What to do and see in Orlando, United States: The Best Places and Tips

November 26, 2017 Chanda Heide

From the Magic Kingdom to magical spa treatments, Orlando sparkles with the promise of adventure. Spend a day exploring the world-famous Disney theme parks, giggling with the dolphins at SeaWorld, or screaming your head off on a Universal Studios roller coaster. For a less adrenaline-pumping afternoon, enjoy the quiet natural beauty of the Harry P. Leu Gardens, or enjoy a seaweed scrub at a luxury day spa. Savor fresh and local ingredients at one of Orlando’s James Beard-nominated restaurants.
Restaurants in Orlando

1. Audubon Center for Birds of Prey

1101 Audubon Way, Maitland, FL 32751-5451 +1 407-644-0190
Excellent
76%
Good
22%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 137 reviews

Audubon Center for Birds of Prey

Reviewed By Anne M - West Simsbury, Ct

We had a family outing and loved the raptor center. Lots to see , demonstrations, up close viewing of birds by handlers. Good for kids and for all walking abilities. The people working at the center are knowledgeable and friendly. Great morning adventure, easy access, easy parking and family friendly prices. Bathrooms too.

2. Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art

445 N Park Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789-3212 +1 407-645-5311
Excellent
86%
Good
11%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 1 reviews

Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art

The Morse Museum is home to the world's most comprehensive collection of works by American artist and designer Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848–1933). Galleries feature works such as jewelry, pottery, paintings, art glass, leaded-glass lamps and windows; his chapel interior from the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago; and art and architectural objects from his Long Island country estate, Laurelton Hall. Exhibitions also include American art pottery, late 19th- and early 20th-century American painting, graphics, decorative art.

Reviewed By kdmia - Miami, Florida

This museum was an unexpected gem! We traveled to Winter Park to see something at Rollins and then had time and looked into this museum. It is a museum of American decorative arts and so there is pottery and other paintings as well (a Singer Sargent, for example) But it is most impressive for its Tiffany collection! From the World’s Fair CHAPEL INTERIOR to the many items, including porticos and jewelry and drawings.
If you have a moment, watch the short video, at the entrance, about the Morses and how this museum came to be. It’s very informative and it makes you appreciate the museum, and its importance, even more.
Free parking and a very reasonable entry price.

3. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

6000 Universal Boulevard, Orlando, FL 32819-7640 +1 407-363-8000
Excellent
83%
Good
12%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 35 reviews

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

There are many ways to enjoy your Orlando vacation, but there is only one place where vacation becomes adventure: Universal Orlando Resort. It is a unique destination featuring two theme parks, Universal Studios Florida and Universal's Islands of Adventure, three magnificently themed on-site hotels and a nighttime entertainment complex. It's the only Orlando destination where you are not just entertained - you become part of the most exhilarating entertainment ever created. You can soar above Hogwarts with Harry Potter, swing above the streets with Spider-Man, battle aliens alongside Agent J, and help Shrek save Princess Fiona in Shrek 4-D. Now open: the new, heart-warming and hilarious Despicable Me Minion Mayhem ride. And coming soon: Transformers The Ride-3D. Universal Orlando Resort is part of NBCUniversal, a Comcast company.

Reviewed By Foody4Ldn - London, United Kingdom

This is an excellent addition to universal since we last visited. The kids loved it! Rides are fabulous!!

4. Boca Grande Beach

Main Street, Boca Grande, FL
Excellent
74%
Good
22%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 401 reviews

Boca Grande Beach

Reviewed By brief47606 - Englewood, Florida

Simply the best. This beach never disappoints us. We usually bring a picnic lunch and our bikes, and spend the day. It is always a peaceful time because there are so many access points to the beach, that overcrowding does not occur.

5. Discovery Cove

6000 Discovery Cove Way, Orlando, FL 32821-6000 +1 407-513-4600
Excellent
86%
Good
10%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 15 reviews

Discovery Cove

Discovery Cove is a one-of-a kind experience where you can interact with bottlenose dolphins, feed tropical birds, play inches from a family of otters and even walk on the Grand Reef floor-all in one day. Between adventures, recharge with unlimited island fare and refreshments. With this all-inclusive experience your family can unwind, explore, learn, and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Reviewed By Kevin A - Rockland, Massachusetts

Swim with the Dolphins, enjoy the facilities, and eat well. What more could you ask. You also will receive a 7 day pass to Sea World and the water park Aquatic. (Must be used within 7 days of your stay at Discovery Cove)

6. Rollins College

1000 Holt Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789-4409 +1 407-646-2000
Excellent
67%
Good
29%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 184 reviews

Rollins College

Liberal arts college.

Reviewed By PHE22 - London, United Kingdom

Only saw it by lake however marvellous buildings and grounds as well as it's own boat house for water sports.

7. Universal's Islands of Adventure

6000 Universal Blvd, Universal Orlando, Orlando, FL 32819-7640 407-363-8000
Excellent
75%
Good
18%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 45 reviews

Universal's Islands of Adventure

Universal's Islands of Adventure features some of the most innovative rides and attractions ever made on seven spectacularly themed islands: The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Marvel Super Hero Island, Toon Lagoon, Jurassic Park, The Lost Continent, Seuss Landing and Port of Entry.

Reviewed By Christa S - Orlando, Florida

I’ve been to Universal Studios years ago when it first opened while attending college at UCF. I have seen the ads and billboards for Islands of Adventure but never went until now. What an incredible park! It had so many lands and themed rides. It was fantastic! My kids are huge Harry Potter fans so Diagon Alley was a must. My kids rode the Flight of the Hippogriff. My teen daughter rode the Harry Potter and Forbidden City ride. She said it was awesome but my son was too short to ride. They both rode the Hogwarts Express train by having a park hopper pass so that was cool. Everything is so realistic and makes the movie come alive. We ate lunch at Three Broomsticks. We had Fish & Chips (ok but not great), Shepherd’s Pie (definitely not great either despite the hype) and a chicken salad. The butter beer was awesome - frozen! We waited for about 45 minutes but the line was pretty quick. It was nice to get in the air conditioning.
My son rode a lot of rides - Spider-Man, Jurassic Park River Adventure, Storm Force Acceleration, One-Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, Popeye & Bluto’s Bilge-Rat Barges’, and the Pteranodon Flyers. He was too short for the rip roaring falls. It’s better to do the water rides - when you get really wet- earlier in the day when the sun can dry your clothes. Waiting until the end of the day when the park closes doesn’t dry the clothes and despite the family dryers you’re still wet and cold. Older kids might tolerate it but younger ones get chilly or need a change of clothes and shoes!
Access is good. I rented an electric scooter to get around. They sell out so book in advance! I never could walk the entire park. My joints can’t handle it.
All in all the park is exciting, fun and clean. The staff are pretty nice - they helped us get on rides with my son as he has limited mobility. People have abused assistance in the past so when people really need help they lose out. At least they are compassionate and can understand when someone really needs help. It made our time so much fun. Going to a park through the perspective of someone with limited mobility changes everything. The staff were great and did just enough to make it enjoyable and not make my son get embarrassed to get assistance. Great training! This is a wonderful place! It’s great for kids in the 8-15 year-old range!

8. Central Park

251 S Park Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789 +1 407-599-3399
Excellent
66%
Good
30%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 267 reviews

Central Park

Reviewed By mdiv2001 - Orlando, Florida

The park itself is an excellent public space, easily accessed by Sun Rail, bordered by Park Avenue with its shops and restaurants, near the Morse Museum and Rollins College. It is a great setting for festivals and events.

In particular, I can't commend Christmas in the Park highly enough. This event takes place every year on the first Thursday in December. The Bach Festival Choir performs, and the Morse Museum displays several Tiffany stained glass windows that are not viewable by the public the rest of the year. Bring food, drink, and chairs, and come early to get a spot to sit. We plan to make this a new tradition for our family.

9. Magic Kingdom Park

3111 World Drive, Walt Disney World, Orlando, FL 32830 +1 407-939-5277
Excellent
73%
Good
16%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
2%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 58 reviews

Magic Kingdom Park

The first of the 4 theme parks to open at Walt Disney World Resort, Magic Kingdom park captures the enchantment of fairy tales with exciting entertainment, classic attractions, beloved Disney Characters and so much more.

Reviewed By Whitney G - Moore, Oklahoma

There is nothing in the world that can make me feel more like a kid again than being in Disney. Magic Kingdom is a wonderful park. For something of it's size, Magic Kingdom runs even more efficiently than you could ever imagine. You will need to mentally prepare for the lines of course. The park is kept superbly clean. We never met a park employee not willing to help. They were all so kind. If you are celebrating something, get a pin. People will wish you happy birthday, anniversary, what ever it is all day through out the park. Disney does great at still making you feel important even in a large group of people. The magic bands make everything convenient and to where you don't have to carry as much around with you. The Fast Passes are also great. I do recommend booking your fast passes as soon as you can, and early. As soon as you use your 3 fast passes you can get another so book them early and use your extras later in the day.

10. Walt Disney World Resort

World Drive, Orlando, FL 32830 (407) 939-5277
Excellent
75%
Good
13%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
3%
Terrible
3%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 31 reviews

Walt Disney World Resort

This world-famous resort consists of four theme parks (Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, MGM Studios, Animal Kingdom), three water parks, more than 20 hotels, eight golf courses and a myriad of attractions.

Reviewed By pmbob11 - Venice, Florida

Just returned from Disney World and it was a huge disappointment! There were far too many people to appreciate the “magic”. We were only able to get FastPass for the not so popular rides. Without the pass, 1-2 hr wait. And for this we paid over $500 a day for our 5 person three day passes. It was so awful, that we forfeited our last days tickets and just enjoyed the resort hotel. We had to tell my granddaughter over and over, “ we can’t go on that because the line is too long”. Will never return. Disney has a huge problem. I wanted to record all the crying children and stressed out parents.

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