Orlando: Make Your Dollar Go Further

There are plenty of family-friendly attractions outside Orlando’s theme parks. Here are some tips for stretching your dollar to the max on your family vacation.

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Orlando is best known as America’s theme park destination — no surprise there — but not everything in this Florida city costs an arm and a leg. Believe it or not, there are plenty of family-friendly attractions outside the theme parks, making Orlando an even more impressive family destination than you even knew. If you’re visiting, try these inexpensive attractions to make your dollar go even further.

A child wearing sunglasses and a backwards ball cap eats pizza on a park bench in a neighborhood at sunset.

Where to Eat

Feeding the family doesn’t have to cost a lot. These picks taste great and won’t empty your wallet. How’s that for a win-win?

Breakfast: Shakers American Café

Voted the best breakfast in Orlando year after year, Shakers American Café is a city staple. It’s where you’ll find plenty of solid breakfast choices as well as some unusual (but delicious) picks, like cinnamon roll pancakes — all at affordable prices. Yum!

Lunch: Hubbly Bubbly Falafel Shop

Think you’d have to go to the Middle East to get a quality falafel? Well, think again! You don’t need a passport — just head to the Hubbly Bubbly Falafel Shop in College Park or the second location in downtown. Pair your order of a Falafel Pocket or Hummus Bowl with the must-try Mazel Tots (super-crispy tater tots with a spicy kick). The prices are great and the food is very filling!

Dinner: Lazy Moon

If you’ve got a family to feed, then Lazy Moon is the place to do it. This pizza joint is known for its giant pizzas, making it the perfect pick to feed a hungry crowd. While you’re waiting for your pizza to bake, enjoy a round of bocce ball on one of the restaurant’s courts.

An aerial view of the Icon OrlandoTM Ferris Wheel in Orlando at dusk

What to Do

Orlando never runs out of attractions for the whole family to enjoy. Check out some of these top picks for outings that kids of all ages will enjoy!

Orlando Science Center

With four floors of fun, the Orlando Science Center is a hit with families, big and small. Love to get the creepy-crawlies? Check out the exotic reptiles. Bonus: If you have accounts at Bank of America or Merrill Lynch, you score free admission on the first weekend of the month through the Museums on Us program.

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Orlando Museum of Art

Next door to the Science Center, the Orlando Museum of Art is one of the city’s top cultural attractions. You’ll find both African art and American art along with ever-changing exhibitions, so there’s always something new to see.

Leu Gardens

Flowers make almost anyone smile. All you have to do is travel a few minutes from downtown to bring on the fun in the tropical oasis known as Leu Gardens. With trails that twist and turn across 50 acres of beautiful botanicals, it’s the perfect spot for everyone in the family to unwind surrounded by greenery.

ICON Orlando

Ferris wheels aren’t just for kids, you know. Ride the ICON Orlando and see why adults can’t wait to get in on the fun. At 400 feet tall, it’s the largest observation wheel on the east coast, and the stunning views will blow you away. Bonus: Save 10 percent off the admission price when you buy your tickets online.

A young couple shops at a fresh fruit stand in an Orlando market on a bright morning.

Free Family Fun

Having fun in Orlando doesn’t have to cost a thing — unless you want it to. Point your pack in the direction of one of these attractions for hours of free browsing and exploring.

Orlando Farmers Market

A downtown staple, the Orlando Farmers Market runs every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. In addition to the many vendors, you can enjoy live entertainment, family-friendly park programs, fresh local foods, funky crafts, and much more.

Universal CityWalk

Next door to the Universal theme parks, Universal CityWalk is a destination all its own. Spend an afternoon, evening, or even an entire day walking around and enjoying the shops, restaurants, and friendly street entertainment.

Orlando’s the place to make new family memories. So, where will you go first? If you’re searching for even more ideas, browse our other Orlando guides.

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