Want to visit Orlando but do not want to traipse along Orlando’s tourist trail? Would you rather explore the hidden gems in Central Florida away from the crowds?
Lucky for you, there are plenty of unique things to do in Orlando.
Orlando is one of the most tourist cities in the world. And yes, most of those tourists are flocking to theme parks. But the number of visitors helps boost Orlando’s thriving cultural experiences, too.
Here are all the top out-of-the-ordinary, unique things to do in Orlando to help you plan your trip.
Table of Contents
- 1. Explore the Tibet-Butler Preserve
- 2. Visit the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art
- 3. Take Your Pick of Sports Games
- 4. Sample the Bars in Downtown Orlando
- 5. Browse Orlando’s Farmers Markets
- 6. Hop on a Florida Everglades Swamp Tour
- 7. Lift-Off on a Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Ride
- Check Out These Unique Things to Do in Orlando
1. Explore the Tibet-Butler Preserve
Only 30 minutes drive southwest of Downtown Orlando is a beautiful county park offering solitude and natural beauty. A stark contrast to the rest of the city of Orlando!
The Tibet-Butler Preserve sits on the banks of Lake Tibet. It has a lot of hiking trails, some treetop trails on platforms, and an educational butterfly garden. You can also spot cool types of birds like screech owls and ospreys. Tibet-Butler is a place where you can do one of the unique things to do in Orlando.
Take a picnic and make a day of it hiking through the marshes and pine trees. The perfect way to spend a day if you have young, curious children.
2. Visit the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art
Orlando is not known for its museums and cultural heritage, but it has plenty of special interest exhibitions. One of the most prominent museums is the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art.
The museum has an extensive art collection, in particular from the Art Nouveau period. It also boasts the most extensive collection of Louis Comfort Tiffany works. Tiffany is famous for his turn of the century multi-colored glass lamps.
There are lots of museums surrounding the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum in Orlando’s Winter Park area.
Other unique museums in Orlando include the Orlando Fire Museum and Wells’ Built Museum. The former’s location is in a 1920s firehouse and displays items from fire departments throughout history.
The latter is a museum of African American history and culture. It used to be a hotel that hosted segregated people and performers in a previous life when other hotels would not allow them to stay.
3. Take Your Pick of Sports Games
Whether your sport of choice is basketball, football, soccer, or even hockey you will find plenty of games in Orlando’s top venues to entertain you.
One of the most popular stadiums in Florida is the Exploria Stadium. It has had several recent renovations and visitors agree it is one of the cleanest stadiums they have ever seen. This is great news for you if you like soccer because that is the Exploria Stadium’s most popular sport.
For indoor sports, head to the Amway Center. It is only a few blocks away from the Exploria Stadium and hosts music shows, hockey games, wrestling matches, and so much more.
4. Sample the Bars in Downtown Orlando
If you are not keen on Orlando’s theme parks, chances are you are not traveling with kids. So, you should check out the buzzing nightlife in Downtown Orlando.
First, head to Hanson’s Shoe Repair. No, it is not an actual shoe repair shop! It is an exclusive, password-protected speakeasy-style bar with cocktails to die for. The bar has a cozy patio so you can unwind after a long day exploring Orlando.
Or if you are in the mood for somewhere upbeat, head to Aero Rooftop Bar and Lounge nightclub. It is a huge outdoor space offering energetic dance music and neon-colored alcohol concoctions.
Down the block from the Aero Rooftop Bar is Motorworks Brewing. The craft brewery boom made it to Orlando, too! If you cannot choose only one beer, they can serve flights so you can sample as many as you can handle.
The brewery has a tasty lunch menu serving sliders and grilled cheese sandwiches with a twist, too.
5. Browse Orlando’s Farmers Markets
One of the most unique things to do in Orlando is also one of the best free things to do in Orlando! Well, free until you buy something, that is.
Would you believe that Orlando has killer farmers’ markets?
Downtown Orlando holds a farmers market every Sunday next to Lake Eola Park and Winter Garden hosts one every Saturday.
Both markets provide live music and food trucks as well as hundreds of vendors selling a huge variety of produce and crafts.
6. Hop on a Florida Everglades Swamp Tour
Seeing the Everglades might not be “off the beaten path” unique things to do in Orlando, but it is an activity to the Sunshine State.
There are lots of swamp tours in the Orlando area, but Lake Kissimmee is one of the biggest lakes in the region and is in a central location. You can take 60 or 90-minute tours by airboat where you will no doubt see a lot of alligators and lots of other weird and wonderful wildlife, too.
Remember to keep all arms, legs, fingers, and toes inside the vehicle at all times!
7. Lift-Off on a Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Ride
Okay, so you want to explore an alternative Orlando outside of DisneyWorld and the other theme and water parks in the area. But how about experiencing DisneyWorld from the sky?
One of the most unique things to do in Orlando, the entire state, has to be riding in a hot air balloon over the Happiest Place on Earth.
From the air, you can see DisneyWorld, Universal Studios, Florida’s famous swamps, and miles of orange trees. It is unlike any other hot air balloon ride in the world! Seeing the views as the sun comes up is a magical sight.
Check Out These Unique Things to Do in Orlando
You do not have to look far to find unique things to do in Orlando. Whether you are a nature lover, a bar hopper, or an adrenaline junkie, Orlando offers something for everyone.
And if you change your mind and decide to spend a day or two at the theme parks, they will be waiting for you too.
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