20 Things Orlando Is Known And Famous For

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Orlando is known for its nightlife, theme parks, eclectic culture, and Cuban cuisine.

Often touted to be a land of sunshine and theme parks, where every day feels like a vacay, Orlando is like a giant playground for kids and grown-ups. This is in no small part due to the famous Disney World here. Nonetheless, there is plenty more to this vibrant city from its food to its nature.

What Is Orlando Known For?

Orlando is famous for Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, Cuban cuisines, the Magic basketball team, and many impressive architecture and landmarks. Located in the heart of Central Florida, this is one of the most visited cities in the state.

Orlando is also known for being the hometown of some stunning beaches and famous people, such as Wesley Snipes and Mandy Moore.

History, Culture, And Traditions

Theme Park Culture

Orlando is famous for its incredibly stunning theme parks that have become popular among tourists and travelers. Parks such as Walt Disney World and Universal Studios draw millions of visitors looking to enjoy the rides, shows, and attractions on offer.

In addition to Walt Disney World and Universal Studios, SeaWorld is one of the most visited parks in Orlando. There are also other less popular parks with impressive attractions and fun activities. These theme parks make Orlando one of the best places to visit for families with children. 

Festivals

One of the easiest and most enjoyable avenues to learn about the interesting culture and history of Orlando is by attending the various festivals and celebrations hosted in the city. These festivals have diverse themes that showcase the city’s history and culture.

Film lovers can attend the Orlando Fringe Festival which promotes local theater and performance art that productions around elements Orlando is known for.

Fans of Zora Neale Hurston are welcome to celebrate the life and work of the famed author at the annual festival named after her, while Orlando Carnival Downtown celebrates Caribbean culture and music. There are a variety of festivals and celebrations for people of different interests.

African American History

Orlando has a large African American community with a long history that dates back to 1880 when former slaves founded the first African American community in the city.

Orlando’s rich African American history is preserved and celebrated at museums, such as the Wells’Built Museum of African American History and Culture, where visitors can learn about the struggles and triumphs of African Americans and see exhibits on historic figures like Sam Jones and his wife, Penny.

Zora Neale Hurston is also celebrated in the city for her literary works, which highlighted the struggles of African Americans in Florida. 

Spanish Influence

Orlando is known for its huge Spanish influence, thanks to the colonization of Florida by the Spanish in the 1700s. You can still see the impact of that historic period on Orlando’s architecture and cultural traditions.

In fact, this adds an interesting aspect to the city. You can enjoy traditional Spanish cuisine at various restaurants across the city, and also explore Spanish-style buildings like the Casa Feliz Historic Home Museum.

Seminole Tribe

Apart from the European settlers, modern-day Orlando also draws a lot of influence from the early Native tribes in the area. One of the three federally recognized Seminole entities, the Seminole Tribe of Florida, is one of the most important parts of the history and culture of Orlando.

The Seminole people were one of the first Native Americans to inhabit Florida, and their culture and traditions are still very much seen in the arts and music scene in Orlando. Visitors can learn about Seminole’s practices, art, and music at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.

Cuban Culture

Orlando is famous for its vibrant Cuban community that has greatly influenced the city through its food, music, and art. You can begin enjoying the full Cuban experience by trying Cuban delicacies, such as Vaca frita, arroz con pollo, and ropa vieja. 

Restaurants like Sofrito Latin Cafe, Tu Tu Tango, and Black Bean Deli serve up some of the most unique and popular Cuban dishes, while Orlando’s Cuban heritage is celebrated at cultural events like the Orlando Cuban Sandwich Smackdown.

Discovering the unique Cuban culture with an Orlando twist is one of the most enriching experiences you will have in the city.

Areas And Districts

Downtown

One of the prominent districts Orlando is known for is its downtown area, featuring some of the best attractions in the city.

City Hall, the seat of the government of Orlando, is located downtown, along with the magnificent Dr. Phillips Center which hosts operas and musicals. The nearby Amway Center is home to the Orlando Magic basketball team and also holds a variety of concerts.

You can enjoy the dining opportunities along Church Street Station, a former train depot that now houses several restaurants serving special local cuisine.

There are lots of great sounds, sights, and activities found in downtown Orlando, making it one of the tourists’ favorite stops in the city. And make no mistake, locals love to hang out here during the weekends or for a fun night out too!

North Quarter

Located just north of Downtown is North Quarter, a residential neighborhood lined with a range of apartment buildings and office towers. The district also has a blend of restaurants and shops that visitors and families will enjoy.

North Quarter’s proximity to downtown Orlando and the famous Lake Ivanhoe, means that it has a fine blend of urban and village vibe.

While downtown Orlando is the business hub of Orlando, North Quarter is popular among startup and business owners who consider the area a fertile ground for small businesses. North Quarter is an excellent option for relocating families and visitors looking to rent an apartment during visits.

Winter Park

Another nearby area that Orlando is famous for is Winter Park, a scenic area with a mix of arts, architecture, and attractions. The area was initially established as a resort in the late 19th and 20th centuries.

Today it is home to a lieu of trendy restaurants and shops, civic buildings, art galleries, and plenty of other attractions and places worth exploring.

Park Avenue, the area’s main street, is home to the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art. The museum houses a comprehensive collection of the works of Louis Comfort Tiffany, which is part of its art nouveau. It’s impressive collections also include works by William Morris, John LaFarge, Emile Galle, Samuel F.B Morse, and many others.

Other places to explore include the Woman’s Club of Winter Park, Hannibal Square Heritage Center, Winter Park Public Library, and many more.

Landmarks And Architecture

Wells’built Museum of African American History

Orlando is known for its rich African American History, and one of the institutions that ensure the history and culture of Orlando’s African Americans is preserved is the Wells’built Museum of African American History.

Formerly a hotel frequented by black celebrities, the museum was opened in 2001. Here, you can gain access to photos, artworks, books, artifacts, and numerous exhibits that tell the story of African Americans in the city.

This museum is the perfect place to visit during Black History Month or whenever you want to delve into the past of Orlando’s African American community.

Walt Disney World

The theme parks of Walt Disney World offer some of the best fun experiences in Orlando. Walt Disney World is located in Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista, with its gates open to families and tourists looking to have a magical experience.

The parks offer thrill rides, shows, and attractions, which draw over a million visitors every year. Families can book rooms in the resort’s hotel or settle for just a day’s visit to explore.

Casa Feliz

Casa Feliz is an award-winning historic home and one of the top architecture Orlando is famous for.

Also known as “Happy House”, Casa Feliz was designed by renowned architect James Gamble Rogers II, upon the request of owner Robert Bruce Barbour. The house is famed for its Andalusian-style design which is noted for its cultural influence in the community.

The residence complex features a garden and a courtyard of trees, while the interior has a living room with a vaulted ceiling.

To prevent it from being ruined, the house was moved to Park Avenue in Winter Park and now has a museum that focuses on exhibits of the works of James Gamble Rogers II.

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Sports In Orlando

Orlando Magic

Orlando is known for being the hometown of the famed basketball team – Orlando Magic. The Orlando Magic is the most popular sports team in the city and they compete in the National Basketball Association(NBA).

The team plays its home games at Amway Center, where they have played since it opened in 2010.

Established in 1989, the Magic have acquired some prominent players in NBA history, including the massive Shaquille O’Neale, Grant Hill, Tracy McGrady, and Nikola Vučević. The Magic’s growing trophy haul consists of at least two Conference titles and six Division titles.

Orlando SC

Orlando SC, nicknamed The Lions, is a fast-rising favorite of the residents of Orlando. The franchise is a soccer club that competes in the Major League Soccer(MLS), the premier competitive soccer league in the United States.

The Lions was founded in 2013, becoming the first MLS team in Florida since the 2001 postseason, when Miami Fusion and Tampa Bay Mutiny both folded; this makes them the only MLS team Orlando is known for. They play their home games at the 25500-capacity Exploria Stadium.

Famous Food In Orlando

Cuban Sandwiches

Cuban sandwiches are one of the staples among foods in Florida and are also popular in Orlando. This is one of the few dishes you would love to have for lunch while exploring the city.

Cuban sandwiches are filled with sweet cheese, ham, roasted pork, pickles, and mustard. Then it is pressed and grilled until the bread is crispy and the cheese is melted. The sandwich goes well with a side of plantain chips or yuca fries. It is a must-try when visiting Orlando.

Key Lime Pie

Another Orlando food that stands out is the Key lime pie. This lunch favorite is made with Key lime juice, sweetened condensed milk, and a graham cracker crust.

This sweet, tangy dessert is named after Key limes, which are smaller and tarter than regular limes. It is a popular treat in Orlando and is served in many restaurants and bakeries across the city.

Famous People From Orlando

Wesley Snipes

Perhaps the most famous movie star from Orlando, Wesley Snipes is one of the personalities and things Florida is proud of.

Wesley was born in Orlando but moved to New York with his family. He grew up in New York and attended an art school until he returned to Orlando to finish at Jones High School. After he graduated from Jones High School, Snipes returned to New York and attended the State University of New York.

Wesley Snipes is best known for his stellar roles in Blade, White Men Can’t Jump, Passenger 57, and Demolition Man. He has been nominated for several awards, some of which he won.

Mandy Moore

Mandy Moore is a popular entertainer who has made her mark in both the music and film industries. She started her career in the music industry before progressing to the screens.

Moore was only two months old when she and her family moved to Orlando from New Hampshire. She grew up in Orlando and attended high school in the city.

Mandy gained immediate popularity following the success of her debut single which peaked at 41 on the Billboard Hot 100. Her musical success continued with her platinum-certified debut album.

For her acting role in This Is Us, Mandy received Primetime Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award nominations. She also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Jack Griffo

Jack was one of the most popular Nickelodeon teen actors of this century. Originally born in Orlando, he is best known for his role in the Nickelodeon superhero sitcom The Thundermans.

Jack played the main role of Max Thunderman in the hit show. During the duration of the show, Max received consecutive Kids Choice Award nominations for Favorite Actor and Male TV Star.

He has reprised the role of Max as Nickelodeon Studios has begun production for a feature-length movie based on the show.

Jonathan Jackson

Nashville star, Jonathan Jackson was born and brought up in Orlando. He took to acting after he and his family visited Universal Studios Hollywood. So he started taking acting lessons and soon started acting in commercials.

His role in the soap opera General Hospital brought Jonathan into the limelight and fetched him more notable roles, including Avery Barkley in the series Nashville, for which he received a Critics’ Choice Television Award nomination.

Discovering More Things Orlando Is Famous For

From the fun-filled theme parks to delicious food, there are plenty of reasons why people love living in this vibrant Florida destination. And these are just a small taste of what Orlando is known for.

With its rich cultural heritage, stunning natural beauty, and unique attractions, this city has many different things to offer. You will also find some beautiful Florida beaches, that just pairs well with the best weather for an optimum summer fun experience.

Be sure to grab your sunscreen and put on those comfy walking shoes for an adventure in O-Town.


WHAT IS ORLANDO KNOWN FOR? PIN IT FOR LATER!

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Welcome To NomadsUnveiled
This is Rax. For over a decade, I have traveled to over 60 countries - from a budget backpacker to a business traveler, expat and then a digital nomad. You can find insights and perspectives from myself and other world travelers that will inspire your journey of discovery.

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