If you think that theme parks and outlet malls is all there is to Orlando, then you’re missing out on a lot of other really neat things to do in and around this sun-drenched city. There is a grown-up side to Orlando that makes it a fab place for an adults only break. Here are six fun ways to explore the city.
1) Check out the The Orlando Ballet, which has been adding some serious cultural cache to the city since 1974, and has a full repertoire of professional performances targeted at both families and adults. In the next few months you can see classics such as Swan Lake, or original pieces such as Battle of the Sexes, put on by an expert company of dancers.
2) Drink really good brews at Redlight Redlight Beer Parlour. Heaven for beer lovers, there are 23 rotating draft beers, two beer engines for cask-conditioned ales, and more than 250 different bottled beers available. The bar is huge, the place is busy but big enough to cope with it, and the staff are incredibly knowledgeable about the beers they serve.
Or, if you’re more of a wine buff, grab an outside table at the Eola Wine Company to look out over Eola Lake as you sip on your favourite kind of wine (they have more than 70 different wines available by the glass).
3) The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra is made up of professional musicians recruited from around the world, and serves up more than 100 shows every season. You can see (and hear) everything from traditional operas to exciting new musical arrangements, rock n’ roll tribute nights to interesting partnerships with mariachi bands.
4) Going up over Orlando in a hot air balloon is a spectacular way to see the city, and what there is out past the urban sprawl and thrill rides. There are several operators in Orlando, including Painted Horizons Hot air Balloon Tours and Orlando Balloon Rides.
5) Orlando has become quite the gourmet destination in the past five years or so, so if you love food, then you’re in for a treat. The Ravenous Pig bills itself as an American gastropub, here you’ll find comfort food favourites and intriguing flavor combinations designed to make you salivate as you read the menu. The Ravenous Pig Pub Burger is made of natural angus beef, and comes with caramelized onions, buttermilk blue cheese, and truffle fries. Briarpatch Restaurant does fab southern style dishes, but make sure to save room for dessert; their red velvet cake is locally legendary, and homemade ice-cream in flavours such as bourbon and cornflake, milk and honey, and mint Oreo, are superbly decadent.
6) There are several excellent art museums in the city. The Orlando Museum of Art has an impressive permanent collection but also always has interesting visiting shows too. The Mennello Museum of American Art showcases an impressive collection of American art spanning across all genres and time periods. The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art has the largest collection of Louis Comfort Tiffany’s (he of the lamps, and leader of the art nouveau movement in the US) work.