Infuse your meetings and conventions with soulful arts and culture at venues and events throughout Orlando, including the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts (pictured).
From Broadway theater to open-air celebrations, and music venues to museums, Orlando’s astonishing breadth of cultural events, performance halls and galleries may surprise you. Featuring our convention district, downtown and beyond, here is your guide to some of the most uplifting cultural options awaiting your group the next time you meet in Orlando.
Learn more: Orlando Arts & Culture
Please note: Depending on the timing of your visit, some experiences may be temporarily modified. Learn more about healthy business travel in Orlando, and check with your preferred businesses for their current status.
Top Live Cultural Event Venues in Orlando
Opened in 2014 in the heart of downtown Orlando, approximately 20 minutes from our convention district, the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts is a spectacular venue to experience a touring Broadway show, or to sit back and thrill to the voices of Opera Orlando or the sweet sounds of the Orlando Philharmonic, the latter of which also performs at The Plaza Live in downtown’s Milk District. But there’s also Orlando Shakes (aka Orlando Shakespeare Theater) and Timucua Arts Foundation in the downtown area, as well as The Winter Park Playhouse in its nearby namesake city, just north of downtown and about 25 minutes from our convention district.
Downtown’s Amway Center, also known as the home of the NBA’s Orlando Magic and ECHL’s Orlando Solar Bears hockey team, is the stage for a thrilling array of unique and varied artists. Nearby, Camping World Stadium hosts major national tours in addition to key NCAA football games.
Naturally, live event venues can also be found in our convention district, including House of Blues at Disney Springs®, Hard Rock Live at Universal CityWalk, Tin Roof and Blake Shelton’s Ole Red at ICON Park®, and many others. Close to the Disney area, Garden Theatre in Winter Garden offers a robust lineup of events, including stage productions, concerts and screenings of classic movies.
Orlando Cultural Venues Where the Setting is the Star Attraction
Just 10 minutes from downtown in Loch Haven Cultural Park, adjacent to Lake Formosa, the Orlando Museum of Art offers attractive function space that exhibits stunning pieces by glass sculpture artist Dale Chihuly, as well as landscapes by French landscape artist Louis Dewis and many other renowned artists. Flexible meeting space can accommodate small cocktail receptions or, for a full buyout, up to 250-plus guests who can roam freely throughout all galleries.
Also part of Loch Haven Cultural Park, The Mennello Museum of American Art features several spots for special events, including the Earl Cunningham Gallery (named for the famed folk artist) for gatherings up to 30, or the Porch, with bucolic views of the sculpture garden, accommodating groups with 50 or more guests.
Another creative venue is the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens in Winter Park. This historic lakefront property houses more than 200 works by its namesake Czech artist and hosts tour groups in its indoor art gallery. The celebrated 1885 Capen House at the Polasek features several rooms to accommodate events with indoor space for 125 guests standing or 80 seated, and outdoor space to serve 150-plus guests on the adjoining patio and lawn.
To view the world’s most comprehensive collection of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany, visit The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art in Winter Park. It features Tiffany’s jewelry, pottery, paintings, art glass and even a chapel interior from the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. A complimentary cellphone audio tour of the museum is also available.
The Rose Garden at Harry P. Leu Gardens, adjacent to Orlando’s Audubon Park Garden District just north of downtown, is in its full and glorious bloom by the middle of April, making it an idyllic spot to host an event. The Leu House Museum, overlooking Lake Rowena, is a meticulously restored 19th-century home offering several elegant rooms for events throughout the year, with the Camellia Room, the largest, for up to 180 guests. Tours of this historic home are also available.
Other cultural venues with options for meeting professionals include the Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center of Florida in Maitland, just north of Winter Park, with reception capacity for up to 150 guests. And in downtown, the Wells’Built Museum of African American History and Culture offers programming dedicated to Orlando’s African-American community, as well as exhibits about the Civil Rights movement, African art and artifacts, and other items of interest.
Annual Cultural Events in Orlando
Throughout the year, the Orlando area hosts various cultural festivals of interest to visitors and locals alike. Our season starts in January with the month-long ZORA!® Festival, named for African-American author Zora Neal Hurston. Primarily held in one of the country’s oldest African-American communities and Hurston’s childhood home, historic Eatonville, ZORA! Festival includes a Yards & Gardens tour of the community, a Sunday art series, and much more.
In April, the Florida Film Festival showcases the best in independent and international cinema. It’s presented by the Enzian Theater in Maitland. And in May, Orlando Fringe, aka the Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival, presents unique, avant-garde plays and other live performances in Loch Haven Cultural Park and venues throughout the city. It’s also the longest-running fringe festival in the United States.
An epic performing and interactive arts experience, IMMERSE is held downtown over 10 city blocks every October. It showcases hundreds of live performances and artists from around the world, immersive art installations, and other reasons to visit.
More seasonal festivals can be found throughout the city. These include FusionFest, a two-day celebration of food, art, fashion, dance and more from all over the world. It takes place during Thanksgiving weekend at downtown’s Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.
Your group can also look forward to Dazzling Nights, a winter wonderland at Leu Gardens, and the spring and autumn editions of the Fiesta in the Park arts & crafts festival at downtown’s Lake Eola Park. Other local art shows include February’s Mount Dora Arts Festival, March’s Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival, and October’s Winter Park Autumn Art Festival, to name a few.
Cultural Walking Tours in Orlando
Downtown Orlando offers several self-guided walking tours. First, CITY Unseen is a free augmented-reality app developed by Orlando’s Snap! Gallery for Apple and Android devices. It pairs internationally famed artists with cutting-edge augmented-reality (AR)( technology, resulting in a plethora of unique “[AR]t” installations throughout the downtown area. They include murals that come to life, imaginative projection-mapping artwork, a 360-degree visit to an artist’s studio, and much more.
Also downtown, the See Art Orlando Walking Tour features eight permanent art installations, with almost all being located around Lake Eola Park. For a downtown tour with a side of spooky, look into American Ghost Adventures’ downtown Orlando package — or even the Moonlight Walking Tour at historic Greenwood Cemetery, when available.
Located on the campus of Rollins College in Winter Park, and formerly known as the Cornell Fine Arts Museum, the Rollins Museum of Art is a teaching museum that integrates art learning into daily life for students and the community. Its Walking Sculpture Tour displays seven pieces of contemporary art and many gifts from Barbara and Theodore Alfond, both Rollins graduates. Keep walking and you’ll discover The Alfond Inn, a lovely hotel that houses many more pieces of art from the Alfonds’ personal collection.
Minutes north of Winter Park in Eatonville, the Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts, aka The Hurston, provides information about the community and displays work by legendary and emerging artists of African descent. They also provide tour brochures for the Zora Neale Hurston Trail, which ties Hurston’s writing to 16 sites related to Hurston’s life and 10 markers with her writing.
Last but not least, your group will want to bring their appetites for Original Orlando Tours’ foodie walking tours, including options for Winter Park and ICON Park near the Orange County Convention Center. It’s the tastiest way for meeting attendees to tour Orlando!