Hipmunk City Love: Beyond Orlando’s Amusement Parks

Most people make their way to Orlando for the world-famous amusement parks, missing out on all the other unique tourist activities in and around the city. While the parks are a lot of fun, they can quickly become quite expensive. If you’re heading to the city to enjoy fantastic weather or a weekend getaway in your Orlando hotel, skip the long park lines and consider these budget tourist activities instead.

Shop the East End Market

Photo by Global Heartbeat via Trover.com

For something unique, shop the East End Market, which features artisanal restaurants, goods, and local produce in a gorgeous two-story venue. Peruse the imaginative displays and grub on some seriously delicious eats ranging from handmade Italian fare to gourmet cheeses to goods from an experimental kitchen and juice shop. After getting your fill at one of the artisanal restaurants, enjoy the gorgeous antique furniture, flowers, and bookshops throughout the building.

Peruse the Art Galleries at CityArts Factory

Photo by Matthew Simantov via Flickr.com

With over 20,000 square feet of cultural, visual, and performance art space, the impressive CityArts Factory lives up to its name. Here, you can enjoy both local and international works and even see artists in action in the Orlando Magic Classroom studio. The space is made up of six distinct galleries, so you’ll have plenty of visual delights to enjoy. Visit the Factory for free Tuesdays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Be sure to consult the Art District event schedule for venue and gallery openings throughout the city.

Enjoy a Craft Beer Tour at the Local Taprooms

Photo by Dana McMahan via Flickr.com

As a beer connoisseur myself, I always enjoy trying the local brews on tap. Orlando features a handful of fantastic taprooms and accompanying restaurants that offer up imaginative dishes for you to enjoy. Head outside the touristy district to Winter Park where you’ll find the more upscale Cask and Larder, who have become famous locally for their Southern cooking and fantastic brews. 

For something more low-key, check out the Redlight, Redlight Craft Beer Parlour with a selection of tap beer so impressive they had to add Redlight twice to their name. Lastly, head over to Oblivion Taproom for some vegetarian options to accompany your brew. Here you’ll find Southern comfort food and an impressive list of cider and beer on tap. If you ever wanted to learn about cider, this is the place to go.

Take a Dip in the Rock Springs at Kelly Park

Photo by Rain0975 via Flickr.com

Locals and visitors alike flock to Rock Springs during the summer to enjoy an invigorating swim or lazy float down the river. Rock Springs bubbles up out of clefts in the rocks, forming a swift stream that carries delighted visitors down to the lagoons and pools that form near the middle of the run. The crystal-clear water is a welcome cool temperature in the heat of summer, and visitors can enjoy a dip or top-notch sunbathing along the banks from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. in summer. Admission is just $3 per vehicle (or $5 for more than two people). 

A trip to Orlando doesn’t have to be all about the amusement parks. Check out these local budget activities for the perfect weekend getaway.

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