Updated: Jan 28
* SPOKEN WORD *
I feel Orlando gets a bad rap with Disney advertising this location as their city. Thus, avoided by many viewing it as a tourist trap. I do realize the Orlando International Airport (MCO) is the preferred access point for Disney. Note the parks are "near Orlando" not within or even close to the downtown area making this city a hidden gem!
I lived in Winter Park, Florida, five miles from the heart of downtown Orlando for a few years and absolutely loved my time there! I completed my yoga teacher training in 2012 in Orlando and it dramatically changed the trajectory of my life for the better! Namaste!
Orlando is one of my favorite cities to visit but I almost never go to the theme parks! Over the past 16 years, I've only been to one park being Legoland to get in touch with my inner child. Legoland is actually in Winter Haven, which appears to be halfway between Tampa and Orlando. Truthfully, it's one hour from the heart of downtown and I suppose that's "near Orlando!"
Welcome to my perfect Orlando day!
If you need a place to call home, I always recommend the Park Plaza Hotel! It resides in a historic two-story building constructed in 1922 and is advertised a European boutique style retreat! I find their location to be perfect and their accommodations to be adorable!
Take a morning stroll through the rose garden as you make your way to Barnie's for a fresh cup of coffee!
Walk your coffee a few doors down to the Briarpatch for breakfast! It's surely a local favorite! The bar area is first-come-first-serve giving you the option to skip the long line that typically manifests for table seating! I order their Brown Rice Bowl without pesto, cheese, and eggs! What remains is their rice, mushrooms, kale, and avocado, which I find to be a scrumptious combination!
After breakfast I would ponder on an indoor or outdoor activity! Consider the Orlando Museum of Art or Leu Gardens! Both locations will guarantee movement for the body and opportunities for meditative experiences. You would experience a walking meditation and/or a contemplation meditation!
After your long stroll in the art museum or gardens, perhaps you're hungry for lunch? I love the Black Bean Deli a cuban eatery and Bikes, Beans & Bordeaux a contemporary neighborhood café! Dining at the deli you'll find me enjoying their vegetarian plate, salad bowl, sweet fried plantains, and/or yuca! They have two locations and you can't go wrong with either option! Choosing the cafe you'll find me enjoying their kombucha, hot herbal tea, smoothie (the sprinter), salads (each modified slightly to meet my dietary preferences), fruit cup, quinoa bowl with black beans (no cheese or onions) and/or their echelon oatmeal with honey, bananas, walnuts, chia seeds, flax meal, and strawberries! I kindly request no peanut butter and granola! In the moment, you can choose between the deli and the cafe but in due time, experience them both!
After lunch, make your way to Lake Eola Park (400 E Central Blvd, Orlando, FL 32801)! It's a perfect place to relax, take a walk, practice yoga and meditation, and work virtually under the palm trees! I'm sure you've noticed this backdrop at The Guest Bungalow!
When you're ready for an afternoon snack, walk 0.2 city miles to The Greenery Creamery! Featuring delicious plant-based ice cream made from the finest local, natural, and organic ingredients! They even serve gluten free cones! Wow am I in heaven when indulging here! I can never choose just one flavor so I select an assortment pictured below!
Make your way to Baldwin Park after you're finished with your ice cream! Navigate to my recommended dinner location: Seito Sushi & New Japanese! It will get you close enough to Lake Baldwin where I would like you to select a bench and simply relax!
When your appetite is in place and you're ready for our final experience, make your way to dinner! Seito Sushi has a lovely outdoor patio and an impressively crafted indoor dining ambiance! Sushi is my favorite food and I love their garden poke signature roll and their eel roll-o-dex!
There are surely other locations I fancy in Orlando but what I've shared here are my all time favorites!
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Hoping you give the "City Beautiful" (Orlando's nickname) a fair chance to amaze you! I promise you don't have to run into Mickey & Minnie Mouse unless that's your desire!
Peace, Love, & Everlasting Protection!
Maggie Fekete, E-RYT, CHC, BCHHP
Experienced-Registered Yoga Teacher
Certified Health Coach
Board Certified Holistic Health Practitioner