Orlando – The City Beautiful – is the third-largest city in Florida. It is a veritable playground for theme parks and resorts, hosting both Universal City Studios and Walt Disney World.
As a result, it is seemingly custom-built for holidaymakers and visitors, and especially families with kids. But there are also attractions that are suited to adults and couples. Those with a taste for great food and shopping, nostalgia, and even science can find something to do here.
Situated in one of the most beautiful states in the country, Orlando is one of the most visited cities in the world, and there’s a space for a romantic date or a unique couples activity (a beer spa, anyone?). Read on for 23 things to do that might appeal to your sense of Floridian adventure.
Table of Contents
- Why Orlando Tourism is So Well-Developed
- 23 Fantastic Things to do in Orlando for Adults
- 1. Alligator Airboat Tour
- 2. Frontyard Festival
- 3. Hanson’s Shoe Repair
- 4. The Orlando Gourmet and Craft Scene
- 5. Shopping!
- 6. ICEBAR Orlando
- 7. Icon Park Orlando
- 8. Kennedy Space Center
- 9. Lake Eola
- 10. My Beer Spa
- 11. Leu Gardens Movie Night
- 12. Ripley’s Believe it or Not!
- 13. SAK Comedy Lab
- 14. Sea Life Orlando Aquarium
- 15. Teatro Martini
- 16. Tibet-Butler Nature Preserve
- 17. Titanic Artifact Exhibition
- 18. Universal Citywalk
- 19. Universal Studios & Universals Islands of Adventure
- 20. I-Drive
- 21. Walt Disney World
- 22. World of Chocolate Museum
- 23. The Fountain of Youth
- Final Thoughts
Tourism became a significant aspect of Orlando’s economic development in 1965 when the Walt Disney Company announced its plans to build a resort there. Orlando is slightly less prone to major hurricanes, which made it favorable to Tampa and Miami.
It’s estimated that Orlando has more theme parks and tourist-centric attractions than any other city in the world. Aside from Orlando itself, attractions like the Kennedy Space Center are cited as nearby attractions and attract a fair amount of visitors.
With that said, here are just 23 of the coolest things that adults can explore in Orlando downtown and surrounds.
23 Fantastic Things to do in Orlando for Adults
1. Alligator Airboat Tour
Florida is gator country, which makes Orlando one of those great opportunities to go alligator spotting. What better way to do that than on a classic airboat? The guided tour provides a thrill as you glide through the Everglades, looking for Florida’s best-known citizens.
Records suggest that the heaviest specimen ever caught in the state weighed just over 1000 lbs and was almost 14 feet long. That’s just a few inches shorter than the longest one. Hopefully, you won’t have to negotiate with one of those. Just remember to keep your hands and feet safely on board.
Fun fact: The Orlando area is one of the richest in terms of alligators. Alligators can be found in almost any body of water, so it’s not unusual to spot them in the inner city, lounging near a small lake, or directing traffic (just kidding).
2. Frontyard Festival
Arts lovers will absolutely be enthralled by the Front Yard festival, hosted by the Dr Phillips Center. It’s a month-long festival of stage, dance, music, film, and even fitness classes, usually kicking off in December. At its height, it ran for six months through May.
There’s bound to be something to suit your tastes in every conceivable performance platform here, whether it’s top-class live music performance, community theatre, or just an Arts-related workshop.
Address: 445 S Magnolia Ave, Orlando.
3. Hanson’s Shoe Repair
Despite its name, Hanson’s isn’t a place to take your worn-out running shoes. It’s a superb craft cocktail bar, partly known because it may be housed in one of Orlando’s oldest buildings. The Hanson Building’s historical status is preserved in its look and feel, as is the spirit of the speakeasy.
If your visit to Orlando has time for a drinks break, you should make a point of heading over to the Hanson Building in Pine Street and trying out the exquisite flavours. There is a catch, though, The bar works in the style of an old speakeasy, so you’ll need a password to get in.
The password changes daily. Fortunately, you can follow the Twitter account @hansonsshoeshop to stay in the loop.
Address: 27 E Pine St, Orlando.
4. The Orlando Gourmet and Craft Scene
Rather than one particular restaurant or bar, you should try to sample as much of Orlando’s gourmet scene as possible. There are plenty of choices – Barley Row is great for beer drinkers who want to test several different craft and artisanal beers to start.
A guided Downtown Cocktail Hour is another opportunity to try the higher end of the drinks tableau. And that’s before you get to try one of the many highly-rated gourmet restaurants downtown. Make a day of it, or make several nights of it. There’s more than enough to choose from to make every excursion different.
Barley Row: Virginia Drive from Mills Avenue to Lake Ivanhoe, Orlando
Who doesn’t go shopping in a new city? Orlando isn’t shy of showing off its shopping options. Looking for some high-end window shopping? The Mall at Millenia is your destination.
Fashion fundis will love the outdoor International Premium Outlet, which hosts 150 different stores. Elsewhere – if variety and size are what you want – the Florida Mall has 250 stores and outlets to entertain your needs.
Mall at Millenia: 4200 Conroy Rd, Orlando
International Premium Outlet: 5269 International Dr, Orlando
Florida Mall: 8001 S Orange Blossom Trl, Orlando
6. ICEBAR Orlando
Florida is the last place you might expect to indulge in your ice fetish, but Icebar Orlando has been a hit with visitors for some time. The novelty bar is entirely decorated in ice – over 70 tons of it! Even your glasses and seats are made from frozen water!
Believe it or not, the venue has a fire lounge where you can take off the chill. The dinner menu is mouth-watering, as are the delicious cocktails – of course, best served cold.
Address: 8967 International Dr, Orlando.
7. Icon Park Orlando
Icon Park is popular with families, but it’s a beautiful opportunity for a romantic date as adults. Pride of the park is a 400 ft Ferris wheel, which offers terrific views of the city, especially in the evenings.
Other attractions within the park include Madame Tussauds, where you can take your photo with a mildly disinterested celebrity. It really can get crazy in the 7D Motion theatre, and there’s plenty of fun to be had in the Museum of Illusions.
Address: 8375 International Dr, Orlando.
8. Kennedy Space Center
You can’t visit Orlando in good conscience and not try to get out to the Kennedy Space Center on a day trip. So much history has been made here, and the exhibits and displays are just the tip of the iceberg.
Time the visit right, and you may get to see an actual rocket launch! But it’s simply fascinating just to take the tours, see the actual vessels that travelled to space, and even relive critical moments of the space race with interactive exhibitions and reenactments. You’ll be talking about it for light-years.
Address: Space Commerce Way, Merritt Island.
9. Lake Eola
For a delightful break from the hustle of downtown city life, Lake Eola and Lake Eola Park offer a chance to draw a breath. The lake is bordered by a mile-long sidewalk that encircles the lake.
The lake also is home to a number of swans and other birdlife, who don’t mind being photographed. You can even rent a swan-shaped boat to try to fit in, though there are no guarantees you’ll be accepted into the flock.
Fun fact: Lake Eola is named after a mystery woman, of whom little else is known. She was apparently the friend of a well-known Orlandian, but records cannot find any specific mention of her elsewhere.
Address: 400 South Orange Avenue, Orlando
10. My Beer Spa
You’ve heard of mud baths and milk baths. Orlando has a spa that specializes in beer soaks for your spa treatment. Get inside a heated, jetted tub full of beer – it’s apparently quite good for you. This could be the best date night ever!
The basic treatment involves an hour-long private soak in a tub of beer (with your partner if you like), along with unlimited servings of craft brew. The hot tubs are filled with a brew containing hops and other antioxidants, and the luxury service includes a private sauna room.
Address: 11787 International Dr Ste 106, Orlando.
11. Leu Gardens Movie Night
There are regular movie nights in the park at Leu Gardens, ensuring that there’s always plenty of romance and adventure in the air for couples. Organizers recommend blankets and allow you to bring a picnic basket and some wine.
Most times movies start at around 7:30, but it’s best to arrive about 30 minutes early, as it’s a walk from the gate. All shows are weather permitting, but it is easily one of the best things to do with your special friend.
Address: 1920 North Forest Avenue, Orlando
12. Ripley’s Believe it or Not!
If a bit of escapism is in order, you can’t go wrong with Ripley’s Believe It or Not! There are literally hundreds of facts, artefacts, and exhibits here that will blow your mind.
It’s not just for kids, either. Robert Ripley was one of the world’s most fascinating individuals, travelling ng the world to find the unusual and extraordinary. This institution celebrates all the wonders of the world and will appeal to the curious kid in all of us.
Address: 8201 International Dr, Orlando
13. SAK Comedy Lab
If you’re up for a laugh, Orlando’s best-rated comedy club is the SAK comedy lab. The improv-focused resident troupe is legendary for its alumni, many of whom have gone on to careers in top franchises like Mad TV, Saturday Night Live, and Whose Line Is It Anyway?
If you’re really into proceedings, you can even take an improv class. The comedy here is suited to adults, as it can be edgy and off the wall.
Address: 29 S Orange Ave, Orlando.
14. Sea Life Orlando Aquarium
Part of the ICON park attraction, the Sea Life Orlando Aquarium is host to some 5000 species to marvel at. It also has a very unique 360-degree ocean tunnel and offers talks and feeding sessions to observe.
For nature lovers, this is a must. For adults, the key attraction is behind the scenes tours, which offers insight into what goes into the care and protection of these species.
Address: 8449 International Dr, Orlando
15. Teatro Martini
Think Of Teatro Martini as a high-end theatrical experience, complete with aerialists, music, fine dining and top-end performances. If you’re thinking of Circ de Soleil, you get the idea. The Teatro has developed its own reputation for being a top-class experience both here and in California.
Dinners are 4-course, and cocktails are tasty! All in all, this is a fabulously good time and it’s usually sold out, so book early.
16. Tibet-Butler Nature Preserve
If you’re a hiking enthusiast, try one of the Tibet -Butler’s hikes. There are 3.6 miles of it to explore, among the pines and swamp-based marshes. The walks are mostly gentle and easy on the legs, which makes them great for couples and slightly older folks as well.
As with all trails and forest walks, be prepared with rugged footwear, nonetheless. The courses may be wet underfoot. Among the most popular tracks are the Fallen Log, Tarflower Loop, and the osprey Overlook Loop. You may even spot a few owls. Best of all, your nature fix is actually right in the middle of urban Orlando, which is wild!
Address: 8777 Winter Garden Vineland Rd, Orlando
17. Titanic Artifact Exhibition
Of all places, Orlando is not where you’d expect to find a Titanic exhibition, but here it is. It’s sort of a museum, with artefacts and room recreations of the infamous and legendary ship. But it’s also much more than that.
For example, costumed actors take you on a journey through the exhibition, back to 1912, immersing you in the look and feel of the doomed journey. There are a few options when it comes to tours – among them the heroes tour, which details the stories of those who were on the ship, some of whom sacrificed their lives for others.
Address: 7324 International Dr, Orlando
18. Universal Citywalk
Universal City Studios is the theme park created by the movie studio to enjoy its most famous properties on rides. But alongside it sits the Citywalk, which is free to enter and explore and is the park’s food, shopping, and games hub.
You can play games like mini-golf, enjoy one of several restaurants and take-out food options, see a show at one of the theatres, and even get a tattoo! At nighttime, Citywalk is an excellent nightlife hub as well and is ideal for a pub visit.
Address: 6000 Universal Blvd, Orlando
19. Universal Studios & Universals Islands of Adventure
One of the most famous theme parks in the world is at your doorstep, and it’s a movie studio’s worth of favourite icons, characters, and memories for you to see. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Jurassic World Velocicoaster, and Volcano Bay are recent highlights.
This might even be worth investigating for a stay, as the park offers plenty of accommodation options. All in all, definitely not just for kids.
The International Drive is the commercial area that essentially houses Orlando’s main attractions. Parks like Walt Disney World and Seaworld can all be accessed from what is called the I-Drive.
If you’re unsure of exactly what to do, it may be worth taking a cruise along this boulevard, as you’ll get an excellent overview of what downtown Orlando is all about. Running off the main drag is Pointe Plaza Avenue, which connects with Universal Blvd.
There isn’t much you can’t access from this road, even many of the attractions listed here. There are also dozens more pubs and restaurants to see and try along the route.
21. Walt Disney World
It might be the most famous attraction in all of Orlando, and people with kids and families will be attending it by the thousands. But if you’re a kid at heart, there’s no reason why you, too, can’t enjoy a little bit of nostalgia.
Disney’s properties extend far beyond Mickey and Donald now. Expect to feel the force with Star Wars, experience the Avengers’ fight for justice, and even explore Pandora, the world of Avatar.
These movies and properties were with us when we were kids, so they might as well still be a part of our lives as adults.
Address: Bay Lake, Lake Buena Vista, Orlando.
22. World of Chocolate Museum
Danger! Chocolate overload is imminent. This may be the most dangerous place to visit in all of Orlando. Everything about chocolate is available for exploration here – from the story of chocolate at the museum to how chocolate is used in dynamic culinary creations (yes, you can try it yourself).
The museum is entertaining. The tour explains the cacao’s journey from the rainforest to your taste buds. There are sculptures of famous global landmarks made entirely out of chocolate! Afterwards, stop for a treat in the cafe… most of which are chocolate-based.
Address: 11701 International Dr suite 400, Orlando
23. The Fountain of Youth
Finally, an offer you might be interested in as an adult – a visit to the Fountain of Youth. St Augustine is a town situated about 100 miles from Orlando, and legend has it that there lies a fountain that may (or may not) hold the secret to eternal life.
Or, at least, that’s what the pamphlet says. What is known is that Ponce de Leon visited here. The Spanish explorer led the first expedition to Florida and likely encountered native people here. As such, this is the oldest European-occupied settlement in the United States. It was officially founded in 1565.
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Orlando’s reputation as a family holiday getaway is well deserved. As the theme park city centre of the world, it’s got more than enough to keep kids entertained for weeks on end. But it’s good to know that adults can have a fantastic getaway here, too.
The options bucket is teeming with fabulous date nights, exciting museums, exhibition centres, and excellent stage entertainment. Even those theme parks people assume are primarily for kids offer something for “older kids” to enjoy – after all, characters from our childhood still appeal to our sense of adventure.
So don’t write Orlando off as a holiday option – in fact, put it at the top of your consideration list.
I covered all of the costs associated with writing this article. However, this things to do in Orlando for adults post includes affiliate links. That means if you click through and end up making a purchase I will receive a small commission. I wanted to make sure you were aware of this.