Just the mention of Orlando and you may already be turning a deaf ear to the gobs of Disney and Universal related antics, but Orlando has definitely come of age. You can hit the city and never get caught up in the storybook characters—unless of course, you want to.
The Bali-inspired décor at the Doubletree Hilton at SeaWorld creates an inviting ambiance for male travelers with comfortable accommodations. Rooms in the tower have the most appeal, but there’s a myriad of buildings around the site offering cozy rooms. Relax beside the Lagoon Pool (there are actually three pools on the property), but trust us, this is the one you want to recline beside. Not sure how they pull off the delightful aroma in the common areas, but this hotel smells so good. Plus, they give you a warm cookie on check-in.
Orlando Beer Scene
A favorite of some locals is tap & grind (pictured above). It’s considered a hidden gem (so far) and has a laid-back atmosphere, surf memorabilia, glow-in-the dark graffiti as well as 16 taps of American Craft Beer.
Another “don’t miss” place in the beer world is Redlight Redlight Beer Parlour, which recently got a nod from Draft Magazine as one of America’s 100 Best Beer Bars. They serve up 23 rotating drafts, two beer engines and a variety of IPAs, wheats, Belgians and stouts.
Farm to Table Eateries
You don’t have to worry about antibiotics or growth hormones when you order up burgers cooked to order at B & B Junction in Winter Park. They also select organic produce from local greenhouses, artisan style cheese and fry their hand-cut fries in 100% peanut oil.
East End Market is one of the new kids on the block. Located in Orlando’s Audubon Park, the market includes 10 local, independently owned food operations including a butcher, seafood merchant, produce vendor, baker and Txokos Kitchen featuring farm-fresh options for lunch and dinner.
The Ravenous Pig, owned by James Beard-nominated chefs Julie and James Petrakis has become a big hit in Orlando, and now the pair has created Cask & Larder. Try out the brewed-on-site beers, home-cured meats, hand-canned fruits and picked vegetables.
Golf enthusiasts have the opportunity to play their way through The Orlando “Golf Trail” connecting nine premier golf facilities and seven lodging properties along the I-4 corridor. But if golf is not your thing, Orlando provides outdoor lovers with a wide variety of excitement from eco-tours to ziplining, NASCAR driving experience, and all types of water fun—boating, surfing, swimming, fishing, dolphin tours and more.
You won’t even realize you’re in the same state as Mickey.
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