During its founding in the mid-1800s, Orlando was a swampy place in the middle of Florida. This, of course, was not a recipe for success in drawing sun-seeking beach-goers. By the 1960s, however, that changed with the construction of Walt Disney World. In a matter of decades, Orlando completely transformed into one of the world’s biggest tourist destinations.
Today, the city has more theme parks than any other place in the world. It is also an important destination for professional conferences. Millions of people visit the city of Orlando each year, and Extended Stay Hotels has a hotel in every exciting area of Orlando to put visitors exactly where they need to be. Looking for a place to stay? Click an area below for hotels in and around Orlando, or view all metropolitan Orlando hotels.
While Walt Disney World Resort is the area’s biggest draw, other theme parks and amusements in Orlando are well worth a visit. Tourists regularly flock to Orlando’s other huge theme park, Universal Studios Orlando, which also includes the Islands of Adventure, a place where the older set enjoys catching a ride on a fast-moving roller coaster or watching entertaining shows, all of which center around Universal’s huge box office hits. SeaWorld Orlando is, bar none, one of the best aquatic venues of its kind, allowing children to learn about marine life, as well as the importance of conservation. Whether they want to ride a roller coaster, jump on a water slide or watch a sea creature show, children of all ages will love a visit to the parks at Orlando’s SeaWorld.
Orlando contains an eclectic collection of restaurants that offer world-class fare for the most discerning of palates. Restaurant Row is the best place to find your favorite kinds of food or to try something exotic and unique. At the Samba Room, diners can enjoy a delicious array of Latin choices. Moonfish, on the other hand, is one of the neighborhood’s most unique seafood joints. At this spot, delicious seafood is fused with Asian seasonings that are out of this world. For those who want a tasty bite but crave a great glass of vino as well, the Vines Grille & Wine Bar is a spectacular place to dine. Whether a diner wants a full-bodied Malbec or a lighter, fruitier Pinot Noir, the Vines is the area’s premier wine destination.
While the city is world-class in its selection of restaurants, Orlando also provides ample opportunities to kick back with friends or new acquaintances at its many bars, clubs and music venues. The Social, located in the downtown area, is the city’s best venue for hearing established and up-and-coming indie groups. Back Booth is a similar venue. It also offers one of the city’s best beer selections.
For those seeking the high-brow pleasures of other live acts and shows, Orlando is a most entertaining place. Visitors can see the original Bard’s masterpieces played out before their very eyes at the Orlando Shakespeare Theater. The city also offers a wide range of shows from other small theaters, including the Mad Cow Theatre and Orlando Repertory Theatre, among others. Most of these venues present shows that are family-friendly and highly entertaining. Some even offer free shows!
Individuals who simply want to get away from the tourist crowd should take a day trip to the Winter Park area located just fifteen minutes north of downtown Orlando. This small city of less than 30,000 is a great place to find a quiet café or a unique boutique. Visitors can also take a cruise to glimpse the former estates of Eastern industrial barons or visit the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art, which has the world’s most extensive assortment of Tiffany glass.
Orlando is a city that thrives on its most important industry: tourism. This central Florida city provides world-class cuisine and entertainment for business and leisure travelers alike. Simply put, a stay in Orlando includes something for everyone.
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