10 Orlando neighborhoods you should be exploring this weekend

Orlando and its surrounding areas are full of amazing wildlife, venues, events, activities and shops, and all of it is worth exploring. Here you'll find everything from what to do and where to eat in a few of our favorite Orlando 'hoods.

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Audubon Park
Sandwiched between Mills 50 and Baldwin Park, Audubon Park's short stretch is packed full of character and characters. Beer parlors, hipster haunts and foodie landmarks make the spot.
Photo via therealmeredithb/Instagram

Audubon Park

Sandwiched between Mills 50 and Baldwin Park, Audubon Park's short stretch is packed full of character and characters. Beer parlors, hipster haunts and foodie landmarks make the spot.

Photo via therealmeredithb/Instagram
Where to eat and drink
East End Market
3201 Corrine Drive, 321-236-3316
It would no longer be Audubon Park without East End Market, the city's first food hall. Sit outside on the graveled patio or the adjoining organic garden with a bottle of Lineage cold-brew coffee and a jarred salad from Skyebird, then grab a loaf of bread from Olde Hearth Bread Company and a chunk of gjetost from La Femme du Fromage to last you through the week.
eastendmkt.com
Where to eat and drink
Kelly’s Homemade Ice Cream
3114 Corrine Drive, 321-226-8685
The only acceptable replacement for the long-standing snow cone window on Corrine Drive is an outrageously good ice cream shop. Luckily, Kelly's Homemade Ice Cream fills the bill, and her Mexican Hot Chocolate ice cream is worth its pinch of salt – bittersweet chocolate laced with cinnamon and clove.
kellyshomemadeicecream.com
Where to eat and drink
Stardust Video & Coffee
1842 E. Winter Park Road, 407-623-3393
If you're lucky enough to visit Stardust Video & Coffee on a warm summer day, the vines just outside might be blooming with fuchsia passion flowers, a dramatic reminder to stop and smell the ... you know.
stardustie.com
Photo: East End Market via rafa_singleton/Instagram

Where to eat and drink

East End Market
3201 Corrine Drive, 321-236-3316
It would no longer be Audubon Park without East End Market, the city's first food hall. Sit outside on the graveled patio or the adjoining organic garden with a bottle of Lineage cold-brew coffee and a jarred salad from Skyebird, then grab a loaf of bread from Olde Hearth Bread Company and a chunk of gjetost from La Femme du Fromage to last you through the week.
eastendmkt.com

Where to eat and drink

Kelly’s Homemade Ice Cream
3114 Corrine Drive, 321-226-8685
The only acceptable replacement for the long-standing snow cone window on Corrine Drive is an outrageously good ice cream shop. Luckily, Kelly's Homemade Ice Cream fills the bill, and her Mexican Hot Chocolate ice cream is worth its pinch of salt – bittersweet chocolate laced with cinnamon and clove.
kellyshomemadeicecream.com

Where to eat and drink

Stardust Video & Coffee
1842 E. Winter Park Road, 407-623-3393
If you're lucky enough to visit Stardust Video & Coffee on a warm summer day, the vines just outside might be blooming with fuchsia passion flowers, a dramatic reminder to stop and smell the ... you know.
stardustie.com

Photo: East End Market via rafa_singleton/Instagram
What to do
Date Night Movies at Leu Gardens
1920 N. Forest Ave., 407-246-2620
Pack a picnic, bring blankets and a bottle of wine, and head to Leu Gardens on the first Friday night of each month to cuddle up for Date Night Movies in the gardens. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the flicks start at 8:30.
www.leugardens.org
What to do
Palmer’s Garden & Goods
2611 Corrine Drive, 407-896-5951
They still sell plants, but now Palmer's Garden & Goods is one of the most sought-after event spaces in town. The place is strung with market lights and needs no additional decor (copious flowers and fountains flow) – just 40 of your closest friends. 
palmersgarden.com
Photo: Harry P. Leu Gardens via margaritasdelmantel/Instagram

What to do

Date Night Movies at Leu Gardens
1920 N. Forest Ave., 407-246-2620
Pack a picnic, bring blankets and a bottle of wine, and head to Leu Gardens on the first Friday night of each month to cuddle up for Date Night Movies in the gardens. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the flicks start at 8:30.
www.leugardens.org

What to do

Palmer’s Garden & Goods
2611 Corrine Drive, 407-896-5951
They still sell plants, but now Palmer's Garden & Goods is one of the most sought-after event spaces in town. The place is strung with market lights and needs no additional decor (copious flowers and fountains flow) – just 40 of your closest friends.
palmersgarden.com

Photo: Harry P. Leu Gardens via margaritasdelmantel/Instagram
Winter Park
All at once uptight (no more burger joints!) and down-to-earth (wanna go get a burger?), Winter Park is the college town that isn't a college town. Park Avenue is prime for shopping and celeb spotting; Hannibal Square can host a hell of a pub crawl if you time it right – they stop serving alcohol at midnight. 
Photo via winterparkave/Instagram

Winter Park

All at once uptight (no more burger joints!) and down-to-earth (wanna go get a burger?), Winter Park is the college town that isn't a college town. Park Avenue is prime for shopping and celeb spotting; Hannibal Square can host a hell of a pub crawl if you time it right – they stop serving alcohol at midnight.

Photo via winterparkave/Instagram
Where to eat and drink
Shake Shack
119 N. Orlando Ave., Winter Park, 321-203-5130
One consequence of being landlocked: Orlandoans flock to water like anhinga birds. The landscaped patio at Shake Shack in Winter Park overlooks Lake Killarney, and is a sweet place to slurp a Fair Shake coffee treat and eat a drippy, delicious burger.
www.shakeshack.com
Where to eat and drink
Toasted Crafted Grilled Cheese
1945 Aloma Ave., Winter Park, 407-960-3922
Cheese, please. Toasted's menu of grilled cheeses teems with sandwiches both sweet and savory, but the Fig & Goat – havarti, goat cheese, fig spread, basil and honey – is both elegant and comforting.
igettoasted.com
Where to eat and drink
The Coop
610 W. Morse Blvd., Winter Park, 407-843-2667
From his early dream of opening a BBQ joint with no indoor seating and a line out the door, John Rivers' empire is now vast and varied. His 4 Rivers Smokehouse now has 13 locations, from Jacksonville to the newest spot in Coral Springs (including one at Orlando's City Hall), and he's moved into the fried-chicken arena with his down-home Southern spot, the Coop. 
asouthernaffair.com
Pictured: Shake Shack via apaixonadapororlando/Instagram

Where to eat and drink

Shake Shack
119 N. Orlando Ave., Winter Park, 321-203-5130
One consequence of being landlocked: Orlandoans flock to water like anhinga birds. The landscaped patio at Shake Shack in Winter Park overlooks Lake Killarney, and is a sweet place to slurp a Fair Shake coffee treat and eat a drippy, delicious burger.
www.shakeshack.com

Where to eat and drink

Toasted Crafted Grilled Cheese
1945 Aloma Ave., Winter Park, 407-960-3922
Cheese, please. Toasted's menu of grilled cheeses teems with sandwiches both sweet and savory, but the Fig & Goat – havarti, goat cheese, fig spread, basil and honey – is both elegant and comforting.
igettoasted.com

Where to eat and drink

The Coop
610 W. Morse Blvd., Winter Park, 407-843-2667
From his early dream of opening a BBQ joint with no indoor seating and a line out the door, John Rivers' empire is now vast and varied. His 4 Rivers Smokehouse now has 13 locations, from Jacksonville to the newest spot in Coral Springs (including one at Orlando's City Hall), and he's moved into the fried-chicken arena with his down-home Southern spot, the Coop.
asouthernaffair.com

Pictured: Shake Shack via apaixonadapororlando/Instagram
What to do
Rocket Fizz
520 S. Park Ave., Winter Park, 407-645-3499
You love soda, sure. But do you love marshmallow soda? How about sweet-corn pop? The walls of sweet shop Rocket Fizz on Park Avenue are lined with Technicolor treats, including plenty of inventively flavored carbonated beverages. Grab a chilled one and walk down the avenue to people-watch.
rocketfizz.com
What to do
Knowles Memorial Chapel
1000 Holt Ave., Winter Park, 407-646-2115
Beyond its sandy, stunning Spanish-colonial architecture, Knowles Memorial Chapel on the Rollins College campus houses stained-glass windows designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany. Take in a Bach Festival concert here for an unforgettable evening.
rollins.edu
What to do
Dinky Dock
410 Ollie Ave., Winter Park
Bikini-clad Rollins College students and families with kids in tow launch their paddleboards and boats, laze on the sand and swim off the jetty at Dinky Dock, just off Lake Virginia. Winter Park Scenic Boat tours pass through every so often, and wakeboarders show off their moves here, too.
cityofwinterpark.org
Pictured: Knowles Memorial Chapel via surfinseraph/Instagram

What to do

Rocket Fizz
520 S. Park Ave., Winter Park, 407-645-3499
You love soda, sure. But do you love marshmallow soda? How about sweet-corn pop? The walls of sweet shop Rocket Fizz on Park Avenue are lined with Technicolor treats, including plenty of inventively flavored carbonated beverages. Grab a chilled one and walk down the avenue to people-watch.
rocketfizz.com

What to do

Knowles Memorial Chapel
1000 Holt Ave., Winter Park, 407-646-2115
Beyond its sandy, stunning Spanish-colonial architecture, Knowles Memorial Chapel on the Rollins College campus houses stained-glass windows designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany. Take in a Bach Festival concert here for an unforgettable evening.
rollins.edu

What to do

Dinky Dock
410 Ollie Ave., Winter Park
Bikini-clad Rollins College students and families with kids in tow launch their paddleboards and boats, laze on the sand and swim off the jetty at Dinky Dock, just off Lake Virginia. Winter Park Scenic Boat tours pass through every so often, and wakeboarders show off their moves here, too.
cityofwinterpark.org

Pictured: Knowles Memorial Chapel via surfinseraph/Instagram
Thornton Park
This neighborhood is where you take visitors who think Orlando lacks allure. Thornton Park’s historic markers, sidewalk terraces and walkable boutiques are the ultimate in adorable. Claim your spot in the sun and spend the day strolling Thornton’s brick-lined byways – we dare you not to be charmed. Just promise not to climb into the fountain. 
Photo via maureendinkins

Thornton Park

This neighborhood is where you take visitors who think Orlando lacks allure. Thornton Park’s historic markers, sidewalk terraces and walkable boutiques are the ultimate in adorable. Claim your spot in the sun and spend the day strolling Thornton’s brick-lined byways – we dare you not to be charmed. Just promise not to climb into the fountain.

Photo via maureendinkins
Where to eat and drink
Soco
629 E. Central Blvd., 407-849-1800
Short for "Southern contemporary," this upscale temple to comfort food is swanky enough for date night but chill enough for happy hour. Vegetarians will swoon over the cauliflower steak entree, and the boiled peanut hummus is a slick twist on the ubiquitous dip.
socothorntonpark.com
Where to eat and drink
The Stubborn Mule
100 S. Eola Drive, 407-730-3400
New kid on the block serves at least seven variations on the Moscow Mule, its namesake cocktail, but also shines at brunchtime: great service, great patio, great big plates of food.
thestubbornmule.com
Where to eat and drink
Benjamin French Bakery Cafe 
716 E. Washington St., 407-797-2253
Tasty croissant and baguette sandwiches join the expected, and excellent, parade of French pastries.
benjaminfrenchbakery.com
Pictured: Soco via snici_sosweetpfft/Instagram

Where to eat and drink

Soco
629 E. Central Blvd., 407-849-1800
Short for "Southern contemporary," this upscale temple to comfort food is swanky enough for date night but chill enough for happy hour. Vegetarians will swoon over the cauliflower steak entree, and the boiled peanut hummus is a slick twist on the ubiquitous dip.
socothorntonpark.com

Where to eat and drink

The Stubborn Mule
100 S. Eola Drive, 407-730-3400
New kid on the block serves at least seven variations on the Moscow Mule, its namesake cocktail, but also shines at brunchtime: great service, great patio, great big plates of food.
thestubbornmule.com

Where to eat and drink

Benjamin French Bakery Cafe
716 E. Washington St., 407-797-2253
Tasty croissant and baguette sandwiches join the expected, and excellent, parade of French pastries.
benjaminfrenchbakery.com

Pictured: Soco via snici_sosweetpfft/Instagram
What to do
Lauren Nicole
426 E. Central Blvd., 407-730-3836
This boutique bills itself as "The Shop For Every Girl!", but we'd say it's for a certain type of girl – one downing mimosas at brunch in a maxi-dress and a statement necklace, or walking her French bulldog in a romper and giant shades. The kind of girl you see in Thornton Park, in fact. 
laurennicole.com
What to do
The Abbey
100 S. Eola Drive, 407-704-6261
A favorite venue for artists from all over, the Abbey's intimate setting hosts the flowering of a good portion of Orlando's art scene. Live music, theater, storytelling, dance, spoken word, readings and more take place here, as well as major citywide events like the Big Gay Brunch during Come Out With Pride.
abberyorlando.com
What to do
Constitution Green Dog Park
300 S. Summerlin Ave., 407-246-2283
Last October, our city's pooches got a new place to play: the home of some of Orlando's oldest residents. The historic oak trees at Constitution Green look over the dog park, where off-leash is allowed, and responsible owners supervise their fur babies.
downtownorlando.com
Pictured: The Abbey via kingskaleidoscope/Instagram

What to do

Lauren Nicole
426 E. Central Blvd., 407-730-3836
This boutique bills itself as "The Shop For Every Girl!", but we'd say it's for a certain type of girl – one downing mimosas at brunch in a maxi-dress and a statement necklace, or walking her French bulldog in a romper and giant shades. The kind of girl you see in Thornton Park, in fact.
laurennicole.com

What to do

The Abbey
100 S. Eola Drive, 407-704-6261
A favorite venue for artists from all over, the Abbey's intimate setting hosts the flowering of a good portion of Orlando's art scene. Live music, theater, storytelling, dance, spoken word, readings and more take place here, as well as major citywide events like the Big Gay Brunch during Come Out With Pride.
abberyorlando.com

What to do

Constitution Green Dog Park
300 S. Summerlin Ave., 407-246-2283
Last October, our city's pooches got a new place to play: the home of some of Orlando's oldest residents. The historic oak trees at Constitution Green look over the dog park, where off-leash is allowed, and responsible owners supervise their fur babies.
downtownorlando.com

Pictured: The Abbey via kingskaleidoscope/Instagram
UCF
The University of Central Florida is home to thousands of Knights, but you don’t have to be a student to enjoy everything this college kingdom has to offer. The nation’s second-largest university has a sprawling domain of student housing and shopping plazas, complete with coffee shops where you’re sure to find desperate souls hunched over laptops frantically finishing term papers as well as cheap-beer strongholds offering de-stressing activities of the party type. If you want to experience the true nature of UCF, though, swing around during game day – the football team might not always win, but nothing can crush these students’ fighting spirit.
Photo via futari_food/Instagram

UCF

The University of Central Florida is home to thousands of Knights, but you don’t have to be a student to enjoy everything this college kingdom has to offer. The nation’s second-largest university has a sprawling domain of student housing and shopping plazas, complete with coffee shops where you’re sure to find desperate souls hunched over laptops frantically finishing term papers as well as cheap-beer strongholds offering de-stressing activities of the party type. If you want to experience the true nature of UCF, though, swing around during game day – the football team might not always win, but nothing can crush these students’ fighting spirit.

Photo via futari_food/Instagram