Planning an action-packed weekend getaway to Orlando? Whether you’re looking for thrill rides, exciting shopping experiences, or engaging activities perfect for the whole family, this vibrant city has something to offer everyone. From the charming Lake Eola downtown to the lighted nighttime attractions of ICON Park, not only will our Orlando Weekend Itinerary provide a plethora of options but the sense of adventure that comes with it is unlike anything else. So pack your bags and get ready – we’ll show you all the hidden gems found around town as well as some essential tourist hot spots!
Friday Night on I Drive
If your weekend includes Friday night, there’s no better place to spend it than the ICON Park area of I Drive. Thrill rides light up the night sky, calling adrenaline junkies from far and wide to experience the rush of a lifetime. After the screams have subsided, it’s time to indulge in some unique dining options. From whimsical themed restaurants to sophisticated eateries, there’s something for every palate. And why not enjoy some live music with your meal? Many restaurants and bars lining International Drive boast talented musicians for your listening pleasure. For a change of pace, explore the many fascinating museum attractions – from interactive exhibits to educational displays, there’s much to learn and discover. Read on for just a few options for a great evening to start off your Orlando weekend plans.
The Wheel at ICON Park
The Wheel at ICON Park offers a stunning view of Orlando’s skyline, but it becomes even more magical at night. As the sun sets and the lights of the city start to twinkle, the Wheel illuminates the sky with a rainbow of colors. From the top, you can see the sprawling landscape of Downtown Orlando, International Drive’s vibrant lights, and even glimpses of the nearby theme parks. Take a ride during the evening, and you’ll see Orlando in a whole new light. It’s the perfect way to launch an unforgettable weekend exploring Orlando.
The Starflyer is a colossal swing ride, towering over the International Drive skyline at 450 feet. The sound of laughter and screams of delight fill the air as riders soar higher and higher, feeling the rush of the wind and the thrill of the view. From up there, the bright lights of the city shimmer like diamonds, and the darkness beyond stretches out into infinity. It’s an experience that words cannot do justice, and one that must be seen and felt to truly appreciate. Whether you’re a thrill-seeker or a lover of scenic views, the Orlando Starflyer at night is a must-see destination that will leave you breathless and wanting more.
Right next door to ICON Park is a great attraction for families – Ripley’s Orlando. The Ripley’s believe It or Not! Odditorium is a fascinating showcase of the weird and wonderful, featuring everything from shrunken heads to rare animal skeletons. And now Ripley’s includes a new attraction, the Marvelous Mirror Maze – an immersive experience that will have you questioning your own sense of reality. Step inside and get lost in a dizzying world of reflections and twists, as you try to find your way to the other side. It’s a must-see for anyone looking for a fun I Drive experience that’s out of the ordinary.
Located within ICON Park, Tin Roof is the ultimate destination for good food, drinks, and live music. As you step into this vibrant restaurant and bar, you’re greeted by the scent of delicious food and the sounds of stomp-your-feet music. Whether you’re in the mood for a juicy burger, a cold beer, or an impressive whiskey selection, Tin Roof has got you covered. And the live music? Well, it’s not something you want to miss. Every night, talented musicians grace the stage, playing everything from classic rock to country hits. So, bring your friends and family and get ready for an unforgettable experience at Tin Roof.
Saturday at the Theme Parks
Ah, Saturdays in Orlando. The perfect day to immerse yourself in the magic of one of the world-renowned theme parks. From thrilling rides to enchanting settings, there’s something for everyone and every age group. Perhaps you’d like to explore the whimsical wonder of Walt Disney World, get lost in the otherworldly experiences of Universal, or discover the wonders of the deep at SeaWorld. Or maybe you’re up for an adventure a little outside of town at Legoland or a journey to the stars at the Kennedy Space Center. No matter what your choice, a Saturday in Orlando promises adventure, excitement, and memories that will last a lifetime. Here are some options for how to spend your theme park day.
Walt Disney World
If you only have one day at Disney World, your best bet is to spend it in the iconic Magic Kingdom park. Stepping into Magic Kingdom is like entering into a world of pure enchantment. With its towering castle, vibrant parades, and beloved characters, it’s a place where dreams come to life. A day in Magic Kingdom is filled with endless possibilities, from spinning on the Mad Tea Party ride to taking a leisurely cruise through “It’s a Small World”. The bravest guests can take on the thrill rides like Space Mountain and Splash Mountain, while those seeking a more relaxed experience can explore the shops and eateries on Main Street, U.S.A. Stay in the park until close for the fireworks, or finish up your day with dinner at one of Disney Springs‘ famous restaurants.
Start your adventure off at SeaWorld, where you can immerse yourself in the wonders of the ocean. Witness majestic marine animals up close, from playful dolphins to awe-inspiring orcas. Thrilling drops, heart-stopping turns, and screams of excitement can all be found on the roller coasters at SeaWorld. From the electrifying Mako coaster to the Kraken Unleashed, there’s no shortage of adrenaline-pumping fun to be had. After a morning of adventure at SeaWorld, you can head over to Aquatica, where you can cool off and take on thrilling water slides and rides. Whether it’s exploring the ocean or making a splash at a water park, you can have the best of both worlds at SeaWorld and Aquatica.
If you only have one day at Universal Orlando Resort, you may want to spend it in the popular Islands of Adventure park. This park is the most packed with things to explore, where you’ll find yourself immersed in a world of wonder. Journey to Hogwarts and experience the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, where you can visit Hogsmeade village and explore the halls of Hogwarts Castle. If you’re seeking a more adrenaline-fueled adventure, strap yourself in for a ride on the Incredible Hulk Coaster or take a plunge down the Jurassic Park River Adventure. With so many exciting experiences waiting for you, a day at Islands of Adventure is the perfect way to create unforgettable memories on a single day vacation.
If you have kids, there’s no better (and cheaper) option than Legoland Florida, but since the park is about an hour from Orlando, you’ll need to get an early start. One of the bonuses of this remote location is that it brings you closer to another great park, Peppa Pig Theme Park. Another bonus for adults is nearby Bok Tower Gardens, a great option if some of the adults (grandparents maybe?) are not needed to supervise the kids. With over 50 rides, shows, and attractions, Legoland features many beloved Lego characters and themed areas, including Lego City, Pirate’s Cove, and Ninjago World. And let’s not forget about the adjacent water park – with attractions like the Joker Soaker and the Build-A-Raft River, visitors can beat the Florida heat while making a splash.
Kennedy Space Center
If you’re willing to drive about 45 minutes east, a fantastic option is at Cape Canaveral. Exploring the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is a must-do for any space enthusiast or even those who are just curious about space exploration. This educational theme park offers a unique opportunity to learn about the history of space travel, see rockets up close, and even take a ride in a space simulator. Get a startlingly close view of the Atlantis Space Shuttle. But the fun doesn’t have to end there. After spending a morning at the complex, take a short drive to nearby Cocoa Beach to soak up some sun, dip your toes in the Atlantic Ocean, or indulge in some fresh seafood at one of the many beachside restaurants. It’s the perfect way to spend an entire day on Florida’s Space Coast.
Sunday Around Town
Sunday in Orlando offers an array of activities to indulge in, making for a memorable day. Start off by exploring the downtown area with its famous swans and farmers’ market. Head north to take a stroll through serene gardens and unwind from the vibrant energy of the city. After some leisure time, head up to the shopping district in Winter Park and indulge in some retail therapy from the variety of shops along Park Avenue. As the day comes to a close, enjoy a satisfying dinner while taking in a film at an iconic arthouse theater in Maitland to complete your Sunday in Orlando.
The perfect place to begin your Sunday in Orlando is Lake Eola Park, a thriving oasis in the heart of the downtown area. The park boasts picturesque views of the downtown skyline, framed by the shimmering waters of Lake Eola and the iconic fountain. The most popular attractions in the park are the Walt Disney Amphitheatre and the swan pedal boats, which offer a unique and leisurely way to explore the tranquil lake. On Sundays, the park comes alive with the vibrant energy of the Orlando Farmers’ Market, where local vendors gather to sell their fresh produce, artisanal foods, and handmade crafts. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful getaway or a lively community gathering place, Lake Eola Park is not to be missed.
Harry P. Leu Gardens is a lush oasis located just north of Downtown Orlando. As soon as you step foot into the gardens, you’re transported to a world of serene beauty and tranquility. You’ll find yourself strolling along shady paths canopied by centuries-old oak trees, meandering through tropical gardens filled with exotic plants, and admiring meticulously crafted topiaries. The gardens are also home to colorful butterfly and hummingbird habitats, where you can watch these delicate creatures flitting about from flower to flower. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of city life or an educational adventure for the whole family, Harry P. Leu Gardens is a must-visit destination on your Sunday in Orlando.
The Park Avenue District is a hub of vibrant culture and history in the Winter Park area. This area boasts a plethora of boutiques and restaurants that cater to a wide variety of tastes and styles. Strolling down the charming streets, visitors can admire the historic architecture and the lively energy of the locals. The park is a perfect place to rest and rejuvenate on a quiet Sunday, and the art museums nearby are sure to inspire and delight. Whether you’re looking for a unique gift or just want to sit and sip coffee at one of the sidewalk cafes, the Park Avenue District offers something for everyone to enjoy.
Just north of Orlando lies the Enzian Theater, a cinematic gem that has been captivating audiences for decades. This unique theater boasts a variety of indie and foreign films that may not make it to the larger commercial theaters. What sets the Enzian apart is its cozy atmosphere, complete with plush leather seats and a delicious menu featuring gourmet food and cocktails. Guests can also enjoy movie screenings under the stars at Eden Bar, the theater’s outdoor dining and entertainment venue. From cult classics to modern masterpieces, the Enzian Theater offers a movie-going experience like no other and a perfect ending to your Orlando weekend trip.
Now that you know about just some of the many things to do, it’s time to get packing for your Orlando weekend getaway! Enjoy the nightlife on International Drive, have a blast at the theme parks with family and friends, then relax exploring some of the downtown area’s weekend events. Make sure you’re armed with all the latest info about restaurants, hotels and attractions by checking out our Orlando Vacation Guide. Start planning now and you’ll soon be immersed in all that Orlando has to offer. Don’t forget to bring your camera — this weekend will be one you’ll never forget!