Get to Know the Neighborhoods of Orlando
Orlando may be world famous for it’s tourism attractions like Universal Studios and Walt Disney World, but there is actually quite a bit more to this central Florida city. Ask any Orlando local, and they’ll tell you about what they call the “place beyond the theme parks”. It’s a city that has a very rich history and blend of cultures, with a wealth of opportunities for those who reside there.
With a population that exceeds 2 million, Orlando is the fourth-largest metropolis in the Southeastern United States. This is an area that is ripe for investment, but if you are unfamiliar with Orlando, then you should consider becoming more familiar with the neighborhoods in the area.
(also check out Orlando Real Estate Statistic 2005-2013)
Due to recent residential developments, Downtown Orlando is definitely more than just a place for business. Many young professionals have chosen to take up residence downtown, and the nightlife is hard to beat. Many of the most popular night spots are concentrated along Orange Avenue between Washington and Church street. No need to worry though, because this area still remains safe after dark. However, residents and visitors are not advised to venture further west of Amway Arena, unless they are attending an event at the fabulous Florida Citrus Bowl.
Neighborhoods Near Downtown
There are several neighborhoods north of downtown that are worth visiting during the daytime. Loch Haven Park and Ivanhoe Village are known for their museums, vegan restaurants, and antique shopping. However, these places are not residential, so there isn’t any real reason to be there after dark.
Looking to the east of downtown, you may be interested in checking out the Mills 50 district, located at the intersection of East Colonial and Mills avenues. This neighborhood is home to a thriving Asian district, and there are some excellent bars and eateries worth visiting after dark. On the other side of Lake Eola Park is Thornton Park, another area where plenty of young professionals choose to reside. These areas are all safe for visitors after dark.
Suburbs of Orlando
Many of Orlando’s most successful citizens have chosen to live in the northeast suburb of Winter Park (some have also settled in the city of Lake Mary). Most of the businesses around this suburb close by 9pm, and it is one of the safest neighborhoods in the area. Rollins College is located in Winter Park, but many of the students commute to school, so there isn’t a real college party atmosphere around here.
The main campus for the University of Central Florida (UCF) is located on the east side of Orlando. This school has a reputation as a big party school which unfortunately seems to be a draw for nefarious behavior (mostly assaults and robberies). Be sure to stay aware of your surroundings if you are visiting this area after dark, and you shouldn’t run into any issues.
The neighborhoods of Pine Hills and Parramore are located west of Downtown Orlando. The property values in these neighborhoods are fairly low, and reported crime rates are high. Visitors should consider avoiding these parts of Orlando.
Kissimmee, which is on the south side of Orlando, is home to Walt Disney World and caters to a large number of tourists. As you move towards the Florida Turnpike, East side has a large hispanic community consisting of roughly lower-to-middle class demographic. Visitors will probably want to check out the town of Celebration, which was designed by Disney. This is an upscale residential area, but most local businesses close up around 9pm.
Orlando Theme Parks
Obviously, it is safe for visitors to be at any of the major theme parks (Disney World, Universal Studios, and Sea World) during the day or night. However, it is important to stay vigilant of your surroundings when you are exploring a new neighborhood. Surrounding each park are small middle-class residential areas which are all pretty safe areas as well.
International Drive has a number of low-cost properties, but it is also a major tourist hub given its shopping options (outlet malls on the north end) and close proximity to the Orange County Convention Center and Universal Studios. This certainly is a neighborhood that offers a plethora of options for residents and visitors alike.
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