Orlando attracts talent from around the nation to perform at its theme parks, and these performers use local theaters as an artistic outlet, making Central Florida a lucky hub of high-caliber performance. Theater offerings in the City Beautiful include national tours, blockbuster musicals, classic Shakespeare, new works and everything in between. And while Orlando is not quite as rich in art galleries, our museums work hard to keep challenging and beautiful works accessible.
Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts
445 S. Magnolia Ave., drphillipscenter.org
Going to a show in the beautiful downtown Dr. Phillips Center feels like a big event, no matter what you see. You'll catch Broadway touring shows, big concerts and A-list comedians in one of the center's three magnificent performance spaces.
Theater on the Edge
5542 Hansel Ave., theaterontheedge.org
Located in up-and-coming neighborhood SoDo, Theater on the Edge prides itself in producing provocative, less commonly produced plays. Their seasons are usually a combination of contemporary plays and lesser-known classics.
Orlando Repertory Theatre
1001 E. Princeton St., orlandorep.com
The Orlando Rep is a well-established children's theater offering matinee and evening performances on Saturdays and Sundays. They provide a wide variety of theater camps for kids each summer with themes ranging from princesses to Minecraft.
812 E. Rollins St., orlandoshakes.org
Orlando Shakes produces a diverse season of Shakespeare plays every year, as well as big musicals and children's theater, usually employing a few actors from out of town. The building is also the epicenter of the Orlando Fringe, America's longest-running fringe theater festival, which takes place every May.
Theater West End
115 W. First St., Sanford, theaterwestend.com
Theater West End is an up-and-coming professional theater in historic downtown Sanford, which is also booming with new restaurants and breweries.
Art and History Museums Maitland
231 W. Packwood Ave., Maitland, artandhistory.org
The cultural complex includes the Maitland Art Center (a National Historic Landmark), the Maitland Historical Museum and the Victorian-era Waterhouse Residence. But the heart of the mission is the flourishing artist-in-residence program, which carries on the tradition of its founder, J. André Smith.
Mennello Museum of American Art
900 E. Princeton St., mennellomuseum.org
Inside, it's a showcase for works by folk artist Earl Cunningham and an eclectic mix of traveling exhibitions. Outside, it's a sculpture garden — an extremely pup-friendly one. Not only do they hold regular yappy hours and dog brunches, they even sell pet memberships.
Morse Museum of American Art
445 N. Park Ave., Winter Park, morsemuseum.org
This museum features an astounding collection of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany, including a wing dedicated to recreating the essence of Laurelton Hall, Tiffany's Long Island estate.
Orlando Museum of Art
2416 N. Mills Ave., omart.org
OMA is the go-to local spot for larger touring exhibits as well as their popular 1st Thursday soirees, which are better than Tinder for finding new crushes. Once a year the museum really glows up when it hosts the Florida Prize in Contemporary Art group exhibition.
Rollins Museum of Art
1000 Holt Ave., Winter Park, rollins.edu/rma
Every staffer at this museum is the coolest of cats, and we are particularly fond of the Education Department's programming for children. Director Ena Heller and curator Gisela Carbonell have both diversified the museum's holdings and dived deep into the existing collections to create challenging and engaging exhibitions.
420 E. Church St., snaporlando.com
Snap! is a swanky space for photographic and other contemporary works, and it's located conveniently in South Eola, full of boozy restaurants and dessert spots where you can make a day of it.