7 Orlando Events You Don’t Want to Miss
At any time of the year, there is always something exciting to do in the heart of central Florida. Check out these great Orlando events to plan your next trip.
Orlando is full of fun and exciting events. No matter what time of year you might be in town, there is sure to be something going on somewhere in the city, and you will want to be right in the middle of it! Young singles looking for a party, families with kids in tow, and everyone in between can easily find the perfect don’t-miss Orlando event. Keep yourself entertained with these seven Orlando area must see activities that will make your next trip even more memorable than you could have imagined!
The Citrus Bowl
If you are in town for the New Year, don’t miss your chance to see one of the most popular college football games of the season. The Citrus Bowl, which is played every January 1st, takes place right before the Rose Bowl and comes on TV most years as well. This is one of the bigger, more important games in the football season, so it is often a very busy game and tickets do sell out ahead of time. But if you happen to have the opportunity to go, this is one of the most exciting events to kick off the new year in Orlando.
Depending on when you claim your tickets to the game, you might pay much more or much less than you would at a different time. The price of tickets is determined by dynamic demand-based methods at the Citrus Bowl, so if the tickets are in high demand, the price goes up considerably. All tickets start at $60 and will never cost less than this base price. For an extra $85 a person, you can get there well before the game and enjoy the Tablegate Hospitality Tent, which is packed with food, drinks, and live music.
The Citrus Bowl game is played at 1:00pm on January 1.
Lunar New Year Parade
In February, join other holiday revelers and take part in the Lunar New Year celebration! In early to mid February every year, the Central Florida Dragon Parade marches through the Mills 50 district of downtown Orlando to ring in this version of the new year. Orlando has hosted a Lunar New Year parade and festival for five years, and every year, attendance increases and the parade gets a little bigger and a little better. During the parade, visitors can enjoy talented performances of cultural dances and other unique Asian activities. Booths are set up all along the street, and delicious Asian food and wonderful handcrafted goods can all be purchased from them.
If you plan to visit for the Central Florida Dragon Parade, be sure to give yourself a lot of time to include parking, travel, and exploring after the parade itself has passed by. Because the event is held in downtown Orlando, the parking and traffic situation can get a little bit sticky. If you have the time, it is in your best interest to locate a parking spot early and spend a couple of hours before the parade starts exploring the Mills 50 district. There are plenty of shops and restaurants to keep you occupied until time for the big event to start! Take note that you will probably need to pay to park, either at a meter or in a garage, but the event itself is free.
The Central Florida Dragon Parade begins at 11:00am and kicks off at the Orlando Fashion Square Mall.
Florida Film Festival
For well over two decades, Orlando has been playing host to the Florida Film Festival, where indie and international films make their debuts. This is an Oscar-qualifying film festival, so it is a big deal, and the movies that premier here are usually incredible. The event spans ten days in the early spring, and anywhere from 150 to 200 films are showcased during this exciting festival. Whether you are a filmmaker, an amateur celebrity, or just someone who loves movies, you are welcome to stop in and observe as much as you possibly can while the film festival is going on.
The main venue for the Florida Film Festival is the Enzian, an old theater in Maitland that has some historic value. Some premiers do take place at the much more modern Regal Winter Park Village. It is important to check the timeline before the festival to be sure you are in the right place at the right time for the films you want to see. Several area bars and restaurants offer big discounts to attendees, even if you aren’t anyone in the world of showbiz, so be sure to check them out while you’re visiting. You never know when you might run into a celebrity in one of the local bars!
The main venue of the Florida Film Festival, the Enzian, is located at 1300 South Orlando Avenue in Maitland.
The month of June is a busy time in Orlando, as it is the heart of the tourist season and the most popular time of year for destination weddings as well. This unfortunately means that it can be a tough time to find a reservation at an affordable restaurant, and particularly at one of the good ones. This is where Bite30 comes in. Rather than being an event at a venue that you can go to and enjoy, Bite30 is a flat rate restaurant promotion that is specifically tailored to those who want to enjoy a pricey restaurant without breaking their budgets.
High quality area restaurants participate by providing a special Bite30 menu. When you go to one of these restaurants, simply mention the event and you will be provided with a list of options that you can order at prices ranging from $10 to $30 at the most. This gives you the chance to enjoy a dinner (or a lunch, if you prefer) from some of the most expensive restaurants in Orlando, and to know that you will not be sinking more than $30 a person on your meal. If you love to dine out while you’re traveling, and you will be in Orlando during June, you can’t afford to pass up this great opportunity!
A list of participating restaurants can be found on the Bite30 web site.
Fireworks at the Fountain
Join thousands of Florida residents and vacationers alike to watch the beautiful fireworks that are shot off over Lake Eola every Fourth of July. This event takes place in the heart of downtown Orlando, and the party starts early in the afternoon and goes on well into the later hours of the night. It is a great way to spend the Fourth without having to spend a lot of money. Best of all, there is plenty of entertainment for kids and adults both to stay happy all day long!
Children’s activity stations and play areas are available throughout Lake Eola Park, and live music is performed off and on after the event gets started at around 4:00pm. Alcoholic beverages are available for purchase at certain locations in the park, and food trucks and other vendors line the walkways, making it easy to find something to snack on, drink, or purchase as a souvenir wherever you go. Although the festivities get started in the afternoon, you will have no chance of finding a parking space if you don’t get to downtown early. Plan to make a whole day out of this adventure, and bring lots of sunscreen!
Fireworks at the Fountain takes place at Lake Eola Park, at 512 East Washington Street in Orlando.
Orlando Nerd Fest
Orlando Nerd Fest is a four-day festival that takes place in downtown Orlando every year and caters to the entertainment preferences of those who consider themselves nerds. The event features live music from all genres, including techno, chiptune, Japanese and Korean pop music, anime theme songs, and more. A trip to Orlando Nerd Fest wouldn’t be complete without cosplay, so don’t be afraid to don your favorite costume from your most beloved book, video game, movie, or TV series, and join other like-minded fans at this exciting yearly event.
The main events of the Nerd Fest take place on Saturday and Sunday of the scheduled week, but there is usually a pre-show on Friday and a post-show on the following Monday. The pre- and post-shows are free to enter, while a ticket to either of the main event days runs anywhere between $25 and $30. A discounted weekend pass is also available at a slightly cheaper overall price. You may have to pay to park at either of the venues. The main event takes place at the Orlando Science Center, which has paid on-site parking readily available to all convention attendees.
The Orlando Nerd Fest takes place at the Orlando Science Center, at 777 East Princeton Street in Orlando.
Winter Park Harvest Festival
Round out your year of Orlando events by attending the Winter Park Harvest Festival in November. This yearly event spans two different dates, both of which support and celebrate the local farmers of the Orlando area. The first date features a large meal supplied by Orlando farmers. The money earned from ticket sales for this event helps pay for the harvest festival itself, which takes place about a week later. Both of these activities provide visitors and locals a chance to support the farmers of this thriving community.
If you have a chance, check out the Harvest Festival, even if you feel like it might not be as exciting as some of the other area events. You will probably be pleasantly surprised if you do! It is free to enter, so you will only have to spend money on the food and crafts you want to purchase. Even the lectures and demonstrations are free! It is all too easy to spend an entire day enjoying the festivities at this excellent local event.
The Winter Park Harvest Festival takes place at 150 North New York Avenue in Winter Park.
Plan your trip around any one of these excellent Orlando area events, and you will definitely not be sorry. Whatever type of entertainment you might be looking for, you can find it and more among the exciting events that take place in this sunny city. All year long, there are plenty of activities to take part in that will help you make the most of your next visit!
This article was written by: