Monument Ave, Kissimee                                 842 N Mills Ave, Orlando                                    927 N Mills Ave, Orlando


14 Orlando area recommendations that we enjoyed beyond the Mouse

What is the first vision that comes to your mind when somebody mentions Orlando?  The Mouse, theme parks galore, crowded restaurants, I-4 congestion, maybe all this, right?  Sure, Orlando does offer all of these experiences and so many more.  The good news is there are so many other places in the area to explore.  Next time you are in Orlando, take some time and explore the many diverse neighborhoods and surrounding areas.  Here are 14 Orlando area recommendations that we enjoyed beyond the Mouse.  Let’s get started.

Winter Park: 

Winter Park, founded as a resort destination for the wealthy, is a true gem.  Spend the day shopping in the many boutiques and specialty shops throughout the town.  Take a walk in one of the 70 parks, have lunch in a sidewalk café, or treat yourself to a luxury spa treatment.

Scenic Boat Tour:  Take a relaxing boat tour through the canals that connect Lake Osceola with Lake Maitland and Lake Virginia. Enjoy the views, the water, and the Florida sunshine.

Winter park


The Wine Room:  Take some time for the Vine at the Wine Room.  With over 150 wines to sample, this unique experience is perfect for date night.  Buy the wine card and start your tour.  You pick and sample what you desire.  Make sure you visit the Vault Room downstairs.  StroTip: Check Groupon for a Deal


The City of Orlando is often overlooked by visiting tourists.  Downtown offers everything from major sporting events, world-class entertainment venues, and trendy nightspots.

Wall Murals:  The Orlando area is home to over 45 art murals.  Located throughout the city and nearby neighborhoods, these are a few of our favorites.

You matter wings Rainbow doves You matter wings

1336 N Mills Ave                                                                 1200 E Colonial Ave                                            912 N Mills Ave


Mathers Social Gathering:  Not only is this a super cool speakeasy, but it also offers Happy Hour prices between 4 -7.  Are you looking for something a little sexier?  Try Tuesday night Burlesque.  What a show! Mathers Social Gathering is perfect for date night.

Hanson’s Shoe Repair:  Located inside the Original Hansons Building, one of the oldest in the city, this secret speakeasy is towards the back of the main bar, up the red stairs, and through the black door, which is opened once you ring the buzzer and give the password.  StroTip: To get the password check their social media or call them.

Mills 50:

Mills 50 is a hidden gem of a very eclectic community near Lake Ivanhoe with a lot of small bars, restaurants, and hangouts and murals.

Santiago’s Bodega:  Hands down, this restaurant is your next favorite brunch.  Unlimited mimosas, house-made Sangria, and an unlimited tapas-style buffet brought to your table!   Wait until you try the hash brown casserole and the toffee cake.  Reservations are a must!

Dr. Phillips:

Located close to International Drive hotels and the Orange County Convention Center, Dr. Phillips is worth checking out.  If you enjoy upscale dining without the touristy crowds, this area is for you.  With over 20 eateries in this area, “Restaurant Row” has everything from steaks to tacos.  We opted for tequila and tacos on our visit.

Rocco’s Tacos and Tequila Bar:  Rocos offers lite bites, happy hour, and a very impressive tequila menu.  Outside seating is available as well as inside and four great bars.  With its crazy décor and fantastic food, Rocco’s is a hit.Roccos tacos


Again, more than the mouse up and down 192, you will find a lot of cool stuff to do and eat.

Shingle Creek:  Kayak or canoe down Shingle Creek.  Enjoy the serenity as you paddle through the forest.  There are bike trails and walking trails as well.  Take water; you’re going to need it!

World Food Trucks:  Are you looking for something a little different?  Try World Food Trucks, located on Hwy 192.  Behind the building, you will find over 50 food trucks offering everything from empanadas to smoothies.  There is plenty of seating available.

Sunset Walk:  You can find plenty of dining establishments here at Sunset Walk.  There is often live music in the square.  The crowds are minimal compared to the more popular City Walk and Disney Springs.  From pizza to seafood, you can find something you like here.

The Wharf:  Great seafood, oyster bar, and the very best Smoked Chocolate Old Fashioned ever.

El Jefe Tequilas:  With over 100 quality tequilas to drink, is there anything more to say?  How about some fajitas or a burrito?  With live music on the weekends, El Jefe is perfect for date night.

Old Town Kissimmee:

Kissimmee Lake Front Park:  Take a relaxing bike ride or a walk along the lakefront.  This quiet open area is easily accessible and has plenty of parking and picnic tables.  Make sure you check out the Monument of States before you leave.

Monument of states

Wall Murals:  Historic Kissimmee has several beautiful murals.  Take an early evening away from the crowds and see them.  You can grab some dinner at one of the local restaurants on Broad and Main Streets.

Kissimmee art


As a master-planned community, Celebration is a town within a town.  Complete with shopping, restaurants, and magnificent homes, you will have a wonderful time exploring this area.  Take a stroll down by the lake, or let the kids play in the spouting water park.  Ice cream and macaroons are sure to please your sweet tooth.  There several restaurants in Celebration, and one, in particular, gets our vote every time.

Columbia:  Whether you are having lunch, dinner, or a late-night bite, Columbia is a must.  Start with their world-famous Columbia 1905 salad and a pitcher of Sangria.  Whatever you decide for the entree, you will be pleased.  Save room for white chocolate bread pudding.  It is over the top!

As you can see, there is more to Orlando than most people ever get to know.  We hope the next time you visit, you take some time and explore the city.  These 14 Orlando area recommendations will help you navigate beyond the Mouse.

Thanks for reading!

Travel Safe and Adventure Often,

Maureen & Robb, aka The Stromads

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