It’s funny how Orlando’s biggest industry is also the bane of every resident’s existence. For many, International Drive is strictly a workplace – and there’s little room to hang out among the millions of tourists who clog the tourism district every year. If our annual visitors don’t discourage you from dropping by one of I-Drive’s theme parks or kitschy attractions, the inhumane gridlock called Interstate 4 will do the trick. But avoiding this area of Orlando means missing out on a whole lot of gems, even if they are stuck between two different dinner theaters. Be a tourist in your town without ever having to pick up a passport.
Nile Ethiopian Restaurant
7048 International Drive, 407-354-0026, nile07.com
Finally, a place both vegetarians and carnivores can agree is delicious. This cozy Ethiopian eatery serves a savory array of meat and vegetable platters on top of spongy injera bread (no spoons needed).
Café Tu Tu Tango
8625 International Drive, 407-248-2222; cafetututango.com
The tradition of Spanish tapas collides with the celebration of art to bring you Café Tu Tu Tango. Mouthwatering small plates of food go hand-in-hand with local artists and performers. Always remember to tip the fortune teller.
Fogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse
8282 International Drive, 407-370-0711, fogodechao.com
If I-Drive is the land of Brazilian steakhouses, then Fogo de Chão is its king. Known for its wonderful service, this churrascaria serves decadent cuts of meat in so many varieties you'll have to come twice.
8481 International Drive, 407-226-2929, tapatoro.restaurant
Chef Wendy Lopez and her team treat customers right with Spanish specialties like jamon Iberico, authentic paella and all the sangria you can slug.
5472 International Drive, 407-447-8946, gostosobakery.us
From pão de queijo (cheese bread) to delicacies like brigadeiro (a type of chocolate bonbon), you can find all the yummy Brazilian pastries you'd ever want at Gostoso Bakery.
Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar
9101 International Drive, 407-226-1600, cubalibrerestaurant.com
Party people love Cuba Libre not only for its variety of handcrafted mojitos, but also for its commitment to playing the best in bachata, merengue and salsa every weekend.
8967 International Drive, 407-351-0361, icebarorlando.com
Claiming to be the "largest permanent ice bar in the world," this frozen watering hole features 70 tons of hand-carved ice sculptures kept intact by keeping the temperature at 22 degrees. Party in free thermal parkas and gloves you'll get from the bar's "Ice Princesses."
Gods & Monsters
5421 International Drive, 407-270-6273, godmonsters.com
Gods & Monsters is one of the last surviving remnants of Artegon Marketplace, and thank the stars for it. Meet all your fantastical needs in this enormous comics and collectibles shop, with an added gaming bar.
8445 International Drive, 407-601-7907, i-drive360.com
Mammoth entertainment complex that features the Orlando Aquarium, the breathtaking 400-foot-high views from the Orlando Eye and Madame Tussauds wax museum (where you can use a selfie stick without judgment).
Kings Dining & Entertainment
8255 International Drive, 407-363-0200, kings-de.com/Orlando
Not your grandma's bowling alley. Kings Dining & Entertainment features 22 lanes, billiards tables, a bocce court, ping-pong, shuffleboard and tasty appetizers.
Skeletons: Museum of Osteology
8441 International Drive, 407-203-6999, skeletonmuseum.com
Celebrate vertebrate life in this family-owned museum that features the skeletons of hundreds of animals from all over the world.
Ripley's Believe It or Not!
8201 International Drive, 407-345-0501, ripleys.com/orlando
Where else in Orlando can you find decorated Tibetan skulls, a real vampire-killing kit and a spinning vortex tunnel?