It may seem more like a destination for kids but if you're planning a trip to the States for the future, Orlando should definitely be on your bucket list. Just because you’re solo doesn’t mean that you can’t visit Orlando. You don’t even need to borrow a child to go. Being the Theme Park of the World, Orlando is just as much fun for us adults but there are many things to do in Orlando besides theme parks. And you'll find recommended places to stay in Orlando down below too.
1. The Wheel at ICON Park
If you’ve been on the London Eye, you’ll know exactly what to expect on The Wheel at ICON Park – formerly the Orlando Eye – one of the newest attractions in Florida. Float effortlessly in your own see-through capsule and experience the magic of above with a 360-degree view of Orlando and its beautiful lakes below.
* Check dates, prices and availability: ICON Park Observation Wheel
2. Kennedy Space Center
The Space Centre brings to life the world of space and the stories of the astronauts who travelled there. Experience the feelings of an actual space shuttle launch and fly into orbit or meet a veteran astronaut. Having the opportunity to board a space shuttle and learn about the history of space travel is definitely a once in a lifetime, bucket list adventure.
* Check dates, prices and availability: Kennedy Space Centre Skip The Line Ticket
3. Wax Museum Orlando
Where else can you find Ricky Martin, Beyonce and Steve Jobs all under one roof? At Madame Tussauds, there are plenty of wax models to pose with including your favourite A-listers. Photo opportunities with celebrities.
4. Skeletons Unveiled
Skeletons Unveiled is a growing tourist attraction in Orlando Florida, and a totally unique experience, Skeletons Animals Unveiled features more than 400 skeletons. Learn about the dinosaur era in America’s largest skeleton museum and see animals in never-before-seen poses.
5. Cirque du Soleil
Cirque du Soleil Orlando is one of the most famous shows of all and a sight to behold. Watch breathtaking dances and flips and twists with high-density circus routines that will take your breath away.
6. Culture in Orlando
If you prefer a more cultural visit, Orlando has a thriving cultural scene with upcoming art shows, heritage festivals and lots of live music to keep you entertained. Or attend the weekly farmer's market at Lake Eola Park for live entertainment along with fresh farmer's produce.
Dr. Phillips Centre for the Performing Arts showcases dance, music and comedy to put a smile on your face when you’re in Orlando. It even features Broadway shows within the Walt Disney Theatre, its largest venue and you get a good view of the stage no matter where you decide to sit but book before you get there so that you don’t miss out. The Outta Control magic comedy dinner show will definitely entertain you.
7. Dining Experience
There are plenty of restaurants to choose from and at night the Boardwalk has some of the best places to eat in Orlando, with more of an adult crowd. Although you can find the fast-food joints here there are other culinary delights on offer such as the Flying Fish Cafe with delicious seafood or a sweet cupcake from the Boardwalk bakery.
Steak lovers head to Kres Chophouse downtown Orlando, which serves delicacies in a cosy and beautiful ambience and beats the street kebabs you may be used to. Go back in time to the Victorian era at Victoria & Albert's fine dining restaurant and enjoy a drink amidst the Victorian decor without blowing your dining budget.
Then afterwards pop along to the Atlantic Dance Hall to relive the 80s and 90s and dance to your heart’s content.
You can’t go to Orlando and not shop. From factory outlets to malls such as the Mall at Millennia and the Florida Mall, there are over 250 shops with premium brands and discount stores as well as gift shops to buy a few souvenirs from your holiday. The Orlando International Premium Outlets are in an open shopping centre so you can shop whilst feeling the sun on your face as you stock up on all those items that you haven't seen in a while.
9. The Theme Parks
If you have come here for the theme parks in Orlando, then there are a plethora to choose from such as the Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World, or the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – a world which will transport you back into the magical books. There are four parks to choose from whether you prefer the magic of the Magic Kingdom, a red-carpet experience at Disney’s Hollywood Studios or seeing the animals at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park.
There’s now a Legoland Florida although you probably do need to drag along a child for this one. If you're a movie lover, you'll love Universal Studios where you can jump into your favourite films and see behind the scenes. * Check dates, prices and availability: Universal Orlando Park
The most adult-oriented park here has to be Epcot with a simulation ride called Soarin’ that plunges you into waves (not real ones of course) and gives an aerial view of the Golden Gate Bridge. But you can’t not visit the giant golf ball which is Epcot’s icon. At the entrance of the park sits Spaceship Earth, a ride that takes you through the years from ancient cave paintings to the technology world, perfect for when you enter the park.
If you’re looking for fun in this sunny state, Busch Gardens has all the rides that you need within its 350 acres. Rollercoasters, shows and attractions plus animal encounters such as meerkats to enjoy too. * Check dates, prices and availability: Busch Gardens
If you're looking to cool off, one of the fun things to do in Orlando Florida is to get wet and wild the only way that Orlando knows how. In this premier water park, there is no other option but to get wet. From free-falling down a six-story speed slide to racing in the aqua drag racer, there are flumes and water rides to get that adrenalin pumping.
For an amusement park for the mind. You can experience the sensations of an earthquake in the earthquake simulators, or experience laying on a bed of nails at Wonderworks. With over 100 interactive exhibits to choose from, there is more than enough to keep you entertained here. * Check dates, prices and availability: WonderWorks All Access
These are just the top 9 things to do in Orlando but there are so many activities in Orlando.
Get Your Guide – Get Your Guide helps you to find top-rated day tours and activities in Orlando. Choose from a wildlife watching everglades airboat ride, a St. Augustine day trip with a scenic cruise, or dine with an astronaut on a space centre tour. It’s really simple to use. Just check the reviews, price and availability then book online. Read my Get Your Guide review or click the link below for all their tours.
Viator – Viator is similar to Get Your Guide. They are an American company and a tour platform with more than 345,000 tours and worldwide activities. They also offer clear kayak adventures through Silver Springs, an indoor skydiving experience with a certificate, or an Orlando tree trek adventure park experience. Read my Viator review or click the link for all their tours.
There is a wide choice of hotels in Orlando from international hotels to apartments/condos. Orlando is a sprawling city so if you are unsure of where to stay in Orlando, Downtown Orlando has good nightlife, shopping and dining. Southwest Orlando is one of the popular destinations as it’s where you’ll find some of the biggest parks such as Universal Studios and Disney World. Some of the hotels offer free shuttles to the parks.
Plus there’s Airbnb which offers rental accommodation in Orlando on a short-term basis and rooms with a local. Save $20 off your first stay with this Airbnb link.
All of the accommodations below have been recommended by solo female travellers and come with our Solo Female Friendly endorsement. For all other accommodation in Orlando, click on the link below.
For those who prefer the freedom of the open road consider hiring an RV and driving yourself around the USA stopping in Orlando on the way. As a solo traveller, you’ll have plenty of space for your accommodation, your own transport and possibly a kitchenette too. RVshare allows you to compare RV rates from different brands and find local owners near you. In most cases, they deliver to a specific location or park, so the home-away-from-home will be ready and waiting for you on arrival. Plus, you can bring your pet! Prices start from $75 a night. * Book a campervan with RVshare
This stylish 3-star hotel looks as though it’s designed just for females with its chic purple interior. There’s a cafe and restaurant on-site, a bar and an outdoor pool, and if you’re planning to visit Universal Studios, it’s only a 15-minute walk away or they provide a free shuttle. Reception is open 24 hours and offers attraction tickets. The rooms have air conditioning, a flat-screen TV and a coffee machine and there are no hidden resort fees. Choose from a queen or king room or a queen suite.
- Prices from £72 / $102 USD per night for a queen room
- To book, check prices or availability for Clarion Inn & Suites
Situated in Kissimmee Old Town, Barefoot Suite offers apartments/condos within easy reach of Walt Disney World Resort (just 3 miles away) and they provide a free transfer to the park. Each apartment has either a fully-equipped kitchen or a kitchenette or you can just dine in one of the several eateries in the area. The rooms are spacious yet a little dated but they are comfortable and have everything you need including an outdoor barbecue and pool, and some have their own balcony with a view.
- Prices from £94 / $134 USD per night for a queen room
- To book, check prices or availability for Barefoot Suite
If you prefer a hotel room near Disney World instead of an apartment, the Hyatt Place Orlando is a 3-star hotel with everything you need for a comfortable stay in Orlando. The rooms are clean and spacious and come with coffee-making facilities, a fridge and a TV. The staff are really friendly and it’s in a great location, within walking distance to shops and restaurants. Breakfast is included in the rate too. Choose from a queen or king room.
- Prices from £98 / $139 USD per night for a queen room
- To book, check prices or availability for Hyatt Place Orlando
If you're worried about being solo, and you're thinking that theme parks are better with others, you can still have fun alone. When you’re by yourself, you can make all the decisions and go on all the rides you want. Plus, you’re free to go around the theme parks and explore as much as you like. You’re also free to explore Orlando in general, which is a really beautiful place.
Orlando isn’t just for kids and even us solo females can have our share of fun and excitement with all the grown-up friendly attractions and activities in Orlando available. I hope this article gives you some ideas of things to do besides the theme parks in Orlando.
Have you been to Orlando? I'd love to hear your comments below.
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