America, in all of its vastness, offers seemingly endless destinations, and Florida is one of the most popular states for vacationing. Orlando is a top draw for the state, being the location of Walt Disney World. But if rollercoasters and giant animal mascots aren’t your thing, you can still have a blast in Orlando. This gem in central Florida has tons to offer, and a mini vacation in the form of a three-day weekend may be what you need (because vacation days at work are a precious commodity).
If you spend most of your time working inside like most of us do, spending a few days in the fresh air and sunshine will be a welcome change. But even if you already spend a lot of time outdoors, Orlando will fit the bill for you, too. Outdoor enthusiasts, history buffs, and foodies can all find something to do. Here is a day-by-day guide so you can pack a lot of activities into your 72-hour vacay.
Getting a literal taste of what the city has to offer is a great way to spend the first day of your long weekend in Orlando. Mathers Social Gathering is a unique restaurant that seats guests in a parlor setting, encouraging friends and strangers to mingle with each other. Tin & Taco is another must-eat stop. Don’t let the name fool you; this restaurant does have delish tacos, but their menu features other yummy fare, including vegetarian options. To work up an appetite big enough to handle all this amazing food, take in the art and culture Orlando offers. The Orlando Museum of Art houses a collection of contemporary American artwork, and the $15 entry fee leaves plenty of room in your wallet. The Bronze Kingdom is a unique African art gallery featuring thousands of bronze, beaded, and wooden sculptures. You can tour the building and view the art, have a guided educational tour, or attend one of their special events.
You can start the day with a scenic tour of the Harry P. Leu Gardens, a 50-acre botanical oasis. The tropical and semi-tropical gardens include centuries-old oak trees, fountains, and camellia forests. Sightseeing in Orlando wouldn’t be complete without a stop at Lake Eola Heights. It was designated a historic district in 1989 and its eclectic mix of architecture spans 38 blocks. Boutique stores are plentiful in Orlando, so if you’re in the mood to shop you won’t be disappointed. For dinner, check out The Ravenous Pig (that’s the name of the restaurant, but also maybe how you’ll feel after working up an appetite sightseeing and shopping). Remember to call ahead; this restaurant is often very busy and a reservation is recommended.
When in Orlando, you’d need to work pretty hard to avoid any type of outdoor activity because this city is a paradise for nature lovers. The amazing weather and beautiful scenery is always inviting and there is no shortage of adventures to take in. Wekiwa Springs State Park offers nature trails that can be explored on foot or horseback. Its emerald spring-fed river is a perfect spot for swimming and canoeing. Hop in a hot air balloon for a bird’s-eye view of the city, or rent a bicycle and tour it from the ground. Before you leave the city, visit the East End Market to snag some local, fresh produce (perfect healthy snack for your trip home).
You no longer need to associate Orlando with Mickey Mouse alone; now you know this city has much more to offer its visitors. Culture, arts, and culinary delights abound Orlando. Whether you decide to take in the sights, explore the great outdoors, and hit the town with friends or solo, this city is sure to excite and entertain. If you’re looking for a quick escape from your everyday humdrum, a long weekend in the Sunshine State could be the perfect fit.