When thinking of Orlando you probably end up thinking of Mickey Mouse and rollercoasters, as this city is home to some of the most famous theme parks in the world like Disney World and Universal Studios. And while all of these incredible parks are packed full of fun for the whole family, there are so many more things to do in Orlando for adults!
Orlando has been nicknamed “the City Beautiful” and it is not hard to figure out why. This thriving Florida city is one of the top vacation destinations in America with its prime location to beaches, swamps, shopping and city nightlife. Whether you are spending a few magical days at Walt Disney World (we love Disney too) or a week lounging on Florida beaches or exploring the beautiful scenery, take some time to read over this Orlando Travel Guide and fit these top things to do into your itinerary! You will not be disappointed!
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Table of Contents
- 1 Essential Orlando Travel Tips: What to Know Before you Go
- 2 15 BEST Things to do in Orlando for Adults
- 2.1 Walt Disney World
- 2.2 Universal Studios & Universals Islands of Adventure
- 2.3 Kennedy Space Center
- 2.4 Tibet-Butler Nature Preserve
- 2.5 Icon Orlando
- 2.6 Alligator Airboat Tour
- 2.7 Hit the Outlets
- 2.8 Get Cultured at one of Orlando’s many Museums
- 2.9 Lake Eola
- 2.10 Get High & Take to the Skies
- 2.11 Relax at a Resort Pool
- 2.12 Have a Gourmet Day (& Night!)
- 2.13 Universal City Walk
- 2.14 See a Show
- 3 Day Trips From Orlando
Essential Orlando Travel Tips: What to Know Before you Go
Getting Around Orlando
Orlando is a pretty large city. Many of the attractions are fairly spread out, making walking around to different destinations next to impossible. Public transportation is also either difficult to use or can be very expensive.
Because of this layout, the best recommendation is to invest in a rental car! They can be fairly reasonable and will give you the freedom and flexibility to explore Orlando on your own schedule. However, you will need to account for parking fees in many areas.
Another great option, though slightly more expensive depending on your itinerary, is to use taxis/rideshares to get around town. Some of the hotels near Disney will even have transportation to and from the major theme parks. Talk with your hotel to see if this can be arranged!
Where to Eat in Orlando
Orlando serves up mostly traditional American food, but with a Caribbean flair! While visiting, you will not want to miss out on the drool-worthy seafood dishes or the unique fusions that make this food scene so delectable! Here are some places to add to your Orlando food bucket list:
- The Big Easy (Winter Park) – New Orleans style Creole dishes
- Hash House A Go Go (International Drive) – Impossibly large servings of some of the best breakfast foods
- Celebration Town Tavern (Celebration) – Primarily seafood-based restaurant
- Kadence (Winter Park) – A petite sushi bar
- Dandelion Community Cafe (E Colonial Drive)- Vegetarian options served in a 1920s atmosphere
Where to Stay in Orlando
Choosing where to stay largely depends on what you are wanting to do while you are in Orlando. If venturing to the theme parks is your main goal, you will want to stay near Disney and Universal. If you are wanting to be close to the major attractions and nightlife, Downtown Orlando is the neighborhood for you. For those that are wanting something a bit calmer and farther from the action, check out the city of Winter Park just northeast of the city. Read our full guide to the best Florida neighborhoods for your vacation here.
We included a hotel recommendation for each of the major neighborhoods in and around Orlando here.
- Near Disney and Universal: Towne Place Suites Orlando at Flamingo Crossing
- Downtown Orlando: The Delaney Hotel
- Orlando Suburbs (Winter Park): The Alfond Inn
15 BEST Things to do in Orlando for Adults
Walt Disney World
Walt Disney World on Lake Buena Vista is hailed as being the “happiest place on Earth”. This is very obvious from the moment you step through the gates into the Magic Kingdom. Many people spend days, even weeks, exploring the 4 different parks that make up the entire theme park (Magic Kingdom, EPCOT Centre, Disneys Hollywood Studios & Disneys Animal Kingdom + 3 different water parks!) Whether you have a week or a day, Disney isn’t just for kids and adults can have just as much fun (if not more!) exploring the magic that awaits at Disney World!
If you are planning to spend more than a day here, Park Hopper tickets which allow multiple parks over multiple days offer the best value!
*Insider Tip for adult things to do in Orlando* One of the best bar crawls in the world just happens to be the world showcase in Disneys EPCOT. With 11 different pavilions representing different countries located on the 1.2 miles around the lake, it is the easiest place to ‘drink around the world’ – without having to leave the State!
Universal Studios & Universals Islands of Adventure
The other major theme park attraction in Orlando is Universal Studios Florida & Universals Islands of Adventure. Home to bright lights and action-packed movies, Universal Orlando will transport you into some of your favorite movies and shows. Shop at the stores, hop on a rollercoaster, explore the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (or Hogsemede over at sister park, Islands of Adventure) and eat some iconic foods at restaurants throughout the parks. Have your camera at the ready as there will be a picture-perfect moment around every corner! Pre-book your tickets and skip the queue to get in!
Kennedy Space Center
Calling all space lovers! A visit to Kennedy Space Center will introduce you to the wonders of space and NASA. This large complex in Central Florida is an immersive and interactive experience that will give you hands-on experience with rockets, astronauts, and artifacts from the moon and space. A trip to the Kennedy Space Center will not only be fun, but also educational – and this Kennedy Space Centre tour comes with round trip transportation so you can leave the car at home!
Tibet-Butler Nature Preserve
Escape the craziness that comes with Disney World and enjoy some great hiking trails located a hop, skip, and a jump from downtown Orlando. The Tiber-Butler Nature Preserve offers over 3.5 miles of walking trails through dense forest and swamp landscapes. Spy some wildlife before checking out the nature center as well.
Towering 400 feet above Orlando, the Icon Orlando is one of the world’s largest Ferris Wheels that offers stunning views of the Orlando skyline from the top. On top of that, each evening the wheel is illuminated with a beautiful synchronized light show. Icon Park is the centerpiece of the Orlando 360 shopping and entertainment center, which is a great place to grab a bite to eat and snag a drink before or after your ride!
Alligator Airboat Tour
One of the more unique experiences that is available in Orlando is to hop aboard an airboat and go ‘gator spotting as you tour the swampland! Glide through gator territory as you explore the Florida Everglades with an educated guide. Keep your hands inside the vehicle and your eyes peeled for predators as you zip through the swamps on an exhilarating everglades airboat ride before heading back to enjoy some refreshments.
Hit the Outlets
With shopping centers and premium outlets galore, you’ll be in retail heaven on your trip to Orlando. Be sure to visit the Mall at Millenia for upscale brands, the International Premium Outlet for fashion-forward bargains galore and you can’t miss the Florida Mall for the largest Mall in the state housing over 250 stores and serving over 20 million visitors per year!
Get Cultured at one of Orlando’s many Museums
Museums may not be the first thing on your mind when planning a trip to the Sunshine State, but you may be surprised at all the incredible museums in Orlando. There’s the Titanic the Artifact Exhibition, The Orlando Museum of Art, The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art, Orlando Science Center and the arts centers at the Dr. Phillips Center.
Lake Eola provides a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of Orlando. Situated right in the heart of the city, this beautiful lake is outlined by a 1-mile walking trail that will take you near live swans, a musical amphitheater, and even next to some outstanding restaurants. If you’re feeling up to it, you can also rent a swan-shaped paddleboat and enjoy the view of Lake Eola Park from the water!
Get High & Take to the Skies
If you are ready to hit some new high notes (that don’t involve screaming your lungs out on a rollercoaster!) Orlando has plenty of aerial activities for discerning visitors. Hop in a hot air balloon to soar across Disney on one of their magical balloon rides, join one of the helicopter tours and see the city from above or try indoor skydiving to get that floating through the air thrill – without having to jump out of a plane!
Relax at a Resort Pool
Even if you’ve never associated Disney with luxury adults-only attractions – you’ve yet to discover the Four Seasons Resort Orlando. As a Disney property, they still welcome families, but with a luxury spa, adults only pools called the Oasis, steakhouse and golf course on site it’s a haven for adults. If you want complete adults only, Disney also have the relatively new B Resort and Spa; and if it’s just a beautiful resort you’re after you can’t go wrong with The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Omni Orlando Resort or Gaylord Palms Resort and Convention Center.
Have a Gourmet Day (& Night!)
If you’re planning a date day or date night whilst you are in Orlando, you’ll be spoilt for choice with wineries, craft breweries, and top-class restaurants to sink your teeth into.
Head to the Orlando Brewing Company to discover 30 fresh brews on tap, free tours and live music; or take a stroll down Barley Row to go behind the scenes and taste beers from around the state. If you are more of wine lover, head to Lakeridge Winery where they offer free tours and tastings daily.
If you prefer to be a bit more hands on, consider taking a cooking class followed by a downtown cocktail tour where your guide will help you sample the cities nightlife in the best cocktail and wine bars in Orlando where you’ll be presented with tasty drinks made with fresh local ingredients.
And if you want to go all out on one of your date nights, head to one of the cities top fine dining restaurants – several of which are located inside Walt Disney World including Victoria & Albert, Bull & Bear Steakhouse and Capa – and each offers some of the most amazing dining experiences in the country!
Universal City Walk
Even though the theme parks may close down each evening, the party continues at the Universal City Walk. Part of the Universal Orlando Resort, crowds flock to this area to experience the nightlife, restaurants, and shows that happen here late into the evening. This is a great place to eat and entertain yourselves after a long day at the theme parks!
See a Show
Orlando is known for being one of the top vacation spots in the United States, and as we’ve shown, it doesn’t stop at Disney. Many major show productions such as the Blue Man Group and Cirque du Soleil perform throughout the year at various locations across the city. These groups do not typically tour, so a trip to Orlando is a great time to catch one of their shows.
And for touring theater, be sure to check out what is showing at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.
Day Trips From Orlando
Located about an hour away from Orlando by car lies the perfect beach getaway! Cocoa Beach is one of the most popular beach destinations in all of Florida with beautiful beaches, delicious restaurants, and a very family-friendly atmosphere. You will have plenty to do on a day trip here!
While many tourists to Florida flock to the major cities, many charming cities are skipped right over such as St. Augustine. Voted Florida’s “most walkable city”, spending a day here will introduce you to the pirate culture as you visit the Pirate Museum, wander through the cobblestone streets of the Colonial Quarter, and tour the famous Castillo de San Marcos Fort for a Pirate Battle reenactment! Book your hop-on hop-off tour here.
The Sunshine States shows off its best with everything Orlando has to offer. From the magic of Disney World to the swamp landscapes of the Everglades, visiting Orlando will surely be a trip to remember!
We hope this guide to 15 Best Things to do in Orlando for Adults had been a huge help planning your trip, and has shown you there is so much more to Orlando besides theme parks!
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