A Grown Ups Guide to Orlando

While Orlando is known as a big-ticket family holiday destination, there's a lot for adults to get excited about at the world's theme park capital. From thrilling rides to sophisticated shopping, downtown dining, and outdoor adventures, there are plenty of things to do in Orlando if you're on a kid-free vacation. Let this grown-ups guide to Orlando be your road map.

Beyond the theme parks, Orlando has a wealth of entertaining and bougie experiences that grown-ups will love. You'll find leafy neighborhoods packed with gourmet restaurants and posh cocktail bars for late nights with friends.  You can also stay in upscale resorts with adult-only pools, sip craft ale at microbreweries, and admire 20th-century art in contemporary galleries. More than just home to the “most magical place on earth” this grown-ups guide to Orlando will help you plan your dream trip.

Bike to a Brewery

Image credit: Shutterstock.

Bike 22 miles along Orlando's longest paved trail towards the Crooked Can Brewery and Plant Street Market for craft ales and street food eats. Rent bikes from Bikes & Blades Co and ride through urban and green spaces on the well-marked West Orange Trail as you cycle towards local brews.

Crooked Can Brewing Company is a hip Floridian brewery where you can learn about the brewing process on a guided tour and sample full-bodied beers, American IPAs, and small-batch brews. Post-beer sustenance is found in the adjacent artisan market, where fresh BBQ, sushi bento, donuts, handmade chocolate, and piping hot pizza are all under one roof.

Paddle in an Urban Paradise

Image credit: Shutterstock.

Paddle on Orlando's serene, spring-fed waterways with a stand-up paddle (SUP) board lesson from the pros. Book a SUP lesson or a guided tour with Epic Paddle Adventures and connect with nature just one mile from downtown Orlando.

Glide along the calm waters and spot an array of wildlife, including otters, turtles, and birds, as you simultaneously give your core a good workout!

If you're a confident paddler, there are plenty of places to rent a SUP and explore independently. Paddleboard on the blissful waters of Lake Eola in the heart of downtown Orlando, float along the Wekiva River or check out Winter Park's scenic Chain of Lakes.

Bar Hop at Universal Orlando Resort's CityWalk

Universal Orlando Resort.
Image credit: Universal Orlando Resort.

Universals Orlando Resort's 30-acre entertainment complex allows adults to come for late-night shenanigans after a busy day exploring the parks. Dress to impress, and bar hop around the impressive range of CityWalk establishments.

Unwind to the smooth sounds of live musicians playing Jimmy Buffett covers at Margaritaville, watch live comedy or rock gigs at Hardrock Café, and belt out big tunes at Rising Star with a live band karaoke. For 21+ clubbers, the Red Coconut Club is a trendy two-level venue with live DJs spinning eclectic tunes and carefully crafted cocktails.

Foodwise, there are plenty of choices at Universal Orlando Resort if you need to grab a bite between bars. Enjoy American fare and open-fire cooking at the newly opened Big Fire, feast on the unlikely combo of Sushi and burgers at the Cowfish, and enjoy modern Italian cuisine at Vivo Italian Kitchen.

Experience Epcot

Image credit: Walt Disney World.

Epcot is an ideal Disney theme park for adults who want to experience today's and tomorrow's worlds and ride exhilarating coasters and immersive attractions.

Epcot has seriously upped its park offerings of late with extensive refurbishments, including new attractions designed to take you deeper into world cultures and outer space. Travel through 11 nations in the World Showcase, check out Epcot's Festival Calendar, and be dazzled by Epcot's nighttime spectacular, which is currently Epcot Forever.

Thrill seekers should head to one of Epcot's newest ride offerings – Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind – one of Disney's best rides. This world-class attraction features a new storytelling coaster that rotates 360 degrees to focus on the action, including the first reverse launch on a Disney coaster.

Shop for Discount Designer Wear at Orlando Premium Outlets Vineland

Designer shopping.
Image credit: Shutterstock.

Refresh your style and bag a designer bargain at Orlando Premium Outlets Vineland. Browse over 160 outlet name-brand stores like Burberry, Calvin Klein, Jimmy Choo, Prada, and Tommy Hilfiger. For even more significant discounts, head to guest relations and purchase their VIP Coupon Books for top-label savings.

Also, discover reduced-price Disney-centric apparel, live ‘La Dolce Vita,' and pick up the perfect Italian accessory at the Marni Outlet, or experience the elegance of a good Paris couture salon at one of the only Dior outlets in the world.

Discover World-Class Dining

Dinner at a Michilen-starred restaurant.
Image credit: Shutterstock.

Forget fast-food outlets and all-you-can-eat buffets; Orlando has become one of Florida's hottest dining destinations. Delicious dishes are found downtown, throughout Walt Disney World Resort, and in affluent suburbs, with many international cuisines represented.

Orlando's exciting culinary scene is currently enjoying an elevated status, with Michelin Guide Florida adding eight new restaurants in the Orlando and Tampa areas in 2023.

Serious foodies should check out Michelin-starred Capa Steakhouse & Bar – an upscale steakhouse with Spanish influences inside the Four Seasons Resort. For casual dining, Sticky Rice is where you'll find authentic Laotian street food with coveted Michelin star status. Orlando's newest celebrity chef restaurant, Four Flamingos, serves freshly caught seafood and flaming steaks from a concept menu by Chef Richard Blais.

Get Cultured at the Orlando Museum of Art

Art Museum.
Image credit: Shutterstock.

Located in downtown Orlando, this flagship museum has been a center for art and culture in the city for nearly a century. Wander around their impressive collection and discover a diverse range of art, including contemporary, American, and African art – with a focus on showcasing the work of emerging and established artists.

Why not have a culture day in the city by checking out the museum's unique and visiting exhibitions and learning more about the intriguing world of art?

Catch a Film at Leu Gardens Movie Night

Outdoor movie night.
Image credit: Shutterstock.

Enjoy a classic Hollywood film in a botanical oasis – Leu Gardens. There are regular outdoor screenings of some of your favorite movies where you can snuggle up on the lawn with snacks and a few drinks – as alcohol in moderation is permitted.

Fresh popcorn stalls and food trucks are often on-site, and most films shown are aimed at adults or families with older children. Check their event schedule for film listings.

Enjoy Dinner and a Show at Disney Springs

Disney Springs.
Image credit: Walt Disney World.

In recent years Disney Springs has become a must-visit shopping, dining, and entertainment destination in Orlando, where you can enjoy a grown-up evening or cozy date night. While this complex has many family-friendly aspects, adults can enjoy dinner, drinks, and entertainment and stay up late sipping cocktails.

Feast on tasty tapas at Jaleo in Disney Springs – an award-winning restaurant founded by world-renowned Chef Jose Andres. Enjoy a glass of vino in their multi-level dining space and experience the essence of Spain with classic tapas, bold wines, and contemporary Spanish dishes.

Book tickets for Drawn to Life by Cirque de Soleil for a spectacular after-dinner event you'll always remember. The imaginative show celebrates Disney animation in a mesmerizing collaboration with Cirque du Soleil's acrobatic mastery.

Visit the Upmarket Small-Town Suburb of Winter Park

Winter Park FL.
Image credit: Shutterstock.

A charming community about seven miles north of Orlando, Winter Park features tree-lined streets, boutique shops, and hipster cafes. The city's historic district features cobblestoned streets and many well-preserved buildings from the late nineteenth century, including the Albin Polasek Museum and Sculpture Gardens.

There's plenty to do here, from shopping for local produce, renting a swan boat to explore the nearby lake, and admiring the world's most extensive collection of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany at the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum.

Go Wine Tasting

Wine tasting.
Image credit: Shutterstock.

While Florida is not typically considered a wine-producing state, several taprooms and upscale wineries in the Orlando area offer tours and tastings where you can swill wine like a pro. Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards offer complimentary winery tours and wine tasting where you can sample their award-winning Muscadine grape wines.

Over in downtown Orlando, the Eola Wine Company offer over 100 distinctive wines by the glass to try, and you can also feast on accompanying charcuterie boards on their lively patio.

The Quantum Leap Winery is a sustainable winery and cidery offering flights and tastings of high-quality wines with a reduced carbon footprint. Along with wine room tastings, they have a lively program of wine events, including cheese and chocolate pairings.

Zipline Over Gators

Image credit: Gatorland.

Fearless adults can zipline high above wildlife enclosures and get a bird's eye view of the terrifying sight of giant alligators and crocodiles in the famous Gatorland Park.

The Screamin' Gator Zip Line adventure is a must-do for thrill seekers and takes you over 1,200 feet of zip lines – including a hair-raising 350-foot-long line that crosses over a crocodile pit.

Get a unique perfective of incredible, toothy wildlife as you bravely zip from tower to tower soaring at speeds nearly 30 miles per hour.

Photograph Street Art in Orlando

Street Art.
Image credit: Shutterstock.

Photographers will love the selection of street art around the Mills 50 neighborhood, located north of the adjacent downtown area.

This boho area is packed with small museums and quirky restaurants and is home to multiple murals and dynamic street art. Bring your camera and get ready to snap ever-changing urban art that plays homage to Floridian vibes, LGBTQIA+ themes, and diverse cultures.

Current murals include the Lyra McKee mural by Nelson Martin, the Heart mural by Kim Murphy, and the Ric Sosa mural.

For post-art eats, check out Hawkers Asian Street Food on N Mills Ave for Singaporean-style noodles and craft cocktails.

Experience Broadway at the Dr. Phillips Center

Broadway show stage.
Image credit: Shutterstock.

Who needs New York when you can experience a Broadway show in the sunshine state? Orlando's performing arts center delivers an exciting program of live performances, entertainment, and smash Broadway shows in its large downtown arts complex.

This impressive venue is a hub for creativity and spectacular large-scale shows. It features a 2,700-seat amplified hall, Walt Disney Theater, and a smaller 300-seat venue for experimental theater and more innovative performances.

For fans of big shows, don your finest theatre attire and enjoy show classics like Annie, Moulin Rouge the Musical, Les Miserable, and Peter Pan as part of the 2023′ Broadway in Orlando season.

Stay at the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World

Four Seasons Orlando.
Image credit: Four Seasons Orlando.

Bringing dreamy, five-star luxury to Disney World Resort, the Four Seasons is the best resort in Orlando for grown-ups with a healthy budget. It's an opulent stay that balances shades of Mickey and pals with grown-up sophistication.  

Alongside swaying palms, Spanish revival style is found throughout the contemporary décor, giving an effortlessly cool vibe. Grown-up guests can enjoy the luxurious spa, Michelin Star dining, 18-hole golf course, and adult-only pool with lounger service.  

This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks Travel.