International Drive and Sand Lake: the favorite of tourists and hardy locals

A guide to experiencing Orlando’s I-Drive like a local

International Drive and Sand Lake: the favorite of tourists and hardy locals
The Orlando Eye at Icon Park / Adobe

A favorite area to visit in Orlando among tourists and hardy locals is the I-Drive corridor. To your left, the nation's Largest McDonald's; to your right, an observation wheel towering 400 feet in the air. While some visitors may end up wandering off to get a Butterbeer with Harry Potter at Universal, those who are looking to truly satisfy their palates head to where the locals go. It's easy to get caught up in a tourist trap — or traffic jam — or two. But rest assured, the real prize you can find in this area is a conversation with someone from halfway across the world and finding out their story. It's a great reminder that you are truly in a unique part of town.

click to enlarge International Drive and Sand Lake: the favorite of tourists and hardy locals
Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse / photo by Rob Bartlett


Del Frisco's Double Eagle Steakhouse, 9150 International Drive, 407-351-5074,

A delectable pick for steak, seafood and traditional classic all-American food.

Rocco's Tacos, 7468 W. Sand Lake Road, 407-226-0550,

A great choice for Mexican-inspired dishes that can be paired with a delish margarita or two.

Seito Sushi, 8031 Turkey Lake Road, 407-248-8888,

A fantastic contemporary sushi and pan-Asian stop in the I-Drive corridor.

Vines Grille & Wine Bar, 7533 Sand Lake Road, 407-351-1227,

A fine dining experience with featured foods from all over the world.

Icebar, 8967 International Drive, 407-426-7555,

Plunge into freezing temperatures — and equally chill drinks! A fun change of pace if you're looking for a little adventure.

Yard House, 8367 International Drive, 407-351-8220,

For those who'd like to wash the taste of the aforementioned Butterbeer out of their mouths, enjoy a jaw-droppingly massive menu of food and drinks at this spot.

Dezerland, 5250 International Drive, 321-754-1700,

This indoor recreational center hosts a variety of shops, including a gargantuan Bass Pro Shop, a car museum, a "pinball palace" and plenty of other attractions for youngsters — or the young at heart.

International Drive Outlets, 5269 International Drive, 407-352-9600,

Find each and every last discount store here, ranging from Nike and RayBans to Forever 21, Kate Spade, Burberry, Armani Exchange and much, much more.

Dr. Phillips Park, 8249 Buenavista Woods Blvd., 407-254-9038,

Grab a frisbee, kite, picnic blanket or all of the above and soak in the Florida sun. Just a short ways away from I-Drive and Sand Lake, this spot would make for the perfect sunny day getaway.

Icon Park, 8375 International Drive, 407-601-7907,

Mount The Wheel, a 400-foot observation wheel, or the Starflyer (Orlando's tallest swing ride), laze around in the grass, or take a stroll around one of Orlando's most iconic spots. It's packed with plenty of places to eat and drink, plus the Orlando outposts of Sea Life Aquarium, the Museum of Illusions and Madame Tussauds Wax Museum.

Foxtail, 7610 W. Sand Lake Road, 407-412-6704,

An outpost of the Central Florida favorite, located just off I-Drive. A great choice for locally roasted and brewed coffee.

Fun Spot America, 5700 Fun Spot Way, 407-363-3867,

A great getaway for the kiddos and mom and dad. With free admission and great rides, this spot is really top-notch for fun and games.

Top Golf, 9295 Universal Blvd., 407-218-7714,

Andretti Indoor Karting & Games, 9299 Universal Blvd., 407-610-5020,

A more upscale take on mini-golf and go-karting, these are great hangout spots for all ages, conveniently next to one another.


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