Orlando’s Mills 50 District
There are countless reasons to visit Orlando — and we’re not just talking about theme park rides and standalone attractions. For locals, the main draws can be found outside our tourism district, where eclectic neighborhoods and charming, smaller cities offer authentic dining, nightlife, shopping and culture that are worth experiencing.
Discover: Things to Do in Orlando Neighborhoods
One of the best examples, our Mills 50 District, is part of the Orlando Main Streets program and waiting for your next visit to The City Beautiful.
One of Orlando’s oldest neighborhoods, and located directly north of the adjacent downtown core, Mills 50 is a Main Street America-accredited program. The district’s name is derived from its primary, intersecting thoroughfares: Mills Avenue and State Road 50, aka Colonial Drive.
The Mills 50 District is known for its assortment of brightly colored, professionally illustrated murals that pay homage to various aspects of Orlando living. In fact, Mills 50 has more distinctive, large-scale murals than any other district in the city — not to mention public art boxes and even painted dumpsters and storm drains.
Discover: Orlando Murals
Laying claim to a sizable Asian-American and Pacific Islander community, Mills 50 hosts a culturally diverse lineup of restaurants, nightspots (including live music venues), retailers and service providers. It also offers quick access to a one-of-a-kind city park that’s packed with museums, galleries and theaters. You can easily spend a day exploring this area.
You won’t lack for great places to eat when you visit Mills 50 — starting with more MICHELIN Guide restaurants than any other district or town in the Orlando area. They include Bib Gourmand honorees Z Asian and The Strand, as well MICHELIN Guide Recommended eateries Black Rooster Taqueria, EDOBOY, Tori Tori, Hawkers, Kaya, Shin Jung and Sticky Rice.
Discover: Orlando’s MICHELIN Guide Restaurants
You’ll discover numerous other Asian restaurants in the area. Covering a range of flavors and cultures, standouts include Chuan Lu Garden, Little Saigon, Mamak Asian Street Food, Ming’s Bistro, Poke Hana, Pop Thai, and Yamasan Sushi & Grill, among many others.
Mills 50 also has Black Bean Deli, which has been serving traditional Cuban dishes for nearly 20 years. And that’s on top of the MICHELIN Recommended Black Rooster Taqueria. Can’t decide between Asian and Hispanic/Latin menus? Mix and match at popular fusion restaurants such as Pig Floyd’s Urban Barbakoa and Tako Cheena.
Discover: Hispanic and Latino History & Culture
You can dig into gourmet takes on traditional American dishes, too, starting with the aforementioned MICHELIN Bib Gourmand The Strand. Also of note are the French-inspired Bites & Bubbles, 100% plant-based fare at Plantees Burgers, and Phat Ash Bakes, which bills itself as a speakeasy bakery. Other choices include pub fare and a massive beer selection at The Twisted Handle, and slices as big as your head at Lazy Moon Pizza.
Mills 50’s dining choices are perfectly complemented by its nightlife. One of the most popular venues is Will’s Pub, which is a great place to see live bands — as are its sister clubs, Lil Indies and Dirty Laundry. But the fact is, you can’t throw a stone without hitting a memorable place to grab a drink in this district. It even makes its own alcohol, thanks to Ten10 Brewing Co., Quantum Leap Winery and Zymarium Meadery.
Discover: Orlando Breweries
Orlando’s Mills 50 district features an engaging mix of shops and service providers, many of which predate the area’s renaissance as a dining and nightlife hub. A prime example is Colonial Photo & Hobby, which has been serving the community for more than 60 years. As its name implies, this store doesn’t just offer the latest photography equipment, but also merchandise to feed just about any hobby imaginable.
Discover: Orlando Comic Book & Hobby Shops
Variety is at the heart of Mills 50’s other retailers. Stock up on exotic Asian groceries and merchandise at Dong A Imports, or nab cool threads while supporting a great cause at Out of the Closet Thrift Store, to name two of the area’s most unique shops. A recent edition is Lacastro Store, which offers boutique shopping just for men.
Discover: Orlando Shopping
Finally, we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out that Mills 50 and the adjacent Ivanhoe Village Main Street district offer a huge collection of spas and salons. Pop into any of these venues for a relaxing treatment that will leave you feeling rejuvenated and ready to explore more of this hip district the next time you’re in Orlando.
There Is Always More to Do in Orlando
Endless adventures await in Orlando — and Visit Orlando powered by BestofOrlando.com can help you save on admission to top theme parks, attractions and experiences. Take advantage of our free planning tools to discover more ways to save money in the Theme Park Capital of the World.