things to do in orlando this weekend

Naveen Joshi

5 mins read

Apr 24, 2024


How to Explore Orlando Like a Local?

When planning a vacation to Orlando, the ancient itineraries will make you believe the city is all about its theme parks. But let us tell you a secret: the only way to explore Orlando right is to explore it like a local.  

In this blog post, we will disclose the best things to do in Orlando to make you experience Orlando’s unsung charm and personality, which are nowhere to be found in those cliche tourist spots. It’s about time you finally make the most of your vacation while exploring Orlando like a local.  

Avoid the I-4 Highway 

If you take the I-4 highway, you’ll spend most of your vacation honking the horns. Avoiding the I-4 route can be tricky since it’s one of the main highways in Orlando. Our first tip to explore Orlando like a local is to steer clear from this highway and map alternate driving routes.  

Instead of the I-4, you can drive on toll roads and backroads, save your vacation time by rushing away from rush hour, and enjoy scenic routes while on your way to explore things to do in Orlando this weekend.  

Enjoy Meals by CookinGenie  

Dining in an al-fresco restaurant is unnecessary to have the best food in Orladon, especially when CookinGenie cooks the best of Orlando’s food in your kitchen. CookinGenie is an online chef marketplace that lets you hire private chefs.  

Many local talents are skilled and ready to cook delicious meals for you. You can explore the chefs present in your area by entering the zip code on the website or the app.  

Once you select a personal chef in Orlando, they will craft a menu based on your tastes and preferences. They will arrive at your doorstep on your chosen date and time with fresh ingredients to prep your meal. You can savor delicious meals from around the globe sitting comfortably in your room like an Orlando local.   

The Plaza Live 

Locals recommend visiting Plaza Live for music lovers who want the ultimate concert experience. Although Plaza Live was initially built as a movie theater, it became a hub for live performances, comedy shows, and cultural events after 1963.  

On its official website, you can view the latest events, see who is performing, and secure tickets. If you’re visiting with your partner, Plaza Live is one of the recommended romantic places in Orlando to enjoy a beautiful evening.  

Avoid The Touristy Dining Spots 

Orlando is a touristy destination with a long list of over-the-top restaurants that Google will suggest you try. However, a lesser-known fact is that trying a bite at smaller local shops should be part of your plan of fun things to do in Orlando. Visiting these shops will help you avoid long wait times, save money, and support local businesses while getting a taste of what’s genuinely Orlando.  

  • Must-Try Orlando Local Restaurants 
  • Sieto Sushi: Known for luxury Asian dishes.  
  • The Osprey: Offers modern coastal cuisine.  
  • Taste of Chengdu: Serves authentic Sichuan meals.  
  • Meza: Famous for Mediterranean Grill. 
  • La Bella Luna: Family-owned authentic Italian restaurant.  
  • Colibri Mexican Cuisine: Top rated as one of the best Mexican restaurants in Orlando.  

If You Visit the Theme Parks, Go During the Week 

A vacation in Orlando isn’t complete without a ticket to a theme park, and we will never advise you against it. However, to make the most of your visit, consider this essential tip: aim for a weekday visit. 

One weekday visit will allow you to avoid the weekend rush and enjoy the best things to do in Orlando theme parks. This way, you’ll save time and get more bang for your buck.  

Explore New Neighborhoods 

Orlando is a city on the move, continually expanding its horizons well beyond the confines of downtown and world-famous theme parks. This growth opens up exploring new destinations for your next vacation—packed with must-visit restaurants, lively bars, and other best things to do in Orlando, such as touring the local farmers’ markets

If you’re wondering which location to put on your map first, Winter Garden, Avalon Park, Sanford, and Celebration are a few options. Each neighborhood has its vibe and many activities that promise to add memorable experiences to your visit. 

Catch a show 

Catching a show could be another great add-on to your list of things to do in Orlando this weekend as a local. Downtown, you can enjoy a Broadway show or a live musical performance at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. Head to the SAK Comedy Lab for a night of laughter, where the audience shapes an unforgettable improv comedy show.  

The quirky and captivating performances by the Blue Man Group are something not to be missed. If you’re in the mood for classics, the Orlando Shakespeare Theater hosts local productions that bring Shakespeare’s tales to life. 

Visit a local market 

The best way to get a taste of Orlando is to tour one of its local markets. Start your adventure at East End Market, a hub for various food vendors and artisans, complemented by a beautiful outdoor courtyard. Queue up for a delectably gooey cookie from Gideon’s Bakehouse called Earth’s Best Cookies.  

Try an expertly crafted cheese board from the artisanal cheese shop, La Femme du Fromage. To change scenery, make your way to Winter Garden’s Plant Street Market. This destination offers many treats, including a craft brewery, sushi, coal-fired pizza, mini donuts, BBQ, and other best things to do in Orlando to give your taste buds the pampering they deserve.  

Shop till you drop 

Orlando is a great place to shop if you like. The Mall at Millenia and the Florida Mall are Orlando’s premier shopping malls. However, if your eyes gleam when you see the ‘SALE’ placards, Orlando has three factory outlet centers that showcase top brands and designers.  

These factory outlets are Orlando International Premium Outlets, Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores, and Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets.  

Apart from these stores, another recommendation for a shopping spree in Orlando is a day at Disney Springs®. If you get bored of shopping at this place (which is very unlikely when you can access 100 retailers), you can also indulge in entertainment, dining, and more things to do in Orlando this weekend.  

Crayola Experience 

Crayola Experience is a world where creativity knows no bounds. This vibrant indoor playground covers two stories and 70,000 square feet and offers over two dozen interactive indoor activities in Orlando designed for visitors of all ages.   

Here, you can craft your own Crayola crayon and witness how crayons are made during an engaging live demonstration.  

Immerse yourself in a colorful universe with Crayola Model Magic, bring your digital art to life on a big interactive wall, and watch crayons take shapes through melting. Visiting Crayola Experience allows you to explore Orlando like a local and have a one-of-a-kind experience.  

The Best of Orlando

Exploring Orlando like a local gives you experiences beyond the well-trodden paths of its famous theme parks. These local yet best things to do in Orlando enrich your visit and also connect you more deeply with its essence. So, on your next trip, remember to step off the usual tourist track and dive into the local scene—where the real magic of Orlando shines through. 

Naveen Joshi

Chief Marketing Officer

A bookworm at heart, Naveen's love for stories seeps into his writing, adding a dash of creativity to every dish he explores. With a thoughtful and easy-going spirit, Naveen offers readers a blend of insightful and relatable food narratives. You will find him trekking through the mountains when he's not writing or reading.

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