7 Places We Love in Celebration
Where to eat, drink, shop and play in the town that Disney built.
After making movies and building theme parks, Walt Disney had another lifelong dream: to build a model town. Nearly 30 years after his death in 1995 his dream was realized in the town of Celebration, Florida, just a few miles south of Walt Disney World's main gate. Visiting the town today, you'll see some of the Disney-esque touches with picket fences, manicured lawns, bike paths, public spaces, ping-pong tables and rocking chairs. The downtown area is home to a post office designed by architect Michael Graves and about a dozen shops and restaurants centered around a lake. A walking and biking trail invites locals and visitors to explore scenic boardwalks and neighborhoods. The town of Celebration is worth a day exploring and admiring for its charm and new-urbanism ideals.
- Celebration is dog-friendly with parks, a dog bakery and pet-friendly dining options.
- While it's a planned neighborhood, Celebration is not gated and most areas are open to visitors.
- A community farmers market is held at Lakeside Park every Sunday until 3 pm.
- Food Truck Friday events are held the second Friday of the month at Town Hall.
- Special events are held frequently, from nightly snowfalls at Christmas to exotic car shows.
- Halloween and Christmas are especially fun times to visit as residents pull out all the stops with elaborate decorations.
CELEBRATION GOLF CLUB
This course’s magnificent par-72, 6,786-yard championship layout was designed by world-renowned golf course architect Robert Trent Jones Sr. and his son, Robert Trent Jones Jr. The course and clubhouse are open to visitors, with phenomenal summer rates starting at $29. Amenities include a double-sided aquatic driving range and the clubhouse also has a restaurant (the Windmill Tavern) and is located within walking distance from the downtown area.
This pretty town is best explored by foot or by bike, so you can get around downtown and maneuver over boardwalks through woodlands, around lakes and behind neighborhoods. This family-owned business provides tours of Disney's town of Celebration in an old-timey car and rents bicycles, including two-seaters, for kids and with kids carriages, by the hour. The friendly staff will set you off with a map and a bottle of cold water. Don't be surprised if you see an alligator or two.
MARKET STREET IN CELEBRATION
This quaint, brick street runs one block through downtown toward the lake front. Here, you'll find a small collection of shops like Market Street Gallery, Once Upon a Toy, Confetti, Soft As Grape and Enchanted Boutique perfect for grabbing a souvenir, finding a little something for your home or selecting the perfect vacation outfit.
LAKESIDE BAR AND GRILL
This chic boutique hotel is located in the heart of downtown Celebration and features a lovely patio perfect for grabbing an afternoon cocktail. Hearty cuisine with Florida flair aims to please every diner. Angus burgers and steaks are countered with chopped salads and flat breads. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served in the lounge and piano bar. $5 happy hour specials daily from 5-7 pm.
This Spanish restaurant was founded in Tampa more than 100 years ago and has enjoyed a long tradition in Florida. Flavorful seafood, paella, and the 1905 salad are among the favorites at this casual upscale Mediterranean restaurant decorated in hand-painted Spanish tile and old family photographs. The sangria is made table side, and the bartender also makes a great martini. Order some tasty Cuban appetizers to share, like the black-bean cakes, before of meal of shrimp and grouper packed with flavors.
CELEBRATION TOWN TAVERN
Standard bar food with a New England twist is the menu here (such as fish and chips and Maine lobster rolls), but the real draw is the atmosphere and the beer selection. The huge outdoor patio with big-screen TVs is popular during sporting events, and there's even a separate patio for diners with dogs.
IMPERIUM FOOD & WINE
This cozy wine bar and sidewalk cafe is an ideal spot for people-watching on Market Street as you enjoy a glass of wine or share a few small plates (such as salads, flat breads and cheese plates) for the table. Open for lunch and dinner.