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Bus routes 8 and 9 serve the airport from the city centre and services run every 15 minutes. The 15-km journey could also be made by taxi.
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Famous for its theme parks and fun family vacations, Florida’s Orlando is one of the most popular holiday destinations in the whole of the USA. The large city offers a lot more than just the theme parks though, and many visitors are actually surprised by the sheer diversity presented by this Orange County city. Uncover the city with this Finnair travel guide to Orlando.
Sights in Orlando
Orlando is almost synonymous with Walt Disney World; for children, at least. The huge resort contains four different theme parks: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. Rides, shows and other themed attractions keep people enthralled for hour upon hour. Step into the world of film at Universal Studios and enter a comic book and literary realm at Islands of Adventure, both part of Universal Orlando Resort. Orlando’s water-based attractions include SeaWorld Adventure Park Orlando, Discovery Cove, Aquatica and Wet 'N Wild. For something a bit different, visit Gatorland, home to fearsome alligators and other creatures.
One of the most unique themed attractions in Orlando is Holy Land, based on biblical times. The Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, a Catholic church, attracts plenty of visitors too. There are numerous museums around the city, including Ripley's Believe It or Not! Orlando Odditorium and its many curiosities, the interactive Orlando Science Center and the International Trolley and Train Museum. Art lovers aren’t left out either, with the Orlando Museum of Art, Cornell Fine Arts Museum and Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art. Get tickets to one of many sports games or get active yourself with a round of golf, a game of tennis or even a zipline adventure. There are several pleasant gardens too, perfect if you want some time out. Visit the Historic Bok Sanctuary, Harry P. Leu Gardens and Mead Botanical Garden for some time in nature. There are beaches within an hour’s drive and adults can let off steam after dark along Central Boulevard and Orange Avenue, both in downtown.
Things to See and Do Near Orlando
- Cocoa Beach – One of the closest beaches to Orlando, this is a top surfing spot as well as a great place to swim and sunbathe.
- Ocala National Forest – Add some activities in nature to your trip with a visit to Ocala National Forest. Hiking and camping are great ways to enjoy being outside and there’s plenty of flora and fauna to spot.
- Cape Canaveral – Learn more about space exploration and travel at the Kennedy Space Center and see the famous, now-grounded space shuttle.
Shopping in Orlando
Orlando has a variety of shopping outlets, big and small, to appeal to different tastes and interests. From expensive purchases to bargain buys, Orlando’s shopping scene can cater to most budgets too. Perhaps most appealingly, there are numerous ethnic shops around the city, selling goods that can be difficult to find elsewhere. And, of course, the theme parks all have an array of gift shops selling toys and souvenirs.
- The Florida Mall – The biggest shopping centre in Orlando, this mall has many famous brand names throughout its diverse stores. It’s a popular shopping destination for international tourists.
- Orlando Fashion Square – This is a prime spot for buying a range of fashionable clothing and accessories, with top-class items for men, women and children.
- The Mall at Millenia – The fanciest shopping centre in Orlando, designer brands can be found here in abundance. Names include Apple, Sony, Gucci and Tiffany’s, and there are also outlets of Macy’s, Neiman Marcus and Bloomingdale’s.
- Orlando Premium Outlets – With an outlet at Vineland Avenue and another at International Drive, these are ideal places to find quality fashions for lower prices.
- Little Saigon – A top destination to find Vietnamese and other Asian products.
- Little India – From henna paste, bangles and saris to spices and tasty Indian cuisine, experience a little bit of India right in the heart of Orlando.
- Artegon Marketplace – You’ll find a wide assortment of unique and one-off stores here, with vintage goods, unusual fashions, antiques, retro items, bohemian goods, handicrafts, art and more.
Food and Drink
- Oranges – Florida is famous for its oranges, with many orange groves found around the state. Whether you peel the fruit and eat the juicy segments or enjoy a glass of freshly squeezed juice, trying the local oranges is a must when in Orlando.
- Gator tail – One of the more unusual dishes that you may come across on a local menu, gator tail is exactly what the name suggests—the tail of an alligator! More specifically, the tail is deep fried and commonly eaten as a starter before the main meal.
- Key lime pie – Although key lime pie is from a different part of the Sunshine State—the Florida Keys—it is still widely available in Orlando. The pie crust contains egg yolks, condensed milk and fresh key lime juice for a combination of sweetness, sourness and tartness.
Transport in Orlando
While parts of downtown Orlando may be relatively easy to navigate on foot, the spread-out nature of the area’s major (and minor) attractions means that you will definitely need some form of transportation during your stay in Orlando. Renting a vehicle is recommended.
- Buses – Numerous bus routes serve the Orlando area. Prices are reasonable and you can buy tickets onboard. There is also a free looped service that runs around downtown.
- Trolleys – The trolley buses along Universal Boulevard and International Drive mainly cater to tourists. There are many stops along each route. You can buy tickets onboard the vehicle, ensuring that you have the correct fare available. One-day passes and multi-day passes are also available, though you will need to purchase these from a designated outlet rather than on the vehicle.
- Trains – Mainly used by commuters, a rail service operates between Sand Lake Road and DeBary.
- Taxis – Many taxis are available in Orlando, though you should always call an operator to arrange a ride rather than hailing a taxi on the streets.
- Rental car – Many visitors rent a car to facilitate their travels around Orlando. There are several companies to choose between, with a range of makes and models. Do watch out for gas stations that charge significantly more than the normal price to take advantage of unsuspecting visitors from out of town.