Things to Do in Orlando Besides Theme Parks

Orlando is celebrated across the globe for its world-class theme parks, including the Walt Disney World® ResortUniversal Orlando® Resort and SeaWorld® Orlando. With rides, shows and events emerging from the parks year after year, there’s always something new to experience and discover. However, there are plenty of things to do in Orlando besides Disney, Universal and SeaWorld. Here’s a list of unique yet distinctly Orlando attractions to complete your vacation itinerary. For a more extensive collection of unique things to do in Orlando, check out our list of indoor activities and attractions—perfect for a quick hideout from the sun, rain or busy parks.

Select an area:  International Drive  |  Downtown Orlando  |  Outdoors & Wildlife

International Drive

I-Drive 360

This entertainment district is jam-packed with exciting things to do and bustling nightlife, including hotelsattractions, free entertainment complexesrestaurants and shops. Everything is within walking distance or just a short drive on the I-Ride Trolley Service.

Unique things to do on International Drive include:

  • I-Drive 360

    As the newest entertainment complex in Orlando, I-Drive 360 features 4 unique attractions, live entertainment, and a variety of dining and shopping—all in one convenient location.

    • Coca-Cola Orlando Eye
    • View Orlando and its surrounding areas like never before, including the downtown skyline, expansive lakes, world-famous theme parks and Cape Canaveral on the coast. Standing at 400 feet, The Coca-Cola Orlando Eye is the tallest observation wheel on the East Coast of the United States. Buy tickets here

    • Madame Tussauds Orlando
    • Come face to face with the stars, from actors and musicians to athletes and historical figures. See how you measure up against these life-size wax replicas of the legends—especially former Orlando Magic basketball All-star and seven foot giant, Shaquille O’Neal. You can also interact with important icons in Orlando’s history in addition to the A-List celebrities, including the widely beloved Walt Disney. Buy tickets here

    • SEA Life Aquarium
    • Immerse yourself in an undersea world at this vibrant and interactive aquarium. A 360° Underwater Tunnel surrounds you with sharks, fish, rays and turtles, while glowing jellyfish light up the dark waters with colorful lights. Little ones will especially love the rock pool, where they can touch living creatures like sea urchins, anemone and starfish. Buy tickets here

    • SKELETONS: Animals Unveiled
    • The whole family will be fascinated by what lies beneath the surface at the largest skeleton museum in America. SKELETONS collects animal bones from across the globe and masterfully poses the skeletons in realistic and action-packed stances. This unique museum features over 400 real animal and human skeletons, flesh-eating beetles and bizarre mutations to showcase the amount of diversity in the animal kingdom.

  • Ripley's Believe it or Not! Orlando Odditorium

    The strange and the unbelievable call Ripley’s collection of unusual artifacts home sweet home. Marvel at the World’s Tallest Man, Robert Wadlow, who stood at 8 feet 11 inches, or enjoy famous artwork recreated with everything from burnt toast to dryer lint. The entire family will be amazed by a wide variety of bizarre exhibits, including human and animal oddities, dinosaur bones, weird artwork and interactive illusions. Buy tickets here

  • WonderWorks

    Exhibits at WonderWorks explore everything from natural disasters and space to physical and mental challenges in interactive and fully immersive displays. Feel the power of 74 MPH hurricane winds, create 3-D molds of your body, lie on a death-defying bed of 3500 nails, design your own roller coaster, help solve crimes with fingerprint identification, land a space shuttle and more. Need directions to WonderWorks? You can’t miss it—it’s the only upside down building on I-Drive! Buy tickets here

  • Dinner Shows

    Specialty dinner theaters are extremely popular in Orlando, with 2 amazing family shows right on I-Drive. Whether you love jaw-dropping magic, answering riddles and clues or laugh-out-loud comedy, there’s an entertaining dinner show for you!

    • Sleuths Mystery Dinner Shows
    • Sleuths Mystery Dinner Show combines a full course of delicious eats and unlimited drinks with improvisational comedy and a perplexing mystery. Transport to another world for a little over 2 hours as you and your family become detectives and work together to solve the crime. Buy tickets here

    • Outta Control Magic Comedy Dinner Show

      Get an up-close look at unbelievable magic, hysterical impersonations and improvisational comedy with one of Orlando’s best local performers, Tony Brent. Enjoy unlimited pizza, salad, drinks, dessert and plenty of audience participation to keep the whole family well-fed and entertained. With a prime location at WonderWorks, you can experience the show before, after or in-between your visit with daily shows at 4:00 PM, 6:00 PM and 8:00 PM. Buy tickets here

Downtown Orlando

Lake Eola in Downtown Orlando 

Downtown Orlando is teeming with cultural and artistic activitiesworld-class performances and professional sporting events. It’s the perfect place to fill up your vacation itinerary, day and night, while exploring why locals and tourists alike love the City Beautiful.

Unique things to do in Downtown Orlando include:

  • Orlando Magic Basketball

    Join the biggest fans and hear the stadium roar with excitement as you watch an action-packed professional NBA basketball game. The Orlando Magic compete against the best teams in the league, including the Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat, Golden State Warriors, Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Lakers and more. The Orlando Magic’s regular season runs from late-October to mid-April, with 41 home games scheduled at the Amway Center. Buy tickets here

  • Orlando City Soccer Club

    As Major League Soccer’s newest expansion team, Orlando City has a passionate fan base and action-packed games for soccer lovers. Leading the team is international sensation on the Brazil national team, Kaká. You can also watch the Orlando Pride from the National Women’s Soccer League play, with Olympic gold medalist and World Cup champion for the U.S. national soccer team Alex Morgan.

  • Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts

    Whether you love Broadway shows, rock bands, or modern dance, the Dr. Phillips Center has a wide variety of theater, concerts, performances and educational talks from national and international artists. The Dr. Phillips Center is the home of the Orlando Ballet, Orlando’s resident ballet company performing contemporary and classical programs, including The Nutcracker during the holiday season.

  • Orlando Museum of Art

    The Orlando Museum of Art exhibits include over 2,400 pieces of Contemporary, African, and American art from the 1700s to 1945. The museum’s collection of art from the Ancient Americas is one of the most outstanding in the Southeastern United States.

  • Orlando Science Center

    View the four moons of Jupiter and galaxies deep in space with a one-of-a-kind refractor telescope, launch air rockets, design your own roller coaster, become a meteorologist, and uncover dinosaur bones at the Orlando Science Center. With interactive exhibits, the Orlando Science Center encourages hands-on learning and curiosity that will get both kids and adults thinking about the world around them.

Outdoors & Wildlife

Wild Florida Airboats 

Whether you enjoy a relaxing stroll through lush parks and flowering gardens or a high-speed airboat ride in Florida’s rivers and marshes, Orlando offers outdoor leisure and adventure for the whole family.

Unique outdoor activities include:

  • Boat Tours & Rentals
    • Wild Florida

      Glide over swamps and marshes on an exhilarating airboat ride deep into the Florida Everglades. You will see the native plants and animals that make up Florida’s natural ecosystem, including gators, cows, birds and eagles. The wildlife park gives you an up close look of exotic animals, from sloths and lemurs to zebras and bobcats. Wild Florida is located about 40 minutes south of Orlando. Buy tickets here

    • Black Hammock Airboat & Pontoon Rides

      Tour Lake Jesup, one of the largest lakes in Central Florida, on a thrilling airboat or relaxing pontoon ride. After your adventure, check out the free wildlife exhibit or munch on some of the best gator tail in town at the Black Hammock Restaurant. Buy tickets here

    • Boggy Creek Airboat Rides at Southport Park

      Boggy Creek creates a unique experience with airboat rides through Lake Toho, headwater of the Florida Everglades, during the night! You’ll be able to see all the nocturnal creatures that only emerge after the sun sets. Buy tickets here

    • Buena Vista Watersports at Paradise Cove

      Kayak, tube, paddle board, jet ski and more on spring-fed Lake Bryan, or watch the excitement and play volleyball on the sandy beaches along the shore. All watersport equipment is available for rental. Buy tickets here

    • Sammy Duvall Watersports

      Parasail with or without a partner, waterski, wakeboard and more on Bay Lake. Hourly tours, instruction sessions and rental equipment are available. Buy tickets here

    • Indian River Queen & Island Boat Lines

      Take a scenic cruise along the Indian River Lagoon, the world’s most diverse estuary, for a face-to-face look at manatees, coastal birds and bottle-nosed dolphins. Indian River Lagoon is located about 45 minutes east of Orlando. Buy tickets here

    • BK Adventure Eco-Tours

      Experience the great outdoors and the natural Florida ecosystem with one of three Eco-Tours. Mountain bike through forest trails and over bridges, kayak in caves and lagoons along the Indian River with turtles and manatees, or paddle the Silver Springs to get an up close look at wild monkeys!

  • Gardens
    • Bok Tower Gardens

      Meander through 50 acres of gardens, filled with blooming magnolias and camellias, orange blossoms, oak trees and more. Bok Tower Gardens was voted Florida’s “Best Garden,” and contains a beautiful historic landmark and architectural masterpiece in the center of the garden, Pinewood Estate.

    • Harry P. Leu Gardens

      Follow the winding pathways of this 50-acre botanical wonderland, with over 40 plant collections from citrus to azaleas, Florida’s largest rose garden and a butterfly garden. Leu Gardens offers free admission the first Monday of every month!

  • Air Excursions
    • Orlando Ballon Rides

      From lush green preserves and expansive lakes to world-famous attractions, see Orlando’s stunning sights from above. This hour long flight is perfect for a romantic date or a magical family adventure. Buy tickets here

    • Wallaby Ranch Hang Gliding Flight Park

      Soar through the sky on a ride you’ll surely remember. Take flight and hang glide at 2,000 feet in the air with an experienced instructor, and enjoy breathtaking views of Florida’s dense woodlands and sprawling wetlands.

    • Forever Florida - Ziplines & Adventures in the Wild!

      Hop on the USA’s first zipline roller coaster and zoom among the trees on seven zipline trails. Forever Florida also has horseback riding and off-trail guided tours of their conservation area, rich in Florida wildlife. Buy tickets here

    • Gatorland

      Gatorland is home to the Screamin’ Gator Zip Line, where you can fly 1,200 feet in the air with views of over 100 alligators below! Check out exciting shows, including gator wrestling and feedings, or play with a variety of friendly animals at the petting zoo. Gatorland provides plenty of family fun, with a miniature water park, thousands of gators and crocodiles and other exotic creatures, including Florida panthers, flamingos and birds, 4 rare white alligators and more. Buy tickets here


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