Hidden Orlando

Central Florida is far more than the sum of its parks.

By Allison Entrekin

As any local will tell you, if all you’ve seen of Orlando are its big-name attractions, you haven’t seen nearly enough. Surrounding the City Beautiful, you’ll find vibrant neighborhoods, worthwhile museums and upscale boutiques.

Begin your exploration a few miles northeast of Orlando in Winter Park. The most famous street in this ritzy enclave is brick-paved Park Avenue, along which you’ll find the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art (445 N. Park Ave.; 407-645-5311; morsemuseum.org; adults, $6; children under 12, free). Here you can learn about renowned stained-glass artist Louis Comfort Tiffany and view the world’s most comprehensive collection of his work. It’s a short stroll from the museum to clothing boutique Tuni (301 Park Ave. S.; 407-628-1609; shoptuni.com) and to Prato (124 N. Park Ave.; 407-262-0050; prato-wp.com; dinner for two, $60*), an Italian restaurant where you’ll find excellent cuisine and people-watching. While you’re in the neighborhood, hop on a pontoon for a Scenic Boat Tour (312 E. Morse Blvd.; 407-644-4056; scenicboattours.com; adults, $14; children 2–11, $7), which winds through 19th-century canals lined with banana trees.

About four miles south, Ivanhoe Village is an Orlando neighborhood set around Lake Ivanhoe’s eastern shores. Two former circus clowns display hand-painted pop art and vintage lunchboxes at Boom-Art (1821 N. Orange Ave.; 407-895-0280). Down the street, the Imperial (1800 N. Orange Ave.; 407-228-4992; imperialwinebar.com; wine for two, $18) furniture store doubles as a wine bar and beer garden. Enjoy a glass of rosé then walk to dinner at Mesa21 (1414 N. Orange Ave.; 407-930-8000; mesa21.com; dinner for two, $40), a new lakeside restaurant popular for its roasted blooming cauliflower.

It’s two miles east to Audubon Park, where the 14,000-square-foot East End Market (3201 Corrine Dr.; 321-236-3316; eastendmkt.com) looms large in the bones of a 1962 church. You can sip a cup of craft coffee from Lineage Coffee Roasting (3201 Corrine Dr.; 407-205-8096; lineageroasting.com; coffee for two, $7) and browse locally made menswear at Freehand Goods (3201 Corrine Dr.; 855-409-3441; freehandgoods.com). Wrap up your day with a brew from nearby Redlight Redlight (2810 Corrine Dr.; 407-893-9832; redlightredlightbeerparlour.com; beer for two, $10), one of the top craft-beer bars in the region.

  • *Estimated meal prices do not include drinks, tax, or tip.
  • NOTE: Information may have changed since publication. Please confirm key details before planning your trip.
  • Published: September 2017