Whether this is your first or 100th visit to Orlando, here are a few insider tips to make sure you hit those don’t-miss spots, secret finds, as well as some navigation tips from the best source available — a local’s perspective.

Get Inspired

Orlando is a dynamic destination with a plethora of creative talent.  So, please, take the time to visit the sites and shows at our world-class theme parks and other entertainment venues.  We insist; get inspired!

Shop till you Drop

With the abundance of distinctive and well-known shopping locales, you truly could shop all day and night in Orlando – and still not hit them all. In addition to outlets and designer malls, make sure to visit the quaint boutiques on Park Avenue in Winter Park, antique district along Lake Ivanhoe, and Edgewater Drive in College Park.

Distinctive Dining

In addition to national restaurant brands, Orlando is a haven for some pretty impressive distinctive dining experiences.  From internationally renowned chefs such as Emeril Lagasse, Wolfgang Puck, Cat Cora and Roy Yamaguchi, to the home-grown talents of John Rivers (4 Rivers Smokehouse), Kevin Fonzo (K Restaurant) and James and Julie Petrakis (The Ravenous Pig and Cask & Larder), the culinary scene in Orlando is not one to be missed.

Off the Beaten Path

Take time to explore some of Orlando’ s hidden gems, like Orlando’s chain of lakes via the Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour, the amazing 50-acre botanical oasis at Leu Gardens, or some of Florida’s natural wonders with Florida EcoSafaris at Forever Florida.

Special Experiences

If you’ve done it all, and still want more, sign up for one of the memorable tours, activities or encounters offered at our world-class theme parks. From behind-the-scenes and trainer for a day experiences to lunch with an astronaut, the options are endless.

Time to Relax

While you can enjoy wonderful spas and global spa brands at many of our resorts and hotels, you can experience relaxing treatments at our boutique spas as well.  Pamper your feet where they are the focus of attention at The Barefoot Spa in Ivanhoe Village in downtown Orlando, treat your body to some “skin food” with the holistic approach found at the Little Green Spa in Winter Park, or receive skin health services at the Beauty Spot Spa & Boutique in the charming College Park neighborhood.

Tackling I-Drive

As one of the prime visitor thoroughfares in Orlando with a plethora of restaurants, shops and entertainment venues, International Drive offers something for everyone.  In addition to walking the sights and sounds, you can also hop aboard the I-Ride Trolley, which travels the entire International Drive Resort Area on a daily basis.  Single-ride to day-long passes are available.

Have a Blast on a Budget

Orlando offers a number of activities to experience and locations to enjoy which are under $20 per person.  Here are just a few that are FREE:  Cornell Fine Arts Museum on the Rollins College Campus in Winter Park; A World of Orchids – a more than 22,000-square-foot conservatory of orchids and other tropical plants; and the Winter Park Farmers Market, located at the Old Train Depot every Saturday from 7 a.m.-1 p.m.

So Says Zagat

Zagat recently released its inaugural 2013 Orlando City Guide, which collects the best of the destination’s restaurants, nightlife, shopping and attractions. The guide includes individual ratings and reviews, and was based on the opinions of 5,614 participants who were surveyed.

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Contributed by Visit Orlando.