Things for Couples to Do in Orlando, Florida

Orlando, Florida, USA Skyline - cover

When you think of “Orlando,” chances are Disney World and Universal Studios spring to mind. Yet, beyond these famed attractions, this bustling city offers couples many opportunities for a memorable and romantic getaway with a wealth of cultural delights, artistic wonders, and stunning natural beauty. Whether you fancy leisurely strolls through picturesque parks, dining at world-class restaurants or enjoying exhilarating adventures on tranquil waterways, Orlando has something special in store for every couple looking to break away from the ordinary. Here, we present the best things for couples to do in Orlando.

Discover Orlando’s Art Scene

The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art

Art-Nouveau - Courtesy of The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art, Winter Park, FL
Courtesy of The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art, Winter Park, FL

Art lovers should visit the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art, which boasts the world’s most extensive collection of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany. The museum features a wide range of exquisite pieces, including jewellery, pottery, glass lamps, and stunning chapel interiors that date back to the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. It’s a visual treat that you wouldn’t want to miss.

Fringe ArtSpace

Orlando’s newest attraction, Fringe ArtSpace, is a year-round performing arts venue boasting two theatre spaces. The 9,100 square foot space offers many concerts, theatre performances, pop-up events, and workshops, making it a vibrant hub for creative expression.

Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts

Dr. Philips Performing Arts Center-14 REVISED

Another must-visit is the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. Located in downtown Orlando, this centre hosts Broadway productions and ballet performances. The building itself is a marvel, with two performance theatres, a community theatre, an outdoor plaza, and a banquet room.

Orlando Museum of Art

Explore diverse artistic treasures at the Orlando Museum of Art. From ancient to contemporary works, the museum’s collections showcase exquisite pieces from various cultures, including textiles, pottery, paintings, sculptures, and modern graphics.

Beyond its impressive permanent collection, the museum’s calendar is enriched yearly with dynamic visiting exhibitions that inspire and spark conversations. However, given the ever-changing nature of these exhibits, it’s advisable to plan your visit and check the museum’s website for updates on current exhibitions and events.

Get Outdoors in Orlando

You don’t have to go too far from the theme parks and malls to experience Orlando’s wild side. This part of the state is filled with lakes, wetlands, natural springs, and all sorts of tropical wildlife. So, check out these amazing outdoor experiences during your visit to Orlando.

Lake Eola Park

Lake Eola Park - Orlando

Located in the heart of downtown Orlando, this beautiful park features nearly a mile of picturesque waterfront paths that encircle a serene lake. 

The park’s dense foliage provides ample shade and is home to various wildlife, including its famous swans. The swans have been a part of the park since 1922, and today, visitors can see different swan species like trumpeter swans, black-neck swans, whooper swans, royal mute swans, and Australian black swans. Visitors can also purchase approved food to feed these elegant birds from designated feeding areas around the lake. 

For a unique experience, paddleboat rentals are available. The park also hosts the Orlando Farmers Market on Saturday mornings.

Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour

Just north of Orlando’s bustling theme parks lies Winter Park, a beautiful Mediterranean-inspired town that seamlessly blends Old Florida charm with European architectural influences and cultural richness. It also boasts the prestigious Rollins College.

For couples seeking a unique and romantic escape, the Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour offers glimpses of Florida’s diverse flora and fauna, including the chance to spot alligators. Nestled on the shores of Lake Osceola, this leisurely guided tour along the Winter Park chain encompasses three lakes and two picturesque artificial canals.

Wild Florida

Wild Florida - airboat tours - Orlando

For a unique outdoor adventure, visit Wild Florida and experience a drive-through safari, an airboat tour, and a gator park. During the safari, you can drive through the park and watch over 100 animals roam freely while staying in your car. 

The airboat tour is particularly exhilarating as the boat glides atop the water in pursuit of eagles, turkeys, wild boar, spoonbills, and, of course, alligators. The Gator Park lets you observe animals up close, including lemurs, sloths, and a variety of alligators from around the world.

Tibet-Butler Nature Preserve 

Tibet-Butler-Nature-Preserve-Orlando

For a more authentic experience away from Orlando’s theme parks and gift shops, consider visiting the Tibet-Butler Preserve. Located about seven miles north of Disney Springs and roughly 20 miles southwest of Downtown Orlando, this county park offers a peaceful retreat. With 438 acres, its trails and boardwalks are the main attraction, providing excellent access to wetlands where you can observe a variety of plants and animals while hiking or trail running. Watch for eagles, armadillos, snakes, and the ever-present Florida gator. 

Harry P. Leu Gardens

Harry P. Leu Gardens - Orlando

The Harry P. Leu Gardens ranks among Orlando’s most romantic outdoor spots. Its 12 distinct areas feature a rich variety of plant species, creating an idyllic setting for a leisurely stroll.

Situated just minutes from Downtown Orlando, this expansive 50-acre botanical haven boasts camellias, roses, orange groves, and desert plants alongside ample grassy areas perfect for lakeside picnics. For provisions, visit the trendy East End Market, conveniently located half a mile east of the entrance gate on Corrine Dr.

Don’t miss the chance to explore Leu House, an 18th-century mansion formerly owned by the Leu family. Tours are available every half-hour from 10 am to 3:30 pm. Check the website for details on outdoor movies, storytelling sessions, and live music events.

Dolphin Paddle Tour Adventure at the Indian River Lagoon

Indian River Lagoon - Orlando

Explore the magnificent Indian River Lagoon near Cocoa Beach by paddleboarding or kayaking in transparent vessels with Epic Paddle Adventures. This exciting opportunity offers the chance to encounter dolphins and other wildlife, including the gentle manatees. 

The Indian River Lagoon is part of one of the most bio-diverse estuaries in the Northern Hemisphere, boasting over 4,300 species of plants and animals, including more than 35 endangered species. Remarkably, it hosts one-third of the entire manatee population, making it a truly remarkable ecosystem to explore. As residents of Florida, we are fortunate to have access to such natural wonders.

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Farmer’s Markets

Farmer's Markets - Orlando

Orlando is home to several Farmer’s Markets, including those in Winter Park, Lake Eola, Winter Garden, and Clermont. Each market offers a unique selection of goods, making it a perfect weekend activity for couples.

Outdoor Movie

Outdoor movies are popular in Orlando, especially during warmer months. Whether a resident or a visitor, you can enjoy watching movies under the stars at various parks and venues across the city. Some popular locations include Harry P. Leu Gardens, Lake Eola Park, Winter Park, Maitland, and Baldwin Park. Check local event listings and city websites to stay updated on upcoming outdoor movie events in Orlando.

Enjoy Orlando’s Nightlife

Orlando's Nightlife - Orlando

Exploring Orlando after dark promises plenty of excitement, whether it’s discovering live music, vibrant entertainment districts, quirky prohibition-style bars, or dancing until the early hours in energetic clubs. Some highlights include:

Church Street District

Head to Church Street in the heart of downtown Orlando for a lively night out. This area boasts the city’s best restaurants and entertainment venues, making it a popular nightlife destination. Block Parties on Church Street are common occurrences, featuring live music, vendors, and additional entertainment.

Steeped in 19th-century charm, Church Street exudes a timeless appeal, with remnants of its historical allure evident in its wrought-iron balconies, bridges, and cobbled streets. Unlike the sprawling malls typical of Orlando, Church Street is adorned with quaint boutiques and independent establishments, offering a refreshing departure from the ubiquitous presence of chain stores and global brands that dominate much of the urban landscape.

Wall St Plaza

Explore the vibrant atmosphere of Wall Street Plaza, where the streets pulse with excitement every Friday and Saturday night. This dynamic entertainment complex features seven distinct venues, each offering its own theme and ambience. 

Whether you’re craving drinks, food, sports, or dancing, Hooch has you covered. Meanwhile, Wall St Cantina offers delicious margaritas and tacos, and Waitiki whisks you away to an island paradise with its tropical cocktails and beachy vibes.

With a diverse range of music, from smooth jazz to lively country-western tunes, Wall Street Plaza guarantees an evening of endless enjoyment.

Boxi Park

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Boxi Park, a unique outdoor venue, has quickly become popular since opening in 2019. It houses small “restaurants” in shipping containers, similar to the food truck concept. The area also features beach volleyball courts, a live entertainment stage, and various events.

The Milk District

The Milk District, centred around the historic TG Lee milk factory dating back to the 1920s, has transformed into a bustling downtown hub. With an array of shops, eateries, bars, and entertainment venues, it exudes an eclectic charm. From food trucks to vibrant street art adorning converted industrial buildings, the area boasts a unique character, often featuring murals depicting milk motifs.

Catering to a diverse crowd, you’ll discover trendy eateries, nightlife spots, health-conscious cafes, and local gyms—there’s something for everyone. From entertainment at Plaza Live to dining at Milkhouse, where four fantastic food and drink outlets await, this trendy enclave caters to varied interests within its compact eight-block by four-block radius.

Mathers Social Gathering

Step back in time to the Roaring Twenties at Mathers Social Gathering, a speakeasy-style bar that exudes old-world charm. This gem attracts a sophisticated crowd with its prohibition-era jazz and classic cocktails. 

Adorned with brick walls, wooden floors, and plush leather couches, Mathers sets the stage for an evening of conviviality. Sip on a smoked cocktail or a Blueberry Basil Gimlet while live jazz bands provide the perfect backdrop. Dress to impress and immerse yourself in the glamour of a bygone era. You’ll find this bar on the third floor of a historic furniture store in downtown Orlando.

Mangos Tropical Cafe

Experience the essence of the tropics at Mangos Tropical Cafe, a two-story nightclub infused with Latin flair. Located on International Drive, this lively destination features towering palm trees, tiki-style bars, and vibrant neon murals. Enjoy fiery Latin bands and captivating celebrity tribute shows while savouring the taste of oversized mojitos and margaritas and immersing yourself in the energetic atmosphere. 

Dine at Orlando’s Incredible Restaurants

In 2023, WalletHub crowned Orlando the Best Food City in America, citing its wide variety of top-notch restaurants. And let’s face it, no romantic getaway is complete without a memorable dining experience. So, checking out some of Orlando’s best romantic restaurants is a must for an unforgettable date night. Here are a few gourmet delights to consider for you and your partner.

Kaya

Kaya Restaurant Orlando

Chef Lordfer Lalicon and General Manager Jamilyn Salonga Bailey are the masterminds behind this modern Filipino restaurant, Kaya. Housed in a renovated Florida-style bungalow, the atmosphere is casual and inviting. The menu, which reflects Chef Lalicon’s Filipino heritage with a Florida twist, features a set menu highlighting local and seasonal ingredients like tilefish, oysters, tiger prawns, and datil peppers. 

For a more casual experience, guests can visit the tropical outdoor patio, Bayani Bar, offering a la carte bites and ube cocktails. On Sundays, indulge in Filipino brunch. Recently nominated for “Best New Restaurant” by the James Beard Awards, Kaya is quickly gaining popularity.

Enzo’s Hideaway

Enzos Hideaway Orlando

Situated in Disney Springs, Enzo’s Hideaway offers a clandestine dining experience with Prohibition-era cocktails and hearty Italian fare. Its cozy atmosphere and delectable food make it the perfect spot for a romantic evening out. 

Inspired by Florida’s intriguing history of “rum-running,” this hidden gem is renowned for its barrel-aged cocktails and boasts the largest selection of rums and scotches among all restaurants in Disney Springs.

Foreigner Restaurant

For a truly one-of-a-kind dining experience in Orlando, head to Foreigner Restaurant. Here, you can enjoy an exclusive culinary adventure crafted by Chef Bruno Fonseca, whose expertise is influenced by Brazilian, Portuguese, Italian, and Spanish cuisines. The restaurant has an intimate setting with only ten seats, creating a unique atmosphere supported by the attentive staff. 

The menu is dynamic and changes frequently depending on the availability of fresh ingredients, ensuring a distinctive culinary journey every time you visit. Guests can expect to indulge in a thoughtfully curated multi-course meal accompanied by sommelier selections, starting with a luxurious serving of caviar.

Kres Chophouse

Kres Chophouse is a stylish and contemporary restaurant with high-quality dining options. Appealing to a wide range of preferences, from steak aficionados to vegetarians, it’s an ideal spot for those seeking a memorable meal before catching a show at the nearby Amway Center, relishing live music or dancing at a nearby club, or indulging in a romantic walk around Lake Eola. 

Soco Thornton Park

Soco Thornton Park offers a modern twist on comforting Southern cuisine. Its menu features inventive dishes such as cassoulet of duck confit with boiled peanuts, molasses-glazed hanger steak with smoked brisket hash browns, and hot-smoked cobia paired with buttermilk potato cakes. 

Bourbon lovers will appreciate the wide selection available, while those with a sweet tooth can indulge in desserts like oatmeal spice cake with pink peppercorn whiskey syrup or house-made moon pies served with a vanilla RC Cola float. 

Bacan

BACAN - Orlando Florida

Bacan, nestled within the Lake Nona Wave Hotel, has earned its stripes as a Michelin-recommended restaurant since opening its doors in 2021. The restaurant places a strong emphasis on local ingredients and boasts a delightful atmosphere featuring warm wooden accents, vibrant colours, and lofty ceilings. 

Here, couples can enjoy unique interpretations of traditional Florida flavours, combining influences from Central and South America with tropical nuances. Picture tantalising offerings such as pork belly and lobster tacos alongside exceptional dishes like market fish served with grapefruit mojo. Adding a modern twist, an expo robot graciously assists with service, elevating the dining experience to greater heights.

The Pinery

For an upscale dining experience, visit The Pinery. Situated on the grounds of a historic pineapple farm, the restaurant offers an exquisite dining setting. Outside, guests can gather around a fire pit, nestled amidst an arrangement of tables, creating an idyllic spot to savour seasonal cocktails while basking in breathtaking sunsets. Inside, the dining space radiates warmth with earthy hues, sumptuous booths, and a luxurious tufted leather banquette. 

The menu, thoughtfully crafted to showcase local ingredients, presents an enticing selection of dishes, including succulent pork chops, the freshest fish of the day, and perfectly seared sea scallops, ensuring The Pinery deserves a slot on your Orlando romantic getaway itinerary.

Explore Beyond Orlando

Kennedy Space Center

Kennedy Space Center - Orlando

For those willing to venture a little further, the Kennedy Space Center is worth the trip. Located just outside of Orlando, this is the hub of America’s space exploration program.

Blue Spring State Park

Blue Spring State Park - Orlando

Blue Spring State Park is a beautiful destination near Orlando that offers a variety of recreational activities year-round. In the summer, you can go canoeing or scuba diving in the crystal clear waters or take a boat tour around the park. 

During the colder months, you can observe the migration of manatees as they flock to the warm waters of the springs. Couples will love immersing in nature as they stroll on one of the many trails or have a romantic picnic and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. 

Florida Everglades Tours

For a uniquely ‘Florida’ experience, head out on a Florida Everglades Tour and explore one of the world’s most distinctive and diverse ecosystems, home to various wildlife, including the elusive Florida panther. Gray Line Orlando is one tour company that offers a chance to depart from Orlando and immerse yourself in Florida’s natural beauty. 

You’ll encounter local wildlife, such as alligators and various bird species, amidst lush vegetation while gracefully navigating the grassy waters. After the tour, you can feed alligators on specific days (Tuesdays and Fridays) or explore a butterfly pavilion and Native American exhibit, depending on the day of your visit.

Bok Tower Gardens

Bok Tower Gardens - Orlando

The Bok Tower Gardens is one of the most beautiful gardens in Florida and a wonderful day trip for couples. It’s perfect for a romantic day out with a 250-foot singing tower, lush gardens, and a sanctuary.

Cocoa Beach

Cocoa Beach - Orlando

If you’re a couple who loves the beach, consider a day trip to Cocoa Beach. Nestled along the Atlantic coastline, this charming little town is brimming with various activities. It promises sun-drenched escapades, a touch of history, and coastal allure that will delight you as soon as you step foot on the sandy shores. 

From leisurely sunbathing to exciting water sports like surfing and kiteboarding, there’s something to suit every couple’s taste. Don’t let lack of experience hold you back; surf lessons near the iconic Ron Jon house cater to both beginners and seasoned surfers, ensuring everyone can enjoy the excitement of riding the waves.

For a tranquil escape, couples can explore the Banana River Aquatic Preserve. Kayaking or paddleboarding through its winding waterways offers a serene and picturesque experience amidst mangroves and clear waters.

Related: The Top 5 Driving Vacations for Couples in the US

Get a Free Theme Park Experience

Disney Springs

Even if you want to avoid the traditional theme parks, you can dip your toe into the Disney experience without breaking the bank. Disney Springs, located at Walt Disney World Resort, offers shopping, dining, and entertainment in one location, and admission is free.

Universal CityWalk

Likewise, Universal CityWalk provides diverse shops, restaurants, bars, and entertainment choices, with complimentary parking available after 6 pm. 

There’s plenty to do – from Universal’s Great Movie Escape, the pioneering escape room experience influenced by blockbuster films Jurassic World and Back to the Future, to an endless array of concerts at Hard Rock Live®, featuring leading figures in rock, pop, country, alternative, and beyond.

Orlando has something to offer every couple – whether you prefer adventure or relaxation. Plan your own incredible romantic getaway in Orlando, and we hope this guide has convinced you that you’ll have plenty to see and do!

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