Looking for the best things to do in Orlando besides Theme Parks?
When someone thinks Orlando, Florida, they automatically think of theme parks, like Disney World or Universal Studios, but Orlando has so much more to offer.
Partially because of the tourists that the theme parks bring in, Orlando is jammed packed with other attractions to keep said tourists, and locals, on their toes. From late night pub crawls to family friendly outdoor movies, Orlando has you covered.
29 Fun Things to do in Orlando that are not Theme Parks
Orlando Watersports Complex
Though Orlando is not located on the beach, there is plenty of water to be found for some fun in the sun. On one such body of water, sits the Orlando Watersports Complex.
The OWC is known for its wakeboarding park. There are cable pull areas as well as boating wake options. Whether you are a beginner or a pro, OWC is the place for you.
If it is your first time on a wakeboard, there are classes available in a low pressure environment, as the more experienced boarders have their own area with ramps and rails to ride.
Over the summer, the complex offers summer camps for ages 7-15, complete with an Aquapark. What is an Aquapark you ask? It is a huge blow up jungle gym in the middle of the lake. This may sound awesome, but it is even more impressive in person. One of the best activities in Orlando that is not a theme park.
See more: Orlando hotels with lazy rivers
Orlando Farmer’s Market
Let’s talk farmer’s markets. What better way to get some fresh air and even fresher produce? The Orlando Farmer’s Market is located on Lake Eola, in the heart of downtown.
It is jam packed with food vendors, from arepas to BBQ. While enjoying all the amazing food, you can also walk the lake, which is home to all sorts of wildlife.
You can spot swans, turtles, and ducks on the lake and squirrels and lizards on the path. If you are feeling adventurous, you can even take a Swan Boat out for a spin to really work up an appetite for the delicious farmer’s market offerings.
Megacon at the Orange County Convention Center
For all those mega fans out there, let’s talk about Megacon at the Orange County Convention Center. This is a four day event where you can not only dress up to look like your favorite Comic or Anime character, but you have the chance to meet them.
Actors like the Karate Kid and Neville from Harry Potter attend, as well as voice actors and writers. If meeting your hero wasn’t enough, there are plenty of other activities to keep you busy, like fan art and cosplay contests to enter. So come on out and get your fill of fantasy!
Get a resort day pass
Trying to beat the heat, but don’t have a personal or community pool? The solution is a resort day pass. Big name hotels such as the Hyatt and Hilton offer day passes where you can enjoy the pool and bar for as low as $20.
Some of these resorts have access to lazy rivers and water slides as part of the day pass package. And if you are really wanting luxury, you can always throw in a massage at the hotel spa for a little extra dough.
The Wheel at ICON Park
We have all heard of the London Eye, England’s giant ferris wheel. Well, Orlando has The Wheel at ICON Park, which is its own monstruos ferris wheel.
Though it does not reach the heights of the London Eye, The Wheel is no slouch standing at 400 feet. This height allows for views of the surrounding theme parks and is a great photo opportunity if you are looking to make a splash on Instagram.
As the pods are enclosed, you do not have to worry about the sweltering heat if you happen to be taking a ride on one of Florida’s famously hot summer days.
See more: Best themed restaurants in Orlando
Visit one of Orlando’s Lakes including Clear Lake
For all you fisherman out there, you’re in luck, Orlando has over 100 lakes. The most popular being Clear Lake.
This lake is stocked yearly, so you are able to keep what you catch with no size limit restrictions. Like they say, it is called “fishing” not “catching ”, so even if the fish don’t bite, you can still enjoy some peace and quiet out on the lake while enjoying the fresh air.
And who knows, you may get lucky and spot an alligator or two.
Get caffeinated at Craft and Commo
Need a pick me up from all the running around? Look no further, there is a coffee shop on just about every corner, each as unique as the last.
Just about everyone loves their coffee or tea, but you need a coffee house that matches your mood. If you want to see and be seen, then Craft and Common is the spot for you. It is always bustling, often with a line out the door.
If you are looking for less of a crowd, in a hip and botanical atmosphere, Deeply is your dream shop. For the busy bees looking to get some work in, Lobos has you covered. It is comfy and quiet, perfect for a library feel with a side of truly superior coffee.
Blast Supercar Driving Experience
If you have a need for speed, Blast Supercar Driving Experience can scratch that itch. Take your loved ones or ride solo down a 10 mile stretch in the super car of your choosing.
They have Lamborghinis, McLarens, Ferraris, and Audis to choose from. No matter what car you end up in, you are guaranteed to be looking fly in these eye-catching supercars.
- See more: Hidden Gems in Orlando
Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground movies
Whether you have little ones or are just a die hard Disney fan, Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground movies are a must. Even if you choose not to camp, the outdoor movies are open to all.
This family friendly night of entertainment starts with the Chip and Dale chipmunks serenading the audience while they enjoy s’mores around the many campfires located in front of the colossal outdoor movie screen. The movies are constantly changing, so be sure to check out their website to find the outdoor movie schedule before heading out.
They play Disney classics like Pohkahontas and Mulan, as well as newer releases, like Encanto. They cover all the bases when it comes to generational movie preferences out at the Fort Wilderness Campground.
Orlando Science Center
The Orlando Science Center is a unique experience. It has four floors of fun, interactive learning for all ages. You can hoist yourself up using a pulley system, take a virtual helicopter ride, visit the reptile exhibit, and much more.
Because the learning is interactive, it holds the attention of even the youngest among us. They can learn about agriculture while harvesting citrus from the ever plentiful orange tree, or dinosaurs while unearthing fossils.
Due to its popularity with the kids, the Orlando Science Center offers camps throughout the year for fifth graders to preschoolers.
Sometimes we just need to remember to breathe and recenter ourselves. After a long week of work and socializing, what better way to reconnect with not only ourselves, but nature?
How about some outdoor yoga? Every Sunday outdoor yoga sessions are held in the Sculpture Garden at The Mennello Museum of American Art and at Lake Eola Park by the lake.
You can’t go wrong with either class, both are relaxing and just the thing for quieting busy minds and loosening tight shoulders. For those less practiced yogis, don’t be shy, these classes are beginner friendly and so are the people.
Downtown Orlando’s pub crawl scene
Now, for some good old fashioned adult fun, there is downtown Orlando’s pub crawl scene. For most holidays, be they large or be they small, you can find a pub crawl downtown, usually beginning at Sideshow and trickling through the streets to Swiggs, Stagger Inn, Elixir, and so on.
Be warned, this is no classy affair. We are talking down and dirty frat party vibes. You will find scantily clad attendees, sticky floors, and long lines to the bathroom.
This said, it is all in good fun, just be sure to take a nice long, much needed shower when the shenanigans are over and have some ibuprofen handy for the next day.
If you are strolling down I-Drive, Wonderworks is hard to miss. You will know it when you see it, as it is the only building that is upside down.
You may be thinking, upside down, did I read that right? Yes, upside down! Wonderworks is a hodgepodge of fun and games.
There are interactive learning stations, arcade games, optical illusions, laser tag, and magic shows to be enjoyed. One of the most popular exhibits is the space area, as Florida is known for its rocket launches. Here you can find a spinning capsule that emulates tumbling around in space like the astronauts do.
Dr. Phillips Center
If you are a fan of the arts, the Dr. Phillips Center is a must. It provides entertainment for all, whether you want to see a play, ballet, comedy show, or symphony.
The performers are the best of the best, so it is a true honor to see them perform and to be a part of the magic as a member of the live audience. Part of the allure is the high class feel as you walk around the glass building all dressed up.
The formality of it all as you get your program from the usher while you are directed to your seat. Many things nowadays have become casual, so it is a nice change of pace to have that sense of ceremony.
Calling all shoppaholics! Nothing hits the spot like some retail therapy to brighten your mood. Disney Springs is like your old school day at the mall on steroids, with some Disney flair.
Brand name stores like Ugg, Under Armor, and Free People line the streets, as well as some unique shops only to be found at Disney Springs. Shopping may be the main draw, but the giant bowling alley, live entertainment, amazing restaurants, and sweet shops galore don’t hurt.
And when I say amazing restaurants, I mean Iron Chef owned spots like Morimoto Asia and Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’. Keep in mind that Disney Springs is an outdoor shopping plaza, so be sure to check the weather before heading out.
Get active with some paddleboarding
Get out your sunnies folks, it’s time for some paddleboarding. With all the lakes in Orlando, it is easy to find a spot for some boarding. Don’t have your own paddle board? No worries, there are plenty of places to rent one, like Lakeside Watersport Rentals.
A paddle board is a great way to get active and catch some rays. Contrary to popular belief, they are actually pretty sturdy. Don’t get me wrong, it does take a little balance and coordination, but all things considered, paddle boards are easy to master compared to surfing or wakeboarding.
You can paddle out and tan, do some laps around a lake, or even do some yoga. Yes, people really do yoga on these things!
The Orlando Magic were once a force to be reckoned with. Now, not so much, but whether they win or lose, it’s worth a drop in to watch a basketball game at the Amway Arena.
Stuff the Magic Dragon, the mascot, keeps the audience entertained with his antics before the game and at half time. Sometimes, if he is feeling frisky, he may even dance a jig with the cheerleaders.
When it comes to boating, not just any lake will do. Lake Fairview is the perfect lake for your boating needs, complete with a boat ramp and marina.
It is huge, so there is plenty of room to roam and wildlife to see along the way. If you are looking for a mini vacation, or just want to stay on site for multiple days of boating, you can rent out one of the tiny houses located right on the shore. One of the best things to do in Orlando besides theme parks for sure.
Visit one of Orlando’s escape rooms
Ok junior sleuths, this one is for you. Orlando is host to many escape rooms, but no matter which one you visit, the name of the game is always the same, to escape! You are put in a room with hidden clues and riddles to be discovered or solved.
Each clue leads to another until you reach the last, which leads you to a key and your ultimate escape. Sounds simple enough, but the pressure is on with only sixty minutes to escape. You will need to bring your A game when it comes to observation, as many of the clues are subtle and take a trained eye to spot.
Air Force Fun
If you are looking to tour Orlando in style, you have got to head to Air Force Fun for a helicopter tour. You get a bird’s eye view of all the theme parks in an intimate setting, as the passenger limit is 3 per ride.
Your pilot is full of fun facts about Orlando and is sure to get a laugh or two out of you. Walk-ins are accepted, but reservations are recommended as these tours are in high demand. The tours range from $39.00 per person to $195 per person based on the flight time.
Rage Room Orlando
Do you ever get so mad or overwhelmed you could just throw something? Obviously the best way to deal with anger is to be the master of your own mind, but if you aren’t there yet, head on over to Rage Room Orlando to let off some steam.
When you arrive, you will be given a jumpsuit, helmet, gloves, and most importantly, some tools for destruction, like hammers, bats, and sledge hammers.
Rage Room Orlando has tons of packages to fit your needs, one of which being “Couples Therapy” which is cheaper than actual therapy and quite cathartic in its own right. So if you’re seeing red, gear up and get to smashing.
Orlando Picnic PopUp
In case you didn’t know, “luxury picnics” are a thing now, and Orlando Picnic PopUp is one of the best in the business. The atmosphere they can create with their setups are unmatched.
They can do romantic, boho, floral, and so much more. Whether you are looking to impress your date or just have a fun, unique brunch with your besties, Orlando Picnic PopUp has your back.
Depending on the package you choose, you can get game night games or fresh flowers and framed photos to personalize the experience. This setup does not come with food included, but for a small fee you can get charcuterie or a brunch board thrown in.
Truffles & Trifles
If you are looking to receive the chef’s kiss, all you have to do is reserve a class at Truffles & Trifles. Not into sweets? No problem. Though they do offer dessert classes, but Truffles & Trifles actually focus mainly on savory cuisine, their most popular class being Tacos and Tequila.
The classes are fun and cater to cooks of all calibers. There is something for every taste since the classes range from pasta making to sushi from scratch.
Because Ax Throwing is becoming more popular, establishments to fling these weapons are popping up all over Orlando. Imagine a bowling alley, but with axes and targets instead of bowling balls and pins. Upon arrival, you are assigned a lane and then get to choose your ax.
There is an array of axes to choose from, varying in length and weight. Once you have selected your ax and get situated, there is an instructor to give pointers and advice to newbies, then all that is left is to get to throwing!
Leu Gardens is a botanical enthusiast’s dream. As the name suggests, this attraction is a ginormous garden. The sprawling paths lead visitors through acres of plants of all kinds. The sheer size of the garden is impressive, but Leu Gardens has many facets and offers more than just breathtaking scenery.
There are outdoor movies on the lawn, arts and craft lessons held on site, scavenger hunts, summer camps, and you can even reserve the gardens for private events and weddings. All the added activities are great, but the gardens are enough on their own.
The mixture of flowers, bees, and butterflies in the air make for a magical experience no matter what the occasion.
Traditional golfing may bring a yawn to some folks’ mouths, but not Topgolf. This trendy new golfing experience is high tech and high excitement.
The Topgolf complex is a towering building with many floors and a wall missing. The missing wall is essential as the building faces out onto a huge golfing green with multiple targets.
These targets are different sizes and distances away from the golfers and have different point values for the games offered at Topgolf. Each golfing group is given its own station, equipped with golf clubs, tables, and a hostess. The clubs come in all sizes, which means almost any age is able to participate.
See more: Christmas in Orlando
If you find yourself in the Lake Nona neck of the woods, Boxi Park is a must. It is an outdoor venue equipped with live music, seating, good eats, a sand volleyball court, and a playground for the kiddos.
The vibe is friendly and fun, and the later it gets, the more energy people seem to bring. After a drink or two, it is common to see people take to the floor to get down to some funky beats. Whether you are there to party, people watch, or just enjoy the food, you can’t go wrong at Boxi Park.
SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium
When the weather is bad and outside activities just are not an option, head on over to the SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium. Like any good aquarium, there is an underwater tunnel that visitors can walk through to see the sea life from all angles.
The sharks and fish go about their business unaware of the wonder they bring to the people walking the tunnel.
Beyond the creatures behind glass, there is a little rock pool where visitors can get up close and personal with smaller creatures, like starfish that you can reach out and touch!
Super Awesome Cool Pottery
For those with an artistic flair, Super Awesome Cool Pottery is the place to be. They offer already made ceramic pieces for patrons to paint, pottery wheel classes, hand sculpting with wet clay, and guided canvas painting workshops.
This is unique, as most pottery places only allow painting of already made ceramics. The option to make your own piece from scratch sets Super Awesome Cool Pottery apart.