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The glow of its theme park neighbors to the south often obscures The City Beautiful from visitor’s eyes. But once you’ve found the real Orlando, you’ll want to explore and return. Downtown Orlando is centered around Lake Eola Park, with more than a mile of live oak shaded shoreline that serves as a community gathering place and event venue. Walk the streets of downtown to learn the city’s history through historic plaques and the Orlando Remembered displays. Founded in 1856, Orlando has six historic districts and a variety of well-established neighborhoods. Trendy Thornton Park offers upscale bistros and sidewalk cafes and one of the best ...

The glow of its theme park neighbors to the south often obscures The City Beautiful from visitor’s eyes. But once you’ve found the real Orlando, you’ll want to explore and return. Downtown Orlando is centered around Lake Eola Park, with more than a mile of live oak shaded shoreline that serves as a community gathering place and event venue. Walk the streets of downtown to learn the city’s history through historic plaques and the Orlando Remembered displays. Founded in 1856, Orlando has six historic districts and a variety of well-established neighborhoods. Trendy Thornton Park offers upscale bistros and sidewalk cafes and one of the best bookstores in the city, Urban Think. College Park has a downtown district packed with shops and restaurants. Virginia Avenue is known for arts and antiques, as is “Antique Row” along North Orange Avenue near Lake Ivanhoe. Along Corrine Drive, you’ll find more smart coffeehouses and eclectic shops. Loch Haven Park is the cultural center of the city, home to the Orlando Shakespeare Festival, several art museums, and the Orlando Science Center.

Sandra Friend
About the Expert

Sandra Friend has written 12 books about Florida, including the Explorer's Guide (Countryman Press) series to Florida.

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