Outsiders like to visit us, but they sure don’t know us. When they think Orlando, they think of a place that’s Anytown, USA – all chain stores and strip malls and corporate anonymity, run by a shadow government with its HQ buried somewhere deep in the calculated heart of Walt Disney World.
We know that couldn’t be further from the truth. The heart of Orlando is not in the theme parks (though they are an integral part of who we are and what we do). It’s in our neighborhoods. Though they often go overlooked by tourists, neighborhoods with unique identities – places with beautiful parks full of tropical foliage and mystery, locally owned businesses and favorite watering holes – are as much a part of our city as the Mouse, the roller coasters, the water parks and the alligators.
Each year, we put this annual manual together to give you an insider’s guide to what makes Orlando (and its surrounding cities and towns) a unique place – a place we’re proud to call home. In the following pages, you’ll find profiles of many of our major neighborhood hubs. We highlight some of the prime places to eat, drink and shop, followed by listings of all the best in arts & culture, nightlife, sports & recreation, attractions and events. It’s a little bit of everything that makes Orlando whole – from its history to its future. The takeaway? Orlando is frequently a happy accident.
Read about the city through our eyes, then get out there and explore it – whether you’re new to town, a longtime resident looking for new adventures in your own city or a tourist just passing through, we’ve tried to include something for you. Now it’s your turn to make it your own.