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Must-Visit Hidden Gems When You’re in Orlando, Florida

Must-Visit Hidden Gems When You’re in Orlando, Florida

Disney’s Magic Kingdom
Orlando, Florida is popular for its numerous theme parks, such as Disney’s Magic Kingdom, Universal Studio, SeaWorld Orlando, Kennedy Space Center, Disney’s Hollywood Studio, and Legoland. But there are a lot of other amazing places worth exploring in this city aside from theme parks. Whether you’re visiting the Theme Park Capital of the World for just a few days or have just recently moved into your new home in Orlando, you’ll be glad to go to these hidden gems and enjoy more of what this place has to offer.

Hanson’s Shoe Repair

Located in what is generally known to be the oldest building standing in downtown Orlando, Hanson’s Shoe Repair is not what you think it is. Head on to their Twitter account to check out their password for the day and you will get access to the only speakeasy in Orlando where you can enjoy some of the best cocktails you’ll ever find. So, what’s with the name? Well, back in 1894, Andrew Hanson acquired the building for his “Hanson Shoe Repair Shop”, which had Orlando’s first electric sign. When you get inside and feel like you’ve stepped into the past, it’s probably because this place is genuinely from another era.



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The Thirsty Topher

There’s a place in Orlando which they call “Not the Shitty Tourist Part”, right on the main drag of Barley Row between the Mills 50 and Ivanhoe Village neighborhoods, and here you’ll find this beer and wine bar that was built by bartenders and operated by beer nerds. The bar has 24 taps and Cicerone certified servers. There are no TVs, no WiFi, and no distractions. The Thirsty Topher is simply a place where you can enjoy tasty beer and have a good time.



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The Epic McDonald’s at 6875 Sand Lake Rd

Here in Orlando, you’ll find the world’s largest ‘entertainment-style’ McDonald’s restaurant. If you’re a fan of their burgers, this 19,000-square-foot fast food restaurant is the perfect destination for you! Not only do they have a two-story play area, an arcade, and a 30-ft tall illuminated Ronald McDonald, they also have a singing animatronic of the chain’s 1980s moon-headed Mac Tonight spokesman. And aside from the McDonald’s classics, which you can customize with a “Create Your Taste” menu, you can also order waffles, paninis, pizzas, pastas, and breakfast omelets.

Player 1 Video Game Bar

This is the ultimate gamer’s paradise, with an amazing selection of classic arcade, various consoles from every era, and a motion gaming dance floor, which you can play for just a $5 cover charge. Aside from arcade games, Player 1 Video Game Bar features a massive menu of the best craft beers from around the world, plus sakes, meads, and wines. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to see their staff cosplaying as their favorite video game and pop culture characters.

Wallaby Ranch

If you’re looking for some thrill and excitement, then here’s something much better than a roller coaster ride. Get your extreme adventure in Wallaby Ranch, the first and largest aerotow hang gliding flight park in the world, where you will be towed 2,000 feet up in the air by specially designed towplanes and set free to glide around and “fly” for fifteen glorious minutes! The ranch is located in a wonderful, secluded setting, surrounded by natural Florida woodlands, so you’ll surely enjoy the view from your flight. If you’re a fan of wildlife, look forward to seeing some deer, migrating birds, various reptiles and amphibians, and even the endangered Florida panther from above.


The Chocolate Museum & Café

Who doesn’t love chocolate? Formerly called The World of Chocolate Museum & Café, The Chocolate Museum & Café, is the ultimate destination for chocolate lovers. A 45-minute tour of the museum will guide you through the origins and history of chocolate, show you 25 solid chocolate sculptures of some of the world’s most recognizable landmarks, and take you into the tasting room where you can enjoy some of the finest chocolates from around the world. Head over to the café for try their chocolate souffle, which is to die for!



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Harry P. Leu Gardens

Only a few minutes from downtown, Orlando’s Leu Gardens offers its visitors 50 acres of beautiful gardens with centuries old majestic oaks cascading over winding pathways. Here, you’ll find Florida’s largest formal rose garden, Mary Jane’s Rose Garden, which displays over 215 varieties and 650 roses, among so many other lovely gardens, such as the Citrus Grove, Arid Garden, and Color Garden. There’s the Butterfly Garden, where a wide variety of annuals, perennials, shrubs, and trees serve to attract so many beautiful butterflies and moths.

Lake Eola Park

Right in the heart of downtown, Lake Eola Park is a quiet, relaxing haven where you can simply stroll along the flower-studded sidewalk around the lake, feed the swans, ride the swan-shaped paddle boats, or enjoy a play at the amphitheater. The Eola Sunday Market is said to be one of the best in Central Florida, featuring fruits and vegetables, home-made breads, an assortment of local cuisines, beer, and wine, with live music and entertainment starting in the afternoon.


Church Street Station

The heart of downtown Orlando, Church Street Station used to be called Old Orlando Railroad Depot when it used to be a historic railway station and commercial development in the past. Eventually, this place evolved to become a lively nightlife scene in the 1970s through the 1980s but later on experienced a period of decline when its original owner sold the development in 1989. Now, the revitalized Church Street Station continues its tradition of offering an eclectic mix of dining, entertainment, retail and business for both locals and tourists. This is definitely a place you must visit at least once when you’re in Orlando.



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Orlando, Florida is an amazing city packed with so many wonderful places to discover and experience. If you’re visiting this city, be sure to check out these spots and ask the locals what other places are worth going to because chances are, there are more hidden gems to explore!

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