Let us be honest, when we think of Orlando, we usually think of major attractions like Disney World Resorts and Universal Studios first. Fact is that in Orlando there are certainly a lot of other things to that you can do in the area besides the famous theme parks. Here is the list that you cannot skip when visiting Orlando.
1. The largest McDonalds in the World
No one really knows that the “World’s Largest Entertainment McDonald” is located in Orlando. It is conveniently located at 6875 Sand Lake Road (off of International Drive). Since I always HAVE to visit McDonalds when I travel, I had certainly had to make a stop here.
2. Refresh At Harry P. Leu Gardens
If you can spare some time, take a nice stroll at the Harry P. Leu Gardens which is located about 10 minutes away from downtown Orlando. Harry P. Leu Gardens is about a 35-40 minutes drive if you are staying near the Disney area. Definitely worth your time!
3. (Window) Shop away!
There are a lot of quality shopping areas in all of the Orlando areas. You could easily spend several hours at the Disney Springs. Or just wander around at the Universal City Walk. If you are looking to shop outside of the (busy) theme parks, there is always the famous Orlando International Premium Outlets (note: parking can be pretty impossible during the holidays).
4. Check out the Downtown of Orlando
You can visit downtown Orlando. Lake Eola Park is one of the hotspots of the area. The city offers really nice “Swan Paddle Boat” for rental on the lake. We did not get around to it, but it looked really relaxing.
We also stopped by a few more unkown places, but we did not go through the attraction. One of those was attractions was WonderWorks. We did not really plan to spend several hours here. Instead we visited the gift shop and then went to eat lunch.
Right next to WonderWorks building is the iFly Indoor Skydiving attraction. If you are the more adventurous type, you can show off your skydiving skills to the public in the glass enclosure facing the street. I can not really say that I see the appeal myself. It is one thing to climb the Sydney Harbor Bridge (which was actually fun), but skydiving just is not my cup of tea!
Right next to the iFly Indoor Skydiving attraction you will find the ICEBAR Orlando. I would go in for some quick finger food if this place was open during our visit.
We also stopped by the Chocolate Museum and Cafe, located at 11701 International Drive Suite 400. Even if you don’t end up going through the museum tour, you can buy chocolates and ice cream scoops from the cafe.
6. Dine at the local restaurants
The companies I just mentioned: WonderWorks, IceBar and the iFly Indoor Skydiving are located at Pointe Orlando, an area which is undergoing redevelopment. It is a good thing because I did not see a lot of foot traffic one might normally expect in the area.
We ended up for diner at this place called “The Pub“. The sign that triggered was obviously the “Best Fish and Chips in the US”. This since I had some good ‘fish and chips’ back in London and in Scotland before, I wanted to see how this one compared to that.
When someone thinks of Orlando, the famous theme parks are the first things that will come to mind. If you are looking for something quite different to do other than the parks, there are various good options. This small list should give you some good ideas!