5 Things You Won’t Believe About Orlando

5 Things You Won’t Believe About Orlando

The third-largest city in Florida, Orlando was originally nicknamed “The City Beautiful,” but it has since taken on the less poetic title of “Theme Park Capital of the World” thanks to the arrivals of Walt Disney World, SeaWorld, and Universal Studios. So it’s easy to see why Orlando has a reputation as little more than a sunbaked lot filled with long lines, loud attractions, and costumed characters battling heatstroke. But there’s more to the city than that. Take off the mouse ears and consider what else Orlando has to offer. Here are 5 things you won’t believe about Orlando:


Myth: It’s a fake, plastic city with no history.

Truth: The City of Orlando was incorporated in 1875 when it became the hub of Florida’s citrus industry. Today, the historic core of “Old Orlando” resides in Downtown Orlando along Church Street, between Orange Avenue and Garland Avenue. Urban development and the Central Business District of downtown have rapidly shaped the downtown skyline during recent history. The present-day historic district is primarily associated with the neighborhoods around Lake Eola where century old oaks line brick streets. These neighborhoods, known as Lake Eola Heights and Thornton Park, contain some of the oldest homes in Orlando.


Myth: Fine dining? Do corn dogs count?

Truth: Orlando’s reputation as a cultural and culinary wasteland is really unfair. New York transplants and thawing snowbirds rave about Christner’s Prime Steak & Lobster (likening it to New York steakhouse legend Peter Luger)—not to mention that with the second-largest Puerto Rican community behind New York City, Orlando and nearby Kissimmee are teeming with affordable and delectable Puerto Rican restaurants serving up mofongo (mashed fried plantains with garlic) and medianoches (a popular Caribbean sandwich). Even the Disney Resort offers more than mouse-shaped confections: It’s home to one of Orlando’s top fine-dining establishments, Victoria & Albert’s. (The AAA five-diamond restaurant requires men to wear jackets.)


Myth: Orlando is one giant retirement community.

Truth: Thanks to old jokes and “Golden Girls” reruns, Florida can’t seem to shake its reputation as a place populated entirely by the elderly. However, Central Florida is actually home to more than 20 colleges and universities (the largest being the University of Central Florida, which has a campus coming to downtown Orlando), so there are plenty of young people out and about. In fact, a 2010 U.S. Census report found that only about 9.4% of Orlando’s population was 65 or older.


Myth: It is unbearably hot all the time.

Truth: While the city surely gets hot and humid, the average annual temperature in Orlando hovers around 72 degrees. Not only comfortable, it also pushes the city way down to seventh on the list of hottest cities in the U.S. The month of August tends to be the warmest, with average temperatures around 83 degrees, while January and February see conditions in the oh-so-comfortable 60s.


Myth: There’s a Floridian Bigfoot?

Truth: Yes, Florida has its own version of Bigfoot, called the “Swamp Ape.” Considering the millions of camera-wielding tourists that descend on the area every year, though, we find it unlikely that a 7-foot-tall bipedal creature with the overpowering musk of a skunk could go this long without being photographed or caught. Still, enough kooky things occur in the great state of Florida (see the “Florida Man” parody Twitter account) to keep life here from being boring.


Source: “5 Things You Won’t Believe About Orlando,” realtor.com