The Lake Eola fountain serves as a centerpiece for the Central Business District, where there’s much more than meets the eye. Beyond businesses and bars – oh, all the bars; so many bars – you’ll find arts, architecture, history, outdoor space, major-league sports and more. Instead of hunting Pokemon with your face in your phone, look up. You’ll be surprised.
390 N. Orange Ave., 407-930-1700, dovecoteorlando.com
Between the collective talents of executive chef Clay Miller, managing partners James and Julie Petrakis (of Ravenous Pig fame), and Gene Zimmerman (of the Courtesy Bar), DoveCote was a shoo-in for success. The traditional French brasserie is a welcome addition to downtown's fine dining scene, and does a damn good power lunch, too.
North Quarter Tavern
861 N. Orange Ave., 407-757-0930, northquartertavern.com
Chef-driven pub grub made to enjoy with a beer or three. Don't miss the charcuterie, made in-house.
Super Rico Colombian Bistro
57 W. Central Blvd., 407-426-7007, superricocolombia.com
Delightful Colombian takes on fast food, like a spicy perro (hot dog), patacones (sort of a plantain-crust pizza), and a burger sandwiched between two arepas.
The Rusty Spoon
55 W. Church St., 407-401-8811, therustyspoon.com
Chef Kathleen Blake's gastropub still serves the best heirloom tomato salad to be had in the CBD, despite the growing competition.
Tin & Taco
40 W. Washington St., 407-425-4340, tinandtaco.com
New downtown spot is serious about their craft beer and "craft soda" (i.e., no Coke, no Pepsi), less serious about taco toppings: plenty of ranch dressing, bacon crumbles and Dorito crumbs to satisfy the drunk munchies.
69 E. Pine St., second floor, 407-613-5007, joysticksorlando.com
Recently opened homage to everything '80s, Joysticks is lit by psychedelic black lights and the cocktails are inspired by favorite arcade characters. Sit down in front of Ms. PacMan and enjoy her namesake drink, while taking in the synthesized zaps and whizzbangs of fellow gamers.
Frosty's Christmastime Lounge
50 E. Central Blvd., 407-969-0911, frostys-orlando.com
Every day of the year is Christmas here. Try not to get snowflakes (yes, really) in your alcoholic sno-ball (yes, really) as you bask in the carols, movies and Santa memorabilia.
20 E. Central Blvd., 407-222-9732, tiernightclub.com
Bottle service, laser lights, DJs, hot bodies ... get your club on.
55 N. Orange Ave., 407-426-8007, lizzymccormacks.com
This Irish pub is a small island of relaxed drinking in the nightlife madness of downtown.
63 N. Orange Ave., facebook.com/slyfoxorlando
Don't let the gigantic beer-can wall confuse you; there's liquor to be had as well. If you miss Bar-BQ-Bar, this is your new regular.
Credo at Church Street Exchange
101 S. Garland Ave., 407-519-0643, downtowncredo.com
The Exchange has shed its former life as a mini-mall and now houses some of Orlando's hottest co-working and tech spaces. In the center of the rococo building is an outpost of Credo, a coffee counter clad in emerald and gold, serving coffee "cocktails" on a pay-what-you-want model.
29 S. Orange Ave., 407-648-7060, cityartsfactory.com
You know what's great about galleries, as opposed to museums? If you like it, you can buy it right off the wall. CityArts hosts several galleries under one roof, all full of goodies.
Walt Disney Amphitheater at Lake Eola
512 E. Washington St., 407-246-4484, cityoforlando.net
Originally painted in rainbow colors in honor of the first Come Out With Pride after Pulse, it looks like the Walt Diseny Amphitheatre is going to stay proud permanently. It's the site of free performances, ethnic festivals and the prime spot to watch fireworks on the Fourth of July.
Orlando Public Library
101 E. Central Blvd., 407-835-7323, ocls.info
So much to offer: music, art shows, readings, free technology in the Melrose Center, and books, glorious books, all housed in a fabulous Brutalist concrete building. Don't miss the Friends of the Library bookshop.
SAK Comedy Lab
29 S. Orange Ave., 407-648-0001, sakcomedylab.com
A little laughter is said to take years off your life, and after a show at SAK, you might well walk out dead. Improv reigns supreme here, and students showcase their talent monthly.
Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts
445 S. Magnolia Ave., 407-839-0119, drphillipscenter.org
The fancy-schmancy Dr. Phillips Center is about to get bigger and schmancier: Phase Two construction just got off the ground in early March, and Broadway smash Hamilton is set to showcase the 2018-2019 season.
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