SoDo – short for south of downtown – is still sort of an amorphous region of town. Technically, it's the area along Orange Avenue near the intersection of Grant Street, but those who live there know that there's a thriving and tight-knit community that extends along the Michigan Street and Curry Ford Road corridors, right into Conway, and that there's plenty to see and do even farther down Orange Avenue.
GRAB A BITE
247 E. Michigan St., 407-730-7315, sisterhoneys.com
The award-winning pies – seriously, try the country apple – cupcakes, pound cakes, cookies and more served at this South Orlando bakery are one of South Orlando's hidden secrets. Try the rum pound cake. Or the Southern sweet potato pie. Or the tropical pineapple upside down cake. Offerings change daily, and most things can be ordered by the slice, so call ahead if you're looking for a whole cake or pie.
ZaZa New Cuban Diner
3500 Curry Ford Road, 407-228-0060, zazacubandiner.com
This affordably priced Cuban eatery serves simple but succulent vaca fritas, perfectly sweet fried plantains, buzzy café con leche and more. This place is usually hopping all week long.
La Fiesta Mexican Grill
2901 Curry Ford Road, 407-985-4340, facebook.com/lafiestagrillandcatering
This traditional Mexican restaurant was so popular that it had to relocate across the street to make room for the crowds that poured into the dining room of its original location. All of the essentials of a Mexican feast are on the menu: tacos, enchiladas, carnitas, chilaquiles and more.
HAVE A DRINK
Vanbarry's Public House
4120 S. Orange Ave., 407-704-8881, orlandopublichouses.com
As soon as this cool new space on South Orange Avenue opened, it became a hotspot – on weekends, people gather on the spacious patio to catch a game or catch up with neighbors. Tacos, sandwiches, burgers and flatbreads make it an ideal happy hour meeting place or Sunday Funday hang.
The Rogue Pub
3076 Curry Ford Road, 407-985-3778, facebook.com/roguepub
South Orlando's first dedicated craft beer bar just celebrated two years of booming business at its low-key Curry Ford Road home, which attracts young hipster couples who've just moved to the neighborhood as well as blue-collar folks who've lived here their whole lives.
CHECK THIS OUT
Conway Farmers Market
Barber Park, 3701 Gatlin Ave., conwaymarket.org
Live music, a bounce house for kids, baked goods and produce – this is the community market the Conway area has needed for years. It's just getting up and running, so it only happens periodically. Check the website to find out when the next one takes place.
East West Music & More
4895 S. Orange Ave., 407-859-8991
South Orlando has its very own indie record store, where you can browse the stacks of vinyl to your heart's content. The selection may be smaller than some other places in town, but the prices are great and the owner is the bees' knees. A must-visit spot on Record Store Day.
Thrift store shopping along Orange Avenue
Travel south on Orange Avenue and keep your eyes peeled once you get past the Michigan Street intersection, because there are multiple small thrift stores hidden along the corridor here that are packed to the brim with all manner of fun finds. A couple of our favorites are I Feel Used (3557 S. Orange Ave., randyifeelused.com) and Thrift Deals (6450 S. Orange Ave., thriftdeals.com), but there are a handful more to hunt and peck through if you look around.