Downtown Orlando in a Day
From morning to night, there's plenty to do downtown.
See Art Orlando
Despite what many tourists may believe, Downtown Disney is not downtown Orlando. Orlando, a city of 2 million people, has a thriving downtown worth a day or two exploring. Here are some tips for spending a perfect day in "The City Beautiful."
Start the day at Thornton Park. The little pocket off downtown boasts brick streets and a beautiful fountain with a quaint collection of a cafés and shops. Benjamin French Bakery serves delicious croissants and coffee. Dine in or have a picnic in nearby Lake Eola park. A shaded playground is fun for the kids, along with swan boats you can rent by the half hour. Take time to admire the sculptures around the lake from See Art Orlando.
Orlando Museum of Art
Take a short drive to Loch Haven Park. The best of the city’s cultural attractions are concentrated here, beneath sprawling oaks and sandwiched between three scenic lakes. See the David Rathman and Lamar Peterson exhibits at the Orlando Museum of Art, then head over to the Mennello Museum of American Art for a primitive flavor of Americana. Kids will love the Orlando Science Center, which is like one big educational playground.
Kasa Restaurant and Bar
Stop in at the City Arts Factory, especially the third Thursday of the month for their open house of art galleries. City Arts Factory houses half a dozen galleries of local and international artists. Upstairs is the Sak Comedy Club, an improv comedy club suitable for all ages, where Wayne Brady of “Whose Line Is It Anyway” got his start before making the big time. After some laughs, walk just a block down Orange Avenue to Kasa Restaurant and Bar for fresh sushi, innovative tapas and signature cocktails.
Downtown Orlando is a happening spot at night. Church Street and Wall Street are closed to vehicular traffic, creating a lively street-party atmosphere that’s perfect for bar hopping. Start at Ember, where you can sit outside on the New Orleans-like patio. Then work your way down Church Street toward One80, a nightclub perched atop the Amway Center, offering spectacular views of the skyline along with a rocking party scene.