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10 Best Neighborhoods in Orlando, Florida

By: Justin Chaplin
December 16, 2019

Orlando's reputation as a theme park haven draws visitors and newcomers looking to satisfy their Disney, Universal, and amusement park itch. But there's more to living in Orlando than hitting up the theme parks. You’ll also love the great shopping, museums, and fine dining. 

From lakefront living to cultural, urban amenities and a diverse culinary scene, here are 10 of the best neighborhoods in Orlando to call your new home.

Best Neighborhoods in Orlando

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1. College Park

Embrace urban living in the quaint Orlando neighborhood of College Park. Situated just a few miles from downtown, residents know College Park for its mix of cottages and newer developments. It also boasts great outdoor recreation. 

Water enthusiasts have their choice of 280 acres of lakes. That includes Lake Ivanhoe for wakeboarding and waterskiing with views of the skyline. There are also parks, walking trails, and a family-friendly vibe. 

For a cultural outing in College Park, try the Mennello Museum of American Art and Orlando Shakespeare Theater. You’ll find a wealth of restaurants from Caribbean to Parisian cuisine, such as Les Petit Pleasures. 

After work, locals meet up at Tartine for French-Southern fusion. Another popular spot is Ollie's Public House for rotating beer on tap.

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2. East Orlando

Newcomers looking for more diversity in their choice of Orlando neighborhoods can look to East Orlando. Popular with commuters and students, the neighborhood is home to the University of Central Florida. It lies just minutes from the Orlando International Airport. 

Shop the hubs at Waterford Lakes Town Center. Also, check out the area around Alafaya Trail. There, you’ll find a mix of big-box retailers and smaller brands. It’s also home to eclectic fare. 

East Orlando is starting to shed its reputation of not being as safe as surrounding Orlando neighborhoods. However, it's always wise to take precautions, particularly at night. 

Take a rideshare on an evening out with friends. Stop by Marlow's Tavern, then see a movie at the nearby Regal Cinemas 20. 

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3. South Eola District

Nestled in the heart of downtown Orlando, South Eola is one of the best neighborhoods in Orlando for urban dwellers. Take your pick of highrises and upscale apartment buildings. They’ll have all your favorite amenities from pools to gyms. Locals also enjoy entertainment, shopping, and dining at their doorstep. 

On weekends, pick up some fresh produce at the Orlando Farmers Market. Go paddle boating or take in a live performance at Disney's outdoor amphitheater, Opera Orlando. You may also enjoy the trendy Abbey. 

You’re also just a short walk over to the rest of downtown Orlando. There, you’ll have endless options for nightlife and dining.

4. Celebration

It's easy to think you got lost inside of Disney World when walking around the spotless streets of Celebration outside of Orlando. Depending on who you ask, Celebration is one of the best neighborhoods in Orlando. Residents love its planned design and luxury-inspired touches. 

A Disney subsidiary designed and built Celebration. The community is known for a mix of upscale amenities. There’s even a natural habitat where deer still roam.

The community is no longer managed by or affiliated with Disney. However, the vibe is still going strong with pre-approved Victorian, French, Coastal, Mediterranean, and Colonial Revival style homes. They’re designed around a cozy village-style concept. 

Celebration is one of the safest neighborhoods in Orlando. Residents walk to the town center to dine at Celebration Town Tavern or Columbia Restaurant. There, you can sip wine and stroll the oak-lined streets. 

Photo by Josh Hallett

5. Thornton Park

Interested in a boho-chic vibe? Brushing up against Lake Eola Park, the Thornton Park District features trendy boutiques, organic cafes, and a European feel. 

Head over to the vibrant Washington Street. There, you can enjoy wine bars, outdoor seating at cafes, and a decorative fountain. 

Residents enjoy a weekly wine and art walk. There’s also a nearby farmer's market and pop-up markets. Locals also love spots like Burton's Bar and Graffiti Junktion. They feature popular happy hours. 

Look for an apartment nestled inside upscale bungalows and craftsman homes. You can also choose modern apartment buildings with swimming pools. Many are just steps away from area boutiques.

6. Baldwin Park

Situated just east of downtown Orlando, Baldwin Park sits on the site of a former U.S. Navy Center. It now features a mixed-use community and new apartment buildings. 

This highly walkable neighborhood is desirable for residents looking to ditch the car. It’s a great place for walking or bicycling to nearby restaurants. You can also enjoy concerts, porch sales, and bars. The Nest Bar and Osprey Tavern are popular spots. 

Baldwin Park offers plenty for renters looking for upscale amenities. Look for modern apartment buildings and new developments. Many are just steps away from your favorite Orlando neighborhood haunts.

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7. Lake Nona

Nestled southeast of the Orlando International Airport, Lake Nona features sprawling parks and a business hub for work and play opportunities. 

This upscale Orlando neighborhood got its start when the Central Florida GreenWay was built through the heart of the neighborhood. Developers soon saw opportunities to build a community around it. 

As one of the best neighborhoods in Orlando, you can take your pick of new construction homes for rent. There are also upscale apartment buildings with waterfront views.

Lake Nona also has a great design for those who love staying active. There are numerous walkways, gardens, and playgrounds. They’re all great places to soak up the afternoon sunshine. 

Grab an outdoor table with a waterfront view at Canvas. You can also try your skills at 90 hitting bys with a 220-yard range. You’ll also find free play games like skeeball at the Drive Shack. 

On Friday evenings, join an Art After Dark stroll at Lake Nona Town Center. Those feature music, special exhibitions, art displays, and adult beverages.

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8. Lake Highland

Located in the Park Lake Highland area, Lake Highland Park attracts residents dreaming of living along the waterfront. The tranquil neighborhood is close to downtown Orlando. It offers an escape from the bustle and grind. 

During downtime, gather at Lake Highland Park for a waterside walk. Clear your head while fishing or soak up the city skyline views. 

Over on N Mills Ave on the East Side of the lake, locals gather at the restaurants and pubs to catch up after work. Try Will's Pub, The Strand, or King Cajun Crawfish for shellfish boils and other Gulf Coast specialties. 

Shop the local favorite Nora's Sugar Shack for cigars and gifts. You may also opt to cruise along the Orlando Urban Trail for a sunshine-filled bike ride. 

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9. Milk District

Live in one of the best neighborhoods in Orlando. Residents know the Milk District for its vibrant cultural and progressive vibe. 

The Milk District welcomes creative spirits to its thriving music and arts scene. The area was once home to a dairy farm near the future home of the Orlando Municipal Airport. It has evolved into one of the most diverse neighborhoods in Orlando. 

This funky Orlando neighborhood features colorful murals and community gardens. Locals gather at independently owned coffee shops and restaurants. 

Grab a sandwich and other treats at the Teahouse and Sandwicheria for a quick bite. Recenter your mind and body at Orlando Power Yoga. You can also imbibe at the British-themed Bull & Bush pub.

10. Winter Park

Although its technically an individual city about 6 miles from Orlando, Winter Park is a hot area. This city attracts Orlando locals looking for upscale living with proximity to the city. Stroll the tree-lined sidewalks to the gorgeous parks and stroll through boutique shops. You may also enjoy museums like the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art. 

Locals spend their weekends at Central Park to jog or meet up with friends. It’s also a great spot to take in live music or a concert. 

There's also a popular Winter Park Sidewalk Arts Festival. Take your pick of eateries, from vegan restaurants to steakhouses. Pop into the Bulla Gastrobar for an after-dinner drink.

Ready to pack up and move to one of the best neighborhoods in Orlando? The city offers something for everyone. A thriving culinary scene, vibrant downtown, and eclectic mix of tree-lined streets. What’s not to love?

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