Travel Tips

Ask the Locals Travel Guide: Orlando, Florida

Locations in this article:  Chicago, IL Orlando, FL

Mickey Mouse topiary - Orlando, FloridaPeter’s radio show is coming to us from The Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek Hotel in Florida.

With such easy access to the theme parks, it’s understandable that visitors might spend an inordinate amount of time with a certain mouse.

But we wanted to find out where Orlando’s locals like to go. Keep reading to learn more.

Steve Blount, The Media Doctor

Hundreds of musicians call Orlando home and when they’re not touring, you can find them playing at local restaurants and clubs. One of the best is Vines Grille & Wine Bar  near the theme parks. The house band is led by Bernie Lee, a septuagenarian soulster whose jazz group covers everything form jive to free jazz.

Wisteria Vines in Tiffany Glass at Charles Hosmer Morse MuseumYou’ve heard of “Tiffany glass.” Well, the world’s most comprehensive collection of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany can be found in Orlando’s Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art. The Tiffany collection includes jewelry, art glass, and the chapel interior designed for the 1893 World Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

Just north of Orlando is Blue Spring, a Florida state park that is home to a number of manatees, aka sea cows. These mammals live in both salt and freshwater habitats, but between November and mid-March, you can find them swimming in the freshwater springs.

People fly to Central Florida from all over the world for fish. Freshwater fishing for largemouth bass—BIG ones—is popular and some of the best spots are near the theme parks. Lake Tohopekaliga (Lake Toho) is home to scads of lunker bass. You can book a half-day or full-day trip on the water with a professional guide, such as Orlando Bass Guide. They’ll hook you up with the gear, the right bait for the time of season and time of day, and put you on top of the fish.

Find more outdoor activities with Everglades National Park: An Eco-Travel Vacation in Florida.

For more Orlando attractions beyond the mouse, visit Steve’s website here.

Josh Garrick, writer, photographer, and fine art curator and consultant

Anatolia is a new restaurant just off Sand Lake Road, named for a region in Turkey that happens to be one of the great crossroads of ancient civilization.

Turkish food at Anatolia Restaurant OrlandoYou’ll want to begin your meal with the many choices of “mezeler” (appetizers), Turkish specialties which show off the originality and unique skills of the restaurant. For the main course, lamb and chicken are the featured meats, offered roasted, skewered, ground into patties or sliced paper thin and seasoned. From the very friendly (and informative) staff to the bistro-like atmosphere to the unique and delicious menu, this is truly a family-friendly restaurant that is a pleasure to recommend.

Don’t miss Peter’s radio show from Orlando–check out the guest list here.

The beautifully restored Garden Theatre is located in downtown Winter Garden, about 20 miles west of Orlando. The good folks at the theater love their comedy, and you can only imagine the potential for laughs in its current production, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged). The theater is also home to a restored movie house, which shows kid-friendly PBS specials every month.

The Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra is kicking off spring with a free concert in Winter Garden’s Central Park on Sunday, March 14. The Philharmonic has been a Central Florida tradition for 17 seasons, with performances generally taking place at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre. Its flagship series of performances is known as the “Super Series,” comprised of 10 classical and pops concerts each season.

By Sarika Chawla for

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