orlando weekend getaways

Take a spin on the Orlando Eye. (Photo: Alamy)

Weekend Getaways

How to Spend a Weekend in Orlando, for Every Type of Traveler

“There’s something for everyone” is a tired cliche, but in Orlando, it’s exactly what you’ll find — truly, this is a city that’s built around fun for all. Even without stepping foot in the theme parks, every traveler can fill their itinerary with new experiences that surprise the senses.

Of course, regardless of the type of travel you enjoy — and whether you’re traveling with kids or adults, a trip to Orlando is likely to include a visit to one of the many parks at Walt Disney World Resort. Still, beyond the iconic Mouse and friends, Orlando’s dining and nightlife scenes attract adults, while a plethora of kid-friendly attractions mean the little ones will never be bored.

Read on for itineraries filled with fun for families; swank group getaways; and romantic experiences for couples.

Fun for Families

Start your weekend off with speed at Andretti Indoor Karting & Games, right off International Drive. Orlando’s weather can be unpredictable, but the indoor track assures no rain will spoil your parade. For lunch, head to Disney Springs and dine at T-Rex Cafe, serving traditional American family fare in a prehistoric surrounding filled with animatronic dinos.

Head to the Lego Store, just across from the restaurant, and let the kids run amok to burn off some steam. At the north entrance, there’s a huge pit of Lego bricks where kids can build their own race car and race other kids down a small track.

orlando weekend getaways
There’s nothin’ but net at the NBA Experience. (Photo: Getty Images)

Tweens are tough to please, but they’ll love The VOID, a virtual reality gaming attraction, or the newly opened NBA Experience, where they’ll be drafted into their favorite pro basketball team and train like real rookies.

Make your way to Loch Haven Park, Orlando’s arts corridor, and visit the planetarium and exhibitions at the Orlando Science Center, or catch a kid-friendly performance at the city’s family-centric repertory theatre, Orlando REP, which even stages inclusive, sensory-friendly plays.

Romantic Escape

Start with a couples massage at your hotel spa before heading to a leisurely brunch at celebrity chef Melissa Kelly’s signature farm-to-table restaurant, Primo, featuring fresh produce, eggs and honey from the on-site Whisper Creek Farm.

Head to ICON 360, one of Orlando’s major entertainment and attraction complexes, and take in the bird’s-eye views from the slow-moving Orlando Eye, the 400-foot-tall observation wheel with enclosed, air-conditioned capsules. On a clear day you can see all the way to the Space Coast and spot the mammoth Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA.

Venture farther north into one of Orlando’s most picturesque neighborhoods, Audubon Park, and stroll through Harry P. Leu Gardens, where 50 acres of trees and flowers blossom year-round. Sit down for dinner at Prato in nearby Winter Park, and afterward, wander hand-in-hand down the lantern-lit, historic Park Avenue.

Group Getaway

High-adrenaline activities make memories and kick off a fast-moving weekend, so start with an indoor skydiving experience at iFLY. A little too scary? Solve a mystery together and beat the clock at Escape Orlando. Then treat yourselves to Orlando’s most Instagrammable brunch at Hash House A Go-Go, where the chicken and waffles platter towers so high, it has to be skewered with a steak knife to keep from toppling.

Itching to spend some cash? Head to the Mall at Millenia for haute looks from Gucci, Hermès and Louis Vuitton, or go for quantity at Orlando International Premium Outlets or Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets.

In the evening, head downtown and have dinner at DoveCote, a French brasserie featuring fancy cocktails and a stellar wine list, and then make your way down Orange Avenue for barhopping with the locals.

Finish the night at World of Beer and sit on the outdoor veranda overlooking Orlando’s centerpiece, Lake Eola Park, with its color-changing fountain and signature swan boats.