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Best Orlando Neighborhoods

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By Damon Duvall
Tue, Sep 19, 2023

Discover the Best Orlando Neighborhoods

Orlando, Florida, affectionately known as “The City Beautiful,” is a vibrant and dynamic city that offers a wealth of diverse neighborhoods, each with its unique charm and character. Whether you’re looking for a trendy urban environment, a cozy suburban community, or a serene lakeside retreat, you’ll find it all within the greater Orlando area. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the best Orlando neighborhoods, offering insights into what makes each one special and why they might be the perfect fit for your lifestyle.

Homes For Sale in Orlando FL

Key Takeaways

  • Explore the best neighborhoods of Orlando, such as Downtown, Mills 50 District and Winter Park.

  • Enjoy a variety of attractions in each neighborhood from upscale shops to outdoor activities like biking or running on Cady Way Trail.

  • Experience Disney’s New Urbanism Vision at Celebration with easy access to theme parks and dynamic vibes at SoDo district.

1. Downtown Orlando: The Heart of the City

Downtown Orlando is the bustling hub of Central Florida, where a unique combination of trendy neighborhoods, high-rise buildings, and diverse communities come together to create an electrifying atmosphere perfect for working professionals and urban dwellers. With a population of approximately 20,000 people, downtown Orlando is home to some of the most vibrant and distinct Orlando neighborhoods in the Orlando area, offering a slower than downtown pace while still being in the heart of the city.

We’ll delve into some of the prominent neighborhoods within downtown Orlando, including the Mills 50 District, Thornton Park, and Audubon Park Garden District.

Mills 50 District

The Mills 50 District is where cultures collide, as it is a melting pot of Asian cuisine, LGBTQ+ culture, and trendy apartments surrounded by art. Located near Lake Eola and within driving distance to Walt Disney World, Mills Avenue offers a vibrant and diverse community that is a feast for the senses. Local artists have transformed dumpsters, exterior building walls and utility boxes into stunning works of art. The eclectic selection of Asian cuisine, ranging from Vietnamese to upscale Filipino, satisfies even the most discerning foodie.

Don’t forget to visit Loch Haven Park, a public park featuring a variety of museums and theaters, to immerse yourself in the cultural experiences that Mills 50 District has to offer.

Thornton Park

Just a few blocks from downtown Orlando, you’ll find the relaxed, hip and urban atmosphere of Thornton Park. Known for its craftsman-style bungalows and sidewalk shops, Thornton Park is a charming neighborhood where the historic charm of Lake Eola Heights meets the trendy restaurants of Lake Ivanhoe.

Take a leisurely stroll along the tree-lined streets and explore the unique boutiques, eateries and live music venues that make this neighborhood so attractive. Don’t forget to check out the Sunday farmers market at Lake Eola Park, where you can enjoy fresh produce, local crafts, and live music in a picturesque setting.

Audubon Park Garden District

Audubon Park Garden District, located along Corrine Drive, is a vibrant community that effortlessly combines indie businesses, locally sourced food and charming homes. With colorful mid-century cottages and ranch-style homes, Audubon Park offers a unique living experience that combines the best of both worlds: a close-knit community with the convenience of city living.

Make sure to visit the East End Market, the region’s top-notch food hall. Here, you can relish a variety of items, from artisanal cheeses to freshly baked bread, while supporting local businesses and rejoicing in the city’s beauty.

Winter Park: An Affluent Community with Rich History

Nestled in the heart of Central Florida, Winter Park is an affluent community known for its bricked streets, palatial estates, and shimmering lakes. As a cultural hub with a rich history, Winter Park offers tree-lined streets, upscale boutiques, and a variety of cultural events in Central Park, making it a haven for those seeking a sophisticated and centrally located neighborhood.

Winter Park houses Park Avenue and Rollins College, two of the area’s notable attractions that enhance the neighborhood’s appeal.

Park Avenue

Park Avenue, Winter Park’s most popular street, is a bustling thoroughfare lined with upscale shops, cafes, and restaurants that cater to every taste and style. Stroll down the charming, tree-lined, cobblestoned street, and you’ll discover:

The vibrant atmosphere, combined with a rich history and exquisite architecture, makes Park Avenue a must-visit destination for locals and visitors alike.

Rollins College

Situated in Winter Park, Rollins College is a prestigious liberal arts college that adds to the neighborhood’s cultural and educational offerings. As one of America’s oldest institutions, Rollins College is renowned for its robust academic programs, varied student clubs and organizations, and beautiful campus.

The existence of the college in Winter Park not only augments the community, but also draws a varied population of students, faculty, and staff, adding to the area’s lively ambiance.

Lake Nona: A High-Tech, Wellness-Oriented Neighborhood

Lake Nona, a 17-square-mile mixed-use neighborhood located within the city limits of Orlando, is a high-tech, wellness-oriented community with a focus on health and life sciences.

Lake Nona offers residents a unique and exciting living experience, with attractions such as:

  • Medical City, a hub for healthcare and research institutions

  • Boxi Park, an outdoor entertainment venue that offers food, drinks, and live music in a lively atmosphere

  • Excellent golf courses

  • Close proximity to Orlando International Airport

Medical City

Medical City, a 650-acre health and life sciences park located in Lake Nona, is a hub for healthcare and research institutions. It includes:

  • VA Medical Center

  • Nemours Children’s Hospital

  • University of Central Florida College of Medicine

  • Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute

Residents have convenient access to top-notch healthcare, research, and innovation, all within their own neighborhood.

This focus on health and wellness makes Lake Nona an attractive destination for those seeking a community that truly values well-being.

Boxi Park

Boxi Park, located in Lake Nona’s Town Center, is an outdoor gathering area designed with the community in mind. Constructed out of repurposed shipping containers, Boxi Park offers a variety of culinary options, such as:

  • Burgers

  • Tacos

  • Pizza

  • And more

It also provides an array of activities like live music and outdoor movies. With its unique design and family-friendly atmosphere, Boxi Park is a popular destination for Lake Nona residents looking to enjoy a fun and relaxing day outdoors.

Windermere: Lakeside Luxury Living

Windermere, a luxurious lakeside community nestled in the heart of Central Florida, is known for its upscale neighborhoods, scenic parks, and the breathtaking Butler Chain of Lakes. With stunning lakefront mansions and immaculate golf courses, Windermere provides an unparalleled living experience for those seeking a serene and lavish retreat surrounded by natural beauty.

We’ll investigate the Butler Chain of Lakes, a place that presents residents with impressive views and recreational possibilities.

Butler Chain of Lakes

The Butler Chain of Lakes, a series of interconnected lakes in Windermere, offers residents unparalleled beauty and recreational opportunities. Spanning over 5,000 acres, this stunning natural phenomenon comprises 13 interconnecting lakes that provide an abundance of habitat for native Florida wildlife.

Residents can enjoy various activities on the Butler Chain of Lakes, including:

  • Swimming

  • Boating

  • Kayaking

  • Fishing

While engaging in these activities, they can also take in the spectacular vistas of the surrounding landscape, including the downtown Orlando skyline. The Butler Chain of Lakes is renowned for its excellent bass fishing opportunities.

Baldwin Park: A Modern, Walkable Community

Baldwin Park, a modern, walkable community built on a former Navy base, offers a unique living experience with its:

  • Bike lanes

  • Sidewalks

  • Parks

  • Variety of housing options

Located near the city limits of Orlando, Baldwin Park provides residents with easy access to the city’s many attractions and amenities, while still maintaining its distinct character and charm.

A significant feature of Baldwin Park is the Cady Way Trail, a frequented walking and biking path that links residents to nearby parks and amenities.

Cady Way Trail

The Cady Way Trail, a popular walking and biking path in Baldwin Park, stretches 7.5 miles from the Seminole County line at Howell Branch/Hall Road to Winter Park’s Cady Way Park. With a width of twelve feet, this recreational path is perfect for walkers, bikers, and runners alike, offering a safe and enjoyable environment for outdoor activities.

The trail also features two spurs that connect Lake Baldwin and Lake Susannah for additional recreational opportunities. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or a challenging workout, the Cady Way Trail provides a picturesque backdrop for all your outdoor adventures.

College Park: A Tight-Knit, Trendy Neighborhood

College Park, a tight-knit and trendy neighborhood just north of downtown Orlando, offers a unique blend of vintage and modern establishments that attract a diverse community of residents. With a mix of plain and on-trend businesses, College Park is home to the Packing District, a mixed-use development featuring a residential hub, making it an ideal location for those seeking a close-knit community with plenty of amenities and attractions.

The Packing District

The Packing District, a mixed-use development in College Park, offers a variety of housing options, retail spaces, and recreational facilities for residents to enjoy. Situated on a 202-acre site on the west side of downtown Orlando, this innovative development is owned by Dr. Phillips Corporation and Foundation and features a planned 66-acre city park, new amenities, and a mix of residential and commercial spaces.

With its unique blend of creativity, character, and charm, the Packing District is set to become a vibrant community in Orlando.

Curry Ford West: A Vintage Vibe with Creative Flair

Curry Ford West, located south of downtown Orlando, is a vintage neighborhood with a creative flair that offers a mix of plain and on-trend establishments. Attracting a diverse community of residents, Curry Ford has attracted a diverse community of residents. West features a mix of well-established neighborhoods with mature trees, reasonably priced single-family dwellings, and multiple casual dining choices.

A highlight within Curry Ford West is the Hourglass District, a fashionable locale that offers a variety of local businesses, eateries, and entertainment choices.

Hourglass District

The Hourglass District, located within Curry Ford West, is a neighborhood that offers a unique blend of creativity, character, and charm. With walkability and family-friendliness at its core, the Hourglass District is home to a variety of food halls, breweries, and hipster restaurants, providing residents with a diverse selection of dining and entertainment options.

The Hourglass District’s vibrant atmosphere and friendly inhabitants make it an attractive living destination for those seeking a community-focused neighborhood with a vintage vibe.

Winter Garden: Family-Friendly Americana

Winter Garden, a family-friendly neighborhood located west of downtown Orlando, offers:

  • A vibrant downtown area

  • A variety of housing options, from economical apartments to renovated historic homes

  • A dedication to celebrating its citrus history

  • Development into a lively hub for Americana

Winter Garden is a charming community with plenty to offer residents of all ages.

A noteworthy feature of Winter Garden in Orange County is the West Orange Trail, a frequented recreational path that offers residents a scenic setting for outdoor activities.

West Orange Trail

The West Orange Trail, a popular recreational path in Winter Garden, is perfect for walking, biking, and enjoying the outdoors. Spanning 22 miles, this trail provides an excellent opportunity for physical activity and appreciation of nature, as well as an ideal way to experience the local area and its surroundings, including the nearby Orlando Urban Trail.

Along the trail, you’ll find a variety of parks, playgrounds, and scenic rest stops, making it a popular destination for families and outdoor enthusiasts alike.

Celebration: Disney's New Urbanism Vision

Celebration, a picturesque community developed by Disney, offers a unique living experience that combines traditional homes, walkable streets, and close proximity to theme parks. Designed with the principles of New Urbanism in mind, Celebration aims to create a community where residents can enjoy a downtown, parks, and homes that are accessible to a range of incomes, fostering neighborhood interaction.

Its location near Walt Disney World® and other attractions renders Celebration an appealing choice for Disney enthusiasts and families in search of a charming and lively community.

Proximity to Theme Parks

Celebration’s location near Walt Disney World® and other attractions makes it a popular choice for Disney enthusiasts and families. In addition to the world-famous Walt Disney World® theme parks, Celebration is also located near other popular attractions, including:

  • Fun Spot America - Kissimmee

  • Shipwreck Island

  • Kissimmee Go-Karts

  • Old Town Slingshot

  • Expedition

With a variety of theme parks and attractions just a short drive away, Celebration residents can enjoy the magic of Disney and experience all that the surrounding communities have to offer.

SoDo: A Diverse and Dynamic Area

SoDo, a diverse and dynamic area south of Downtown Orlando, offers a mix of old and new homes, interesting small businesses, and strong rental demand due to its proximity to large employers and other neighborhoods. With a mix of industrial, retail, office, and service businesses, as well as easy access to the city’s many attractions and amenities, SoDo is an attractive destination for those seeking a diverse living experience within the city limits of Orlando.

Summary

In summary, Orlando, Florida, offers a wide variety of neighborhoods, each with its unique charm and character. From the bustling heart of downtown Orlando to the serene lakeside retreats of Windermere, there is a neighborhood to suit every lifestyle and preference. Whether you’re drawn to the vibrant atmosphere of the Mills 50 District, the upscale boutiques and cultural events in Winter Park, or the family-friendly Americana of Winter Garden, you’re sure to find your perfect Orlando neighborhood in the City Beautiful.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is the best place to live in Orlando?

Celebration, Dr. Philips, Winter Park, Milk District, Thornton Park, College Park, Baldwin Park and Park Lake Highland are the best places to live in Orlando.

What part of Orlando is the safest to live in?

The safest part of Orlando to live in is Longwood, a suburb of Orlando with an average review of 4.1 stars. Other safe areas include Winter Park, Winter Garden, Lake Nona Estates and College Park, while the Pine Hills area is the most dangerous.

For luxurious amenities and low crime, Lake Nona Estates is one of the best neighborhoods in Orlando.

What part of Orlando is good?

Lake Nona and the Park Lake Highland neighborhood are great places to live in the Orlando area. Lake Nona is near the airport and incorporates wellness and technology into everything, while Park Lake Highland offers beautiful views of the city’s skyline with a mix of modern and historic homes.

What makes downtown Orlando an ideal place for working professionals and urban dwellers?

Downtown Orlando’s trendy neighborhoods, high-rise buildings, and diverse communities make it the perfect destination for working professionals and urban dwellers.

What is the atmosphere of Park Avenue in Winter Park like?

Park Avenue in Winter Park is a vibrant and charming neighborhood with plenty of shopping, dining, and cultural attractions. It’s a perfect destination to take in stunning museums and sculpture gardens.


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