Two things every out-of-towner should visit in Orlando's trendiest neighborhoods

Bored? Wanna explore a new neighborhood? Doing move-in research? Dating someone in a different part of town? Here's our speed-round version of Orlando's main neighborhoods, a one-two punch of old and new that will show you the true nature of every nabe.

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DOWNTOWN
Culture, "culture" and cocktails. Lots of cocktails. For all its foibles – snarled traffic, lack of retail, weird smells in the summer – downtown is still where the non-Disney magic happens, whether you're feeling classy – taking in a ballet at the Dr. Phillips Center, for example – or trashy – gargling tequila until you paint the sidewalk with your lunch, say. They say it takes all kinds, and boy does downtown ever take 'em.
Photo via Orlando Weekly

DOWNTOWN

Culture, "culture" and cocktails. Lots of cocktails. For all its foibles – snarled traffic, lack of retail, weird smells in the summer – downtown is still where the non-Disney magic happens, whether you're feeling classy – taking in a ballet at the Dr. Phillips Center, for example – or trashy – gargling tequila until you paint the sidewalk with your lunch, say. They say it takes all kinds, and boy does downtown ever take 'em.

Photo via Orlando Weekly
DOWNTOWN
Old favorite: Lake Eola Park, 512 E. Washington St. The heart of the city for more than a century, Lake Eola is where Orlandoans gather to celebrate, mourn, protest or just talk a nice walk.
Photo via Adobe Images

DOWNTOWN

Old favorite: Lake Eola Park, 512 E. Washington St. The heart of the city for more than a century, Lake Eola is where Orlandoans gather to celebrate, mourn, protest or just talk a nice walk.


Photo via Adobe Images
DOWNTOWN
New classic: Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, 445 S. Magnolia Ave. Since opening in 2014, the "Dr. Phil" has brought a steady stream of world-class concerts, Broadway plays and high culture to downtown – and the under-construction Steinmetz Hall addition should only bring more.
Photo via Jessica Bryce Young

DOWNTOWN

New classic: Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, 445 S. Magnolia Ave. Since opening in 2014, the "Dr. Phil" has brought a steady stream of world-class concerts, Broadway plays and high culture to downtown – and the under-construction Steinmetz Hall addition should only bring more.

Photo via Jessica Bryce Young
CONWAY/CURRY FORD
It's close enough to downtown to feel alive; far enough away to have enough room for kids. The homey 'burb vibe is interrupted by scattered pockets of commerce – and what used to be aimed at bluer collars is swiftly pinking up in the Hourglass strip. But it doesn't have to be fancy to be good, you know.
Photo via Hourglass District

CONWAY/CURRY FORD

It's close enough to downtown to feel alive; far enough away to have enough room for kids. The homey 'burb vibe is interrupted by scattered pockets of commerce – and what used to be aimed at bluer collars is swiftly pinking up in the Hourglass strip. But it doesn't have to be fancy to be good, you know.


Photo via Hourglass District
CONWAY/CURRY FORD
Old favorite: Claddagh Cottage, 2421 Curry Ford Road. The homiest, coziest, slainte-est Irish pub in town recently reopened after a too-long absence and remarkably, it still feels just like your living room – if your living room has stellar shepherd's pie and Irish musicians.
Photo via Claddagh Cottage Irish Pub/Facebook

CONWAY/CURRY FORD

Old favorite: Claddagh Cottage, 2421 Curry Ford Road. The homiest, coziest, slainte-est Irish pub in town recently reopened after a too-long absence and remarkably, it still feels just like your living room – if your living room has stellar shepherd's pie and Irish musicians.


Photo via Claddagh Cottage Irish Pub/Facebook
CONWAY/CURRY FORD
New classic: Peaceful Peacock, 2500 Curry Ford Road. Yoga isn't a sport or a competition; it's a meditation. A lot of yoga studios pay lip service to that, but the "intentionally inclusive" Peacock, less than a year old, is truly a place to find peace within.
Photo via peacefulpeacockorlando/Instagram

CONWAY/CURRY FORD

New classic: Peaceful Peacock, 2500 Curry Ford Road. Yoga isn't a sport or a competition; it's a meditation. A lot of yoga studios pay lip service to that, but the "intentionally inclusive" Peacock, less than a year old, is truly a place to find peace within.


Photo via peacefulpeacockorlando/Instagram
AUDUBON PARK/BALDWIN PARK
The bird streets are home to the hippest, most organically developed neighborhood in town – and they butt right up against planned community Baldwin Park. Audubonnies appreciate Baldwin's amenities (grocery, drug store, gorgeous multi-use trails around the lake) but Baldwin revels in Audubon Park's entertainments – restaurants, bars, bakeries and cool shopping.
Photo via Rob Bartlett

AUDUBON PARK/BALDWIN PARK

The bird streets are home to the hippest, most organically developed neighborhood in town – and they butt right up against planned community Baldwin Park. Audubonnies appreciate Baldwin's amenities (grocery, drug store, gorgeous multi-use trails around the lake) but Baldwin revels in Audubon Park's entertainments – restaurants, bars, bakeries and cool shopping.



Photo via Rob Bartlett
AUDUBON PARK/BALDWIN PARK
Old favorite: Blue Jacket Park, 2501 General Rees Ave. Before Baldwin Park existed – back when it was a naval training base – this land hosted thousands of service personnel. In 2000, the city designated its 75 acres a public park, and its lush fields, fountain and stone structures now host nature-lovers.
Photo via duaneinc5/Instagram

AUDUBON PARK/BALDWIN PARK

Old favorite: Blue Jacket Park, 2501 General Rees Ave. Before Baldwin Park existed – back when it was a naval training base – this land hosted thousands of service personnel. In 2000, the city designated its 75 acres a public park, and its lush fields, fountain and stone structures now host nature-lovers.


Photo via duaneinc5/Instagram
AUDUBON PARK/BALDWIN PARK
New classic: Domu, 3201 Corrine Drive. Unless you get there before they open, the ramen joint and cocktail bar attached to East End Market has a wait ranging from a half-hour to sometimes three – and mark of a true addiction, we'll wait. The first-come, first-served rule is so strict that staff recently told British crooner Sam Smith, in town for a concert at Amway Center, that he'd have to wait like everyone else. (He didn't. His loss.)
Photo via Rob Bartlett

AUDUBON PARK/BALDWIN PARK

New classic: Domu, 3201 Corrine Drive. Unless you get there before they open, the ramen joint and cocktail bar attached to East End Market has a wait ranging from a half-hour to sometimes three – and mark of a true addiction, we'll wait. The first-come, first-served rule is so strict that staff recently told British crooner Sam Smith, in town for a concert at Amway Center, that he'd have to wait like everyone else. (He didn't. His loss.)


Photo via Rob Bartlett
I-DRIVE
It's funny how Orlando's biggest industry is also the bane of every resident's existence. For many, International Drive is strictly a workplace – and there's little room to hang out among the millions of tourists who clog the tourism district every year. But avoiding this area of Orlando means missing out on a whole lot of hidden gems, even if they are stuck between two different dinner theaters.
Photo via Orlando Weekly

I-DRIVE

It's funny how Orlando's biggest industry is also the bane of every resident's existence. For many, International Drive is strictly a workplace – and there's little room to hang out among the millions of tourists who clog the tourism district every year. But avoiding this area of Orlando means missing out on a whole lot of hidden gems, even if they are stuck between two different dinner theaters.


Photo via Orlando Weekly