10 best things to do in Orlando

Famed worldwide for its sizzling sunshine and collection of over a dozen theme parks, Orlando offers fun and thrills around every corner. That’s not all. This Sunshine State destination is also home to gorgeous parks, tranquil lakes, thought-provoking museums and intriguing art galleries.

Whether you’re enjoying a packed family holiday hitting the rollercoasters or a blissful relaxing retreat around the countryside, you can hire a car in Orlando to tick every attraction off your list.

So, what are the best things to do in Orlando? We’ve chosen our top 10.

1. Disney Springs

1486 Buena Vista Drive, Lake Buena Vista, FL, 32830

Walt Disney World is perhaps Orlando’s most iconic attraction, for kids and big kids alike. But did you know you can experience a free taste of the Disney Magic? Disney Spring is a lively lakeside complex that includes a glittering array of Disney-themed shops, restaurants and toy stores – with live entertainment on offer too.

There’s free parking, as well as free transport to all the Disney resorts if you’re venturing inside the parks. Don’t forget to take a memorable ride in the giant tethered balloon, where you’ll soar to 400ft and experience unforgettable views across Orlando.

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2. Grand Bohemian Gallery

325 South Orange Avenue, Orlando, FL, 32801

Discover an eclectic private collection of oil paintings, glass, contemporary jewellery and bronze sculptures at the Grand Bohemian Gallery. This unique establishment is the passion of hotelier Richard Kessler and is actually located in one of his luxury hotels, the Grand Bohemian – a work of art in itself.

His wildly diverse collection is actually exhibited in multiple hotels, in different destinations across the US. Carefully curated to stimulate the minds of those who wander the gallery, there are a range of intriguing works on display, from modernist landscape paintings, to a top-of-the-range Oris watch.

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3. Johnny’s Fillin’ Station Orlando

2631 South Ferncreek Avenue, Orlando, Florida, 32806

Johnny’s Fillin’ Station is a popular sports bar that serves up some of Orlando’s best burgers and unrivalled entertainment. Play some pool, enjoy live music or hit up the juke box when you’re not savouring the mouth-watering dishes on offer.

You’ll be spoilt for choice with this impressive menu, which features Johnny’s Famous Patty Melt – an all-beef, half-pound patty, served on grilled rye toast, with classic grilled onions and cheese. For the works, opt for the Fillin’ Station Full Service Burger – packed with ham, mushrooms, lettuce, tomato, onion, plus your choice of cheese.

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4. Lake Eola Park

512 East Washington Street, Orlando, FL, 32801

A leafy retreat, situated in the heart of one of the entertainment capitals of the world? That’s Lake Eola Park. Enter this city oasis to walk or run the nearly mile-long lakeside trail, rent swan-shaped paddle boats on the lake itself or catch a live show at the park's own amphitheatre.

There's also a popular lakeside restaurant to try out, as well as a collection of flowers and trees to admire while you wander. One thing you definitely don’t want to miss is the nightly music and lightshow at the iconic Lake Eola fountain – a picturesque scene that is only enhanced by the wondrous Orlando skyline backdrop.

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lake eola park florida

5. Harry P. Leu Gardens

1920 North Forest Avenue, Orlando, FL, 32803

Harry P. Leu Gardens features more than 50 acres of beautiful botanic gardens, located around 10 minutes from central Orlando. Containing 8,000 plant species, residing in a perfectly maintained garden, and a carousel of special exhibits throughout the year, it’s a great place to learn more about the flora that populate our world.

Enter under the giant shady oak trees and find acclaimed collections of flowers, a large working vegetable patch and a butterfly garden. You can also tour Harry Leu's family home at the centre of the estate and experience a glimpse of Orlando’s history.

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6. Universal Orlando

6000 Universal Boulevard, Orlando, FL, 32819

Orlando is home to some of the world’s most famous theme parks, with Universal Orlando being a favourite of families looking to get up close with the movies and TV shows they love. Encounter your favourite superheroes, ride high-octane rollercoasters and explore movie-themed experiences when you step through the park entrance.

There are three action-packed parks here, including Universal Studios – a real working film and TV studio. There’s also Islands of Adventure, featuring rides and worlds from cartoons and comic books, as well as Volcano Bay – a water park which offers excitement in a tranquil paradise.

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7. International Drive

South end: World Center Drive – North end: Oak Ridge Road

Known locally as I-Drive, International Drive is Orlando’s main tourist strip, stretching for more than 11 miles through the city centre. Stop off at various points along the way to enjoy family-favourite attractions, including Madame Tussauds, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! and ICON Park – featuring the 400-foot ICON Orlando Ferris Wheel.

If you prefer retail therapy over museums and rides, you’ll find a wealth of shops, including premium outlets. After a busy day of sightseeing and shopping, grab a bite to eat from one of the many restaurants that serve up deliciousness on the route.

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orlando sky

8. Celebration Farmers Market

631 Sycamore Street, Celebration, FL, 34747

Celebration, FL, is a quaint town that is located near Walt Disney World and was originally developed by the Walt Disney Company in the 1990s. Visit to discover this unique place and its fantastic Farmers Market, open every Sunday.

Visitors have the opportunity to purchase fresh local produce and handmade crafts, as well as grab some lunch from one of the stalls. While you’re here, take a relaxing walk along Lake Rianhard or hire a bicycles to take advantage of the gorgeous bike trail through the quiet neighbourhoods.

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9. Kennedy Space Center

Space Commerce Way, Merritt Island, FL, 32953

Just an hour away from Orlando International Airport, Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral gives visitors a once-in-a-lifetime glimpse into NASA’s space missions. Behind the gates, a tour will take you to the historic launch sites, where you’ll be able to see first-hand the working spaceflight facilities.

Take a bus tour around the centre, where you’ll be able access incredible attractions, like an actual Saturn V moon rocket. You’ll also get to see real moon rocks, authentic Apollo program artefacts and you may even catch a live rocket launch, depending on when you visit.

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kennedy space centre

10. Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition

7324 International Drive, Orlando, FL, 32819

Transport yourself back to 1912 when you visit the Titanic: Artifact Exhibition, which faithfully replicates the interiors of the ill-fated vessel. Discover over 300 mementos that were recovered from the ship’s wreckage and explore a full-scale recreation of the First Class Parlor Suite.

Learn all about the infamous ship and those who perished, all while coming face to face with costumed actors who roam the exhibitions. There’s also the Grand Staircase on display, providing an unforgettable photo opportunity when you visit.

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Ready to plan your trip? Hire a car in Orlando with Hertz online to make travelling around easy and convenient.