Thornton Park: 10 Great Places to Live in Orlando in 2023

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The downtown Orlando skyline is framed by Lake Eola’s historic fountain.

Photos by Roberto Gonzalez

The sun doesn’t seem to set on Thornton Park, nestled on the fringe of downtown Orlando. Sights, sounds and smells abound: colorful graffiti murals, people jogging or walking their dogs, conversations among neighbors and friends, the wafting scents of fresh coffee and food being served al fresco. 

The district is abuzz, powered by a strong sense of community. And it has it all, with its mix of condos, apartments, brownstones and bungalows conveniently located within walking distance of restaurants and shops, as well as Lake Eola.

“It’s a very walkable, friendly neighborhood. We welcome everyone,” says Lisa Cuatt, director of the Thornton Park District. “We’re very LGBTQ-friendly also. Our board is very proud of that.”

Board president and realtor Beatrice Miranda, who lives and works in Thornton Park, appreciates the area’s walkability. “People want to be part of a community where they live, where they like to eat, and where they like to shop,” she says. 

If locals choose to dine at one of the district’s many restaurants—such as Graffiti Junktion, F&D Cantina, The Stubborn Mule, Eola Wine Co. and RusTeak, to name a few—they never have to worry about eating alone because a neighbor is always sitting nearby, Miranda says.

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In fact, just about everything is nearby, including recreation. Most residents live within a block or two of Lake Eola. The park offers year-round recreation for people of all ages, entertainment and a host of festivals throughout the year. In between, block parties and semi-monthly wine and art walks keep the community’s energy level high. 

The community also scores for its easy access to public transportation. Sometimes Miranda rents a scooter to go show a property at Solaire on the Plaza. When she needs to leave the confines of her neighborhood, she often relies on free public transportation. The Lymmo Grapefruit Line goes directly to Exploria Stadium, home of Orlando City and Orlando Pride soccer, as well as the Amway Center.

Game nights, like most other nights in Thornton Park, are a cause for celebration. It’s common to see “people dressed in purple at our sidewalk cafes,” Cuatt says. 

The area is young, hip and in high demand. Though the area is family-friendly, the median age of residents is 35, and the median home price is about $475,000.

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Thornton Park’s pedestrian-friendly streets make it a great place to live.

As Thornton Park grows, Cuatt and Miranda hope it will remain the safe, walkable, family- and dog-friendly community many have come to love, eventually boasting even more retail options within walking distance. 

“I don’t see myself living anywhere else outside this area,” Miranda says.

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