If you’re headed to Orlando on a business trip and don’t know a thing about the area, it can be overwhelming. Orlando is home to an incredible amount of attractions, restaurants, places to stay, etc. I’m here to be your guide through this treacherous land located smack dab in the middle of Florida. Here are some of my thoughts and recommendations to get you started with your first visit to Orlando
Convention Center Visitors
The convention center is in the middle of iDrive. A tourist trap of sorts. iDrive cuts through the “center” of Orlando. I say “center” because it’s the center of all of Orlando’s attractions but not the center of downtown.
Downtown Orlando is about 20 to 30 minutes north of the iDrive tourist section. If you’re looking for the museum, large office towers, and old Orlando, you’ll find it there.
While being walkable to the convention center is certainly ideal, here’s a couple ideas in case you want the full Orlando experience.
Where Should I Stay?
Thinking of staying at an airbnb? Well the “big hotel” lobby doesn’t allow airbnb’s near the convention center. So you’re in for a little bit of a drive. Still, the 20-30 minute drive could save you some serious money and offer all the comforts of home. Some of the more popular Airbnb neighborhoods are Reunion (25-30 minutes from the convention center) and Champions Gate (25-30 minutes from the convention center). Both of these neighborhoods are gated, offer amazing amenities, and have homes ranging from a small 3 bed townhome to a 13 bedroom mansion.
(15 minutes from the convention center)
While it has Disney in the name, it’s far from a tourist trap. Disney Springs has some of the finest cuisines in Orlando. My top suggestions are The Boathouse or Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ for lunch or dinner. You can also grab a quick bite that’s a bit cheaper at Blaze Pizza or D-Luxe Burger. There’s more than enough restaurant options to get exactly what you crave! It’s always a great idea to book ahead of time on the My Disney Experience App just to make sure there’s availability and skip the wait.
Outside of food, there’s tons of Bars as well. My all time favorite is Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar with theming that gives an Indiana Jones ascetic! It’s a great place to grab a drink and hangout with friends. The views from the back patio overlook the lagoon and showcase some neighboring Disney hotels.
Once you’re done grabbing food and drinks, there’s no lack of shopping options and things to do. Clothes, Nick Nacks, Disney Merch, pretty much anything can be found at Disney Springs. Try your hand at bowling with Splitsville, head up in a hot air balloon for views above Disney at the Aerophile, or go see a movie at the AMC Disney Springs 24. There are so many things to do at Disney Springs and you can’t go wrong with most of the offerings.
(5 minutes from the convention center)
In close proximity to the convention center, you can find a multitude of great food options for all settings. Here are a few of our favorites to help you get started on your night out.
This spot is super relaxed and has some of the best tex mex in town. It’s one of our all time favorites in the area! Make sure you grab the steak tacos, you won’t be disappointed! The theming is top notch and the views from the back patio over the water are stunning.
Dragonfly Robata Grill & Sushi
Dragonfly is a great spot for sushi and drinks. They have a great happy hour special and the interior and exterior are beautiful.
Looking for a steak dinner? Seasons 52 features a variety of american dishes and imported wines with an elegant and upscale location. The food is wonderful and the setting doesn’t disappoint.
Four Seasons / Capa
(25 minutes from the convention center)
From the top of the Four Seasons you can see Disney fireworks, enjoy incredible views, and enjoy a true 5 star culinary experience at Capa. This spot is truly breathtaking and one you won’t want to miss.
Food Near The Convention Center
If you’re looking for a spot to grab food right near the convention center, here are a couple of my favorites.
Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant
This upscale chain serves American fare paired with house-label wines in a contemporary setting. Not a local spot but definitely a nice restaurant if you don’t want to drive more than a few minutes.
Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse
This upscale steakhouse may be pricey but it has some of the best steak you’ll ever eat. Del Frisco’s is definitely a high end spot but worth the extra investment.
Things To Do Near the Convention Center
There’s a lot you can do near the convention center! Orlando is pushed as theme park land but there’s much more to do than just that. Here are a couple options.
Take a Helicopter Ride
There are a few spots up iDrive where you can hop in a helicopter and see all of Orlando. The best sites are above the theme parks. Universal and Disney are a site to see from above!
If you’re on a business trip with coworkers, add in an escape room to your trip! You can’t go wrong with a little problem solving.
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