The bustling city of Orlando is located in the heart of Florida. Following the Civil War, Orlando was incorporated on July 31, 1875, and did not become established as a city until 1885. Today, with a population of over 2,500,000 and growing, Orlando ranks as the fourth largest city in Florida.
While Orlando has long been recognized worldwide for its major tourist attractions such as Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Studios, few people know that Orlando really got its start as a tourist destination during the time period between the Spanish-American War and World War I. With its tropical climate and abundant sunshine, visitors and residents are able to explore the city all year long and with no shortage of fun. Downtown Orlando is another area that both locals and tourists enjoy. Lake Eola Park is situated smack dab in the middle of the city and offers a beautiful 23-acre space to immerse yourself in the outdoors, while being surrounded by modern skyscrapers. Eola Park includes hand-sculpted art, rentable swan paddle boats and the Walt Disney Amphitheater, which hosts concerts year-round and is a perfect spot to watch celebratory fireworks every 4th of July.
Whether you’re new to the city or a longtime local, there are endless activities for friends and families to explore. For those looking to expand into the outdoors, there are over 20 scenic parks located throughout Orlando. Each one offers an array of amenities including miles of walking trails, picturesque lakes, cypress trees and dog parks for furry friends! When the summer days begin to get hot, head on over to any one of the east coast beaches to cool off. There are no shortages of beaches convenient to Orlando, the trick is to find the one you love most! On the east coast of the state, the closest beaches are just an hour away and ready for your arrival. Playalinda Beach, Cocoa Beach and Melbourne Beach are just some of the eastern most closest beaches to the big city that locals and tourists enjoy just the same. Each sandy beach allows for countless water activities for all ages along with quaint downtown spots with divine cuisine and shopping. Although these beach trips can be done in a single day, if you’re not up for the drive, there are many smaller beaches located further inland and closer to the city. Some of the closer destinations consist of Lake Baldwin Park—a dog friendly open space and Swann Beach. Additionally there is Waturi Beach which is catered more towards families as it is a year-round water park with thrill rides and other attractions.
If you’re looking for a more slow-paced activity, the Orlando area is packed with both public and private golf courses. With more than 20 golf courses located within a small radius of the city, you can opt in to hit a couple balls after work or spend the weekend afternoon out on the green and soaking up the sun. Forest Lake, Dubsdread, North Shore, MetroWest, Rio Pinar and Hunter’s Creek Golf Club are just a few of the many situated throughout the city’s boundaries.
For those looking to call Orlando home, the endless mix of rural and urban neighborhoods means there is something for everyone to love. Families will especially appreciate Orlando's variety of excellent public and private schools. The University of Central Florida, Valencia College and Everest University-South Orlando are a few of the area's top universities that call Orlando their stomping grounds. Orlando is also home to major and minor league sports teams including the Orlando Magic NBA team, Orlando City SC MLS team, the Orlando Solar Bears ECHL team and a handful of others. If you enjoy downtown, the beach, year-round activities and a bustling atmosphere, then consider calling the amazing city of Orlando home!