Discover meeting gems in Orlando’s vibrant districts (pictured: Boxi Park at Lake Nona).
It’s always a beautiful day in the neighborhood in the eclectic districts, boroughs and nearby cities that encompass the Orlando area. Brimming with marquee meeting and event options, these vibrant centers of commerce collectively showcase Orlando as a thriving urban city, each offering a distinct sense of place that’s not too far from Orlando’s world-famous theme parks and the well-known Convention District.
Discover: Orlando’s Vibrant Nightlife
Let us take a stroll through some of these neighborhoods and discover why including them on your next agenda will add some unexpected gems to your event.
The Nearby Neighborhoods of Downtown Orlando
Plan one event in or near to downtown Orlando and you’ll understand why it’s called The City Beautiful — and we’re not just talking about the colorful skyline and gorgeous greenery. Downtown and its adjacent areas are part of the Main Street America-accredited Orlando Main Streets program, showcasing an unforgettable mix of trendy neighborhoods and vibrant districts bustling with exceptional dining, nightlife, arts and entertainment.
Discover: Orlando Neighborhoods
Just east of downtown Orlando, The Milk District, named after its centrally located T.G. Lee dairy plant, serves as a progressive lifestyle, music and cultural hub. Host your group in the comfortable creative space of the Milkhouse, which houses a wide array of concepts from delightful breakfast offerings to unique tapas-style afternoon bites. Cap off the meeting day with one of the many incredible homemade ice cream flavors or a house-made signature cocktail.
One of the most historic areas in Orlando, the Parramore District preserves and celebrates the more than 140-year-old Parramore neighborhood while bringing awareness to the rich, deeply rooted culture of Orlando’s African American community. Planners will discover multicultural festivals, museums, galleries, restaurants and other locally owned businesses that can be included in their event’s official agenda or offered to attendees to experience on their own during their visit. Visit Orlando also offers resources to explore Asian American, Hispanic and Latino, and LGBTQ+ history and influence in the Orlando area.
A stroll through Ivanhoe Village Main Street will reveal Orlando’s indie side. It’s an offbeat, authentic, culturally casual side that weaves together art museums and renegade retro retailers. Novel restaurants and watering holes are fused by the warm lake breezes flowing from downtown’s liquid playground. Meeting attendees can enjoy the happiest of hours overlooking neon sunsets that tease the distant rush hour traffic.
Thornton Park District is a stylish dining and nightlife area known for brick-lined, canopied streets with a distinctly European feel. Give your event a local touch by dining at favorites such as Soco Restaurant, The Stubborn Mule, RusTeak Thornton Park and Anthony’s Thornton Park.
The charming Audubon Park Garden District is just 10 minutes from downtown. This bohemian district can add natural beauty and tranquility to your meeting when you host an event at Harry P. Leu Gardens. The area is also home to East End Market, a trendy community hub featuring locally produced food and merchandise — plus MICHELIN Guide Bib Gourmand honoree Domu.
For more award-winning dining options, the Mills 50® District features seven of Orlando’s 33 MICHELIN Guide restaurants such as The Strand Food & Drink and Z Asian. One of Orlando’s oldest neighborhoods, this walkable community is heavily influenced by Asian and Pacific Islander culture and features colorful, large-scale street murals created by professional artists.
Discover: Orlando’s MICHELIN Guide Restaurants
Downtown Orlando hotels can serve as the perfect base of operations or the meeting site itself. Stay in the lap of luxury at the AAA Four Diamond-rated Grand Bohemian Hotel Orlando, which features 10, 000 square feet of meeting space. Nearby, the brand-new AC Hotel by Marriott Orlando features 2,000 square-feet of meeting space and three meeting rooms, ideal for executive and boardroom meetings.
While these neighborhoods offer so many options for planners, their close proximity to each other allows organizers to incorporate venues, dining and entertainment from each location into one event to create a truly eclectic experience.
Create a Stylish Meeting Experience in Winter Park
Just down the road from downtown Orlando is Winter Park. Here, planners can create an entire meeting experience steeped in style and culture that extends from a boutique hotel down the pedestrian-friendly, tree-lined streets, which are filled with European-flavored shops, bistros and museums.
Discover: Winter Park
The area’s Park Avenue, known for its dining scene, features charming sidewalk cafes, coffee and wine bars, and award-winning cuisine in addition to theatrical productions, cabarets and orchestra concerts. Winter Park Village offers a powerful collection of high-end retailers, salons and restaurants, all in a beautiful, inviting, “Main Street” setting.
The Alfond Inn, a boutique hotel located in the heart of Winter Park, features 10,000 square feet of divisible meeting space, including a 1,000-square-foot Board Room. The elegant, 5,000-square-foot divisible Ballroom can seat up to 300 dinner guests. The lavish gardens surrounding The Alfond Inn offer an additional 10,000 square feet for alfresco events, and the property is undergoing a major renovation that will add still more meeting space once completed in 2023.
Innovation Meets Community in Lake Nona
Lake Nona is a forward-thinking, neo-urban community infused with technology and innovation. Only 4 miles from Orlando International Airport, and officially within Orlando’s city limits, the 17-square-mile neighborhood is home to a wide variety of shops, restaurants and activities connected by miles of trails and the latest in autonomous transportation.
Discover: Lake Nona
Lake Nona Wave Hotel is the centerpiece of the area, offering a luxury lifestyle experience powered by innovative technology yet grounded in the wellbeing of its guests. Ideal for small to medium-sized groups, the hotel features 234 guest rooms and more than 12,000 square feet of tech-infused meeting and event space.
For team-building activities, the hotel has created a remarkable 90-minute “Mindset Workshop” that merges classroom-like discussions with physical activities. Experiences include ROX Climbing, the region’s only 42-foot rock climbing tower, or meditation at the Chopra Mind Body-Zone & Spa.
Boxi Park at Lake Nona, among the first-of-its-kind on the East Coast, integrates restaurants, an outdoor stage, and beach volleyball to create an open-air entertainment destination constructed entirely out of repurposed shipping containers. Groups can buy out the entire 30,000-square-foot space, hosting parties for up to 2,500 when combined with elements of the adjacent Lake Nona Town Center.
No matter what neighborhood or district you choose, you’ll find all the meeting space, accommodations and dining you’ll need to host a distinctly different Orlando experience.