Disney World may have made Orlando a top tourist destination, but the city is brimming with a kaleidoscope of entertainment options besides Mickey Mouse. Here’s our roundup of 12 things to do while in “The City Beautiful.”
Madame Tussauds Orlando
Rub elbows with Taylor Swift and Albert Einstein at the Madame Tussauds Orlando house of wax. The chain museum is famous for its replicas of iconic celebrities and historical figures since it first opened its doors in England over 200 years ago.
Admission: $25 for adults (13+ years)
Madame Tussauds Orlando, 8387 International Dr, Orlando, FL, USA, +1 866 630 8315
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ at Universal Studios
If flying broomsticks and mail owls are your types of things, then pay a visit to Universal’s Islands of Adventure™ theme park where you can visit a replica of Harry Potter’s magical world. Walk through the halls of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, drink butterbeer at Diagon Alley, buy a Gryffindor scarf, and best of all—get a magic wand at Ollivanders.
The equivalent of Downtown Disney, Universal’s CityWalk is an open-air complex with dining options, plenty of shopping, and nightlife entertainment. Access is free, and it sits just before the entrance of any of the Universal Studios theme parks. Grab lunch at the Hard Rock Café or karaoke with friends at CityWalk’s Rising Star. For adult entertainment, finish the evening at the Red Coconut Club.
Universal CityWalk, 6000 Universal Blvd, Orlando, FL, USA, +1 407 224 4233
Shopping at outlets
Shop major brands at cut-rate prices with a pit stop at either of Orlando’s outlets: Orlando International Premium Outlets or Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets. Brands include Armani, Ann Taylor, Guess, Calvin Klein, and Carolina Herrera, among other high-end stores.
The Chocolate Museum
Give in to your sweet cravings with a visit to The Chocolate Museum, which boasts 25 sculptures made of out of solid chocolate and a tasting room where you can sample some of the finest chocolates in the world. The guided tour takes about 45 minutes and explains the origins of chocolate as well as a look into the machinery used to make it. Those on their honeymoon can also book a sweet date for a wine and chocolate pairing.
Wine and Chocolate Pairing $24.90
Museum Admission: $14 per person
Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition
An interactive recreation of the famous ship, this museum allows visitors to get on board the Titanic and stroll through its Promenade Deck as well as its rooms. Actors dressed in the fashion of the period guide the tours, while an extensive Underwater Room displays over 400 artifacts recovered from the wreckage.
Admission: $21.95 for adults, $15.75 for children (5–11), $19.75 for seniors (65+)
SeaWorld’s sprawling theme park offers visitors a close-up look at some of the ocean’s most magnificent creatures. The park boasts a manta ray aquarium, five species of penguins in their frosty habitat of Antarctica, a chance to see orcas through a special underwater viewing window, and bottlenose dolphin performances at the Dolphin Day Show, among other spectacles.
Admission: $79.99 for adults (ages 3+)
SeaWorld, 7007 Sea World Dr, Orlando, FL, USA, +1 407 545 5550
Sleuths Mystery Dinner Show
Sleuths Mystery Dinner Show offers guests a chance to participate in a mystery crime investigation. The 2.5-hour show includes a funny 45-minute comedy skit where guests will be presented with clues and can participate in the interrogation process all while nibbling on a fancy feast. Winners receive fun prizes at the end of the show. (Plus, prices include unlimited beer and wine!)
Admission: $63.95 + tax for adults, $28.95 + tax for children 3–11
Sleuths Mystery Dinner Show, 8267 International Dr, Orlando, FL, USA, +1 407 363 1985
Orlando Museum of Art
Founded in 1924 by a group of art enthusiasts, the Orlando Museum of Art preserves notable works of modern art by local and international artists.
Admission: $15 for adults, $5 for children (4–17), $8 for seniors (65+), $5 for students with valid ID
Orlando Museum of Art, 2416 N Mills Ave, Orlando, FL, USA, +1 407 896 4231
Join us for a studio program designed specifically for students ages 9-13! Looking at works by artists like Will Cotton (works pictured), students have a chance to play with their food to create two and three dimensional works of art. Register for this December 1st workshop (Art in the Afternoon) before it sells out. Sign up at omart.org
Golf at Hawk’s Landing Golf Club
Located at the Orlando World Center Marriott Resort, this golf club boasts over 220 acres of green for golfers to play. The course has nine ponds that come into play on 16 holes, and there’s a putting green for golfers to use.
Admission: Price varies from $45–135
Hawk’s Landing Golf Club, 8701 World Center Dr, Orlando, FL, USA, +1 407 239 4200
Spa at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes
Treat yourself to a “zero gravity” massage as you sway in a rocking hammock that transports you to total serenity. The spa at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes offers unique services such as a therapeutic hot stone massage to an exfoliation massage with herbs from the resort’s organic garden. The spa also offers facials, manicures, as well as access to the glorious spa pool.
Bill Frederick Park
Nature lovers can spend the day at the Bill Frederick Park, which lies alongside Turkey Lake—one of the top lakes for fishing in Florida. Visitors can go fishing, kayaking and even camp on-site or rent a cabin to spend the night—a great alternative to hotel lodging.
Bill Frederick Park, 3401 S Hiawassee Rd, Orlando, FL, USA, +1 407 246 4486