Where to stay in Orlando


Orlando, located in central Florida, is renowned for its theme parks, including the world-famous Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort. However, beyond the thrill rides and cartoon characters, Orlando is a diverse city with various neighborhoods, each offering a different experience to visitors. Selecting the right area to stay can greatly influence your trip, whether you're seeking entertainment, relaxation, or a taste of local culture. This guide aims to provide honest insights that will help you choose the neighborhood that best suits your travel plans, balancing the positive aspects of each area with practical considerations for an informed decision.

  • Florida Center

    • entertainment
    • tourist-friendly
    • 🍽️ dining
    • 🀼 crowded
    • πŸ’΅ expensive

    The Florida Center is ideal for those who want to be in the heart of the action. Home to the Universal Orlando Resort and various dining and entertainment options, this area is perfect for tourists looking for convenience and fun right at their doorstep. On the downside, it can be crowded, and accommodation prices may run high, especially during peak seasons. Traffic congestion is also a common complaint.

  • Central Business District

    • commerce
    • 🍷 nightlife
    • πŸ’… trendy
    • loud
    • parking issues

    The Central Business District is the heartbeat of Orlando's commerce, teeming with professionals during the day. The area transforms after hours with emerging nightlife, trendy bars, and eateries. As a visitor, you'll enjoy proximity to iconic landmarks like the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. However, as with many downtown areas, it can get noisy, and parking can be a nuisance.

  • South Eola

    • πŸ’… trendy
    • πŸ₯‚ upscale
    • local vibe
    • 🌳 green spaces
    • πŸ’΅ expensive

    South Eola is a trendy and stylish area known for Thornton Park, farmers markets, and beautiful green spaces. This neighborhood appeals especially to those looking for a more upscale, local vibe. On the downside, expect to pay a premium for the location, and be prepared for the fact that the area is a bit removed from the major tourist attractions.

  • Millenia

    • πŸ›οΈ shopping
    • 🍽️ dining
    • close to attractions
    • 🏬 commercial
    • traffic-heavy

    Millenia is a shopper's paradise, boasting the upscale Mall at Millenia and plenty of dining options. It's also near enough to the theme parks for easy day trips. However, the area can feel very commercial and may lack the unique charm of Orlando's more culturally rich neighborhoods. Traffic can also be quite heavy, especially during the holiday shopping season.

  • Winter Park

    • πŸ₯‚ upscale
    • 🎨 artsy
    • 🍽️ dining
    • πŸ›οΈ shopping
    • πŸ’΅ pricey

    Winter Park is known for its charming main street, upscale boutiques, fine dining, and cultural institutions like the Morse Museum. This area is a touch of sophistication and tranquility amidst the buzz of Orlando. However, this upscale vibe comes with a price tag, as accommodation and dining options can be expensive here. The neighborhood is ideal for those seeking a more refined and relaxed experience.

  • Lake Eola Heights

    • πŸ›οΈ historic
    • charming
    • outdoor activities
    • πŸ’΅ expensive
    • 🧘 quiet

    Lake Eola Heights is a historic neighborhood characterized by charming streets and proximity to Lake Eola Park. The area is ideal for those seeking a picturesque locale with access to outdoor activities. However, the serene environment comes at a price, as accommodations can be costly, and the nightlife isn't as vibrant as more central districts like the Central Business District.

  • Metro West

    • 🏑 suburban
    • golf
    • well-maintained
    • balanced

    Metro West is a master-planned community known for its well-manicured public spaces and a family-friendly environment. It has ample amenities like golf courses and is considered safe and clean. However, it lacks the unique character of more culturally rich neighborhoods and is a bit removed from Orlando's main tourist hubs. It’s a great fit for travelers who prioritize space and suburban comforts.

  • Kirkman South

    • convenient
    • theme parks
    • 🍽️ dining
    • πŸ›οΈ shopping
    • πŸ‘« busy
    • accessible
    • budget-friendly

    Kirkman South is a neighborhood that offers a practical and convenient base for visitors to Orlando, with its proximity to Universal Orlando Resort being a significant draw. This area is bustling with activity, featuring a range of dining options and shops. While Kirkman South is not the most picturesque part of Orlando, its accessibility to major attractions and the I-4 corridor makes it a solid choice for travelers prioritizing theme park visits over scenic views. It's important to note that the area can get quite busy, especially during peak tourist seasons, and traffic can be heavy at times. Accommodations here are plentiful, with various hotels catering to different budgets. However, the nightlife is limited compared to more vibrant districts like Downtown or International Drive.

  • Lake Cherokee

    • 🏘️ residential
    • πŸ›οΈ historic
    • πŸ§˜β€β™€οΈ peaceful
    • πŸŒ… scenic

    Lake Cherokee is a picturesque neighborhood known for its beautiful lake views and tranquil streets. Upscale homes and the scenic lakeside park provide a relaxing environment away from the city's hustle. It's perfect for those looking to enjoy a more subdued, residential side of Orlando, but dining and entertainment options can be limited within the neighborhood. The area is centrally located, giving you easy access to more vibrant parts of the city.

  • Florida Center North

    • tourist-friendly
    • 🍽️ dining
    • less crowded
    • traffic congestion

    Florida Center North is another neighborhood conveniently positioned for those visiting Universal Orlando Resort. It has a selection of restaurants and is typically less crowded than the Florida Center. However, the area still grapples with traffic congestion during peak hours, and while it's tourist-friendly, it does not escape the generic feel of a hotel zone.

  • Kirkman North

    • tourism
    • 🍽️ dining
    • πŸ›οΈ shopping
    • πŸ‘« busy

    Kirkman North is convenient for visitors who prioritize proximity to Orlando's top attractions, like Universal Orlando Resort. It's bustling with tourist activity and offers numerous dining and shopping options. However, this also means it can get quite crowded, and traffic is often heavy. This area is also perceived as less authentic than more residential neighborhoods, with a focus on serving tourists rather than local culture.

  • Holden / Parramore

    • 🎭 cultural
    • πŸ›οΈ historic
    • close to downtown
    • socio-economic diversity

    The Holden/Parramore area is historically rich but has faced challenges related to urban blight. Redevelopment efforts are underway, bringing new businesses and cultural venues. This area offers an eclectic, real-city feel. Still, travelers should be mindful of safety, especially at night, as some parts have higher crime rates than other Orlando neighborhoods.

  • Lorna Doone

    • events
    • sports
    • redevelopment
    • limited amenities

    Lorna Doone is a small residential neighborhood known for the Camping World Stadium, making it a good choice for those attending events there. It's generally quiet regarding nightlife and dining options, and visitors may need to venture out for more excitement or tourist activities. The area is still redefining itself, with areas of improvement, particularly in terms of community investments and safety.

  • Callahan

    • urban
    • community
    • convenient
    • business-friendly

    Right next to the downtown core, Callahan offers a mix of urban living with a sense of community. There's easy access to sports venues and cultural events, but it doesn't offer as much tranquility as other areas. It can be a convenient choice for business travelers, though tourists may find it lacks the quintessential Orlando magic they want.