Visiting Orlando: Shopping, Attractions, Restaurants, and More

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Very first time visiting Orlando? Coming to Orlando for the NBA All Star Weekend? I want you to get the most out of your Orlando experience.  Follow these helpful travel tips and enjoy the finest that Orlando is offering.

See: When Orlando, FL comes to mind, who doesn’t think of theme parks right away? Theme parks are synonymous with Orlando. From the magical experience of Walt Disney World to the audience engaging Shamu show at Sea World, these are undeniable attractions that bring visitors from all over the world to Orlando, FL.

A visit to a theme park is a must. No matter what age you are, allow yourself to be a kid again and walk the streets of Mickey and Minnie Mouse at Walt Disney World. At Disney there are several theme parks including Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

If Disney is not quite your cup of tea, the options are endless from “riding the movies” at Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, to Sea World. Don’t forget one thing about Orlando, it’s hot all year long! It’s inevitable that a water park will be in the mix at some point during your stay. Check out Wet N’ Wild and Typhoon Lagoon for a refreshing water theme park experience.

Shop: Whoever said that Orlando was only good for its thrill rides and entertainment has obviously never been to Orlando. The greatest thing about visiting (or living) in Orlando is the wide variety of shopping. Besides being the “theme park” city of the world, Orlando is also a fashionable city. The Mall at Millenia, is the pride and joy of Orlando luxury shopping. It holds over 150 high end stores fromLouis Vuitton,  Burberry, Jimmy Choo, and Chanel. Don’t let the high end stores scare you away, the Mall at Millenia is also home to more attainable stores such asForever 21, Hollister, and Macy’s. If the Mall at Millenia is not quite your style, check out the Florida Mall, which has over 260 stores and is more laid back (and a lot more affordable).

Including over 175 stores, Orlando’s Premium Outlet Mall is also great for shopping. Located in the heart of Orlando with two indoor malls and an outdoor designer outlet centre, the Premium Outlet Mall is not only great for shopping, but a great place to exercise (with all the walking).  You’ll find a fine mix between high end and attainable “high-end boutiques” on Park Avenue. Located on a long strip of restaurants, coffee shops, art galleries, and of course, boutiques, Park Avenue is home to the greatest and most unique “hard to find” clothing in Central Florida.

Eat: When visiting the fine city of Orlando, keep in mind that there are places to eat everywhere. Depending on where you are will determine your selection. When most people travel to Orlando, they usually end up chowing down at a restaurant on International Drive. Even though the selection is overwhelming, the best place for good food and good entertainment is a Greek themed restaurant with authentic cuisine, belly dancers, and even traditional Greek table dancing at Taverna Opa.  Other good International Drive selections include, Café Tu Tu Tango, Maggiano’s, and Benihana.

Within a few miles from Orlando’s famous International Drive is a strip called “restaurant row,” home to the best of the best in Orlando dining. Selections include, Dragonfly Sushi and Sake, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Roy’s, and Timpano’s.

Drink: No matter where you go, there is always a place to grab a cold beer or crisp glass of Pinot Grigio. However, nothing says an ice cold beer better then Orlando’s famous World of Beer. With three central locations in Dr. Phillips, UCF, and Lake Mary, World of Beer has the most extensive selection of the best beers in the world. If wine, cheese, and jazz is more your style Eola Wine, and Wine Room are two centrally located upscale wine bars that offer a wide selection of wine and hors d’oeuvres.

Stay: When finding a resort to stay at in Orlando, take into consideration the location you will spend most of the time. If Disney is your primary destination, the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa is a perfect place to stay. Disney has over a dozen world class resorts, but the Grand Floridian is the landmark in the Disney Resort properties. At Universal Studios, you can choose from the Portofino Bay Hotel, the Hard Rock Hotel, or the Royal Pacific Resort. All are located on Universal property and are within walking distance of Universal City Walk and theme parks.

As a lot of people come to Orlando on business, downtown Orlando is a popular location for visitors and the best place to stay is none other than the chic Grand Bohemian Hotel.  Located right in the middle of downtown Orlando, you are within driving distance of the theme parks and central Florida’s most popular beach, Cocoa Beach.

Walk: If you’re an Orlando first timer, walking outdoors is not always an option (unless you’re going to a theme park) and especially if you’re coming during the summer time. However, if you happen to visit during the fall, winter, or spring, a few lovely outdoor places to walk include Lake Eola, City Walk, Pointe Orlando, and Leu Gardens. However, if you happen to come during the summer time and you’re desperate for an indoor activity, the Orlando Museum or Art is a beautiful place to see works of contemporary and historical art.

Listen: Looking to catch a few tunes at a local spot? The Amway Center is known for being amongst the greatest sports and entertainment venue in the United States. At the Amway Center you will find continuous concerts and sports events. Also venues for music are selections right in your theme park destination. Disney is home to the House of Blues, and Hard Rock Live is home to Universal’s City Walk. Orlando is also best known for their music and entertainment combined. You don’t want to miss Cirque du Soleil or Blue Man Group.

Avoid: Let’s be honest, Orlando is great for a lot of things, but it does have its brutal downfalls. Make sure you stay cool and pack your suitcases with shorts and light cottons. Florida, being the sunshine state, is scorching hot. Take a lot of water with you wherever you go and try and stay indoors during the summer time if you can help it. Florida is also best known for its daily afternoon rainstorms, pack ponchos and umbrellas if you will be doing outdoor activities!

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