It’s hard to blame someone for not thinking of entertainment options in Orlando beyond the obvious: Disney World, Universal Studios and SeaWorld. Those are, after all, attractions that draw visitors from around the world.
But Orlando has grown into a major cultural center over the years. While others were riding Space Mountain, the city started doing what all smart cities do: offer diverse cultural options and revitalize areas near the city center.
The result is an interesting list of places and things to do in Orlando that have nothing to do with theme parks.
Things to Do in Orlando That Doesn’t Include Theme Parks
Here are a few of out top choices of fun in Orlando that doesn’t include dealing with the theme parks.
Orlando Museum of Art
Located in the North Orange District of the city north of downtown, the Orlando Museum of Art has a well-deserved reputation for hosting a wide array of quality exhibits. They also have a permanent collection that focuses on Art of the Ancient Americas, African Art and American Art. However, the real gem is the largest part of the collection, a Contemporary Art collection that includes works from artists such as Jennifer Bartlett, Nick Cave and John Chamberlain.
The Orlando Eye
A giant Ferris Wheel on International Drive that shares a naming convention with The London Eye in England. This 400-foot tall “observation wheel” gives riders a view of downtown Orlando, lakes, theme parks and – when the air is clear – even Cape Canaveral on the Atlantic Ocean coast. Unlike the Ferris Wheels of old, riders are inside a fully enclosed, air-conditioned capsule.
Mad Cow Theater
Orlando’s largest professional theater group, Mad Cow Theater is located on Church Street in downtown. The theater produces both contemporary and classic shows – productions since the theater began in 1997 range from works by Chekhov and Tennessee Williams to David Mamet.
Orange County Regional History Center
Most people probably don’t associate Orlando with history – everything seems so new – but that is far from the truth. At this center in downtown Orlando, there are four floors of exhibits on the rich history in the area, dating back over the last 12,000 years. The museum is also an affiliate with the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, and therefore gets visiting exhibits from there.
There are several companies that offer airboat rides through marshland and areas where alligators live – not something even Floridians get to see every day! There are also a host of other outdoor activities, including parks to walk and jog, hot air balloon rides and paddleboats in many of the area’s numerous lakes,
And for those who love golf, the area has many courses – and of course plenty of mini-golf courses, too!
It’s easy to see that a trip to Orlando does not have mean only a trip to the amusement parks. As fun as they can be, it’s nice to have other things to do in Orlando.