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Best Things to Do in Orlando That Won’t Make You Look Like a Tourist

Chances are when you hear “Orlando, Florida” your mind probably goes straight to one of the following—Mickey Mouse, hot weather, long amusement park lines, and kids running around screaming. But, what if I told you that mental picture of Orlando isn't accurate, or how the locals see their city. Orlando is often referred to as “The City Beautiful” and there’s a lot it has to offer. Here’s a roundup of the best-kept local activities that’ll keep you far away from overcrowded theme parks.

Stroll Through Park Ave. in Winter Park

The moment you step foot onto Park Ave., you’ll get a sense of community as you walk up and down the main road. This gorgeous historic area in Winter Park offers shops, restaurants, and a park area for walking or relaxing. Park Avenue is the main stretch where you’ll find most of the action, but there are several off-shoot streets offering great finds. So take a stroll, and venture off the path.

Photo credit from left to right: @jess.y_lifestyle & @killakoji.

For a complete list of shops and restaurants, visit: http://experienceparkavenue.com/.

Harry P. Leu Gardens

Stop and smell the roses. Literally. At Leu Gardens, the tour is self-guided, and you’ll want to make sure you wear comfortable shoes—there’s a lot of walking involved. The gardens may not seem big on the outside, but there’s 50 acres of foliage waiting to be discovered. There are many themed gardens, including the butterfly, rose, and vegetable garden. We’re not kidding when we say you can smell the sweet rose scent from a distance. Leu Gardens is one of the hidden gems Orlando has tucked away, and makes for a great early morning activity with the family.

Photo credit from left to right: @sugarbuzzdezertcompany & @socoamaretto_.

For hours and visitor information, visit: http://www.leugardens.org/.

East End Market

Do you consider yourself a foodie? Do you love to shop small and indulge in natural, organic food? If you find yourself nodding to these questions, East End Market is your mecca. East End Market is considered to be the “culinary food hub” of central Florida. Although this foodie haven gets packed during lunch and weekends, it’s worth the long lines and barely there parking spots. You’ll find craft coffee, fresh bread, cookies, beer, cold-press juices, cheese and even exquisite plant arrangements in this small indoor market. Support Orlando’s local farmers and artisans by coming to East End—you’ll have a meal with less cartoon characters, and more flavor and sustainability.

Photo credit from left to right: @whiten0ises & @chelsea_nicolee.

For parking information and event dates, visit: https://www.eastendmkt.com/.

Tasty Takeover

Are you visiting Orlando during the week and want to find a local event, or quick damn-good food? Are you a long-time local who’s tired of the same old, same old Tuesday night meal? Look no further than Tasty Takeover (also known as Tasty Tuesday) in the Milk District to switch up your regular weeknight dinner. Food trucks gather behind the Milk Bar (across from T.G. Lee plant) for this gastronomic adventure. Once you’ve found parking, you’ll get to sample unique food from a wide selection of food trucks. On average, there’s about 12 food trucks here every Tuesday night, sometimes more. The variety is great if you’re feeding a large crowd, or you’re feeling a bit indecisive—there’s something for everyone at this event. Be sure to come early since parking fills up fast. Tasty Tuesday is a weekly event bringing together the Orlando community—and you guessed it—it involves great, varied food.

Photo credit from left to right: @tastytakeover & @papallamaco.

For more information and upcoming events LIKE their page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TastyTakeover/ or follow them on Instagram for in-depth profiles of featured food trucks: @tastytakeover.

Stroll Lake Eola Park

Lake Eola Park personifies Orlando’s nickname “The City Beautiful”—here you’ll find a picturesque city park right here in downtown Orlando. Lake Eola is always full of swans, ducks, geese, and above all, diversity. There’s a path around the lake perimeter for walking, as well as many areas for relaxation. Lake Eola also boasts several open areas with beautiful turf-like grass —perfect for picnicking, ball games, family gathering, or just laying out in the sun—and a playground for kids of all ages. You’ll find numerous events on these grounds from the Sunday farmer’s market, yoga, performances, and festivals. Lake Eola is a great place to explore whether you’re a local or visiting. Get outside and enjoy!

Photo credit from left to right: @patryceartis & @pajachytil.

For upcoming events, visit: http://www.cityoforlando.net/parks/lake-eola-park/.

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