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Orlando, FL

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I'm going to Orlando, FL (2nd week of December) for a job-related conference. I'll be there for a week with 2-3 days free time. I've never been there before. What places in Orlando or nearby should I check out? Renting a car is an option but I probably don't want to drive more than 2 hours one-way.
post #2 of 10
Originally Posted by jakejake View Post
I'm going to Orlando, FL (2nd week of December) for a job-related conference. I'll be there for a week with 2-3 days free time. I've never been there before. What places in Orlando or nearby should I check out? Renting a car is an option but I probably don't want to drive more than 2 hours one-way.

You'll probably be at the Orlando convention center? I was attending a conference there recently, thank goodness I like to walk... I frankly didn't enjoy my time there, the area where the convention center is located is basically a no man's land of hotels and restaurant, sorry malls. Hotels, pools and palm trees probably do appeal to some people, though. When I tried to query the natives about what I could visit other than Disney resorts, they couldn't recommend much (I asked about parks, the arts). Now, granted, I only had an extra day for "tourism".

On the positive side: the anole lizards are fun to observe.
post #3 of 10
I'm an orlando and gainesville guy. Where are you staying in orlando so i can advise you on things you may not need a car for that walking or a cheap cab ride would handle. The greater orlando area is really huge. There are interesting places but most are scattered all over the oversprawled city. You staying downtown? Idrive near convention center? Winter park area? If you want to PM me as not to discuss everything publicly, i'd be glad to help with what i can. Depends on your interests, types of food you like, and other stuff.
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
I'm going to stay close to Orange County Convention Center.
post #5 of 10
Is that the one on international drive across from the peabody hotel? If so, pointe orlando just down the street could be interesting to walk around for a little. Not overly cultured but then again, idrive is a tourist trap. Downtown orlando, winter park, and a few other areas have interesting options, but still, depends on what you're into
post #6 of 10
If you are not a snob, Disney World is quite incredible at Christmastime and blessedly uncrowded in early December. Try a late afternoon/ early evening at Epcot Center's World Showcase for shopping, dining (several of the ethnic restaurants are sure to research before you go as to not fall into one of the dumps; also, there are great finds amongst the food carts), drinking (each country has native liquor, wine and can do quite the international pub crawl) and then stay for the Illuminations fireworks show and/or the Candlelight Processional (famous narrator and huge choir recount the Christmas story). All the various countries have special entertainment and food offerings relating to their own country's Christmas traditions. Other first-class restaurants in Disney World (yes, they do far better than burgers and chicken fingers) include The California Grill, The Flying Fish and Fulton's Crab House. The latter is at Downtown Disney, which though it's decidedly NOT charming (very bold and brash) does have a beautiful lakeside setting and a large selection of interesting shops and restaurants-I reccomend the Ghirardelli Ice Cream shop.

You can find out-of-the way shops and local restaurants, but all cities have them. There is nothing better in Orlando than Disney World.
post #7 of 10
Here is something interesting I just came across:

The Least Attractive People Live HERE

If you want to go where the beautiful people are, stay away from Philadelphia, Atlanta and New Orleans. According to the 2008 "America's Favorite Cities" survey by Travel + Leisure magazine, the least attractive people in the U.S.A. live there. This is the second year in a row that Philadelphia has placed last on the list of most attractive people.

So where are the lookers? They would be in Miami, San Diego and Austin. When told Miami was the No. 1 city for good-looking people, Bill Talbert, president of the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau, said he wasn't surprised. "When you're here, you kind of take it for granted. Then you travel, and when you come back you say, 'Oh my, look what we have here,'" he told Reuters.

The online survey of 125,000 people ranked 25 U.S. cities in 45 categories.

Here are some of the results:
Most Friendly: Charleston
Least Friendly: Los Angeles

Most Stylish: New York City
Least Stylish: Orlando

Most Intelligent: Seattle
Least Intelligent: Los Angeles

Most Athletic/Active: Denver
Least Athletic/Active: New Orleans

Best Nightlife: Las Vegas
Worst Nightlife: Santa Fe

Best Skyline: New York City
Worst Skyline: Orlando

Best Food/Dining: New Orleans
Worst Food/Dining: Orlando

Best Culture: New York
Worst Culture: Orlando

Best Historical Sites: Washington, D.C.
Worst Historical Sites: Orlando

Most Diverse: New York
Least Diverse: Nashville
(Source: Travel + Leisure magazine)
post #8 of 10
Orlando downtown, winter park, and rich windemere area are not very stylish. Lots of yuppie white people. Yea, there aren't really any historical sites, but then again, most cities don't have a lot of historical sites. I don't know what constitutes culture, but there is a fair amount of culture in winter park and the downtown areas. Food is something that irritates me because everything is either a big corporation chain, a small upscale chain, or just generic. I've only found a few local places that are worth much.
post #9 of 10
College Park is good if you want little arty boutiques and restaurants (White Wolf Cafe is good).

Downtown has the Corona Cigar Bar (nice range of rare whiskey from $5-$15,000) and a bunch of hipster bars, but nothing worth seeing before 10pm.

There's an IMax on I(nternational) Drive, or The Enzian is a great arthouse cinema in Winter Park (with table service and full menu). Stardust Cafe in Winter Park is a combination hipster bar/community space/arthouse movie rental place which is quite unique.

There's great outlets here if you want to do a bit of shopping - Prime Outlets and Premium Outlets are easily reachable from I Drive and have outlets for RL, Dior, Armani, Zegna, Saks, NM, Barneys, etc.

Mall at Millennia is generic yuppie stuff if you want to buy Vuitton at full retail and then eat at the Cheesecake Factory.

Public transport here is terrible - you won't be going anywhere other than International Drive without a car. I think there's a shuttle bus that goes up and down I Drive, but the Lynx bus which covers the city as a whole is hardly worth the effort (will take you about 3 hours to get downtown and it ends at 10).
post #10 of 10
I hate Orlando. The shopping's decent, but it is my least favorite large city in the South. Some pretty good hiking (relative to Florida) south of there, though.

+1 on the Corona Cigar Bar
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