Located in Central Florida, Orlando is the fourth largest city in the state. With more than 75 million visitors in 2018 flocking to the dozen amusement parks in the area, it can feel like a place to visit but never settle down. On the contrary, the confluence of culture and entertainment has created a one-of-a-kind environment in The City Beautiful (as Orlando is called) that isn't present anywhere else.
Easy access to the world's best theme parks, diverse dining options, beautiful beaches, and amazing shopping means Orlando locals always have something to keep them entertained. No matter what pace of life you're looking for, or what environment you're planning to settle down in, Orlando has everything you could want in a hometown.
Orlando Area Communities
North of Orlando proper, Winter Park offers all the benefits of a suburban community with easy access to the nightlife and entertainment of Downtown.
Maybe Florida has an obsession with winter since the state doesn't get to experience it often. Either way, another popular spot is Winter Garden, west of Orlando, with several well-performing schools and a strong business community.
This smaller, affluent area to the east of Orlando has a suburban feel perfect for those looking for close-knit communities. Of note: A majority of residents commute to work within Orlando city limits, so this paradise doesn't come without a cost.
On the shore of East Lake Tohopekaliga to the south of Orlando sits St. Cloud, with a thriving health care industry and communities that are perfect for growing families.
A popular attraction for boaters, Maitland is one of the oldest communities in Central Florida and features regular community events to bring neighbors together.
Within the Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford metropolitan area, Kissimmee is the Principal City. This diverse city is perfect for young professionals looking to establish themselves.
Home to the Florida Citrus Tower, Clermont is a residential city home to around 30,000 residents. The tourism focus of the city but distance from Orlando means you can live in a busy and lively environment but you're not in the heart of the most-visited city in the U.S.
If you're looking to live right in the heart of the magic, you can't get closer than this master-planned community developed by The Walt Disney Company. Although not run by Mickey Mouse, you're less than 10 miles from The Magic Kingdom.
Named for a citrus magnate, this affluent area provides the suburban feel we're all looking for while still having the walk-able accessibility of urban areas.
Top Orlando School Districts
Finding the right school district for your children has a major impact on their quality of life and path to success. These are the top rated school districts in the Orlando Area; if you want to delve deeper into school records and standards for the State of Florida, NewHomeSource has a guide to all the resources you need to find the right school for your child.
Seminole County Public Schools
Students Served: 67,915
School Breakdown: 50 elementary schools, 23 middle schools, and 16 high schools
Students Per Teacher: 14
Test Proficiency: Above state averages in all demographics
Communities Served: Snow Hill, Kolokee, Iowa City, Truck Corner, Jones Landing, Whites Landing, Slavia, Gabriella, Bertha, Casselberry, Orienta Gardens, Winter Springs, Clifton, Elder Springs, Pine Way, Cameron City, Longdale, Crystal Point, Bahia Subdivision, Markham, Geigers Landing, part of Indian Mound Village, Sanford, Lake Monroe, Woodruff Springs
Orange County Public Schools
Students Served: 204, 837
School Breakdown: 174 elementary schools, 85 middle schools, and 56 high schools
Students Per Teacher: 16
Test Proficiency: Above state averages in most demographics
Communities Served: Alafaya, Lockwood, Bithlow, Lake Pickett, Summerport Beach, Fullers, Paradise Heights, Clarcona, Lockheart
Colusia County Public Schools
Students Served: 62,977
School Breakdown: 56 elementary schools, 26 middle schools, and 18 high schools
Students Per Teacher: 15
Test Proficiency: Below state averages
Communities Served: Deland, Ponce Inlet, Volusia County
Osceola County School District
Students Served: 65,982
School Breakdown: 52 elementary schools, 40 middle schools, and 24 high schools
Students Per Teacher: 16
Test Proficiency: Above state averages in some demographics
Communities Served: Kissimmee
Lake County Schools
Students Served: 43,174
School Breakdown: 37 elementary schools, 23 middle schools, and 19 high schools
Students Per Teacher: 16
Test Proficiency: Below state averages
Communities Served: Lake County
Top Employers in Orlando
Government jobs, a career in healthcare, and work at Walt Disney World bolster Orlando's economy.
The Walt Disney Company leads the world in tourism and entertainment, and the Walt Disney World Resort has earned the nickname "happiest place on earth" for good reason. The Company employs more than 70,000 cast members, making it the largest single-site employer in the U.S.
Orange County Public Schools
The 9th largest school district in the nation has a passion for leading students to success. There are more than 190 campuses with instructional, support, and administrative staff positions available to help you begin your career.
State of Florida
Whether in law, education, medicine, or another sector, the state of Florida offers a wide range of options for new and established professionals.
Founded in Florida but extending past the Sunshine State, this faith-based, nonprofit health care system emphasizes a holistic care for each individual patient. Join the more than 80,000 caregivers for a fulfilling role in healthcare.
Orlando regularly ranks as the most visited location in the U.S., and with so many tourists, reliable big-box stores like Walmart are necessary. Visitors flock to the blue and white store when ponchos, jackets, and sunscreen are forgotten (Florida's weather is notoriously temperamental), meaning they'll never go out of business.
Orlando Area Museums
SKELETONS: Museum of Osteology
500 real animal skeletons line the walls in this museum to give visitors a better understanding of the animal kingdom. With interactive exhibits and a plethora of facts, SKELETONS has something for everyone in the family.
Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art
Featuring the work of Louis Comfort Tiffany, the Morse Museum has an expansive collection of jewelry, paintings, art glass, and even the chapel interior he designed for the 1893 Wold's Columbian Exposition. For money-minded guests, visit the museum free of charge from 4-8 p.m. on Fridays, November through April.
Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Garden
Celebrating Czech sculptor Albin Polasek, visit the artist's historic home and chapel, as well as the 3-acre garden that seamlessly blends nature and artwork.
Orlando Science Center
With displays on artificial intelligence, dinosaurs, and more, the Orlando Science Center is a popular educational attraction. Interactive exhibits, film screenings, and live experiments are all included with a general admission ticket.
Madame Tussauds Orlando
Bringing celebrities and superheroes to life, this wax museum is an immersive experience where visitors can get up close to their idols. Take a selfie with Serena Williams, pose next to Taylor Swift, and get family photos with Shrek and Fiona all in one day.
The Holy Land Experience
Exhibits and shows bring biblical stories to life in this unique Orlando attraction. An interactive adventure land, a model of historic Jerusalem, and the 2,000 seat Church of All Nations are all ranked on the must-see list by previous visitors.
Orlando County Regional History Center
Determined to bear witness to everyday life in central Florida, this historic courthouse preserves more than 12,000 years of history in the area. Permanent and traveling exhibits make this a great place for repeat visits.
Great Parks in the Orlando Area
This all-inclusive day resort has it all: Poolside relaxation, snorkeling, animal encounters, and more are available for family and friends. Add on the dolphin interaction for an extra touch of wonder.
Audubon Center for Birds of Prey
Dedicated to the rescue, treatment, and rehabilitation of Florida raptors, this center is a perfect resource for teaching conservation and preservation of animals and wildlife.
Exotic Animal Experience in Orlando
Enjoy seven acres of animal interactions with some of the rare and endangered species from around the world. This private business is licensed with the USDA and Florida Fish & Wildlife, meaning guests can enjoy the experience without worrying about the well being of the animals.
Located in Winter Park just outside Orlando city limits, Central Park is 11 acres of greenspace, walking and biking trails, and beautiful Florida scenery.
Harry P. Leu Gardens
These 50-acre gardens was gifted to the city of Orlando in 1961, and is a wonderful showcase of all the wildlife and native beauty in Florida. Walk the grounds, reserve space for events, and take classes and workshops in this botanical oasis.
Lake Eola Park
A spot of green in Downtown Orlando, the lake is surrounded by a walking path. Take a break from the speed of downtown to rent paddle boats on the lake, see a live performance at the Walt Disney Amphitheater, or just take a breath of fresh air and enjoy the scenery.
Orlando Sports Teams
Orlando locals don't just spend all their time basking in the Florida sun; there are plenty of sports teams for them to cheer on (or, more often than not, cry about).
The Orlando City Soccer Club lions draw significant crowds to Exploria Stadium every season as they compete in the MLS. Orlando Magic, the city's basketball team, is the longest standing sports team in the area, but unfortunately, they've yet to win a title. The city also hosts a minor league baseball team, the Florida Fire Frogs.
The only Orlando team to win championships is Orlando Anarchy, the women's American football team. These back-to-back WFA Tier III National Conference Champions have been carrying the hopes of Orlando sports fans for nearly a decade.
Living in Orlando
Orlando falls just above average on most expenses when compared to national medians. Healthcare is the only major factor that comes in at a lower cost than the national average, and is even lower than the state median. Transportation, unfortunately, comes in higher than the national median for both the city and state.
For prospective homeowners, the median home in Orlando is about $14,000 above the national median, coming in just over $245,000. This, paired with the average costs of living and easy access to all of the amenities and entertainment venues, makes Orlando an appealing city to call home.
Orlando Housing Trends
With sandy beaches, year-round sunshine, and world-renowned theme parks, Orlando is a growing market in which domestic and international investors are highly interested.
Median Home Price: $245,600
Although this price point puts them above the national median, affordable housing is not in short supply in Orlando. For 2020, professionals expect the city to continue to be one of the strongest housing markets in the country.
Growing Communities in Central Orlando
You don't have to sacrifice your dreams of living in a new home to live an exciting urban life. Central Orlando has numerous new home communities, Eola North and Concord Place, let you invest in a quality new construction home and stay close to all the urban amenities they love.
Growing Communities in West Orlando
Mascotte and Clermont are two great suburbs in West Orlando. These comfortable communities let you enjoy peaceful and private neighborhoods, while still being located close enough to Downtown Orlando for reasonable commutes.
Lake Jackson Ridge and Highland Ranch are just two of the amazing neighborhoods in West Orlando with new homes for sale.
Growing Communities in North Orlando
North Orlando has become a wonderful place for growing families looking to invest in their dream home and their future. Lake Mary and Sanford have great new home communities, like Griffin Park and Reagan Pointe, providing residents with the lifestyle they always wanted.
Growing Communities in Kissimmee
South Orlando gives residents the best of all possible worlds: a peaceful and private place to call home, without sacrificing access to Downtown Orlando. Calling Kissimmee home means investing in a life you love.
If you're thinking about living in Kissimmee, new home communities like BellaVida and Tapestry let you invest in a house you love, built in a neighborhood designed to help you thrive.
Amazing Orlando Restaurants
With so many people visiting Orlando every day, you know they have to have great dining. These are some of the highlights, but never be afraid to venture out and try something new: you don't be disappointed!
If you're looking for high end Japanese cuisine, check out this sushi and sake bar that seats only nine - yes, nine people in the entire restaurant. Reservations are absolutely required for this intimate dining experience.
Enzo's on the Lake
North of central Orlando, Enzo's (named for the original founder) is a family-owned Italian establishment born from a dream to "create a restaurant in Orlando where a Roman would feel at home." Enjoy homemade Italian meals and sunset views at this Orlando staple.
Pig Floyd's Urban Barbakoa
Florida's take on BBQ includes sandwiches, bento boxes, and tacos. This casual dining experience has two locations - one in central and one in south east Orlando - and more than enough options to make everyone in the family happy.
Happy Snapper Seafood Market & Restaurant
Arguably the best seafood in Florida, Happy Snapper boasts a menu full of staples with enough diversity to make sure you never eat the same meal twice. Be sure to give their Blue Crab Bisque a try!
Hunger Street Tacos
This dog-friendly eatery has a delicious daily and brunch menu; try the ever-popular Compechano taco for a genuine taste of Mexican street food.
This chain has a famous stuffed deep dish pizza recipe that's been perfected over the last 200 years. These pizzas take about 30 minutes to bake, and trust us: They're well worth the wait!
Victoria & Albert's
This sumptuous dining experience at Walt Disney World's Grand Floridian Resort is a popular celebration spot. While it'll cost you a pretty penny, the high class service and diverse selections make it worthwhile.
The Stubborn Mule
Established in 2016, this new American cocktail bar is has everything from pretzel rolls to mini burgers served on waffle biscuit buns. Show up for the Mediterranean salmon salad, stay for the signature mules and cocktails.
Hash House A Go Go
Looking for a modern take on Midwest comfort meals? HHAGG has you covered with sage fried chicken and giant pancakes.
Border Grill Fresh-Mex
This hole-in-the-wall location has arguably the most authentic Mexican tacos in Orlando. The smaller size of this cantina-style restaurant means it feels like coming home every time you stop by.
Dragon Court Super Buffet
If you just want to find a bit of comfort at a Chinese buffet Dragon Court is the place you want to be. Sprawling selections and a reasonable price will have you in a constant food coma.
Market on South
Located in Orlando's Milk District, this vegan and vegetarian eatery also has a shared market space; eat green and support local artisans, all in one place!
Bee Won Korean Cuisine
If you've got a hankering for authentic Korean food, look no further than Bee Won. Their family-style dishes are large enough to share and guaranteed to satisfy.
Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville
The epitome of tourism and relaxation, Margaritaville at Universal Orlando's CityWalk is a family-friendly homage to island life. Kick back, enjoy a margarita (or several), and sing Jimmy Buffett lyrics at the top of your lungs with diners and staff.
Paradiso 37, Taste of the Americas
Located at Disney Springs, P37's menu is a combination of north, central, and south American cuisines. Make reservations to skip the wait, and as soon as you sit down, order the South American Crazy Corn for the table - it's one of the best dishes on the menu.
Looking for a place you can get a great salad, but your partner can still order a burger? Hit up this new Orlando eatery for the best of both worlds.
Visit this family-owned chain of restaurants for authentic Cuban cuisine; with locations from Orlando to Hallandale Beach, it's never a long drive for delicious food.
Great Attractions for Orlando Stay-cations
Walt Disney World Resort
The happiest place on earth is home to all the Disney magic guests could want: meet and greets with famous Disney characters, attractions for families of all ages, and dazzling nightly firework displays. Locals can take advantage of the slow seasons in both September and February to avoid crowds.
The other theme park professionals, Universal Orlando features all of the high speed thrill attractions that some argue Disney World lacks. Take part in a different kind of magic in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, save the world with the Avengers, and relive all your favorite movies via immersive dining, shopping, and ride experiences.
Four Seasons Resort
If you're looking for all the luxury of Disney but don't need the crowds and chaos of The Magic Kingdom, visit this AAA Five Diamond Resort for all the treat yo' self vibes you need.
Old Town Kissimmee
Modeled after a classic Florida town, this 18-acre attraction includes restaurants, rides, unique stores, and plenty of entertainment shows.
Orlando Farmer's Market
If you're all about supporting the local community, pay a visit to the city's farmer's market at Eola Park! It runs every Sunday, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Celebration Golf Club
Fan of the green? Head over to the final course co-designed by Robert Trent Jones Senior and Junior, masters of golf course architecture.
Find a Beach!
If you want a bit of sand and surf to go with the sun, visit Cocoa Beach, a popular location for Orlando locals. Looking for a quieter option? Check out Canaveral National Seashore, a bit closer and more peaceful.
This downtown brewery hosts private and public events regularly, including live music and comedy performances almost nightly.
Kennedy Space Center
Learn about space exploration, meet with veteran NASA astronauts, and, if you plan ahead, watch a rocket launch!
Orlando has it all, from luxury and designer brands to local artisans and thrift finds. Spend time at any one of these areas and you're bound to come across everything for which you're looking.
The Mall at Millenia
For luxury shopping in Orlando, look no further than the Mall at Millenia. More than 150 stores and dining locations give visitors plenty to choose from for any of their shopping needs.
Not sure what you're looking for, or want to take luxury to the next level? Arrange for a personal shopping and tailoring assistant ahead of time, or skip the mall entirely with millenia direct, a delivery service to hotels and residences within 40 miles of the mall.
Orlando International Premium Outlets
For savings and options galore, visit Florida's largest outlet shopping destination. Nearly 200 designer and name-brand outlets are available in one location, as well as several perks from guest services.
When you head over, be sure to drop by the Simon Guest Services office to receive a complimentary savings book!
Themes shops, designer brands, and all-star restaurants are all available at Disney Springs. There's live music and shows, and if you're lucky, you may even get to dance with Eddy Maserati!
If you're looking for chic and unique places to shop, head over to Winter Park for great finds and a break from the tourism chaos of Orlando proper. Grab a delicious bite, visit Shops on Park and Winter Park Village, and celebrate the cultural scene for which the area is known.
Places of Worship
Orlando is one of the most diverse city in the United States, and has numerous places of worship that represent a wide range of faiths and religions.
Discovery Church is a family orientated church in the Orlando Area. The church's is known for its sermons and its top notch worship music.
Jama Masjid of Orlando
The Jama Masjid of Orlando has a large, diverse congregation, including multi-generational families. It offers a place of worship and gathering, classes, community events, and classes.
Chabad of South Orland
The Chabad of South Orlando builds a true sense of community to serve the South Orlando Jewish community with religious services, community events, and extensive learning opportunities.
Orlando Zen Center
The Orlando Zen Center offers relgious services, guided meditation and meditation classes, as well as retreats and events for anyone hoping to learn more and deepen their practice.
Hindu Society of Central Florida
The Hindu Society of Central Florida is a lovely temple in Orlando, built to the standards of the vedic traditions and Vastu Shastra, and serves as the central hub of worship for the local community.
Congregation Ohev Shalom
Congregation Ohev Shalom is a historic synagogue, the first opened in the city in 1918. This traditional synagogue has a egalitarian and diverse congregation.
Islamic Society of Central Florida
The Islamic Society of Central Florida serves Muslims in Central Florida by providing social, religious, educational, economic, and interfaith services.
BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir
The BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir is a spiritual organization that seeks to improves society by serving its community through fostering Hindu ideals of faith, unity, and service.
Vajrapani Kadampa Buddhist Center
The Vajrapani Kadampa Buddhist Center focuses on the teachings and practices of Kadampa Buddhism, while offering extensive classes focusing on meditation and wellness.
St. Nicholas Catholic Church
St. Nicholas Catholic Church is a Byzantine style church that features a traditional style sanctuary, and offers mass and confessional services to all Catholics.
Mia Zozobrado joined Builders Digital Experience (BDX) in 2019 as a content writer. A graduate of Southwestern University with a degree in English, Mia is passionate about the written word and making connections. Outside of work, Mia also serves on the Board of Directors for the Writers’ League of Texas.