Things to do in Orlando

15 Unique & Fun Things to Do in Orlando

Orlando is a vibrant destination known worldwide for its theme parks, but that isn’t all there is to it. Discover its unique and fun things to do.

Even with all of Orlando's iconic attractions, sometimes the thrill of discovering a hidden gem wins out. Here are some off-the-beaten-path things to do in Orlando for a truly unique vacation.

1. Unconventional Attractions in Orlando

If it's distinctive experiences you're looking for, you've come to the right place. In Orlando, all you have to do to find unconventional entertainment is walk down the street. Wander through some of the city's unique museums to take home some lesser-known factoids, or book a walking tour of the city to gaze at some of its kooky public art installations.

Drawn to Life, born from a groundbreaking collaboration between us and Walt Disney World, thrives on being unconventional. Blending cutting-edge animation with spectacular acrobatics, Drawn to Life brings stunning uniqueness and a thrilling storyline to the circus stage — perfect for visitors who prefer entertainment with a twist.

2. Out-of-this-World Adrenaline Adventures in Orlando

Sprouting alongside Orlando's bustling metropolitan area is a bountiful world of natural wonders. Embark on an outdoor adventure while connecting with the fascinating beauty of nature.

Head to Wallaby Ranch to try your hand at hang gliding or paragliding and experience the thrill of feeling weightless. Or, take to the seas instead, where you can cruise along the city's lakes on the back of a peaceful paddleboard. Then, catch a stunning aerial view of Walt Disney World as you soar above the area in the Aerophile Balloon Flight for a truly unique perspective on the magic.

3. Quirky Cafes and Eateries

The food in Orlando features inventive flavors and a memorable sensory experience. No matter the eatery you choose, you'll find delicious meals with a captivating ambiance.

Visit The Tea Room Experience for a spot of afternoon tea. For extra fun, you can get gussied up in your favorite Victorian-era outfit to match the vibe. Or, step back into the Cretaceous Period for a rip-roaring meal at the T-Rex Cafe at Disney Springs.

4. Hidden Cultural Experiences

The history of the city is a rich, fascinating story just ripe for an immersive Orlando museum experience. Get to know the city's cultural background through enlightening exhibits at the Orange County Regional History Center, or gaze in awe at the world's largest collection of breathtaking glass at the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art.

5. Unusual Nightlife Spots

Stay out after dark to experience a different type of entertainment at Disney Springs. Take a stunning, illuminated ride on the water at The Boathouse, sip a glass of wine at Wine Bar George, or sway to the beat of a live band at the House of Blues.

6. Artistic Exploration

Let your inner art critic come out to play when you visit Orlando's vibrant arts scene. Pick a neighborhood (such as the colorful Mills 50 District) to gaze at towering murals in their natural habitat, and study creative marvels of the past and present at The Mennello Museum of American Art. Time your visit to overlap with the EPCOT International Festival of the Arts in January and February to feast your eyes on a collection of Disney-inspired masterpieces.

7. Eclectic Shopping

Are you looking for some retail rest and relaxation? Head to Orlando's unique shopping destinations to hunt for some one-of-a-kind finds. Step into the vast world of the East End Market, a shopper's paradise complete with vintage stores and artisanal boutiques. While you're there, pick up a unique souvenir and sample the local cuisine.

To add a dash of magic to your retail therapy, visit the World of Disney tucked inside Disney Springs. This carefully curated collection of everything from character-themed outfits to limited-edition collectibles is bound to impress Disney fans of all ages.

8. Escape to Nature

With all its enchanting thrills and attractions, Orlando is a busy, bustling city. Carve out a moment of tranquility for yourself at one of its many hidden green spots. Orlando's lush gardens offer a moment of quiet serenity while the winding forest trails provide a natural journey through the wilderness just waiting to be explored.

Traverse the boardwalks at the Tibet-Butler Nature Preserve, where you can explore the wetlands in all their wild and wonderful glory. Then pitch your tent at Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground — if you have a reservation — to sleep under the twinkling stars before a long day of horseback riding, canoeing, and archery training.

9. Unconventional Entertainment

Sometimes, you just want to sit back and be wowed by a fun-filled performance. Lucky for you, Orlando specializes in unconventional entertainment. Explore the city's range of offbeat performances, including sidesplitting comedy shows and interactive theater. Step into the pages of an animator's sketchbook in the visual phenomenon that is Drawn to Life at Disney Springs.

10. Thrilling Indoor Activities

A hot or rainy Orlando day means you'll head indoors for some vacation fun — luckily, Dezerland Park makes it easy to escape the elements without losing any of the fun. This indoor experience is filled with thrills: laser tag, go karting, mini golf, and more.

Photographer: andyround62

11. History Exploration

Looking to learn a little something during your Orlando trip? Here, we take our historical exploration with a twist. Glean some positively morbid knowledge with a tour of the darkly peaceful Greenwood Cemetery, or look at Black culture through a new lens at the Wells' Built Museum of African American History, based inside the original Well’s Built Hotel.

12. Haunts and Mysteries

Take a peek at Orlando's spooky side — if you dare. Haunted landmarks and terrifying local lore are featured on these ghostly tours.

Mortem Manor, one of the scariest haunted houses in the U.S., guides you through a Victorian-themed home that’s filled to the brim with terrifying and heart-pounding specters. It’s also the only haunted house in the city that’s open all year.

This one’s only open during Halloween season, but it’s a thrilling experience either way. The Haunted Road is a unique twist on a haunt — you and your family can drive through and experience the scares for over half an hour.

13. Unconventional Workshops

Let your creative juices fly at a workshop in Orlando, then take home a skill you can hone whenever inspiration strikes. Pick up some new kitchen tricks (and recipes) at a gourmet cooking class, or turn a lump of clay into your own ceramic work of art with a class at the Orlando Pottery Studio.

Photographer: Mikhail Nilov

14. Hidden Architecture Gems

Orlando has innovation and boundary-pushing built into its core. As a result, feats of architectural imagination are everywhere. Stroll through the city and admire the unique construction and intricate details of each building, such as the historical homes scattered throughout the Leu Gardens Historic District.

15. Secret Local Hangouts in Nature

Living like the locals adds depth to any Orlando vacation — plus, you'll get an intimate look at the spellbinding parts of this enchanting city.

Spend the afternoon in a beloved green space such as Lake Eola Park, with its cityscape view and majestic swan boats. Watch out for the gators! When you're done soaking up the fresh air, step into a cozy downtown cafe for a cool drink and a sweet treat, or escape into a floral wonderland with the Harry P. Leu Gardens and its vibrant display of subtropical flowers and foliage.

Photographer: New Yorker

Embrace Orlando's Uniqueness

There are enough unique activities in Orlando to fuel a thousand wacky vacations. Our best piece of advice for you? Embrace it.

From niche museums and architectural marvels to spooky secrets, Orlando offers wonder at every turn. Be awash with delight in the enchanting Disney universe as you discover all of its hidden curiosities. Whether you're testing out luxurious cuisine from all around the world or gazing in awe at the Drawn to Life acrobatics, it's clear that uniqueness has spread throughout this sunny city.

Don't miss out on a breathtaking journey powered by art and imagination. Want more? Keep up-to-date with our latest shows in Orlando.

FAQs about Unique Things to Do in Orlando, FL

Tailor the perfect Orlando itinerary with the answers to these frequently asked questions.

1. What are some enjoyable activities to experience in Orlando?

Orlando is filled to the brim with engaging attractions and high-flying adventures, which is why we love it so much. On top of the hidden gems listed above, the city offers visitors access to hundreds of wild and wonderful experiences to squeeze in before the trip home. Get lost in curiosity at an otherworldly theme park, step into vibrant cultural districts, and sample innovative culinary creations. In Orlando, there's something exciting to discover everywhere you look.

2. What are budget-friendly activities to explore in Orlando?

Budget-savvy travelers rejoice in Orlando, home to a legion of free or low-cost activities. Looking to soak up some live music? Head to an outdoor concert open to passers-by. Want to explore Florida's natural flora and fauna? Take a walk on a scenic hiking trail. Just want to immerse yourself in the wonder of Orlando's local culture? Feast your eyes on a bustling neighborhood market. Here, you can get lost in the city's charm without spending a single dime.

Photographer: Eric Ardito

3. What are some recommended activities for adults visiting Orlando?

The magical extravaganza of Walt Disney World means you can spend every day in Orlando feeling like a kid again. But when you're ready to see a more sophisticated side of the city, step into a world tailored to a much different crowd.

Get to know Orlando's adult offerings by diving into a world filled with high-end restaurants and innovative art galleries. Enjoy the vibrant nightlife scene at one-of-a-kind venues and embark on an exploration of Florida culture during the day.

4. What are some exciting nighttime activities to enjoy in Orlando?

The Florida sunshine alights over Orlando visitors for daytime delights that thrill and amaze. But when night falls, the city transforms into a dazzling wonderland of a different sort. The skyline beams with illuminated signs and structures, staving off darkness and offering an unparalleled view. Visit a music venue or discover the heart-stopping performance of Drawn to Life by Cirque du Soleil.

5. What can you do in Orlando if you're not a fan of theme parks?

Theme parks aren't the only things offering visitors an escape from the mundane. Explore the natural world at Orlando nature preserves, discover the hidden side of history at offbeat museums, or book a tour for a memorable local excursion. Even when you've covered every inch of your favorite park, the city still has a multitude of secrets to unravel.

6. How can I experience Orlando like a local?

Nobody knows a city like the folks who live there, but you can get a taste of the local flavor by exploring the spots frequented by Orlando natives. Get acquainted with the city at local eateries.

More articles about