So you’re traveling for business and you've got two hours or one afternoon to spend in the Orlando area. One of our best suggestions for how to spend an afternoon in Orlando is to visit nearby Winter Park.
For Travelers Who Like: Food and shopping
Where to Go: Winter Park is less than ten miles north and 20 minutes from Orlando. You can take an Uber or, if you have more time, take the charming SunRail commuter train.
What Makes It Special: Winter Park is definitely not your typical sleepy suburb. It’s an inviting town with a main street chockfull of restaurants and charming shops and a lovely park in the center of town. You will enjoy strolling around the town; but you can also go to www.cityofwinterpark.org to find out if any special events are happening while you’re in town, such as the Saturday morning farmers’ market.
You can just browse or do some serious shopping on Park Street, Winter Park’s main drag. There are well-known chains like Lily Pulitzer, and Lucky Brand Jeans as well as local boutiques like Tugboat & The Bird (children’s clothing and toys), Impeccable Pig (women’s clothes), and J. McLaughlin (men’s and women’s clothing). We especially loved the selection of high end, classic menswear at John Craig.
After all that shopping, you’ll have worked up an appetite and Winter Park offers plenty of food options as well. The Coop offers classic Southern cuisine in a fast casual setting that is spacious and light-filled and features a covered porch. We had the fried catfish with grits and a side order of thick creamed corn and crispy fried okra. Two of our other favorites are Blu on the Avenue and The Parkview which offers a gazillion craft beers.
For dessert, try the chocolates at Peterbrooke Chocolatier. Or walk down memory lane at Rocket Fizz, a specialty store chain that’s worth visiting because it offers hundreds of candy and soda pop brands that will bring back your favorite childhood memories.
Must Do: You absolutely must try the food at Briar Patch! We simply could not get enough of their pancakes stuffed with blueberries and lemon curd. Another must is the Scenic Boat Tour, a guided tour around two Winter Park lakes and the man-made canals that connect them. Your tour guide will point out the opulent private estates, towering cypress trees, and even the occasional alligator that edge the shore. End your afternoon at the Wine Room. You can buy a tasting card and try almost 160 wines, dispensed by the ounce or the glass via state of the art machines made in Italy.