Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month comes to life with events, dining and more.

Updated April 19, 2024

From award-winning Asian cuisine to vibrant neighborhood gems, we’re sharing some of the best ways to celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month in Orlando this May. To kick things off, here are some of the best ways to learn about AAPI history and culture, from hands-on events and classes to MICHELIN Guide dining and thriving cultural hotspots.

Discover: Asian American and Pacific Islander History & Culture in Orlando

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Asian American and Pacific Islander History & Orlando Landmarks

Celebrate and experience Asian American and Pacific Islander culture and contributions in May and all year long by visiting distinct Orlando neighborhoods and landmarks with strong AAPI influences.

Mural on the side of Little Saigon in the Mills 50 area of Orlando
The Mills 50 District in Orlando

Mills 50 / Little Saigon

Just north of downtown Orlando is the Mills 50® district, a diverse, delicious melting pot of cultures and flavors. The area was largely shaped by Vietnamese immigrants in the 1970s, who established shops, supermarkets and eateries packed with authentic fare. Their influence paved the way for a bustling commercial district packed with art, nightlife and beloved local businesses.

Discover: Things to Do in Orlando's Mills 50 District

“The Asian business community has burgeoned,” says Mills 50 Executive Director Joanne Grant, adding that the area has grown into a veritable dining hub. You can now explore Japanese, Filipino, Thai, Korean, Vietnamese and more global flavors, including dishes from several MICHELIN Guide honorees. MICHELIN Recommended Kaya was recently named a James Beard Award finalist for Best New Restaurant — not just in Florida, but in the whole country.

Discover: Orlando MICHELIN Guide Restaurants

And that’s just the beginning. “Our partnership with our AAPI-supported organizations and businesses is paramount,” says Grant. For the past 10 years, the district has hosted the award-winning Central Florida Dragon Parade in partnership with numerous AAPI community organizations. The Mills 50 district is also home to the Asia Trend Community Learning Center, which hosts events and classes throughout the year. It’s the perfect spot to get a taste of AAPI culture in May and all year long.

Photo of public art at Lake Eola
Lake Eola Park in Downtown Orlando

Lake Eola Park

Sister cities in Japan, Taiwan and China have left their mark on Orlando over the years, particularly in downtown Orlando’s Lake Eola Park. Relax and enjoy the lake views in a beautiful red ting gifted by the city of Guilin, China — a city which, incidentally, shares Orlando’s nickname of “The City Beautiful” — then continue your stroll to a beautiful Japanese rock garden and bridge gifted by Tainan City in Taiwan. Lake Eola Park is also home to several sculptures, vibrant local events and annual fireworks celebrations throughout the year.

Discover: Things to Do in Orlando’s Thornton Park District

Orlando’s Chinatown

Located 15 minutes west of downtown, Orlando’s small but mighty Chinatown offers Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants, exotic grocery stores, and retailers — perfect for stocking up on hard-to-find treats or gathering ingredients for a special meal at home. The area’s centerpiece is a traditional Chinese arch known as a paifang or pailou.

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AAPI Heritage Month Events & Exhibits in Orlando

Two girls walking across a splash pad at Universal Citywalk Orlando
Celebrate With Special Events Throughout Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

Orange County Asian-Inspired Art Exhibition (Select Dates, May 1 – 31, 2024)

The Orange County Asian Committee will host an Asian-Inspired Art Exhibition and contest in downtown Orlando throughout the month of May, featuring works from Central Florida artists in a variety of mediums. The collection can be viewed at the Orange County Administration Building weekdays from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. The committee will also host an awards ceremony on May 22, 2024.

Discover: Things to Do in Orlando’s City District

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Events at Orange County Libraries (Select Dates, May 1 – 31, 2024)

Explore Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) cultures throughout the month of May with Orange County Libraries, which will host 40+ themed events at 11 regional branches. Options range from virtual events to in-person crafts, cooking classes, performances, calligraphy sessions and games. One standout is the Kung Fu Show presented by Wah Lum Kung Fu Temple, where you can witness exhilarating lion dances, graceful tai chi demonstrations and more. See our events calendar for full dates and details.

Orlando Sings Choral Festival (April 30 & May 1, 2024)

Orlando Sings will host their third annual Choral Festival on select dates this spring, including two events exploring the captivating choral traditions of Eastern and Western societies.

  • The Road East will explore the soul-stirring music of South Korea, led by international guest conductor DongKyu Lee.
  • The Road West will feature the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra in a Industandi requiem and a groundbreaking blend of Indian and Western classical styles.

Honoring Asian American Heritage & Culture (May 4, 2024)

In downtown Orlando’s City District, the Orange County Regional History Center will host a free, family-friendly celebration Honoring Asian American Heritage & Culture. Discover music, dance and hands-on activities for all ages, featuring traditional dance performances from the Chinese American Association of Central Florida, Thuyen May Productions, and LTR Indian Dance.

Discover: Orlando Arts & Entertainment

Orange County’s Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Celebration (May 7, 2024)

The Orange County Asian Committee and Orange County Board of County Commissioners will host their annual Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Celebration in downtown Orlando. The festivities will include an Asian American cultural performance and exhibition, an art exhibition, plus tai chi, origami, henna, dance, culinary and musical demonstrations.

Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts Rotunda
Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in Downtown Orlando

Shen Yun at Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts (May 8 – 11, 2024)

Global sensation Shen Yun will return to the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in Orlando’s City District to perform a brand-new lineup of dances, musical scores and songs. The classical Chinese dance company will breathe new life into ancient Chinese stories and legends, ethnic and folk traditions, mythology, history, and more in this breathtaking experience.

Diversitastic Dining: The Philippines (May 10, 2024)

Every month, FusionFest Orlando hosts Diversitastic Dining, a celebratory event where you can be immersed in the sights, flavors and mindsets of cultures all around the world. May’s event will be hosted at Kaya, a MICHELIN Recommended restaurant in the Mills 50 district. Savor a multi-course meal prepared with Filipino techniques and fresh Florida flavors, along with entertainment from the University of Central Florida’s Filipino Students Association Dance Group.

Discover: 4 Must-Try Restaurants for AAPI Heritage Month

Indian Heritage Day (May 11, 2024)

Indian Horizon of Florida will honor the diverse traditions, culture and historical significance of India during their Indian Heritage Day celebration. It’s open to people of all backgrounds and will feature dancing, cultural programs, arts and crafts, and authentic Indian cuisine.

East Meets West (May 17 – 18, 2024)

East End Market in the Audubon Park Garden District will host a delicious two-day event featuring Asian and fusion cuisine and a bustling marketplace with handcrafted goods, souvenirs and artwork. Stop by between 5 – 9 p.m. to discover a rich tapestry of Asian cultures.

Discover: Things to Do in Orlando’s Audubon Park Garden District

Kanada Narahari Trio (May 18, 2024)

Timucua Arts Foundation in Orlando’s SODO District invites you to enjoy an intimate evening of Indian music from the Kanada Narahari Trio. Led by Narahari on sitar and vocals, the trio also includes Nandkishor Muley on santoor and Shankh Lahiri on tablas. The performance is part of Timucua Art Foundation’s ongoing World Music Weekends series.

Discover: Things to Do in Orlando’s SODO District

AAHC Asian Cultural Festival (May 18, 2024)

Celebrate the culture and heritage of China, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam and more at the annual Asian Cultural Festival, hosted at Bill Breeze Park in Ocoee. This free event from the Asian American Heritage Council of Central Florida will feature international cuisine, merchandise and businesses.

Lunar New Year 2024 at Guang Ming Temple

Buddha’s Birthday Celebration (May 19, 2024)

Join Guang Ming Temple, the largest Buddhist temple in Central Florida, for Buddha’s Birthday Celebration. The traditional ceremony begins at 10 a.m. and will feature authentic Asian attire and monastic chanting. Feel free to stay afterwards for the Food and Arts Fair, where you can explore the grounds, sample enticing cuisine and witness unique performances through 3 p.m.

Diljit Dosanjh at Kia Center (May 21, 2024)

Indian singer, actor and television presenter Diljit Dosanjh will bring his Dil-luminati Tour to Kia Center in downtown Orlando’s Parramore district. Diljit is known for his unique blend of Bhangra, pop, and traditional Punjabi folk music. He has collaborated with artists like Diplo and Sia and became the first Punjabi artist to perform at Coachella in 2023.

Discover: Things to Do in Orlando’s Parramore District

Wheein at Hard Rock Live Orlando (May 27, 2024)

South Korean star Wheein, who rose to fame as part of the K-pop girl group MAMAMOO, will bring her first solo world tour, Whee In the Mood to Hard Rock Live Orlando at Universal CityWalk.

Discover: Things to Do at Universal CityWalk

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Asian American and Pacific Islander Restaurants in Orlando

From Mills 50 to the theme parks, Asian American and Pacific Islander cultures have a significant influence on Orlando’s culinary scene.

"New generations of immigrants from Vietnam, China, the Philippines, India, and more have left an indelible mark on the food scene, winning MICHELIN Guide awards and James Beard nominations and bringing Orlando worldwide acclaim," says founder Ricky Ly. In fact, half of our 51 Orlando MICHELIN Guide restaurants are Asian-owned or inspired. Ly continues, "It is a testament to the strength of our Orlando community, diversity, and commitment to continue to build and dream big, where the impossible is possible, where the American dream lives on."

From MICHELIN hotspots to our cozy local eateries, dessert shops and tea rooms, and you’ll discover dozens of tasty ways to celebrate in Orlando. Let's dig in.

Discover: Eat & Drink in Orlando

MICHELIN Guide Restaurants

Dive into Orlando’s award-winning culinary scene with a medley of flavors at our MICHELIN Guide restaurants. You’ll find everything from budget bites to fine dining representing traditional and modern methods of cooking.

Foodies on the go can chow down on Laotian street food, dig into luscious ramen noodle bowls, sip on bespoke mocktails or snag a space at Orlando’s first standing sushi bar. If you have more time, settle in for a multi-course omakase meal at One MICHELIN Star Soseki Modern Omakase, MICHELIN Recommended Doshi, and more delectable options. Orlando MICHELIN Guide restaurants that are Asian-owned or inspired include:

  • Edoboy (Sushi)
  • Kabooki Sushi - Colonial Drive (Japanese)
  • Kaya (Filipino)
  • Morimoto Asia at Disney Springs (Pan-Asian)
  • Soseki Modern Omakase (Fusion)
  • Tori Tori (Japanese)
  • Z Asian (Vietnamese)
  • Bombay Street Kitchen (Indian)
  • Camille (Vietnamese)
  • Chuan Fu (Chinese)
  • Domu (Ramen)
  • Isan Zaap (Thai)
  • JUJU (Japanese)
  • Kadence (Japanese)
  • Kai Asian Street Fare (Asian)
  • Natsu (Japanese)
  • Norigami (Japanese)
  • Shin Jung (Korean)
  • Sticky Rice (Laotian)
  • Sushi Saint (Japanese)
  • Taste of Chengdu (Chinese)
  • Twenty Pho Hour (Asian Fusion)
  • YH Seafood Clubhouse (Chinese)
  • Zaru (Japanese)

More Asian American and Pacific Islander Flavors

You can also discover a world of flavor throughout the destination, from fusion and pan Asian eats in our main tourism districts to sushi, Filipino ice cream and family-owned eateries in Orlando’s vibrant neighborhoods.

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