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Skyline of tall buildings by water on sunny day in Downtown Orlando.

15 Things to Know About Living in Orlando

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 an incredible dining scene—making it a great place to live in Florida. Here are 15 things to know about living in Orlando!

Live Affordably Near the Gulf Coast

Cityscape of Orlando with buildings and sculptures situated around the water.

Photo via @anna.rader

Want to live near the Gulf Coast without the hefty price tag? Fortunately, the City of Light is an affordable place to call home! Compared to other nearby major cities like Miami, Orlando is a cheaper option for coastal living in the Sunshine State. Orlando’s cost of living is 1% lower than the Florida average—compared to Miami’s 11% higher. Plus, Orlando’s median home price sits at only $172,100, but Miami’s housing is significantly higher, with a median purchase price of $241,200! To top it off, retirees living in the Orlando metro benefit from Orlando’s affordability as well as no personal income tax.

Explore Jobs in Orlando

Tall buildings in Downtown Orlando at sunset. Photo by Instagram user @stevenmadow

Photo via @stevenmadow

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 theme parks like Walt Disney World and Universal Studios, countless hotel chains, restaurants, and more in the area. But that’s not all the Orlando job market has to offer! With a 2.3% unemployment rate and opportunities with healthcare, technology, and entertainment businesses like Orlando Health, Oracle CorporationLockheed Martin, and The Golf Channel, it’s no surprise why the Orlando metro is one of the best cities for job creation.

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 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 there. Catch a free ride on a LYMMO bus, which makes 21 stops in Downtown Orlando via the Orange Line, Grapefruit Line, or Lime Line. 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

Aerial view of glass building and campus at University of Central Florida. Photo by Instagram user @ucf.edu

Photo via @ucf.edu

Take advantage of the city’s highly-rated colleges and universities when living in Orlando! Want a large campus experience? The University of Central Florida, one of the largest universities in the state, has more than 220 degree programs across 13 colleges. Or check out Valencia College, a public college with over 120 areas of study, such as business, computer engineering, and nursing, and prepares students for careers with two-year programs. Interested in healthcare fields like radiology and healthcare administration? AdventHealth University‘s Orlando campus is integrated with a world-renowned hospital system—which is one of the best in Central Florida, and has a number of associate and bachelor of science degrees available. Or find smaller classrooms and a more personal college experience at Rollins College in nearby suburb Winter Park. This private liberal arts school offers a 10:1 student-faculty ratio and 35 majors alongside several fantastic graduate programs.

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Enjoy the Subtropical Orlando Weather

Aerial view of trees and water by a chapel. Photo by Instagram user @stevenmadow

Photo via @stevenmadow

Warm, sunny weather is one of Orlando’s top features, making the city a favorite among tourists, families, and retirees alike. Orlando’s average temperature in the summer is 80ºF, with winter highs averaging around 70ºF—and due to its subtropical climate, Orlando experiences high humidity levels. So, 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. This Florida area may be prone to tropical storms in the summer and fall, but as Orlando is about 60 miles inland, hurricanes are generally less severe. 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.

Live in a Sustainable Major City

Close up of a gardener tending plants.

Photo via @fleetfarming

Ranked as one of the greenest cities in America, sustainability is a big part of the culture in Orlando. The city offers a variety of sustainable initiatives, including Make Your Events Green, the Green Building Incentive Program, the Orlando Solar Co-op, and the goal to go Zero Waste by 2040—residents can even sign up to compost their food scraps with O-Town Compost. As for its sustainable transportation efforts, Orlando is striving to reduce reliance on private vehicles by improving public transportation and investing in infrastructure for electric vehicles. This Florida city has 1,293 charging stations for electric vehicles, with around 209 of those being free to use. Orlando also features several environmentally-responsible amenities like golf resorts, parks, businesses, and restaurants throughout the city—such as Constitution Green, the Little Green Spa, Green Phantom Eco Car Wash, Fleet Farming, and PureCycle.

Experience the Vibrant LGBTQ Community

Orlando embraces the queer community year round! LGBTQ residents can take advantage of resources at The Center Orlando, which empowers the community through advocacy, education, and support. The Zebra Coalition provides services for the LGBTQ+ community, such as affordable housing, youth programs, and financial support. Check out Parliament House, an entertainment resort with unique bars and live shows. Visit the Milk District and dance the night away at Southern Nights. Attend the City Beautiful’s largest LGBTQ event, 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. Support Come Out With Pride in October, one of Florida’s largest LGBTQ festivals that’s highlighted by the Drag Race 5K and a massive parade through downtown.

Show Some Spirit for Sports Teams in Orlando

Basketball player from Orlando Magic dribbling ball. Photo by Instagram user @orlandomagic

Photo via @orlandomagic

This Florida city is loaded with hometown teams to keep any sports fan entertained all year! Take in some basketball action with the Orlando Magic (NBA), or stick around for hockey season with the Orlando Solar Bears (ECHL) at the Amway Center. Cheer on local soccer stars of the Orlando City SC (MLS) at Exploria Stadium. Or if college sports are more your speed, get tickets to see the Division I UCF Knights play everything from baseball and football, to volleyball and softball!

Try Your Hand at Orlando Golf Courses

Green golf course on a sunny day. Photo by Instagram user @apbayhillclub

Photo via @apbayhillclub

The City Beautiful is a haven for golfers of any level! Hit the links at the historic Dubsdread Golf Course, Orlando’s original 18-hole course that’s served players of all abilities since 1924. Practice your swing on the wide fairways at Shingle Creek Golf Club. Enjoy one of the most scenic golf 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 & Lodge, 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 golfing in Orlando, 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 Beetle Bounce and explore the creative dining options at LEGOLAND. Go boating, wakeboarding, or 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

Kid feeding giraffe lettuce. Photo by Instagram user @giraffe_ranch

Photo via @giraffe_ranch

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

Family touching fish at aquarium. Photo by Instagram user @sealifeusa

Photo via @sealifeusa

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! 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.

Visit an Orlando Museum

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. Spend a day in interactive kid-friendly exhibits like Earth Matters and the Kinetic Zone at the Orlando Science Center. Stroll through gallery collections or watch lectures, educational workshops, and films at the Rollins Museum of Art. Explore exhibits presenting local and national history dating back 12,000 years at the Orange County Regional History Center. View over 500 human and animal displays in one of the most unique museum experiences at Skeletons: Museum of Osteology. Or dive into the history of Orlando’s Black community at the Wells’Built Museum, a Florida 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 with high-end lattes, cold brews, and exotic roasts from around the globe at Lineage Coffee Roasting. Grab lunch on the go with a perfect New York-style slice of The Sicilian or Pop’s Pesto Pie at NYPD Pizza. Try Mediterranean favorites like Beef Sis Kebap and Lamb Saute at Bosphorous Turkish Cuisine. Take your special someone on a date at Tabla Indian Restaurant, a cozy spot with Indian-style dishes like Chaap Masala or Tandoori Fish with Thai and Chinese influences. Enjoy a quirky dining experience with wandering artists, dancers, and colorful tapas-style plates like Moroccan Tuscan Meatballs or Jerk Chicken Skewers at a top restaurant in Orlando, Cafe Tu Tu Tango. Or head out for creatively-flavored frozen treats like Peanut Butter Cookie or Banana Pudding ice cream at Kelly’s Homemade Ice Cream.

Spend a Night Out on the Town

Man pouring cocktail at bar. Photo by Instagram user @thecourtesy

Photo via @thecourtesy

Whether your idea of weekend relaxation includes a hip club or a chill bar, Orlando’s nightlife scene is always hopping! Dance the night away at one of the best Orlando nightclubs, Gilt Concert Venue—featuring ten bars and two separate dance floors. Attend fun club events in Orlando like Latin Club Night or “Flavor Fridays” at The Beacham. Stop by Hanson’s Shoe Repair, a password-only speakeasy that serves a variety of cocktails. Marvel at a bar constructed out of ice and party with live DJs, a dance floor, and nightly specials at ICEBAR Orlando. Cool off with a variety of delicious and creative cocktails at 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 its cheap drinks and tasty bar food in Orlando.

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Moving to Orlando? Extra Space Storage has self storage facilities throughout the Orlando metro, so we can help your move go smoothly. Find Orlando storage near you!

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About Mike Beutler

Mike Beutler is a writer and digital content specialist who transitioned to self storage in 2020 after several years in the airline industry. His travels cultivated a passion for exploring cities across the U.S. and abroad and inspired him to learn more about practical insights for urban living. With 14 moves under his belt, both locally and cross-country, he also has a passion for minimalism and organization, and sharing tips to help others make any space feel like home while staying organized.