Orlando’s Mills 50 District
Get to know the one-of-a-kind dining, nightlife, shopping and ambience that make Mills 50 one of Orlando’s most popular districts.
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 unique dining, nightlife, shopping and culture that are worth experiencing.
Learn more: Orlando Main Street Districts
One of the best examples, the Mills 50 district, is adjacent to downtown and waiting for your visit. Here’s why you’ll want to make it part of your plans the next time you’re in Orlando!
Getting to Know Orlando’s Mills 50 District
One of Orlando’s oldest neighborhoods, and located directly north of the adjacent downtown area, 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 tree-lined district is known for its assortment of brightly colored, professionally illustrated murals that pay homage to various aspects of Orlando living. Mills 50 also hosts a culturally diverse lineup of restaurants, nightspots (including live music venues), retailers and service providers, plus a one-of-a-kind city park that’s packed with museums, galleries and theaters. You can easily spend a day exploring everything this area has to offer!
Dining & Nightlife in Orlando’s Mills 50 District
You won’t lack for great places to eat when you visit Mills 50 — particularly if you’re into Eastern cuisine. Covering a range of flavors, standouts include Hawkers Asian Street Fare, Mamak Asian Street Food, Poke Hana, Pop Thai, Shin Jung Korean Restaurant and Yamasan Sushi & Grill. (Want to drink like you’re in Asia? Head to Tori Tori, a Japanese pub that's opening summer 2019.)
Mills 50 also has the original Black Bean Deli, which has been serving traditional Cuban dishes for nearly 20 years. Or, opt for Spanish tapas at Santiago’s Bodega or contemporary Mexican cuisine at 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!
You can dig into gourmet takes on traditional American dishes, too, starting with acclaimed dining at The Strand Food & Drink and Bites & Bubbles, the latter of which is also influenced by French cuisine. Other choices along these lines include from-scratch bowls at Too Much Sauce, pub fare and a massive beer selection at The Brass Tap, and slices as big as your head at Lazy Moon Pizza.
However, Mills 50’s dining choices absolutely pale in comparison to its nightlife. One of the most esteemed venues is Will’s Pub, which is a great place to see live bands — as is its sister club, Lil Indies. 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. and Quantum Leap Winery!
Prefer coffee and tea to alcoholic libations? Check out Dandelion Community Cafe and Lineage Coffee Roasting, among other locations.
At the far north end of the Mills 50 district, the 45-acre Loch Haven Cultural Park features some of the best reasons for arts aficionados to visit Orlando. They include Orlando Museum of Art, The Mennello Museum of American Art, Orlando Repertory Theatre (aka Orlando Rep), Orlando Shakespeare Theater (aka Orlando Shakes), Orlando Fire Museum and the headquarters of Orlando Ballet, which performs exclusively at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Orlando.
The collection also includes Orlando Science Center, which is one of Orlando’s many STEM-focused attractions geared toward kids and their families. Last but not least, the park hosts the annual Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival, aka Orlando Fringe, which showcases a plethora of theatrical offerings and is the longest-running event of its type in the United States.
Learn more: Orlando STEM Attractions
Other cultural highlights in the Mills 50 district include The LGBT+ Center Orlando, aka The Center, which is one of the oldest LGBTQ-focused service-providers in the nation. And a short drive east of Mills Avenue will take you to Harry P. Leu Gardens, which has 50 acres of gorgeously cultivated flora, including 40 diverse plant collections from around the world.
Learn more: LGBTQ in Orlando
Shopping & Services in Orlando’s Mills 50 District
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.
Learn more: Orlando Comic Book & Hobby Shops
Variety is at the heart of Mills 50’s other retailers. Stock up on flags of your favorite countries, sports teams and more at Flag World. Find funky gifts and treasures at gotkarma. Discover your new favorite spirit at GB’s Bottle Shop & Tasting Bar. You can also buy sportswear at Track Shack, exotic Asian groceries and merchandise at Dong A Imports, or everything you need for cosplay creations at Ritzy Rags Wigs & More, among other options.
Finally, we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out that Mills 50 offers a huge collection of spas and salons, including The Salt Room, The Barefoot Spa, J. Bauman Salon, Eclips Salon & Spa and many others. Pop into any of these venues for a relaxing treatment that will leave you feeling rejuvenated and ready to explore more of this hip Orlando district!
Cover image: “Diversity” mural in Orlando’s Mills 50 district.
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