Winter Activities in Orlando, FL
Occasionally, even Orlando has its bouts of near-freezing temps that trap people around their heaters. When there's no break in the cold, break yourself out with a trip to the Spa. Obviously gunning for simplicity, the Spa offers all the expected beautifiers and relaxation with an emphasis on quality. But it does put some original twists on the day out, combining such amenities as dark chocolate facials, deep tissue massage and martinis. And the monthly Happy Hour turns the mood from melting to manic with dancing, signature drinks and special treatments. It's a great activity to do with friends, because if you have to be cooped up inside, you might as well have hot stones placed on your back.
Maybe it's the way we dress or the black-and-white feel of the season, but the world seems so much more sophisticated in winter. To brush up on your bonafides of what's going on in visual arts, every third Thursday, Orlando hosts an art walk, where more than 20 centrally located galleries and restaurants – ranging from boutique to avant garde – open their doors on their latest exhibits, usually with wine and beer bars as an added incentive. Start at downtown's CityArts Factory, a single facility housing several galleries as well as SAK Comedy Club. Kick the night off with a laugh, end with a somber (but maybe not sober) meditation.
There's nothing wrong with ducking the cold and shuffling in doors for some warm comfort food and good memories. The Enzian Theatre in Maitland can take both one step beyond. As Central Florida's most recognized art house cinema, the Enzian brings you both the latest in obscure festival titles and beloved films from the past. Check out their Cult Classics series for some off-the-wall oldies, or enjoy any one of their many special programs that shows everything from Nostferatu to West Side Story. And don't forget their menu, which starts at popcorn, works through truffle fries, pulled pork sandwiches and on into white chocolate pudding with all stops between. They also offer a variety of wines, craft beers and coffees, ideal for sitting back and taking in a show.
Another great outdoor adventure that gets better when the heat relents, Forever Florida's 4,700 acres captures a wide variety of the Florida experience, from Spanish colony to cracker ranching to real wild wilderness. Select from three guided tours that cross the breadth of nine different ecosystems, including the Zipline Safari, which zooms visitors through the treetops, 55-feet up at 25 miles per hour! Arranging for a camping stay in January, including a two- or three-night horseback ride, yields excellent stargazing without the mosquitoes, plus gives you a chance to do the moonlight and starlight versions of the Zipline. Whether your out for education, bonding or just a peaceful commune with nature, this preserve is the place to be.
Florida's unique climate also makes it an interesting time for flower lovers. Some of the prettiest blooms reach their eye-popping fullest in our coldest days, so that's the best time to don your scarf and take a leisurely stroll through one of Central Florida's premiere botanical gardens. Celebrating their 50th anniversary in 2011, Leu Gardens of Orlando's ViMi District is three acres of well kept natural wonder. Leu's boasts the largest formal rose garden in Florida, and the third largest Camellia collection in the country, the prime-time for which is January. Also, don't forget their special events, like Date Night, where they show a romantic movie outside after dark. It's a perfect setting to snuggle up to someone close.