Orlando is Florida’s largest city, and is synonymous with huge tourist developments like the Walt Disney World Resort. Historically the town is relatively young, and is popularly believed to be named after the grave of soldier, Orlando Reeves, who died during the 1830s. The town remained very small until the late 19th Century when the booming citrus industry established its home base there. Orlando experienced rapid growth in the 1960s due to the establishment of Disney World, and a subsequent ascendancy as a major tourist destination.


The majority of people come to Orlando to visit the massive Walt Disney World, which in itself comprises four vast theme parks and many other attractions, or the Orlando Universal Centre, another self contained resort featuring multiple theme parks and hotels.

The Kennedy Space Centre is a functioning NASA launch site that also features a visitor centre offering the chance to observe an actual launch, and other opportunities including an IMAX Theatre and a space simulator.

SeaWorld is a hybrid zoo and theme park. Here you can get up close to dolphins, whales and many other aquatic creatures, as well as have fun on some big rides. One slide even takes you underwater in the dolphin enclosure in a clear tube.

Apart from the big attractions, there are a huge number of places to recommend in Orlando. If you’re looking for a break from the theme parks or the bustling city, there are several green spaces that are worth a visit. The Harry P. Leu Gardens offer a great escape, and are full of unusual cultivated gardens, such as the Tropical Steam Garden, or the Arid Garden, which feature a number of desert plants.

Weikwa Springs State Park, just north of the city is also a great getaway and gives you the chance to swim in its natural spring water. You can also take part in any number of outdoor activities like hiking, cycling, and camping. Watch out for the alligators in the nearby river!

The city also sports several museums and science centres, including the interactive Orlando Science Centre, and the Orlando Museum of Art. Literature lovers might enjoy a visit to The Kerouac House, where the eponymous author wrote several of his cult books, and is now something of a mecca for new writers, who even have the chance to live there for a while, and soak up the literary atmosphere.


Orlando’s official tourist website boasts that the city features 52 million square feet of retail opportunity, so you’re bound to find something! There are many major department stores in the centre, including branches of Bloomingdales and Macy’s. There are also a few big outlet centres if you’re looking for a bargain.

Nightlife and Eating Out

Central Orlando features a very wide range of bars, clubs and restaurants. As well as (or despite) its internationally recognized commercial image, and being the spawning ground to pop acts like Britney Spears and the Backstreet Boys, Orlando has a thriving local music scene. Head to The Social, or The Back Booth, to checkout some new acts. There are also a few large locations that have centralised entertainment options. Wall Street Plaza features a number of clubs and restaurants, and has the added bonus of being outside and offering a cooling night breeze.

Orlando has no shortage of restaurants either, and you will find cuisine from all over the world. The Hard Rock Café is an ever popular destination, and is perfect for all the family.

Tourist Information

Official Visitor Center8723 International Drive, Suite 101Orlando, FL 32819+1 4073 635 872 info@orlandocvb.com


Orlando International Airport serves the city. Buses, taxis and hire cars run to and from the city centre. Some hotels offer free transportation to the airport.

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