15 Ways to Keep Orlando Visitors Busy and Entertained (Besides Going to the Parks) | Holiday Guide | Orlando
Once handshakes and hugs are distributed, each holiday season visit from family and friends reveals the same question: What am I going to do with these people?
Staring at each other so you can draw each other’s faces from memory is always an option, but not a necessity. Orlando is full of entertainment options to keep in-laws and blood relatives alike in the city and keep them out of your hair. Even if you can’t afford a trip to the most magical adult daycare on Earth, there are plenty of fun attractions just waiting to fill you up on days when there’s no turkey and pork on the menu.
Catch the holiday cocktail:
The Courtesy Bar downtown on Orange Avenue transforms its menu each year into a miracle dang yuletide (November 23 – December 30), with a special menu, playlist, and décor that will make your heart grow fonder by three sizes. Also your liver.
Cruise through the canals of Winter Park:
Winter Park’s scenic boat tours of the waterways run every hour starting at 10am each day.
Give your wallet a workout:
Shoppers with a sharp elbow can run past the mall at Millenia and Premium Outlet malls, where parking is a blood sport, but Winter Parks Park Avenue or Audubon Park on Corinn Drive or the tiny Milk District are more of our speed shopping.
Range outside manatees:
Blue Springs State Park and Manatee Refuge continues to be a great place to find Florida’s most famous animal. But they’re having a really tough year, so don’t bother.
Head to Fron Square:
The largely successful COVID-19 solution for the Dr. Phillips Center has been extended until next year.
Get your glow on:
The glowing, lively Lake Titusville is just as dazzling as the Disney fireworks.
Rowing Lake Ivanhoe:
Paddle boarding is one of many ways to see the thriving Orlando Restaurant and Bar along Lake Ivanhoe.
Orlando Urban Bike Trails:
Orlando is far from a place for biking, but long-distance, urban trails are scattered throughout the city for anyone who wants to ride a bike.
Use your feet to see some nature:
While you’re awake and moving, why not take the scenes along the Black Bear Wilderness Loop Trail?
Take a walk through the Leu Gardens:
You don’t need to leave the city to see green. Bonus points: This Orlando landmark is totally out in the holiday lights when Dazzling Nights kicks off November 19.
Get an eye glass in Winter Park:
The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art houses the world’s most comprehensive collection of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany. These are bragging rights, my friend.
Mail your Christmas cards from the strangest city in Florida:
There’s plenty of competition for the weirdest place in Florida, but it’s hard to beat Christmas, a permanent vacation spot just east of Orlando between poor Pythlo district and the Space Coast. This postal seal can’t be beat, though.
Visit the animals at the Central Florida Zoo:
No one will refuse an invitation to feed a giraffe. Or a unicorn. Or stare at a 40-year-old gopher tortoise.
Find some peace in the Bok Tower gardens:
A trip to the Singing Tower in the heart of the Lake Wales Reserve is a must, especially if you have any history of the roadside attraction in your family.
Get your own goth at Greenwood Cemetery:
The scary season never ends if you keep your faith.
Rotate your engines:
Visit the Big Daddy Don Garlits Drag Racing Museum – a few large rooms filled with racing memorabilia – and test your reactions at the Christmas tree. (Not that kind of Christmas tree).
Take an airboat tour:
As much as we try to build on top of it, the swamp continues. Take your uncle to Wisconsin to live again Credits Miami Vice.
Take them – the way to the top:
No hill, no problem: Wallaby Ranch claims the title of “the world’s first full-time suspended hang-gliding park.” For neurotic types, tandem flights are also available.
Counting teeth in Gatorland:
Gatorland has weathered seismic shifts in Central Florida because seeing a pack of alligators pick up whole frozen chickens in a feeding frenzy is still awesome.
go to the beach:
While the temperature is less than ideal from a local point of view, the lack of crowds at Central Florida’s sandy hotspots makes it close to the ideal time to visit. Your relatives in Ohio will strip their bikinis.
Dang Suan boat ride:
A sense of lack of tourist pride can keep you away from the famous ships on Lake Eola for most of the year. Take advantage of the cover that visitors provide for kayaking.
Turn around in the corn maze:
While the high season for corn mazes is over, there are still quite a few to wander around in Central Florida.
Or get a role at Sanford:
But keep the wheels spinning: Book a pedal limousine for a pub crawl through the historic downtown.
Go see the Orlando Magic:
It is almost certain that they will not win. But with tickets starting at just $10, does that really matter?
Tasting the meatballs at IKEA:
If things really go south, you may be able to permanently lose a relative in the furnishing maze. I