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Orlando, Off the Beaten Path

AAA/Sherry Mims
By AAA Travel Editor Sherry Mims
April 26, 2019
Are you hoping to find fun things to do in Orlando that don’t involve theme parks or expensive Orlando resorts? Head off the beaten path, and check out some likable but lesser known options in “The City Beautiful.”
AAA/Sherry Mims

Crayola Experience

8001 Orange Blossom Tr.
(407) 757-1700
With colorful Crayola décor, this isn’t your usual Orlando attraction, even if it can be found in the well-visited Florida Mall. A number of activity stations, featuring topics like coloring and painting, give families options, as do occasional ticketed events like adult coloring nights. Before you leave, remember to make a customizable crayon label!
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AAA/Sherry Mims

East End Market

3201 Corrine Dr.
(321) 236-3316
Get a hint of the Orlando dining scene at this foodie hub. A garden out front reveals “fresh and local” aren’t just hype but a major trend in the Orlando restaurant scene. In addition to plants, you’ll find hand-crafted goods and freshly prepared foods offered by the small businesses inside. Outdoor tables and a conventional restaurant also add options.
AAA/Thuyvi Gates

Barbarella Orlando

70 N. Orange Ave.
(407) 839-0457
Don’t settle for a touristy nightclub experience when there’s an interesting one to be had right in downtown Orlando. Billed as “the sweet spot between dance club and dive bar,” the establishment serves up delicious concoctions and plays a wide range of music catering to 18 and older; everyone’s welcome. Check the schedule for cover fees and themes, new wave to new dance!
AAA/Sherry Mims

Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores

15657 S. Apopka Vineland Rd.
Most Orlando outlets are hard to navigate, but this expanded shopping center with dozens of retailers offers convenience with storefront parking. Nice touches abound, such as a fountain near the food court, outdoor seating and a walkable layout. If you show your AAA card at the office, you’ll also receive free coupons.
AAA/Sherry Mims

Orlando Loch Haven Park

777 E. Princeton St.
(407) 246-2283
This lakeside district—once destined for development before the Great Depression—serves as Orlando’s cultural hub and features theaters and museums. It provides an alternative to the high-energy Orlando theme parks with plenty of places to pause and reflect, such as "The Mayor," a long-lived oak tree. You may even catch someone reading a book in one of the Adirondack chairs by The Mennello Museum of American Art. The Orlando Museum of Art presents yet another option for art enthusiasts. For those with kids, the Orlando Science Center offers floors of hands-on exhibits, including a special toddler-friendly “Orange Grove.”
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