When it comes to attractions, Orlando is all about what’s new, now and next. The world’s tallest roller coaster will arrive soon on International Drive, and Universal’s Volcano Bay water park promises some high-tech hydro-rides.
Which is all to say, most people don’t expect top-notch antiquing from this city of thrills and innovation.
As it turns out, three of Orlando’s neighborhoods have it: Ivanhoe Village, Audubon Park and Mills 50. Best of all, since each neighborhood has its own sense of style, you’re bound to find a wide array of treasures, from Asian housewares to Danish Modern furniture.
Situated on the shores of Lake Ivanhoe, this main street of Ivanhoe Village is full of hot spots for arts, culture and gastronomy. But first and foremost, it’s known for antiques and international imports, especially of the Far Eastern variety.
Start your picking at Washburn Imports, which specializes in art and furnishings from Thailand and Bali. Look for driftwood chairs and china cabinets made from decommissioned fishing boats.
Bonus: It might seem out of place to see a bar in the middle of a furniture store, but The Imperial, Washburn’s in-house biergarten, is a favorite watering hole for locals.
One door down is Living Morocco, jam-packed with Middle Eastern decor, light fixtures and home goods. If you’ve ever wanted a Moravian star pendant, this is the place to find one.
In fact, it’s probably easier to just lie down and look up at the hundreds of pendant lights. You’ll also find mosaic art, semi-precious jewelry and more treasures salvaged from faraway lands.
Within a few meters is The Golden Phoenix, a tiny mint-green house. Think: vintage furnishings, collectible plates, antique silverware sets, art and more. With all the stuff, it might take some digging to find the gem you’re really looking for.
This hipster haven is lined with stores that attract the coolest of Orlando’s local crowd. Anchored by the Garden District and Harry P. Leu Gardens, the antique shops that line Corrine Drive are packed with enough interesting items to fill an afternoon.
Make your first stop The Lovely Boutique Market. This antiques mall features mini-shops around its perimeter. Local pickers spend time curating each of their stalls, and each sports a unique vibe from Mid-Century atomic to native American spiritual.
Fashion lovers will swoon over the collection of vintage apparel. Expect birdcage hats and boots made for walkin’.
Looking for rare Beatles or Elvis vinyl? Park Ave CDs has been a landmark for decades and has seen some of rock ‘n’ roll’s greatest acts, before they were stars, come in to play free shows. They’ve got all the vinyl you never thought you’d find, plus plenty of equipment for the garage jammer.
If you’re lucky enough to visit during the holidays, don’t miss one of the neighborhoods pop-up tent malls, which sell everything from macramé plant hangers to limited-release Willie Nelson records. Ever wanted one of those ceramic Christmas trees from the 1980s with the little plastic light-up bulbs? Bet you’ll find fifty.
Known locally as a hub for foodies, especially those who love Vietnamese, Chinese and Korean cuisine, Mills 50 has melded to become part Chinatown and part self-guided antiques walking tour.
Looking to add to your collection of lucky cats, Ma Jong tiles and cast iron woks? Start at Dong A Imports, the sister store to the supermarket a few doors down, for salvaged and consignment housewares from Southeast and Central Asia. Don’t bring a big purse — turn around too fast and you might just knock over a Han dynasty statue reproduction.
For variety, check out The District at Mills 50 — an artists space that houses 30 vendors selling handmade goods, vintage rock tees and cool collectibles ranging from Marvel action figures to rare books.
If your stomach starts rumbling while you’re rummaging, the District also houses a fair-trade, organic coffee shop and a fridge full of take-and-go vegan delights. It’s also a hub for pop-up restaurants like Soul Food Saturdays.
Finally, if Mid-Century Modern is your thing, you won’t want to leave the area without visiting the new Echoes of Retro furniture gallery.
What first started as a tent at a pop-up flea market and became of the most successful stores at Audubon Park’s The Lovely Boutique, is now housed in its own shop on Virginia Drive. Dressers, coffee tables, china cabinets and more can be found at this funky atomic gallery.