Universal Studios plaza and the famous globe in Orlando, USA

Things to do in  Orlando

Burst the theme park bubble

Visitors know it as the theme park epicenter of the world, but locals know that Orlando is home to much more than Disney and Universal. The City Beautiful has a compact downtown perfect for bar hopping. MLS games and Lake Eola’s resident swans deserve your daylight hours, while concerts and basketball offer you exciting nights at Amway Center. One of the best things to do in Orlando that’s decidedly non-touristy is explore the many neighborhoods brimming with boutiques, breweries, and restaurants, which recently received mentions in the Michelin Guide.

Top 15 attractions in Orlando

Kennedy Space Center

The Kennedy Space Center has been hurtling humans and shuttles into space since 1968 and is still a primary site for NASA launches. Parts of the sprawling campus are open to the public with daily tours offering opportunities to interact with real astronauts, test your skills with a simulated space flight, and see artifacts from the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs.More

Clearwater Beach

With expansive white-sand beaches and warm, turquoise waters, Florida's Clearwater Beach, a waterfront community on the Gulf of Mexico, is an ideal launching pad for kayaking, parasailing, boating, and biking. It’s known as being more low-key than its southern neighbor, the bustling St. Pete Beach, and many consider Clearwater Beach to be among the best beaches in America.More

Pirate's Cove Adventure Golf

Celebrated for its elaborate, pirate-themed attractions—and offering several different courses—Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf is a popular Orlando destination for minigolf lovers. Located on International Drive (a quick trip from the city’s theme parks), it offers a fun-filled way to get outdoors and enjoy a sightseeing break.More

Everglades National Park

Sandwiched between the sizzling beaches of Miami and the white sands of Key West, the 1.5 million-acre Everglades National Park stands in stark contrast to its seductive neighbors—but don’t make the mistake of passing it by. Visit the park and discover for yourself the spectacular swampy weirdness that draws over one million visitors every year and constitutes a one-of-a-kind destination for nature lovers.More

Universal Studios Florida

Go behind the scenes, beyond the screen, and jump right into the action of your favorite movies at Universal Studios Florida™, the world's premier movie and TV-based theme park. This Orlando favorite, part of Universal Orlando Resort™, offers rides, shows, movie sets, and attractions that bring to life blockbuster movies likeTransformers,Despicable Me, andHarry Potter.More

Disney Springs®

Disney Springs® is one of the entertainment districts at Walt Disney World® Resort, filled with themed shops, restaurants, and other venues inspired by Florida’s waterfront towns and historic architecture. The promenade features four distinct neighborhoods, each with its own theme―The Landing, Marketplace, West Side, and Town Center—and all built around natural springs. Located within the sprawling Walt Disney World Resort, it’s the perfect place to pick up souvenirs, grab a snack, or catch a show.More

Icon Orlando 360

Icon Park is an entertainment complex located on one of Orlando's main drags—International Drive—commonly known as I-Drive. Opened in 2015, Icon Park (formerly known as I-Drive 360 and Icon Orlando 360 is home to a variety of restaurants, shops, and attractions—including an aquarium, Madame Tussauds, and a 400-foot-tall (122-meter observation wheel, appropriately named The Wheel—which is the centerpiece of the park.More

International Drive

Stretching for 17 miles (27 kilometers) between the Orlando Premium Outlets to Walt Disney World, Orlando’s International Drive (I-Drive for short) serves as the city’s tourist hub. Six of Orlando’s top theme parks—SeaWorld, Discovery Cove, Wet ’n’ Wild, Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, and Aquatica—are located along this stretch.More

Wild Florida Airboats and Gator Park

Step into the Florida Everglades at Wild Florida Airboats and Gator Park, located outside Orlando, where visitors can explore the Florida wilderness and its resident animals. Spend the day spotting alligators, white-tailed deer, sloths, and tropical birds and take an adventurous airboat ride at this popular family attraction.More

WonderWorks Orlando

Engage your mind and your imagination at WonderWorks Orlando. Located in an “upside-down” secret laboratory, WonderWorks is an indoor amusement park for the mind. With more than 100 interactive exhibits, a glow-in-the-dark ropes course, laser tag, a 4D motion ride, and more, it offers a fun and educational day for the whole family.More

Universal's Islands of Adventure

Universal’s Islands of Adventure™, set inside Universal Orlando Resort™, is slightly larger than the neighboring Universal Studios Florida™. The 120-acre (49-hectare) park is divided into several themed “islands”— Marvel Super Hero Island, Toon Lagoon, Jurassic Park, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter™, the Lost Continent, and Seuss Landing—where thrill rides stand front and center as heroes and monsters from the big screen come to life.More

Walt Disney World® Resort

Walt Disney World® Resort is the world’s largest theme park, featuring a total of four different parks to explore—Magic Kingdom® Park, EPCOT®, Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios®. Enjoyable for the whole family and guests of all ages, these four theme parks (plus two water parks and Disney Springs® a themed retail and entertainment center) provide an atmosphere of magic and adventure. Guests can expect to find unique attractions in each area of the resort, many of which are inspired by beloved Disney characters and films.More

Universal’s Volcano Bay

Universal’s Volcano Bay™ water park is a tropical-themed attraction located at Universal Orlando™. Attractions draw on South Pacific influences, and the centerpiece of the park is a towering 200-foot (61-meter) volcano called Krakatau™, which is the base for thrilling water slides. Other rides include an aqua coaster and a body plunge.More

Lake Eola Park

Boats glide alongside actual swans on Lake Eola, in Orlando’s Lake Eola Park. The site isn’t big by many standards, only a mile (1,609 meters around, but it packs a big punch as an oasis in the heart of bustling Orlando. Locals and visitors flock here—like the geese they feed out of hand—to take in the nature.More

Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Universal Orlando's Harry Potter attraction is spread across two parks at the resort: Diagon Alley on the Universal Studios Florida side and Hogsmeade at Universal's Islands of Adventure. The two are connected by Hogwarts Express train, and each features shops, dining, and attractions inspired by the young wizard.More

Trip ideas

Top activities in Orlando

One-Hour Airboat Tour

One-Hour Airboat Tour

Glow in the Dark Clear Kayak or Clear Paddleboard in Paradise
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2-Hour Glass Bottom Guided Kayak Eco Tour in Rainbow Springs (Small-Group)
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Manatee Discovery Kayak Tour for Small Groups near Orlando
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All about Orlando

When to visit

Autumn is ideal for a visit to Orlando, as slightly cooler temperatures make outdoor activities much more enjoyable. Events like Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios and Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party are worth braving the crowds. Spring is also a fine time to explore the city. Temperatures aren’t too high, and there are fewer crowds than during the summer. The Florida Film Festival in Maitland and the Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival offer weeks of entertainment throughout the city’s hip and creative neighborhoods.

Getting around

Downtown Orlando is compact, allowing you to walk from the Sunday farmers market at Lake Eola to an event at Amway Center within minutes. Lime bike rentals are available, and a free Lymmo bus has three routes around the city operating daily. The good news is that SunRail runs from DeBary to Kissimmee with one station downtown; the bad news is that schedules are limited, so rely on rideshares or private cars for exploring the wider area.

Traveler tips

East End Market in Audubon Park requires a visit—and an appetite. Though it may be a small collection of local food stalls, it offers a mighty mix of local grub like half-pound cookies at Gideon’s Bakehouse, white cold brews at Lineage Coffee, and amazing wings at Domu. If your tastebuds need more, you’re only a few steps away from craft beer at Redlight Redlight, decadent scoops at Kelly’s Homemade Ice Cream, and amazing sushi at Kadence.

Local Currency
US Dollar ($)
Time Zone
EST (UTC -5)
Country Code

A local’s pocket guide to Orlando

Jenny Crossling

Las Vegas-based Jenny has worked for Viator for over 20 years and she can no longer count the number of times she’s visited Orlando, a city that really has everything you could want in a destination.

The first thing you should do in Orlando is...

head to Disney Springs and take a cruise in a vintage amphicar. The shops are far more artisanal than you would expect and it’s a great place to pick up Disney treats and souvenirs.

A perfect Saturday in Orlando...

involves lunch in Winter Park, a quaint little town, followed by a kayak or paddleboard trip. Finally, get dinner at Cowfish at Universal CityWalk—I recommend the Parmesan Bacon Truffle Fries and Bacon Double Cheeseburgooshi.

One touristy thing that lives up to the hype is...

the theme parks, where adults get to be kids again. I love flying through the air on the Millennium Falcon and being immersed in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

To discover the "real" Orlando...

get outdoors. Head to one of the nearby natural springs or visit either Tampa and Clearwater Beach to the west and Cocoa Beach to the east.

For the best view of the city...

head to the Wheel at ICON Park on International Drive, a 400-foot tall wheel offering great views. Then, have dinner or a drink at the restaurants located nearby. I personally love the Tin Roof.

One thing people get wrong...

is thinking that Orlando is all theme parks. Orlando actually has major sports teams, shows, concerts, and festivals, as well as fantastic dining options and quite a few shopping outlets to get designer goods on the cheap.


People Also Ask

What is Orlando famous for?

Orlando is home to more than a dozen world-renowned amusement parks, including the Walt Disney World® Resort (the largest amusement park in the world) and Universal Studios. Orlando's shopping and dining scenes are also draws, as is its proximity to coastal destinations such as Cocoa Beach, Daytona Beach, and Cape Canaveral.

What is there to do at Orlando beyond theme parks?

There's more to Orlando than its blockbuster theme parks, from trips into nature (including kayak or airboat tours of local wetlands) to sports (like the Orlando Magic), shopping excursions, and eclectic food tours. It's also a convenient base for attractions including the Kennedy Space Center and Cocoa Beach.

What is the best month to go to Orlando?

April is a good month to visit Orlando if you want to avoid summer's high-season prices, crowds, and sweltering temperatures (not to mention the potential upheaval of hurricane season). Springtime temperatures typically don't exceed the 80s Fahrenheit, making beach trips, nature excursions, and theme park visits more pleasant.

What is the most visited place in Orlando?

Walt Disney World® Resort welcomes upwards of 50 million visitors per year, and is far and away Orlando's most-visited attraction (and one of the most popular tourist resorts in the country). It offers six amusement parks (including two water parks), dozens of hotels, shopping and entertainment options, and top-tier restaurants.

How can I spend 3 days in Orlando?

If you have just three days in Orlando, begin by exploring the parks and entertainment at the Walt Disney World® Resort. On day two, go to Universal Orlando to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. And on day three, head into nature: swim with manatees or go for a kayak excursion.

Is Orlando safe?

Yes, Orlando is generally a very safe and family-friendly city, and that's particularly true at tourist destinations like its many resorts and theme parks. Climate conditions often pose the biggest threat: Heat stroke can be a risk, and it's worth keeping an eye on the forecast during hurricane season (from June to November).

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