A Local's Guide to Orlando North
Collected by Jack Barr , AFAR Local Expert
Chic and happening, Orlando North is home to some of the prettiest neighborhoods, with swaths of bike trails, boutiques, open-air restaurants, and fun-on-tap bars. To discover real Florida, visit the springs and state parks in Orlando's backyard.
101 N Country Club Rd, Lake Mary, FL 32746, USA
Baskets are constantly being refilled during the day with fresh-baked baguettes, chocolate croissants, quiches, and (monstrous) coconut macaroons at this little pastry shop and bakery. Jacqueline, the gracious owner from France, also whips up...
1210 S. International Parkway, Heathrow, FL 32746, USA
This is the brunch spot in Lake Mary. Sit on the patio to enjoy the pastoral lakeside view. There's a good chance you'll see some grazing horses. The vegetable Benedict is a "balanced" breakfast—poached egg and grilled asparagus, smothered in...
100 N Country Club Rd, Lake Mary, FL 32746, USA
Alfajores are the specialty of Camilia Sweets at the Lake Mary Farmer's Market. Two friendly sisters from Peru are happy to share a delicious bite of culture with samples of all-natural, freshly-baked artisan cookies. The delicate cookies, dusted...
1353, 531 N Palmetto Ave, Sanford, FL 32771, USA
If Old Florida is up your alley, visit Sanford for a walk along First Street, lined with historical buildings, charming shops, and open-air restaurants. Then stroll to Lake Monroe Harbour, which is part of the St. Johns River.
Market Promenade Ave, Lake Mary, FL 32746, USA
Some 32 beers on are on tap at the upscale and intimate Liam Fitzpatrick's Irish pub. A lively crowd fills the restaurant and patio during the evenings and weekends. A dueling pianos performance entertains every Saturday night at 9:30 p.m.
1800 Wekiwa Cir, Apopka, FL 32712, USA
With all of Orlando’s man-made attractions, it’s refreshing to get deep into nature at this wonderful state park, located north of downtown and the theme-park corridor. Spread across 7,000 acres of pristine central Florida forest, the...
2111 WP Ball Blvd, Sanford, FL 32771, USA
This locally-owned nail spa has won, hands down, Orlando's best nail salon three years in a row. Go for a chocolate pedicure, with scrumptious scrubs and mousse lotions. Bring the family for a pedi party. On weekends, it's best to call ahead or...
1061 S Sun Dr #1009, Lake Mary, FL 32746, USA
Cork & Olive is a neighborhood wine shop where guests are invited to linger. Explore the shelves of wine arranged by country, peruse the family-vineyard labels, sample wine, and ask the wine guide questions. With clusters of chairs and tables,...
136 N 4th St #1290, Lake Mary, FL 32746, USA
A trendsetter in the Orlando area, this stylish-meets-street boutique is where to find flirty heels, fun clothes and of-the-moment designers. Get the got-to-have-it finds spotted in magazines and around town. And, it's pretty affordable.
136 N 4th St, Lake Mary, FL 32746, USA
Equally summery and sexy, 4th & Ocean has the clothes you want to wear for a Florida weekend...from bikinis, to backpacks, to sunnies. Stocked with brands like Roxy and Billabong as well as up-and-coming designers, this store will fulfill all of...
2100 W French Ave, Orange City, FL 32763, USA
In the winter months, manatees seek the warmer, shallow waters of Blue Springs State Park. An observation deck allows for viewing of the manatees. It's quite a sight—seeing the gentle, endangered species. I was invited to canoe with a manatee...
2974 International Pkwy, Lake Mary, FL 32746, USA
Shula's makes a standout whiskey sour with freshly squeezed lemon juice. It's shaken with ice, poured in a martini glass, and garnished with maraschino cherries. Pair this old-fashioned cocktail with a classic filet mignon or Shula's wine burger.
Cross Seminole Trail, Florida, USA
Lake Mary is as bike-friendly as a city can be. Throughout the day—especially on the weekends—locals and bikers from neighboring cities can be found out and about getting exercise or enjoying a leisurely and scenic ride. Alongside the bikers on...
1920 N Forest Ave, Orlando, FL 32803, USA
While Orlando typically inspires images of amusement parks, the city is also home to sites that are completely separate from the manufactured worlds of Disney and Universal—such as the Harry P. Leu Gardens. The urban oasis teems with...
100 N Country Club Rd, Lake Mary, FL 32746, USA
Every first Wednesday of the month in downtown Lake Mary, WineART Wednesday happens: local art, food trucks, and live music. To get a sense of the community, go where the locals hang out. Kick back in an adirondack chair and sip wine under the oak...
7025 Co Rd 46A #1011, Lake Mary, FL 32746, USA
In the evening, as the temperature lowers, relax. Slow down. Meet friends for a hookah experience. The engaging host Musa will set up the hookah pipe beside your outdoor table and offer a selection of flavors, such as apple, rose, cinnamon, and...
3895 Lake Emma Rd # 101, Lake Mary, FL 32746, USA
Take your taste buds to spice-infused Memories of India. Don't let the location in the corner plaza fool you. It's one of the best places for Indian food in Central Florida. The chicken tikka masala and garlic nan bread are my go-to comfort foods....
37 Dirksen Dr, DeBary, FL 32713, USA
Locals, travelers, and dogs alike love Gemini Springs for a quick romp outdoors. Take your pick from recreation amenities and activities: a nature trail, a bike trail, a boardwalk, canoeing, and a dog park. It's quiet and peaceful—still kind of a...
274 Cranes Roost Blvd, Altamonte Springs, FL 32701, USA
In Uptown Altamonte, a one-mile walkway zigzags above the water of Cranes Roost Lake. It's an ideal locale for a walk or an evening jog. Located near the Atlamonte Mall and restaurants, families flock here for outdoor events like the Fourth of...
132 N 4th St #1210, Lake Mary, FL 32746, USA
Tasteful shifts, polished pants and opulent statement necklaces are some of the fashion-forward offerings at this Park Avenue-esque boutique. The decor is understated yet elegant—charcoal walls accented by chandeliers. You'll smile at the prices,...
1130 Townpark Ave, Lake Mary, FL 32746, USA
Part cigar store, part bar, and part lounge: Corona Cigar Company is pretty much cigar nirvana for some. With indoor and outdoor seating, including sumptuous leather and wood chairs, this is a chilled spot for a smoke and a drink. Go before a...
7005 Co Rd 46A, Lake Mary, FL 32746, USA
For happy hour, head to FishBones bar and outdoor covered patio. At International Parkway and H. E. Thomas Jr. Parkway, a mix of locals, young professionals and business travelers frequent here after work. The hip, underwater decor provides a...
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