Famous for its large amusement parks and the Kennedy Space Center, Orlando attracts tens of millions of travelers each year. There are thousands of restaurants and bars that serve delicious traditional Orlando dishes, as well as a number of golf courses and shopping malls. To see what the fuss is all about and what makes Orlando such a great place to spend a vacation, check out our list of top 10 things to do in Orlando.
- Explore the Universal’s Islands of Adventure
Universal’s Islands of Adventure is one of the top attractions in Orlando and features several parks including Jurassic Park, Seuss Landing, Toon Lagoon, Marvel Super Hero Island, and the Lost Continent. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is probably the most visited island on-site, while rides such as Incredible Hulk coaster and the Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man are also quite popular. Visitors can have a drink or a snack at the nearby Universal CityWalk.
- Swim with Dolphins at Discovery Cove
Discovering Cove offers plenty of activities such as snorkeling, swimming with dolphins, getting close to stingrays, and feeding exotic birds. It is located right next to the SeaWorld Orlando with a capacity of 1,300 visitors per day. Guests can buy all-inclusive day passes, but due to Discovery Cove’s popularity, it is advised to book tickets weeks ahead during the high season. This place is also perfect for families with children and features several bars where guests can unwind with a drink or two.
- Visit Walt Disney World
It’s a common fact that a visit to Orlando is not complete without going to Walt Disney World. Yes, tickets are expensive and cost over $100, but this resort has truly plenty to offer for its visitors and is definitely worth checking out. It has four main theme parks that include Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Epcot. There are also Disney’s Blizzard Beach and Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon water parks, as well as over 20 hotels, an entertainment and dining complex, and Disney Springs shopping. Rides like Cinderella Castle and Spaceship Earth are very popular among children.
- Go to Universal Studios Florida
One of the most famous film studios in the world, Universal Studios Florida offers plenty of entertainment and attractions. This working film studio was designed with help from the famous film producer Steven Spielberg and draws large groups of travelers. The whole complex is designed in a way to entertain both children and adults while offering a truly unique interactive experience. If you are interested in the history of filmmaking and want to hear how the whole industry works, you should definitely book a tour and visit the amazing Universal Studios Florida.
- Head out to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
Located in Titusville and just a short drive from Downtown Orlando, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is a perfect place to visit for everyone who is interested in NASA history. Visitors will have a chance to check out a number of exhibits and attractions including the launch countdown clock, astronaut training simulators, U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame, space shuttle Atlantis, and a garden with several rockets. While visiting this awesome complex you can also watch IMAX movies, take a tour of the facilities, and take a picture with an astronaut. Tickets cost $40 for children and $50 for adults. There are several shops on-site and a couple of eateries.
- Interact with dolphins at SeaWorld Orlando
Attracting a large crowd of families with kids, SeaWorld Orlando has an extensive list of rides including the famous Mako rollercoaster ride and features giant aquariums, pools, and whale and dolphin shows. It is one of the biggest marine parks in the world and hosts the popular One Ocean show. The most visited attraction at SeaWorld Orlando is definitely the dolphin show where visitors can have close-up encounters with these lovely aquatic mammals. Make sure to book tickets for shows in advance, due to the popularity of this complex.
- Shop at Orlando International Premium Outlets
Orlando is famous for its outlet malls and Orlando International Premium Outlets is definitely a place worth visiting if you are looking to satisfy your shopping hunger. It is the largest outlet mall in Florida and home to all kinds of stores, from local and standard shops to high-end retailers including Michael Kors and Armani. The good news is that at Orlando International Premium Outlets you will find discounts on each corner of the complex, but keep in mind that since this is an open-air facility, you should definitely check the weather forecast before visiting. It is located just a short drive from Universal Orlando Resort and there are regular bus lines from Downtown Orlando. Besides shopping, visitors can dine at one of the eateries and order drinks at multiples cafes.
- Visit the Gatorland
Home to thousands of crocodiles, alligators, and other types of reptiles, Gatorland offers plenty of attractions and shows such as the Gator Wrestlin, Alligator Jumparoo, and Screamin’ Gator Zipline. Visitors can enjoy the views of the surrounding region from the observation tower or take a self-guided swamp walk. There is also a zip line that goes over crocodiles and alligators. The best thing about Gatorland is that unlike other theme parks in the city, it’s a half-day attraction and you will still have time to visit more landmarks and sights in the area.
- Go on a Ride at Fun Spot America
Fun Spot America may not be as famous and popular as other places in Orlando like Walt Disney World and SeaWorld Orlando, but it still offers a number of fun rides that include go-karts, Ferris wheels, tea cups, and carousels. For those who love adrenaline rides, there is a wooden and a virtual reality rollercoaster. A single-day ticket will cost you $40 if you purchase it online, while the upgraded tickets that include a small souvenir and a meal cost around $55. Compared to the other amusement parks in the city, Fun Spot America is definitely a budget-friendly place.
- See the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe
Built in the 1980s, Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary is a giant church that can seat up to 2,000 people and features a marble statue of Mary that was created by the famous sculptor Jill Burkee. With its astonishing stained glass windows, this church also has an outdoor chapel where the sculpture of Mother and Child by Jerzy Kenar is located. Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary has a museum with several paintings, a number of religious sculptures and the relic of Saint Desiderius. If you wish to learn about the history of the Christian Pilgrimage, head out to the Pilgrimage Center.