12 Things to Do in Orlando, Florida That Aren’t Disney World

Hulk Roller Coaster | © Aaron Hawkins / Flickr
Hulk Roller Coaster | © Aaron Hawkins / Flickr
Photo of Karina Castrillo
29 November 2017

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.”

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.

Universal’s Islands of Adventures, 6000 Universal Blvd, Orlando, FL, USA, +1 407 224 4233

Universal CityWalk

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

A #UniversalCityWalk sunset. (📸: @jsteffan_) #ReadyForUniversal

A post shared by Universal Orlando Resort (@universalorlando) on

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.

Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets | © Miosotis Jade / WikiCommons

The Chocolate Museum

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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+)

Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition, 7324 International Dr, Orlando, FL, USA, +1 407 248 1166


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

Spa at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes

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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.

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