Wednesday, January 9, 2013

I'll have an Orlando, hold the theme parks

To a majority of the world, the City Orlando is synonymous with places like Disney, Sea World, and Universal... and those places are lovely. But do you ever wonder what the city would be like with those giant companies? What else does this city bring to the table?------ A whole lot!

The City of Orlando is comprised of several small townships, which like any major city. However, just like in New York City, these townships still feel a sense of pride and independence from the city as a whole. If you were to ask someone from Winter Garden where their from they would be quick to assure that Winter Park is NOT Orlando... despite it being mere minutes from the downtown area. So this post may require some maps, because I'll be list the sites by their township. And now, onto the hidden gems.

Yellow Dog Eats, 1236 Hempel Avenue  Windermere- The owners took a dilapidated farm house and turned it into one of the coolest sandwich shops in the world. Get the special (no mater what it is) if you're there before it runs out!
Hamburger Mary's, 110 West Church Street, Orlando- There are a couple of these out in the state, but this one is the best. The waitstaff is SASSY and your check comes in a pump... what more could you ask for?!
4 Rivers Smokehouse, 1600 W. Fairbanks Ave, Winter Park- Serving up traditional TEXAS smoked BBQ in a cafeteria style service. 
YumYum Cupcake Truck*, 3042 Eaglet Loop, Orlando- If you can find it, just be prepared for such awesomeness your tasted buds have never know!
    *If you are here on the right night, the city of Celebration hosts a Food Truck Night about once a month or so. 851 Celebration Ave. It's pretty epic!

The Wine Roon, 270 Park Ave S.  Winter Park- If you're a fan of wine, then stock up on some Advil for the next day! This place is pretty hip. You fill up a card with a desired amount of money and then each pour/tasting costs a certain amount. It's awesome for a Ladies Night.
Eye Spy, 54 North Orange Avenue  Orlando- It's hard to find, but it's worth it for the night of fun and mystery ahead of you!
Kitty O'Shea, 8470 Palm Parkway, Lake Buena Vista- A little close to Disney, but it's a total dive bar with the prices to match. One of the most affordable places you'll find here in Orlando.

Harry P. Leu Garden, 1920 N. Forest Ave, Orlando- This 50-acre botanical garden is Orlando's equivalent to The Secret Garden: a maze bursting with color and unusual greenery.
Wekiwa Springs State Park, 1800 Wekiwa Circle, Apopka- Pronounced Wahk-EYE-vah, it is a 7,000-acre park where the waters are crystal - clear and stay at a comfortable 72 degrees all year.
The Shops on Park Ave, Winter Garden- I love to just stroll along this area. The squares have hidden walkways and shops. There's even a French Pastry Shop!
Skycoaster, 2850 Florida Plaza Boulevard, Kissimmee -Good for you, go for it! Me, I'll keep my feet on the ground... but my friends rave about this gravity defying experience. Undoubtedly one of the scariest adventure activities in Orlando, the SkyCoaster slowly hoists you backwards with a cable 300 feet into the air. The cable stops and there you hang until on of the riders has to muster up the courage to pull the release cord, which sends riders plummeting toward the ground, then swings back and forth a few times.
Florida EcoSafaris, On my to do list, I'm really looking forward to a zipline next time I'm free in Orlando!

As you can plainly see, there's more to Orlando than roller coasters and character meet'n'greets... Also I still love Disney, look for that post soon ;)

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