A quick trip around the main strip of what is known as Mills 50 (coined from its ground zero at the intersection of Mills and Colonial) will show ample evidence of a neighborhood in the midst of some major change. Buildings and rents are going up, and every night more and more people come to check out the bustling nightlife. Even from last year, the neighborhood has changed quite a bit. And yet, any neighborhood where Uncle Lou’s, Dong-A Supermarket, the Guesthouse and the Lamp & Shade Fair can exist side by side is gonna make it through it all just fine. There’s plenty to do both day and night (especially if you like to eat), and it’s easily traversed by foot.
1011 E. Colonial Drive, 407-412-6222, lazymoonpizza.com
Mills 50 outpost of this popular UCF-area staple offers unfeasibly large slices of pizza perfect for the carnivore and/or vegetarian/vegan, a full liquor menu and late night hours very friendly to revelers and insomniacs.
807 N. Mills Ave., 407-920-7744, strandorlando.com
Nouveau-American style bistro packs local foodies into its minimalist interior and sates their hunger with classic (yet also surprising) dishes prepared expertly and mindfully with local and seasonal sourcing.
932 N. Mills Ave., mytakocheena.com
The bustling Latin-Asian burrito and taco spot has reached certified local must-eat status. Open till 4 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.
Pig Floyd's Urban Barbakoa
1326 N. Mills Ave., 407-203-0865, pigfloyds.com
Classic rock-referencing Latin barbecue is a perfect fit for the quirky Mills 50 main drag. Sandwiches, platters and tacos draw in crowds of locals every night.
1246 E. Colonial Drive, 407-896-8988
If you've ever walked Main Street in Flushing, Queens, you'll recognize the roast whole ducks and five-spice aroma wafting from Tasty Wok. Real-deal beef chow fun is a fave.
1915 E. Colonial Drive, 407-894-4494, bikkuricorp.com
Delightfully eccentric sushi spot with a sprawling menu, low prices, late hours, a few mean tiki drinks and a side lounge that hosts trance nights and the equally eccentric Kira Kira Pop showcases.
1321 N. Mills Ave., 407-630-6574
Heavy on the clean aesthetics and dimly lit atmosphere, not to mention a stellar selection of craft cocktails, Guesthouse is jumping to the head of the class of watering holes with a difference. Good luck getting in on a weekend.
Will's Pub/Lil Indies/Dirty Laundry
1042 N. Mills Ave., willspub.org
Arguably the fulcrum of Mills 50 nightlife, the Will's compound dispenses with any dithering over whether you want to catch a show/drink a bougie cocktail/listen to metal and imbibe tiki beverages by making it all possible in one spot.
Lineage Coffee Roasting
1011 E. Colonial Drive, 407-205-8096, lineageroasting.com
New location for the local third-wave coffee roaster, and it's a doozy. Enjoy all manner of espressos, cold brews and pour-overs with some baked goodies courtesy of Buttermilk Bakery while feeling like a comfy time traveler in a sleek and minimalist setting.
Four Rebels American Taco Kitchen & Bar
1618 N. Mills Ave., 407-601-6575, 4rebelstacos.com
A five-hour-long happy hour plus $5 margaritas plus a sweet rooftop patio equals a most excellent place to chill. Tacos in Cuban-sandwich or mac-and-cheese renditions help keep you steady on your pins.
Wally's Mills Avenue Liquors
1001 N. Mills Ave, 407-896-6975, wallysonmills.com
A Mills 50 standby, Wally's succeeds by stripping away any modern artifice and niceties from your drinking experience, leaving you with the essentials: a smoky room, cheap strong beverages, and an incredibly loud jukebox. Live shows are starting to become a thing here again, to boot!
647 N. Mills Ave., facebook.com/a999shop
Vanessa Barros Andrade's total immersion fashion-as-art emporium proffers bleeding-edge new looks, vintage clothes, zines and music. The space also hosts music and art shows.
The British Shoppe
809 N. Mills Ave., 407-898-1634, thebritishshoppe.com
A right jolly little shop near the Strand where you can score all manner of British teas, chocolates, candy, scones and related ephemera and gifts. All your Cadbury's dreams will come true.
The District at Mills 50
1221 N. Mills Ave., 407-601-3363, facebook.com/districtatmills
The indoor market stocks jewelry, prints, essential oils, soaps and so on, but they've gone all in with vegan necessities, be it fresh sandwiches, meat substitutes, sweet snacks, imitation cheese or even vegan-themed clothing.
Remix Record Shop
1217 N. Mills Ave., 407-801-5300, remixthestore.com
A new entrant to the crowded record store field in Orlando, Remix succeeds by virtue of its prime location on the Mills 50 strip, a well-curated collection of LPs that is heavy on classic and new dance, and rarities hiding behind every letter of the alphabet.
Ten10 Brewing Company
1010 Virginia Drive, 407-930-8993, ten10brewingcompany.com
New(ish) local brewery nestled in the heart of Mills 50 offers a selection of potent craft brews and food; you can see where all the intoxicating magic happens.
Uncle Lou's Entertainment Hall
1016 N. Mills Ave., 407-898-0009
At this inimitable venue run by Uncle Lou himself, you never know what to expect when you enter. Last time we were there we saw the singer of a local electro-punk band nearly kill himself jumping off the slippery bar.
1013 E. Colonial Drive, 407-843-8700, snaporlando.com
This gorgeous modern gallery in the old Cameo Theater building brings exciting art shows to town on the regular; if you get the chance, don't miss the gallery's show openings. Snap! proprietors Patrick and Holly Kahn know how to throw a party.
Orlando Urban Trail
Near the intersection of Virginia Drive and Brookhaven Drive, cityoforlando.net
If all the drinking and shopping and concert-going and whatnot has you feeling a little overstimulated, why not unwind with a pedal through this bucolic bike trail that connects downtown, Loch Haven Park and Winter Park?