Hotspots in Orlando, FL
Agriculturally, Florida is on a reversed season from most of the rest of the country. Our growing starts when the harvest moon wanes for everyone else. Thus, deep winter is the perfect time to get your hands on some fresh fruit. Just up the road from Orlando is Pappy's Patch, a real down-home experience bursting with friendly characters and charm. And once you get over how cute you look in your overalls, you'll see the berries are even more of a draw. Delicious, sweet and right off the vine, it's a flavor and sunny-day outing that can't be beat.
The most important thing a couple can share is interests. Whether you've fallen into a stale routine with your mate or you're on the market, you're bound to find something click over at Nude Nite. Some of the most talented visual and performance artists in Central Florida focus all their efforts on the human form for an exhibition that can't help but make you think. With 14 years under its belt, Nude Nite has a reputation for being risque and sexy while remaining tasteful and intellectual. Past performances have included bondage shows, wax play and live nude sculpture (from chocolate). Even if the two of you can't agree on the definition of art, you can always indulge in some decadence.
Joseph Kellner's 24 years of experience in his industry have certainly paid off. He has won Best Haircolor in Orlando several times over - the honor has been bestowed upon him by Citysearch.com, Local.com, MerchantCircle.com, and Cityvoter.com. He specializes in corrective haircolor and offers other salon services such as special occasion hairstyling and makeup. When he's not at the salon, Kellner keeps busy as a full-time professional makeup artist for various forms of media including television, print and film. He also has his own mineral makeup line, JOTOVI. View the "Before and After" galleries on the salon's website, and I'm sure you'll agree his success is well deserved. Be sure to book your appointment in advance via phone or email.
The closest thing to the Fountain of Youth, Wekiwa Springs State Park is a place where families will surely want to spend an entire day. Visitors will be astounded this natural treasure is just a half hour drive from Orlando's tourist district. The springs pump 42 million gallons of crystal clear water each day for splashing pleasure. A hillside area offers the perfect place to throw down a beach blanket and play in the waters all day. 13 miles of trails make for great biking or hiking experiences. The more adventurous travelers can camp out at the park for a minimal fee. Nearby, families are able to rent canoes and paddle down the Wekiva river. There are no lifeguards on duty so an extra eye on the kiddos is recommended.
The beautiful botanicals at Leu Gardens are much better admired under the stars when it comes to summertime in Orlando where the average temperature sits at about 90 degrees. The first Friday of each month, the park hosts a movie night under the stars where for the price of admission to the gardens you can enjoy a recent film and bring a picnic basket. Another fun time to go is when they have Jazz under the Stars on occasion. Check the website for event details. Summer evenings in Orlando mean the mosquitos are out in full effect, so bring along your bug spray.
Paddleboard yoga at H2YO is a 90-minute fitness-based class that focuses on core stability, yoga, stroke and paddle basics. When in Florida, it's mandatory for your workout to include water in some way! All levels of yoga and paddleboard expertise are welcome and even beginners will feel comfortable in a H2YO class. Classes tend to be smaller and more intimate and take place at different times of day, including sunset. Check the H2YO website for prices and locations and details about classes. Bring your own board or use one of the boards included in your lesson price. Leave your cell phone on shore and soak in the Orlando scenery from the center of one of the many beautiful area lakes!
For a taste of true Orlando, trot your dog over to the Audubon Park Garden District on Monday nights from 6-10 p.m. With a committed focus on local fare, this community market brings in organic produce – often grown within the city – seafood caught right off the coast, prepared food using local ingredients and handmade crafts, soaps and more from artists you can meet. Live music usually accompany the festivities, and you can check out information on how you can get involved in projects around town. Whether you’re interested in starting a home garden or you just want to support local merchants, this market will make you and your dog feel a little closer to the city.
Who doesn't think of oranges when they think of Florida? Orlando visitors can check out over 50 varieties of citrus, ripe for the picking at the Showcase of Citrus located just 15 minutes west of downtown Orlando. The whole family can pick their own citrus and spread out for a southern style picnic amongst the groves. Keep an eye out for Sandhill Cranes, wild Scarlet Macaws, wild turkey, coyotes, raccoons and the rare fox squirrel on the grounds. Guests might also come across Allie the Alligator - admiring from afar is recommended. Entrance to the grove is free. Cost for picking is ten dollars to pick a quarter bushel and 20 dollars for a bushel.
Bananas Diner is fairly new to the Orlando lunch scene, but should not be overlooked by any means. This funky American diner in the Colonialtown district is brimming with character and classic lunch specials. Most of the meals on the menu are familiar favorites from the past with a new culinary twist. Take a day off the healthy wagon and try Banana’s signature Sloppy Joe, Lobster Mac-n-Cheese or the Garbage Plate. Do not pass on the Tater Tots! Breakfast is always available and the bill comes with cotton candy. One can never go wrong ending a meal with cotton candy.
Besides boasting some of the best java in Orlando, Axum Coffee can also boast that 100 percent of their profits go to serve the world, including orphan care, fresh water needs, medical services, education and more. Simply buy and drink a great cup of coffee and Axum has more to give back. Axum doesn’t just server coffee. Guests to the shop can enjoy smoothies, tea, paninis and desserts. This eclectic, friendly coffee shop is located in historic Winter Garden amongst other unique shops and restaurants. Winter Garden is a suburb of Orlando.