Alternative Orlando

Orlando at night

In the heart of the US state of Florida is Orlando, a city made famous above all else, by Disney World and a plethora of other theme resorts. If you don’t fancy the screaming children, however, there’s no reason to discount it as a holiday destination.

The first thing to mention is that Orlando is home to the single largest number of hotel rooms of any city in the United States, so accommodation should never be a problem if you’re looking for a great place to stay.

Secondly, Orlando has a thriving performing arts scene, whether it’s pop up performances that seem to appear all over the place or some of the city’s fine theatres. Orlando is the Hollywood of the east coast, and actors from all over the States come to the city for a slightly more relaxed shot at fame than on the west coast.

You can also enjoy the Orlando International Fringe Theater Festival if you’re around during the spring. Like Edinburgh’s fringe but with everything turned up a notch, the Orlando Fringe is one of the biggest events in performing arts anywhere in the world, and new stars are born every year. Even with all the hotels, fringe time is pretty expensive, so you’ll need to book in advance.

Aside from the theatre, an unusual place to spend a day is at the Orlando Brewing Company. The site is a little bit out of town, so you may want to get a taxi, but you can enjoy a tour of their fantastic brewery, obviously partake in a few beverages made on the site, and if you fancy it on Sundays they have a brewery choir, with which you can sing along.

For something a little more conventional, Orlando’s city centre is also home to some of the finest shopping on the east coast. There are at least four enormous malls covering hundreds of thousands of square feet, so make sure you leave some space in your luggage.

Finally, the city centre is remarkably beautiful, full of high rise buildings that are illuminated in the evenings. The water front is really dazzling, as the light from the skyscrapers reflects off the water and there are some great restaurants to be found down by the water’s edge.

Like many other American cities, Orlando is easy to drive around, and if you rent a car you can easily get from the city to most of the south-eastern states. As there are so many flights, it’s a great place to land at the start of a holiday, and make sure you schedule in at least a couple of days to take in the sights and sounds of the city.