Considering moving to Orlando? Not only is The City Beautiful one of the most popular tourist destinations in the U.S., but it also has a flourishing job market, large LGBTQ community, and incredible dining scene, making it a great place to live in Florida. Here are 13 things to know about living in Orlando!
Explore the Local Job Market
As one of the highest-volume tourist destinations in the U.S., Orlando is ripe with positions in the hospitality and tourism industries, thanks to the presence of The Walt Disney Company, countless hotel chains, restaurants, and more in the area. But that’s not all the Orlando job market has to offer! With a 2.5% unemployment rate and opportunities with healthcare, technology, and entertainment companies like Orlando Health, Oracle Corporation, Lockheed Martin, and The Golf Channel, it’s no surprise why the Orlando metro has been named one of the hottest job markets in the U.S.
Get Around with Public Transit
Driving is the preferred method of transportation in Orlando for many residents, with I-4 providing easy access to the city’s most popular areas. However, if you don’t have a car, Orlando’s public transportation has you covered. Take a ride on the SunRail train system, which transports commuters between four different counties. Hop on a Lynx bus for to make a stop along one of its 71 routes. Join the tourists on the IRide Trolley system that moves along the International Drive Resort Area, making commutes easy for those who live and work in the area. Or if you’re staying in Downtown Orlando, catch a free ride on a LYMMO bus, which makes 21 stops in the area. There are also two airports—Orlando International Airport and Orlando Executive Airport—for those who travel for work or need a quick weekend getaway!
Attend an Excellent University
When living in Orlando, you can take advantage of all of the city’s highly-rated colleges and universities! Want a large campus experience? The University of Central Florida has more than 220 degree programs across 13 colleges, and the school boasts the largest student enrollment of any school in the U.S. If you want something more hands-on, Rollins College is a private liberal arts school that offers a 10:1 student-faculty ratio and 35 majors alongside several fantastic graduate programs. There’s also Valencia College, a public college with over 120 areas of study that prepares students for careers with two-year programs, as well as foundations for students transferring to four-year institutions. Interested in healthcare fields like radiology and healthcare administration? AdventHealth University‘s Orlando campus is integrated with a world-renowned hospital system and has a number of associate and bachelor of science degrees available.
Enjoy the Amazing Weather
Warm, sunny weather is one of Orlando’s top attractions, making the city a favorite among tourists, families, and retirees alike. While Orlando gets a good deal of rain—52 inches annually—the precipitation usually comes in short bursts that result in the area’s lush, beautiful landscape. Of course, tropical storms can be a concern for Florida residents in the late summer and fall, but Orlando is about 60 miles inland, so hurricanes are generally reduced to heavy winds and strong rainfall by the time they reach the city. However, if you’ve never lived in a hurricane-prone region before, it’s a good idea to make sure you’re prepared for hurricanes in case a stronger storm does hit while you’re living in Orlando.
Experience the Vibrant LGBTQ Community
As one of the most LGBTQ-friendly cities in America, Orlando hosts several major pride events each year. The largest is Gay Days, a week-long summer celebration featuring pool parties, a business convention, film festival, tasting event, and so much more! There’s also Girls in Wonderland, which has pool parties, celebrity appearances, drag brunches, and more events centered around women within the local LGBTQ community. In October, you can attend Come Out With Pride, one of Florida’s largest LGBTQ festivals that’s highlighted by the Drag Race 5K and a massive parade through Downtown Orlando. But it’s not all about the big events—Orlando’s queer-friendly community is embraced by the city year-round! Check out Parliament House, an entertainment resort with unique bars, live shows, and the legendary Footlight Theatre. Visit the Milk District and dance the night away at Southern Nights, or listen to the melodic symphony of the Orlando Gay Chorus at The Plaza Live.
Show Some Team Spirit
Moving to Orlando to get in on the sports scene? You’re in luck! Orlando is loaded with hometown teams to keep any sports fan entertained all year! Head to Amway Center to take in some basketball action with the Orlando Magic (NBA), or stick around for hockey season with the Orlando Solar Bears (ECHL). Cheer on local soccer stars with Orlando City SC (MLS) at Exploria Stadium. Or if college sports are more your speed, the Division I UCF Knights play everything from baseball and football to volleyball and softball!
Try Your Hand at Golf
Orlando is a golf haven for players of any level! Hit the links at the historic Dubsdread Golf Course, Orlando’s original course that’s served players of all abilities since 1924. If you need to gain some confidence, swing away at the wide fairways at Shingle Creek Golf Club or take a lesson at the Brad Brewer Golf Academy. Enjoy one of the most scenic courses in Orlando at Falcon’s Fire Golf Club, a Rees Jones-designed club that also features an incredible on-site restaurant. Enjoy a staycation at Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club & Lounge, where you can play at one of the finest courses in the country or watch the top players in the world light up the leaderboard at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. For arguably the best all-around golf experience, tee it up at Orange County National Golf Center & Lodge, home to three courses, an amazing teaching center, and more!
Hit the Thrill Parks
While there are many great reasons to move to Orlando, the exciting theme parks play a big role! Check out the famous Walt Disney World, which features six separate parks, over a dozen hotels, and amenities for people of all ages. Take in the sights and sounds of the world’s premier movie and TV-based theme park, Universal Orlando Resort, which has a variety of rides, interactive shows, and some of the best Orlando restaurants—not to mention, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter! Catch stunning performances by dolphins and sea lions or ride roller coasters at SeaWorld. Thrill the young ones with a ride on The Dragon at LEGOLAND. Hit the water and go boating, wakeboarding, and water skiing at the Orlando Watersports Complex. Or venture down memory lane at Fun Spot America, an old-school amusement park with bumper cars, go karts, roller coasters, and kiddie rides.
Soak Up the Outdoor Fun
Though theme parks get most of the attention, there are tons of other outdoor Orlando attractions to take advantage of! Experience the city’s natural beauty with nearly 50 acres of garden, citrus graves, and endangered plants at Bok Tower Gardens. Meet PJ, the famous one-horned rhino, at the Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens. Or get up close with the world’s tallest animals at Giraffe Ranch. Cruise through the Florida swamps at up to 40mph on a Boggy Creek Airboat Adventure. Need some fun things to do in Orlando with kids? Try out the zip lines and elevated obstacle course at the Orlando Tree Trek Adventure Park, or putt through mountain caves and under waterfalls at Pirate’s Cove Adventures Golf.
Take a Spin Down International Drive
If you want to visit the epicenter of all that makes Orlando great, check out International Drive—home to some of the city’s top restaurants, shopping, and entertainment! Fly around at top speeds on the fastest indoor go-kart track in Central Florida at I-Drive NASCAR Kart Racing. Explore the sea and learn about more than 5,000 different species at the Sea Life Orlando Aquarium. Take a tour at the Chocolate Kingdom, a live display of the chocolate-making process using old world machinery. Challenge your friends to golfing or arcade-style games at Topgolf Orlando. Shop until you drop at the Orlando International Premium Outlets or the Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets, which combined house over 300 stores. Or leave room for all-you-can-eat seafood at Boston Lobster Feast, a buffet-style spot with a variety of fresh catches and tasty lobster.
Don’t Sleep on the Arts
History buffs and art aficionados rejoice! Orlando has several museums to satisfy your art tastes. Spend a day enjoying African Art, Contemporary Graphics, and amazing rotating exhibits at the Orlando Museum of Art. Check out the world’s most comprehensive collection of pieces by Louis Comfort Tiffany, as well as a variety of other American works at The Morse Museum. Visit the Orlando Science Center for interactive kid-friendly exhibits like Top Secret: License to Spy and the Kinetic Zone. Learn about Orlando’s local history with rotating showcases at the Winter Park History Museum. For one of the most unique museum experiences, pop over to Skeletons: Museum of Osteology, where you’ll find over 500 human and animals displays. Or dive into Orlando’s African-American heritage at the Wells’Built Museum, a hidden gem that showcases sculptures, paintings, books, and more.
Bring Your Appetite
From extraordinary breakfast places to perfect date night spots, Orlando’s food scene has it all! Kick off your Saturday morning with Turtle Stuffed French Toast or Eggs Florentine from Keke’s Breakfast Cafe. Get your caffeine fix at Lineage Coffee Roasting, which specializes in high-end lattes, cold brews, and exotic roasts from around the globe. Grab lunch on the go with the perfect New York-style slice of The Sicilian or Pop’s Pesto Pie at NYPD Pizza. Dine at Bosphorous Turkish Cuisine to try Mediterranean favorites like Beef Sis Kebap and Moussaka. Take your special someone on a date to Tabla Cuisine, a cozy restaurant with Indian-style dishes that feature influences from Thai and Chinese fare. Enjoy a quirky experience with wandering artists, dancers, and colorful tapas-style plates at one of the top restaurants in Orlando, Cafe Tu Tu Tango. Or head out for a frozen treat at Kelly’s Homemade Ice Cream, a local shop that offers creative flavors like Jamocha Almond Fudge and Alligator Tracks.
Spend a Night Out on the Town
Whether your idea of weekend relaxation is a hip club or a chill bar, Orlando’s nightlife scene is always hopping! Dance the night away at Gilt Nightclub, one of the best Orlando nightclubs featuring ten bars and two separate dance floors. For a fun Latin-themed experience, visit La Carambola Night Club, where you’ll find great cocktails and karaoke. If a casual hangout with craft beer traditional bar games is what you’re looking for, head over to SideBar Orlando. Grab some drinks with your pals at The Courtesy, a speakeasy-style bar that specializes in imaginative cocktails. Turn up the heat with a flaming rum drink at the island-themed Aku Aku Tiki Bar. Seeking a classic dive bar? Order a cold beer at the Hideaway Bar, a no-frills spot known for cheap drinks and tasty bar food.
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