All the best spots for Orlando bookworms to flip pages

Page turners
Photo via Achilles Art Cafe

Dedicated bookworm Annabelle Sikes reveals all the secret spots best for turning pages – and some of the local writers whose work you should be enjoying

As Plato said, "Books give a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything." Whether it's cozying up with a book for pleasure, slaving away through a textbook studying, or getting wrapped up in a poem, reading allows us to step into another world. And sometimes you need another world in which to enjoy those words, away from your home or school library. Here are some perfect spots for all kinds of readers. Before you head out to your ideal reading spot, you need a book: grab new and used books at Brightlight Books or Writer's Block Bookstore, trade with others through PaperBackSwap, or check out books from the Orange County Library System – with your library card, you can borrow ebooks or physical copies, and they'll even deliver right to your door.

Lukas Nursery & Butterfly Encounter
Hidden away in Oviedo is an outdoor garden full of monarch butterflies where you can take a seat while enjoying your newest novel – or, for the braver of hearts, enter the heat of the butterfly nursery to get a closer look.

Dickson Azalea Park
If you are looking to become one with nature, head over to Dickson Azalea Park's winding paths, beautiful birds and flowing brook. There are numerous benches for literary lovers, plus you can take breaks between chapters and stroll under the cover of massive oak trees that provide much-needed shade and a calming breeze.

Achilles Art Cafe
If you're a "snacker-reader" who needs a little something to nibble on while you flip the pages, Achilles Art Cafe is for you – bite into a sandwich or sip a specialty espresso drink from the wide menu. The intricate artwork hanging on the walls provides a boho vibe that'll help you relax a little bit farther away from home.

Stardust Video & Coffee
Coffee, tea, beer and cocktails are served at Stardust and the spacious, dim interior is the perfect place to read while sipping your beverage of choice. If you finish your book and want to continue reading, a well-chosen selection of used books are for sale. Evening events are held frequently including storytelling, chess club, science night and more.

Central Park Rose Garden
On the southern border of Central Park in Winter Park lays a spectacular rose garden. Hidden away from the town bustle, the rose garden seems to be in a world of its own with a flowing peacock fountain, vine-crusted archways and a multitude of colored roses that give off a peaceful and quiet vibe. The garden is padded with park benches that provide the perfect perching spot to cuddle up with a hot cup of tea and watch the sunset while enjoying your favorite book.

John C. Hitt Library
Reading isn't always just for fun, especially during the school year. The University of Central Florida's Hitt library is full of UCF students, but also open to the public. Perhaps the most unique quality of the library is the way its quietness increases as patrons ascend to upper floors. The fifth floor is still and silent for deep concentration, while the second floor bustles with white noise and quiet chatter.

Road trip reads:
For those of us seeking a little bit more adventure, readers can embark on a short road trip to two alternate locations for even more relaxation and literary immersion.

Peanut Island
This beach about two and a half hours from Orlando is home to amenities that make for a perfect reading location, including piers, picnic areas with benches, pavilions, observation decks, chiki huts and more. The crystal-white sand is the ideal resting place to lay out a towel and bathe in the sun with a new romance novel.

Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens
Three hours from Orlando, readers looking for a way to get in their Zen can wander these gorgeous Japanese gardens and linger on benches in different areas, indulging in scenery such as waterfalls, koi ponds and sculptures amid the plantings.


Brightlight Books
Multiple locations,

Writer's Block Bookstore
124 E. Welbourne Ave., Winter Park,

OCLS Downtown main branch
101 E. Central Blvd.,


Lukas Nursery & Butterfly Encounter
1909 Slavia Road, Oviedo,

Dickson Azalea Park
100 Rosearden Drive,

Achilles Art Cafe
2869 Wilshire Drive,

Stardust Video & Coffee
1842 Winter Park Road

Central Park Rose Garden
150 West Morse Blvd., Winter Park,

John C. Hitt Library
12701 Pegasus Drive,

Peanut Island
6500 Peanut Island Road, Lake Worth,

Morikami Museum & Japanese Gardens
4000 Morikami Park Road, Delray Beach,

This story is from the Aug. 8, 2019, print issue of Orlando Weekly's Newcomers Guide 2019. Stay on top of Central Florida news and views with our weekly Headlines newsletter.


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