I am a proud Florida native through and through.
I was born and raised in Longwood, which is just about thirty minutes from Downtown Orlando. The popular theme parks are located about twenty or so minutes south of that, which is actually closer to Kissimmee and Celebration. After Scott and I got married, we lived in a condo in MetroWest only five minutes down the street from Universal Studios! We loved it there.
A lot of people only associate touristy things to do with Orlando, but there really is so much more to see!
Since I wasn’t blogging too long before we moved, I missed capturing a lot of our whereabouts. Below you will find a mixture of highlights and suggestions of things do to if you happen to be in our home city of O-town!
Random Things You Should Do
• Get a Publix sub. Yes from the deli section of the grocery store. If you’ve never had one before, just do it and thank me later!
• Enzian Theater: sit-down dinner and a movie at one unique venue
• Discovery Cove: pricey, but so worth the experience
• Howl at the Moon (International Drive): A Dueling Piano Bar
• Taverna Opa (Point Orlando): Greek Cuisine where you are encouraged to dance on the tables and throw napkins in the air (so fun!)
• Ride the Sling Shot at Magical Midway (scary, but awesome)
• ICEBAR Orlando: If you are looking for a cool (literally) spot for nightlife, this bar is actually made out of ice!
• The Imperial Wine Bar & Beer Garden: furniture shop that turns into a beer and wine bar at night, often with food trucks
• Check out the Parks I listed below (under Areas To Visit, not Theme Parks)
Theme Parks (in my favorite order)
• Universal Studios: City Walk and the Theme Park
• Disney World Parks (our favorites are Animal Kingdom and Epcot for the Food & Wine Festival in the fall!)
Nearby Beaches (all about an hour or less driving time)
• Orlando Magic (my first NBA dance team!)
Oralndo Areas To Visit
To anyone who asks me what to check out in Orlando, I always suggest going to walk, shop, and eat at the districts with Park in the title. They are all so beautiful and welcoming!
• Winter Park: Park Avenue & Winter Park Farmer’s Market
• Lake Eola Park (I used to love doing training runs here!)
• Uptown Altamonte & Cranes Roost Park
Things To Do (in the actual “city” of Orlando)
• Downtown Orlando, Church Street & events at the Amway Center
• The Mall at Millenia and shops/restaurants on Millenia Blvd: Burger 21, KeKe’s Breakfast Café
• Dr. Phillips Community Park (and dog park!)
• Restaurant Row – Dr. Phillips
• Orlando International Premium Outlets
• International Drive (tourist hot spot, but has some great restaurants too!)
• Eat at Emeril’s at Universal City Walk (so fun!)
Our Favorite Restaurants
• Cafe Tu Tu Tangos (tapas): live entertainment and the location of our first date!
• Sleuth’s Mystery Dinner Show (also could be filed under Things To Do!)
• Yellow Dog Eats (very much worth the drive)
• Civiche (tapas)
• Dandelion Communitea Café (vegan)
• Infusion Tea (vegan)
• Eola Wine Company (wine bar & appetizers)
• Agave Azul (closer to the parks, but amazing Mexican cuisine!)
Winter Park (& Park Avenue):
• 4 Rivers Smokehouse BBQ (you have to try it at least once!!)
• The Wine Room (wine bar & appetizers)
• Powerhouse Café (very casual, but very yummy smoothie & lunch spot)
• First Watch Café (I waitressed here for 3 years and still love it)
Other cities we frequent in Florida…
Clearwater is the prettiest beach I have seen in Florida!
I have only driven down a couple of times, and the longest Scott and I have stayed is a weekend for a friend’s wedding. We stayed at the Sand Pearl Resort and it was gorgeous!
Places To Eat:
I went on a trip with a group of girlfriends to celebrate my friend’s bachelorette party in Ft. Lauderdale. It’s a great city!
We stayed at the beautiful The Atlantic Hotel & Spa, and unfortunately this is one of the only photos I have of our time outside! (My camera was stolen.) Eh, what’cha gonna do. It was an amazing time, nonetheless.
Places To Eat:
• Mai-Kai: Hawaiian/Polynesian restaurant with live entertainment
I absolutely love Tampa. It reminds me of a city like Orlando, only on the water. Tampa Bay is so beautiful!
I attended the University of South Florida and thoroughly enjoyed living in the city for four years! There’s so much to do. I really wish that I blogged back then to be able to share more of my experiences.
Things To Do:
• South Tampa/Hyde Park: restaurants, pubs, and places to see on the Bay
• Channelside Bay Plaza: strip of restaurants & nightlife (Splitsville is the best!)
• New Tampa: my old stomping grounds!
• Busch Gardens Theme Park: one of my very favorites!
• Adventure Island: a great water park, fun for the whole family
• International Plaza & Bay Street: a great strip of restaurants and huge shopping mall
Like sports? You can always go see the home teams:
Places To Eat:
• Jackson’s Bistro (on the water)
I have been to St. Augustine a handful of times, and became quickly reminded of how cool and unique the city is on my last trip. The downtown area is full of history, bed and breakfasts, and unique restaurants.
For my 25th birthday, Scott took me up for the weekend (it is about two hours north of Orlando), and we had the best time. We stayed at the Augustin Inn in the Historic District and loved the experience of staying in a family run B&B.
With plenty to do within walking distance, we kept busy visiting the fort, the beach, the famous Fountain of Youth, and even took a nighttime walking ghost tour.
Things To Do:
Places To Eat:
St. Petersburg & St. Pete Beach
For my bachelorette party, my bridesmaids surprised me with a weekend getaway to St. Pete Beach! It was so fun.
We stayed at the beautiful and luxurious Don Cesar Resort, or what a lot of people like to call the Pink Castle. It was absolutely stunning!
Things to Do:
Placed to Eat: