Florida Guide > Places to Visit
The City of Winter Park, Florida
If you are looking for something different to do on your days away from the theme parks and outlet malls why not fit a trip to Winter Park into your holiday plans?
Winter Park is a sophisticated suburb of Orlando approximately 20 minutes drive north of downtown but a lifetime away from the hustle and bustle of the tourist areas around international drive and highway 192. Leave the I-4 at junction 87- Fairbanks Avenue, turn right onto Fairbanks continue for approximately 2 miles then just after you cross the railway tracks turn left onto Park Avenue and you will find yourself in the heart of Winter Park one of Orlando’s best kept secrets.
With its fantastic shops, restaurants, scenic boat tour, beautiful parks and gardens, not to mention several museums and art galleries this is one of the few places in Orlando where you can really unwind.
The shops on Park Avenue have a definite up market feel to them and the prices to match, with everything on offer from antiques to designer fashions, jewellery to original works of art maybe window shopping rather than bargain hunting will be the order of the day.
There are many small restaurants offering everything from Italian to sushi and several have tables on the pavement to allow you to dine Al Fresco. If its fast food you are after you won’t find a McDonalds or KFC but Brandywines Deli do a great selection of made to order sandwiches.
If you are looking for culture why not visit one of the museums or art galleries. The Cornell Fine Arts museum houses the oldest collection of paintings and sculpture in Florida and the Morse Museum of American Art has one of the world’s best collections of work by Louis Comfort Tiffany (both these museums are closed on Monday).
If you still have an hour to fill try the Scenic Boat Tour. Located at the end of Morse Avenue the boats leave on the hour every hour from 10am -4pm daily (Adults $8 Children $4). As you tour the lakes and canals known as the “Venice of America” you will get a chance to see how the other half live as you pass some of the most beautiful and expensive homes in the area as well as seeing lots of wildlife.
If none of this appeals to you then you could always spend the day visiting the many parks and exotic gardens in the area. One of the most well known is the Kraft Azalea Gardens on Alabama Drive where thousands of Azaleas, shrubs and trees grow on the banks of Lake Maitland. The Azaleas are in flower from January to March and are well worth a visit.
All in all there is something here for everyone young or old. At the end of your day as you sit by the fountain in central park listening to the bell of the Amtrak train as you watch it pull away from the station you may have to pinch yourself to remind you that you are in Orlando theme park capital of the world.
Author: Steve and Julie Roach
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