Orlando’s Lake Nona Neighborhood
Explore the exceptional dining, entertainment and recreational opportunities that make Lake Nona one of Orlando’s most-visited neighborhoods (Boxi Park pictured).
Think you know Orlando? If you’ve only visited our theme parks and attractions, you’re only getting half the story. Head out from our tourism district, and you’ll delight in hidden-gem communities that are local favorites thanks to incredible dining, entertainment, ecotourism adventures and much more — including Orlando’s Lake Nona neighborhood!
Learn more: Orlando Neighborhoods
Getting to Know Lake Nona
Given that Lake Nona is approximately 25 minutes southeast of downtown Orlando and 15 minutes south of Orlando International Airport, you might think the 17-square-mile, master-planned community is a suburb. In actuality, it comprises the southern tip of our official city limits.
Until the 1980s, the Lake Nona area was primarily rural farmland — but that all changed when the arrival of State Road 417, aka the Central Florida GreeneWay, created growth opportunities that attracted Tavistock Development Company. One of their first accomplishments was the Lake Nona Golf & Country Club, a private facility with an 18-hole championship course designed by the legendary Tom Fazio.
Learn more: Top Orlando Golf Courses
In the three decades since, Lake Nona has grown dramatically, transforming into a future-thinking community with thoughtfully designed neighborhoods and state-of-the-art research and education facilities such as Lake Nona Medical City, a 650-acre health and life-sciences park. Lake Nona is also nearly self-contained, boasting exceptional dining, unique entertainment and recreation, and a sports & performance district anchored by the United States Tennis Association (USTA) National Campus.
Learn more: USTA National Campus in Orlando
As a result, Lake Nona continues to attract new residents — as well as visits from a growing number of Central Florida locals and tourists. Once you see what Lake Nona has to offer, you’ll want to make it part of your travel plans, too!
Dining & Entertainment in Lake Nona
Over the past decade, Lake Nona has enjoyed a surge in dining options, particularly at Lake Nona Town Center. For instance, at Canvas Restaurant & Market, Executive Chef Jason Bergeron crafts New American cuisine flavored by Florida’s southern and Latin American roots, seasonal and regional produce, and an abundance of fresh seafood. Positioned on Lake Nona’s namesake body of water, this restaurant also serves up gorgeous views.
Nearby, Chroma Modern Bar + Kitchen focuses on tapas-style small plates and an extensive bar menu, including an impressive range of wines on tap and craft beers. The open-kitchen interior creates a vibrant environment that’s perfect for wining and dining, but there’s also much to be said for the restaurant’s covered patio, outdoor lounge and solarium, the latter of which provides views of Lake Nona Town Center’s community art installation, “The Beacon.”
For even more dining variety, visit Lake Nona Town Center’s Boxi Park, a unique outdoor gathering area made from repurposed shipping containers. Here, one-of-a-kind food and beverage counters are complemented by a stage for live entertainment, a giant screen for sports broadcasts, sand volleyball courts and other reasons to visit. The only challenge is deciding what to order, as options include tacos, lobster rolls, ice cream and more, as well as wine, beer and cocktails. Don’t worry about eating too much, as you can always burn off the calories with a volleyball match or two! Speaking of which…
Sports & Recreation in Lake Nona
Stellar dining and laid-back entertainment aren’t the only reasons to visit Lake Nona, as the area also offers ample opportunities to enjoy Orlando’s great outdoors. A quick game of volleyball at Boxi Park is a good place to start!
Learn more: Orlando Ecotourism
If tennis is your racket, head to the USTA National Campus. In addition to hosting professional and collegiate matches throughout the year, this world-class facility offers numerous opportunities to learn and play for visitors of all ages and skill sets — including professional-grade courts that are free to use with a reservation in the Nemours Family Zone!
Tee times on Lake Nona Golf & Country Club’s Fazio-designed greens are highly coveted, and for good reason — but the club is usually open exclusively to members. However, they host numerous charitable golf events throughout the year, many of which are open to the public, so keep an eye out for opportunities during your visit.
Even if you can’t get into Lake Nona Golf & Country Club, you can still tee off in Lake Nona courtesy of Drive Shack. Offering an innovative take on the sport, this venue turns golf into fun games like ShackJack, which is based on classic blackjack, and Monster Hunt, where you destroy monsters to save a princess. Better still, the action is complemented by mouthwatering food and beverages.
Last but not least, Nona Adventure Park offers water-based, family-friendly adventures. Between the inflatable aqua park and obstacle course, wake cable course, ropes course, climbing tower, and rock walls, it’s one of the most exhilarating ways to play when you visit Lake Nona.
And as should be clear by now, you’ll definitely want to experience this community the next time you’re in Orlando — especially when you consider that it’s less than 30 minutes from Walt Disney World® Resort, Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld® Orlando and just about everything else you want to do in the Theme Park Capital of the World. We’ll see you there!
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