Attendees have many opportunities to experience the inspiring and rich contributions of Central Florida’s diverse African American community (pictured: Hannibal Square Heritage Center).

Orlando is filled with events and activities to celebrate Black History Month no matter when your group comes to Orlando. From limited-time exhibitions and live performances to an assortment of year-round attractions and Black-owned businesses, attendees have many opportunities to experience the inspiring and rich contributions of Central Florida’s diverse African American community during their meeting or convention.

Discover: Orlando History & Diversity For Business Groups

Read on to discover more about the rich African American heritage, history and cultural influences your group can experience throughout the year at Orlando’s Black-owned restaurants, small businesses, galleries and museums.

Year-Round African American Cultural Attractions

Just outside the convention district, the historic town of Eatonville — home to celebrated author Zora Neale Hurston — was one of the country’s first self-governing African American communities. Today, it honors Hurston’s memory with the Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts (aka The Hurston) and the annual ZORA! Festival in January. The Hurston also displays work by legendary and emerging artists of African descent.

The only Commercial National Registered Historic District in Orlando, Parramore is Orlando’s oldest and largest African American neighborhood with a diverse collection of historic buildings like the Wells’Built Hotel, now the Wells’Built Museum of African American History and Culture, dedicated to preserving the memory of Orlando's African American heritage with Civil Rights artifacts and memorabilia.

The Orange County Regional History Center features a permanent African American history exhibit highlighting the triumphs and tragedies of African Americans in Central Florida’s past, along with luminous paintings of Florida’s Highwaymen, a group of acclaimed African American landscape artists.

A community founded for Black families in 1881, Historic Hannibal Square is home to the Hannibal Square Heritage Center, which welcomes visitors to explore the district’s origins and offers guided walking tours of the historic landmarks of “West Winter Park,” describing the hardships and the triumphs of the African American community from the 1900s to the present. Attendees can extend their stay to experience the small-business shopping, free yoga, food and music during the SOKO Marketplace every Saturday morning, where proceeds support the development of culturally relevant programming for the historic African American community of Hannibal Square.

Attendees can join Juneteenth (June 19) celebrations throughout Orlando, particularly in Eatonville and Hannibal Square. Also known as Freedom Day, Jubilee Day, Liberation Day and Emancipation Day, Juneteenth commemorates the official end of slavery in the United States.

Black-Owned Restaurants

Pattie Lou's Donuts in downtown Orlando
Pattie Lou's Donuts

Barbecue and southern food fans can dine at Orlando Famous Pete’s BBQ in downtown Orlando on the weekends and Brick & Spoon in Maitland. For seafood or wings, visitors can support Big Lou’s Single Wing Express in downtown Orlando; Stonington’s Fried Shrimp in Metro West and Altamonte Springs; and Mad Crab Seafood & Wings in Eatonville. Chicken Fire in Orlando specializes in Nashville-style hot chicken.

For delicious Caribbean-inspired eats, foodies can enjoy Mark’s Jamaican Bar & Grill or Island Thyme Caribbean Grille in East Orlando, or Oley’s Kitchen & Smokehouse in downtown Orlando. Those looking for soul food can visit Nikki’s Place and P&D Soul Food Kitchen in downtown Orlando, and Soul Food Fantasy in Eatonville.

For a healthier kick, there’s Vitality Bowls in the Dr. Phillips area. And for a sweeter option, head to downtown Orlando for custom flavors from the doughnut bar at Pattie Lou's Donuts or the award-winning Sister Honey’s serving all kinds of sugary delights, including pies, cookies and pastries.

Other Black-owned eateries include East Orlando’s Streetwise Urban Food — serving urban favorites in a family-friendly, casual atmosphere — and downtown Orlando’s The District GastroBar — paying homage to old world American taste and cuisine — where legendary musicians like Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Ray Charles and B.B. King performed at the South Street Casino that once stood nearby.

Black-Owned Businesses

For a great amenity to include in your next event, Orlando-based Wenvia offers natural, hand-crafted skincare and home fragrance products -- from soaps to candles to room sprays -- made from simple ingredients. Owner Wendy Grant created Wenvia from the ground up out of desire to create a healthier alternative for store-bought skincare products for her young daughter.

Also, The Pretty Peacock Paperie in Winter Park specializes in custom stationery and invitations, while the Naked Bar Soap Co. offers all-natural bath and body care products made from sustainable ingredients. Bloom in Glory is a full-service floral design company.

As you can see, it’s easy to include African-American culture into your next event to offer attendees the opportunity to learn about the diversity of our region.

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