Most visitors to downtown Orlando are there for one of two reasons. Either they’re conducting business, or they’ve sought respite from the theme parks, thinking that the city center might contain something of interest. While the former may well find success in their deal-making, those in the latter group are likely to be sorely disappointed. Still, there are a few notable sights downtown.
The city’s crown jewel is Lake Eola Park (195 N. Rosalind Ave., 407/246-2827, 6 a.m.–midnight daily, free). Walking along the trail that circumnavigates it is a pleasant way to while away an afternoon, but only once you’ve paddled out to the middle of the lake on one of the swan-shaped boats that are available for rent can you truly say that you’ve experienced Lake Eola.
History buffs should explore the Orange County Regional History Center (65 E. Central Blvd., 407/836-8500, www.thehistorycenter.org, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Mon.–Sat., noon–5 p.m. Sun., $9 adults, $7 seniors, $6 children, children 4 and under free), located in a 1927 building that used to be the courthouse. Three floors of immersive and well-curated permanent exhibits are heavy on 19th- and early-20th-century artifacts; although some of the museum’s better material—particularly its Kerouac and Highwaymen exhibits—occasionally travel to other museums, this is still one of the better Florida-centric museums in the state.
© Jason Ferguson from Moon Florida, 1st Edition