel good.
- Craft & Common: They’re more than just a coffee shop. Top-notch hospitality and a fun atmosphere go together like espresso and ’90s hip-hop. A great place to sit and work on your laptop and drink delicious coffee!
- Vanessa’s Coffee Shop: Vanessa’s Coffee Shop is a family-owned and operated gourmet spot suitable for any time of the day. They make mouth-watering sweet treats and drinks.
- Light On The Sugar: It’s a family-owned bakery and coffee shop. They use the finest ingredients in all of their recipes and their passion is to bring to you the finest gourmet coffee, tea, and pastries with an Asian twist. Although they serve a variety of drinks, their main focus is on their pastries. They bake everything in-house daily, creating French goods with Asian-inspired flavors such as Matcha, Ube, Taro, Black Sesame, and many more. Their menu rotates weekly because they are always coming up with new ideas. You can follow them on Instagram to stay updated with their new flavors.
- The Muddy Root: A Kava Bar and Coffee Shop also serves Botanical teas, Delta8 drinks, herbal extracts and shots, and snacks in a comfy lounge atmosphere. Perfect for studying and working, playing games, meeting friends, and enjoying nightly special events. A healthy alternative to alcohol without the hangover the next day! Stress relief, pain relief, and mood-boosting effects.
- Qreate Coffee: Qreate answers the question “Why isn’t there a place with premium-roast blends, artisan coffee, and tea drinks that’s also a shared creative space/studio with blazing-fast Wi-Fi where I can chill and be inspired to create and collaborate with other people?” Go check it out!
Brunch & Snacks in Orlando Area
- SLATE Orlando: Located in Dr. Phillips, Slate Orlando is a beautiful brunch option. It has a contemporary architecture and design with floor-to-ceiling windows, rustic wood & stone floors, and gas chandeliers to provide a warm, inviting, and energetic environment. They have brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 11 am-3 pm.
- Santiago’s Bodega: ‘Orlando’s Favorite Tapas Restaurant’. Inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea, Santiago’s Bodega is a Tapas-style, welcoming neighborhood restaurant. They have their brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 10 am-3 pm (we recommend you get reservations).
- The Porch: Amazing food, drinks, and atmosphere! The Porch offers brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 11 am-3 pm with $5 Bloody Marys and $4 Mimosas!
- The Hampton Social: Enjoy the feeling of summer days at this coastal-inspired restaurant. If a nautical, relaxed, ambiance of the Hamptons sounds like something you would enjoy, this is the place for you. They also have a ‘Rosé all day’ lounge featuring over 15 rosé wines! They offer brunch on Saturday and Sunday from 10 am-3 pm.
- Se7en Bites: Specializes in nostalgic southern comfort foods, but with a modern twist. They serve breakfast and lunch all day!
- Purple Ocean Superfood Bar: If you’re an Açai bowl fan like us, you’ll love Purple Ocean Superfood Bar. They’re a vegan restaurant that promotes vegan, raw, and organic clean eating. They really do make one of the best Açai bowls in Orlando!
- Ice & Bites Café: In the mood for boba tea? Ice & Bites has a wide variety of bubble tea flavors at an affordable price. They also have some delicious ice cream and sno (soft ribbons of flavored ice).
- Crumbl Cookies: If cookies are your thing, try the new cookie flavors every week! We love this place so much that we wrote our own Crumbl Cookie review when their Winter Park location opened up.
Living in Orlando: Outdoor Activities To Add To Your List
Free Activities in Orlando Area
As we previously mentioned, Universal Studios and Walt Disney World are not the only things to do in Orlando for entertainment. There are also plenty of fun and free options in Winter Garden and Lake Eola! We realize that the cost of living has increased recently, so why not save some money and check out your options for free things to do in Orlando?
Theme Parks in Orlando Area
Let’s be honest, Orlando is known for its world-famous theme parks, plus all the dozens of theme parks nearby. Even if you find that ticket prices are expensive for the theme parks, you still have the option to have a magical free day at Disney Springs, where you can have great food and get the Disney merch you wanted!
- Disney Parks, Universal Parks, SeaWorld: If you want to enjoy the magic of Walt Disney World with the entire family, you have four different theme parks under the Disney signature. But if you are looking for something more heart-racing and adventurous, then Universal Parks is the one. It’s divided into two signature theme parks that connect and bring the perfect combination of adults’ and kids’ entertainment. However, if you are looking for a thrilling adventure that combines rollercoasters, sea life, and interactive knowable experiences, then SeaWorld is the place you are looking for.
- Typhoon Lagoon, Blizzard Beach, Volcano Bay, and Aquatica: Escape to the carefree island lifestyle with any of these themed water parks. How does floating in a lazy river on a tropical island sound to you? Try a water park instead of a theme park, especially on those hot summer days!
Farmers Markets in Orlando Area
Why not go to a farmers market to shop for some of your groceries instead of the store? You can find produce, bakery items, fresh flowers and plants, and so much more! Get a glimpse of the thriving art community while shopping or just enjoy the vibes in the community. We like to support our locals whenever we can!
Our favorite farmer’s markets are in Lake Eola, Winter Park, East End Village, Windermere, and Winter Garden.
- Winter Park – Every Saturday from 8 am-1 pm.
- Winter Garden – Every Saturday from 8 am-1 pm.
- Oviedo – 1st Saturday of each month from 8am-1 pm.
- Lake Eola – Every Sunday from 10 am-3 pm.
- Windermere – Every Friday from 9 am-1:30 pm.
City Parks in Orlando Area
Take a stroll through the parks in the Orlando area to enjoy the area and take in some fresh air and that Florida sunshine.
- Blanchard Park: Catch a magnificent sunset from the shores of the Little Econlockhatchee River. The paved 7.4-mile Little Econ Greenway Trail and the Little Econ River run through Jay Blanchard Park.
- Baldwin Park: This is as picturesque as a neighborhood can come. Beautiful homes, friendly people, and a cute little shopping area on the southwest side of the lake. The dog park on the lake is huge and gives dogs plenty of space to run around and swim. If you own a dog in Orlando, you will eventually end up at this park.
- Lake Eola Park: This park is in the heart of Downtown Orlando, with a sidewalk that circles the lake 0.9 miles in length, making it easy for visitors to keep track of their walking or running distances. This park is especially known for the recreational activities it offers like renting swan-shaped paddle boats, photographing the live swans and other birds inhabiting the park, seeing a concert, movie, or a play in the Walt Disney Amphitheater, grabbing a bite to eat at local restaurants or simply relaxing amid beautiful flower beds and a spectacular view of Orlando’s skyline. You can also take part in yoga meet-ups that they have every month if that’s your thing!
- Springs: These stunning bodies of water occur when underground water pressure causes a natural flow of water out of an opening in the ground. They usually stay around 72 degrees year-round. So during one of Florida’s many debilitating heat waves, you can find relief in what is a natural ice bath. Rather than deciding between the over 700 springs in the Sunshine State, check out our list of the top 12 best springs in Florida.
- Beaches: Who doesn’t love the beach? One of the best getaways, if you are tired from your daily life routine, or just in need of vitamin sea, is the beach. Florida is known for the plenty of beaches it offers, but what most people don’t know is that we have beautiful beaches only one hour from Central Florida, such as Cocoa Beach, Smyrna Dunes Park (pet friendly), or our well-known Daytona Beach.
Download a digital copy of our Orlando Guide for you to hold on to and share with friends!
Living in Orlando: Indoor Activities, Fun For Any Day
Florida is also known for its daily thunderstorms, especially in the summer. Sometimes you need an indoor activity as a plan B, or even if you want to keep yourself cool in the air conditioning because of the scorching Florida heat. Our options for indoor activities include museums, movies, and performing arts that have been hand-picked for you in this article. Just click here!
Shopping in Orlando Area
There’s a reason tourists love to shop here in Orlando. There’s a tremendous amount of shopping for whatever it is you’re looking for, and we also have well-known outlets that have some of the best prices in the world.
So, to make your life so much easier, we have done some research for you. Just click on the link to find the best places to:
Not to mention, there are so many great spas and salons in the Orlando area. In need of a facial or a hot stone massage? Click here to see!
Living in Orlando: Lively Neighborhoods To Visit
If you’re moving or already living in Orlando, a recommendation from us is getting to know the neighborhoods and surrounding cities. This ensures that you know the area well and get familiar with the different communities. It can also help a lot when researching the housing market and where you might want to buy a home. There is a fair amount, but here are some of the commonly known ones.
- Baldwin Park
- Lake Nona
- Downtown Orlando
- Ivanhoe Village/ Mills 50
- The Milk District
- College Park
- Winter Park
- Altamonte Springs
”If you’re visiting Florida, a local Orlando limo service is a great way to get around. Orlando is home to some of the best attractions in the state, and a limo service can help you get to them all. From Disney World to Universal Studios, there are plenty of places to see and things to do in Orlando. With comfortable seating and plenty of room for luggage, a limo is a perfect way to travel in style. Plus, you’ll be able to avoid the Florida heat and traffic while enjoying all that the city has to offer. So sit back, relax, and let a local limo service take you on the trip of a lifetime.
As you can see, Orlando and its surrounding areas are great places to live. What more can you ask for when you get an outstanding quality of life by living somewhere where the sun is always shining and you’re never going to run out of things to do? Make sure to remember us for all your Orlando information when you visit!
Is Orlando a good place to live?
The benefits of residing in Orlando are numerous. Orlando was also designated one of the top cities for jobs by WalletHub, and has a crime score of “C+,” making it roughly as safe as other American cities. Additionally, Florida has no state income tax.
What part of Orlando is safest?
– College Park.
– Baldwin Park.
– Park Lake Highland.
– Dr. Philips.
– Winter Park.
– Milk District.
– Thornton Park.
– Celebration. This neighborhood likes to think of itself as an independent city catering to well-to-do families.
How far is Orlando from the beach?
How near is the closest beach to Orlando? Cocoa Beach is the beach that is nearest to Orlando. One of the most popular beaches on the Atlantic Coast is about 60 miles, or an hour’s drive, away.
Download our digital Orlando Guide! The best restaurants, bars, and specials around town to take with you everywhere!