Discovering Orlando: International Drive
Did you know that Orlando has a street that’s bursting with one-of-a-kind attractions, vibrant dining and nightlife, hotels and resorts for any taste or budget, and a wide range of shopping? It’s called International Drive — aka I-Drive — and it’s a perfect microcosm of the wonder and adventure found throughout the destination.
Learn More: Top 10 Things to Do on I-Drive
Conveniently located just 10 minutes from Universal Orlando Resort, and less than 20 minutes from Walt Disney World Resort and SeaWorld Orlando, I-Drive and its adjacent boulevards welcomed a wealth of new additions in recent years, with more to come in 2018 and beyond. It’s also home to the Orange County Convention Center and Orlando’s Official Visitor Center, where you can get expert planning assistance, answers to your questions, discount attractions tickets and even a free gift bag.
In other words, if you’re coming to Orlando, you’ll want to visit International Drive. Refer to this guide for everything there is to see, do and enjoy in the dynamic heart of Orlando: Theme Park Capital of the World®!
Orlando Attractions on International Drive
Although Orlando excels at dining, nightlife and shopping, we know that most visitors primarily come for our incredible attractions — and you’ll find a wealth of them on International Drive.
One of the most expansive is Fun Spot America, which has a second location in Kissimmee close to Walt Disney World Resort. A classic amusement park, this location offers thrills for all ages, including roller coasters, bumper cars, kiddie rides, midway games and more.
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Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf is another outdoor attraction on International Drive with lots of family appeal. It features two championship, 18-hole courses with waterfalls, footbridges, mountain caves, gorgeous landscaping and pirate lore.
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You’ll find several more Orlando attractions at ICON Orlando 360, the dining, shopping and entertainment complex that features the ICON Orlando. The 400-foot-high landmark provides unbeatable views of Orlando from the comfort of roomy, climate-controlled capsules.
Other ways to have fun at ICON Orlando 360 include Orlando’s edition of a world-famous attraction: Madame Tussauds, where you can pose with realistic wax versions of celebrities from pop culture, sports, history and more. You’ll also find SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium, which features a 360-degree, underwater tunnel and other ways to view majestic denizens of the deep. Then, cap off your visit by playing games and winning prizes at Arcade City Orlando.
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Later in 2018, ICON Orlando 360 will gain a new neighbor with the debut of Orlando StarFlyer. Standing 450 feet tall, it will be the world’s tallest swing ride when it opens at the Vue at 360 entertainment center.
Also offering shopping, dining and fun in a walkable entertainment district, Pointe Orlando features the original WonderWorks, which celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2018. Easy to spot thanks to its upside-down building, and perfect for all ages, this attraction has six interactive “Wonder Zones,” as well as laser tag, a ropes course and other ways to play.
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Main Event Entertainment is also part of Pointe Orlando. At this 50,000-square-foot venue, you can enjoy state-of-the-art bowling, billiards, a ropes adventure course, virtual and interactive games, and dozens of big screen TVs, as well as a chef-inspired food menu and handcrafted cocktails.
In a similar vein, Kings Dining & Entertainment features bowling, billiards and ping pong, as well as an outdoor bocce ball court and a regulation shuffleboard table. You can also watch giant HDTVs while enjoying a chef-driven menu and two premium bars.
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For another unique mixture of food and entertainment, book passage at Chocolate Kingdom — Interactive Factory Adventure Tour, where you’ll embark on a magical chocolate adventure. At the end, you’ll even have the chance to create your own custom chocolate bar.
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There are plenty of other standalone attractions to choose from on I-Drive. For instance, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! offers 10,000 square feet of incredibly interactive exhibits for every member of your family. What’s more, Ripley’s Entertainment loves Orlando so much that they’re headquartered here!
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For something else you won’t believe, head to iFLY Orlando Indoor Skydiving. At this unique attraction, guests as young as 3 can safely experience flight indoors — no plane or parachute required. Instead, it’s made possible with innovative, vertical wind-tunnel technology.
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In addition to indoor flying, International Drive has opportunities for indoor racing, starting with I-Drive NASCAR. After you’ve taken some spins in their high-speed karts, cool off with arcade games, bowling and billiards, as well as a full bar and restaurant.
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Adjacent to the Orange County Convention Center, Andretti Indoor Karting & Games has indoor racing too, and as the name implies, it’s spearheaded by Mario Andretti himself. Opened in 2017, the enormous venue offers countless other ways to play, plus a full-service restaurant and two bars.
Right next door, Topgolf Orlando also debuted in 2017. It features an ingenious take on golf that pairs the traditional game with a high-tech scoring system that’s similar to darts. The three-story venue also has chef-driven food options, lively bars and a rooftop terrace.
If you’ve come to Orlando to escape, great news: The International Drive area has five “escape room” attractions! The Escape Game Orlando has five rooms for up to eight players, America’s Escape Game offers six rooms for up to 10 players, and six-player teams can tackle seven rooms at Escapology. Breakout Escape Rooms uses non-linear scenarios that can accommodate larger groups. Last but not least, LockBusters Escape Game does away with traditional locks and keys completely.
Finally, if you’d like to tour all of these attractions while simultaneously enjoying a ride, check out the I-Ride Trolley. Available daily from 8 a.m. till 10:30 p.m., the trolley has stops all along I-Drive, and pick-ups take place approximately every 20 minutes. It’s also highly affordable, priced at just $2 for adults and $1 for kids per ride, or $5 each for an unlimited one-day pass.
Orlando Dining & Nightlife on International Drive
Whether you’re in the mood for upscale dining, family-style meals, casual bites, themed dinner shows, live entertainment or just some good, old-fashioned bar hopping, you’ve come to the right place when you’re on International Drive.
Pointe Orlando alone features 19 restaurants and a range of lively entertainment. Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar is a favorite for appetizers — we recommend the crab guacamole and Cuban sandwich spring rolls — plus late-night salsa dancing. More live entertainment and great food can be enjoyed at B.B. King’s Blues Club, and the swank Blue Martini lounge is perfect for continuing the party.
In keeping with the International Drive location, Pointe Orlando also brings a truly international flair to dining. For example, you can enjoy great seafood at The Oceanaire Seafood Room and Tommy Bahama Restaurant & Bar, hop across the pond for a pint and dinner at The Pub, go Greek at Taverna Opa, or just dine American style at Copper Canyon Grill, Lafayette’s and Itta Bena, with the latter two respectively showcasing Cajun and Southern fare.
That international mindset continues at restaurants up and down the strip. Hungry for Italian? Check out Vincenzo Cucina Italiana, Ciao Italia Italian Ristorante, Fiorenzo Italian Steakhouse or Cala Bella. Pizza? Uno Pizzeria & Grill. Japanese fare and sushi? Hanamizuki Japanese Restaurant and Seito Sushi are calling your name.
If you’re in the mood for Latin flavor, you’ll want to hit up Mango’s Tropical Café. Featuring live entertainment — including the famous Mango’s Dancers — this 55,000-square-foot, two-story venue is a destination in its own right. If you’re craving Caribbean and Key West cooking, try Gatorville Restaurant or Bahama Breeze Island Grille.
Authentic Spanish cuisine is served at Tapa Toro Tapas Bar & Paella Pit, which is part of ICON Orlando 360’s dining lineup. That entertainment complex also features Yard House, an upscale, casual eatery for beer and food enthusiasts.
Sometimes nothing but a great steak will do, and you can get one and a lot more at Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House. Or, go for an all-you-care-to-eat option with South American flavor at Fogo de Chao Brazilian Steakhouse. If you prefer surf to turf, Joe’s Crab Shack is a great source.
You’ll find world-class dining at I-Drive’s hotels and resorts too, including The Bistro, David’s Club and Spencer’s for Steaks & Chops at Hilton Orlando. You’ll also love Urban Tide at Hyatt Regency Orlando and The Grill at Marriott’s Grande Vista. And a trio of great eateries — Everglades Restaurant, Jack’s Place and A Land Remembered — can be enjoyed at Rosen Centre Hotel, Rosen Plaza Hotel and Rosen Shingle Creek, respectively.
Interested in an entertaining, interactive experience while you eat? International Drive has two great dinner shows. WonderWorks hosts The Outta Control Magic Comedy Dinner Show, an all-ages affair featuring magic, impersonations and improv. It also includes unlimited pizza, salad, dessert and soda, and even unlimited beer and wine for adults.
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At Sleuths Mystery Dinner Shows, you’ll become the detective while mingling with curious characters to solve a frequently hilarious crime. The fare here consists of hors d’oeuvres, salad, a choice of entrees, dessert and unlimited beer, wine and soft drinks.
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For dining that offers a lively lounge setting as well as fantastic food, look into Bar Louie. Similarly, Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurant pairs modern, casual cuisine with a tasting room sensibility.
If you’re done eating but aren’t quite ready for bed yet, you can chill out at ICEBAR Orlando — which, true to its name, was built with more than 70 tons of hand-carved ice. Optionally, you can heat things up at Howl at the Moon, a high-energy dueling piano bar that invites nonstop audience participation. Or, take a tour of the best of I-Drive’s nightlife with Swamp Bike Pub Crawl Party Bike, which has room for 15 passengers. Just be prepared to pedal!
Orlando Shopping on International Drive
Between excellent value and access to the world’s most sought-after brands, it’s no wonder that Orlando is a shopper’s wonderland. It should also come as no surprise that some of our best retail experiences can be found on and near International Drive.
For example, Orlando International Premium Outlets offers an unbeatable mix of world-famous labels and exceptional value. Spanning nearly 775,000 square feet, it’s home to more than 180 designer and name-brand outlet shops, as well as 20 dining options.
Retailers at this location include adidas, Calvin Klein, Coach, kate spade New York, Kipling, Levi’s Outlet Store, lululemon athletica, Skechers, Tommy Hilfiger, Under Armour and the only Victoria’s Secret outlet in the market, among other stores. You can also take advantage of special amenities at two guest-services locations, such as currency exchange, valet and premium parking, stroller rentals, and more.
Offering similar savings and brand selection, Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets is adjacent to International Drive. Cited as one of the country’s most upscale outlet destinations, the Mediterranean-inspired shopping village has more than 160 name-brand and designer outlets, including Armani Outlet, Burberry, Calvin Klein, Old Navy Outlet Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH and many others.
In addition to being a dining and entertainment hotspot, Pointe Orlando is a great place to shop till you drop. The bespoke shops, including Tommy Hilfiger and Tommy Bahama, offer a lot of variety, such as men’s and women’s clothing, fashion accessories, jewelry, multicultural merchandise and even die-cast collectibles.
Whether you’re headed to the beach during your Orlando visit or just want to look like you are, be advised that O’Neill Clothing has a presence on I-Drive too. The iconic California lifestyle brand offers clothing, swimwear, wetsuits, footwear, accessories and other must-haves for fun in the sun.
When you’re on International Drive, also keep in mind that two of Central Florida’s best malls are close by. Just 10 minutes from Orlando’s Official Visitor Center, The Mall at Millenia offers a stylish, sophisticated shopping experience with a focus on high-end luxury.
Brands here include Apple, Chanel, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Neiman Marcus, Tiffany & Co, Under Armour and many others. This mall also boasts world-class dining, as well as amenities such as complimentary Wi-Fi and device-charging stations, currency exchange, valet parking and even expert assistance from Visit Orlando representatives.
Located 20 minutes from our Official Visitor Center, The Florida Mall is the area’s largest shopping center with 1.8 million square feet of retail space. This mall even has its own attractions, as evidenced by Crayola Experience and M&M’s World!
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Other reasons to visit include market exclusives such as American Girl, Carlo’s Bakery and The Disney Store. You can also shop A/X Armani Exchange, Banana Republic, H&M, MAC Cosmetics, Michael Kors and ZARA, to name a few.
Orlando Hotels & Resorts on International Drive
No matter your budget, chances are you’ll find the perfect accommodations on and around International Drive. In fact, the area’s lodging options present as much variety as its attractions, shopping and dining.
For instance, luxury lovers will be interested in Hilton Orlando. Newly renovated, the AAA Four Diamond Award-winning hotel offers all the stylish amenities travelers have come to expect from the world-renowned brand, as well as temperature-controlled swimming pools, a waterslide and a lazy river.
Also AAA Four Diamond-rated, Hyatt Regency Orlando features spacious guestrooms and accommodations, pristine swimming pools and a 24-hour fitness center. If you’re seeking the ultimate in tranquility, the onsite spa offers many paths to complete relaxation.
Discover more bliss at the spa at Rosen Centre Hotel, where you can choose from seven treatment rooms specializing in massage therapy, body treatments and facials, as well as hair, makeup and nail care. You can further luxuriate at the hotel’s pool and hot tubs.
If golf is your thing, Rosen Shingle Creek boasts a newly redesigned, championship golf course by Arnold Palmer Design Company. The hotel itself sits on 255 acres of lush landscaping and manicured gardens, which are complemented by four seasonally heated pools.
In the same price range, but focusing more on providing homes-away-from-home than luxury accommodations, are Marriott’s Grande Vista and Sonesta ES Suites Orlando. Both have suites with ample space for the whole family, as well as kitchen amenities.
There are plenty more to choose from. If you’ve budgeted your lodging at $125 to $200 per night, look into Castle Hotel, Autograph Collection, Courtyard by Marriott, Fairfield Inn & Suites, Hyatt Place, Las Palmeras by Hilton Grand Vacations , Residence Inn by Marriott, Rosen Plaza Hotel, Springhill Suites by Marriott, Vista Cay Resorts by Millenium and Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa. Additionally, Embassy Suites has locations on International Drive and the adjacent Jamaican Court.
Another hotelier with two International Drive-area locations is Extended Stay America, including Universal Boulevard and Westwood Boulevard. They’re in the $75-$125 per night range, as are Avanti International Resort, Best Western, Comfort Inn, Hampton Inn Orlando, Homewood Suites by Hilton, La Quinta Inn & Suites, Ramada Orlando, Rosen Inn at Pointe Orlando and Wyndham Orlando Resort.
For even more value, consider Days Inn Convention Center. It’s right across from the Orange County Convention Center, and rooms are never more than $75 per night.