Orlando Neighborhoods—Where To Live & Avoid
So you’re moving to Orlando, and you’re trying to pick the best neighborhood. Okay, big topic. But it was requested by readers…so here goes!
I love local culture, history, locally-owned stuff, parks, nature, NOT being stuck in traffic, and great coffee shops. Here’s a rundown, through my eyes, of the best places to live in Orlando.
Orlando Florida Best Neighborhoods for Hipsters — Top Four Picks:
1- College Park – It’s hip, it’s cheap (well, not that cheap anymore), and it has lots of stuff to do. It’s got a vibe of creativity and a nice absence of college frat types.
2- Winter Park – The best coffee shops and super awesome restaurants. Nice streets for biking and jogging. I lived here for 3 years, and I’d move back tomorrow (if I wasn’t trying to save money for traveling.)
3 – Maitland – Nice, quiet, still very near fun local stuff in Winter Park and Orlando. GREAT PRICES on house rentals.
4 – Thornton Park – A little louder, closer to the city, more expensive, a little more high strung. Still fun & cool. Stylish. Thornton Park has more crime than Winter Park or Maitland. I just don’t feel as safe on the streets. Pricy, and more yuppie than College Park. Still a good option, but more traffic, more hustle bustle, more busy-Orlando-vibe-from-1960s…if that makes any sense. The closer proximity to great Asian restaurants is a pro! (It’s not far from the Vietnamese part of town.)
Longwood – Safe, a little dull, but near a nice trail. Nothing’s really bad about Longwood. It’s just a bit boring. It’s not far from Orlando, so if you found a steal of a price on a place, consider it. There’s a good Indian restaurant in Lake Mary (next town over), but no good Asian food really other than that. It’s just not that fabulous. But it’s not gross.
Lake Mary – I lived there for a year, and it was just kind of dull. I liked bike riding around the lakes. But I missed Winter Park. It’s just kind of far from things, and there are no good hangout spots or local coffee shops. The Starbucks there is like the busiest in the state (whoo-hoo) so it just feels inhospitable. There is a nice trail, there are nice stores (a couple thrift stores…. almighty Target)… but I was happy to get somewhere with more history & culture.
Altamonte Springs – Full of traffic. So stressful. The lake at Crane’s Roost has a jogging trail around it, but it all feels terribly concrete. I’d never live there. The only pro is the proximity to Orlando, good price, and the relative safety.
Downtown Orlando – Nice, but the homeless get a little annoying. And the club scene that appears magically every night downtown is rather trashy. Just live close enough to drive 15 minutes into Orlando for a concert. No need to actually live downtown, in my humble opinion. Just visit when you want to go out.
That’s my (entirely opinionated) wrap up. Feel free to share your favorite places in the comments!
AngieJune 7, 2015 at 10:25 pm
What are some good recommendations for places/events in the area for young “artistic/outdoorsy” people to meet friends? My fiance and I are considering a move to Orlando (from NJ) but, after reading about the overall culture of Orlando, I am concerned that it’s going to be difficult for us to find friends who we share common interests with, especially because we don’t know anyone there besides his family. We both write as a hobby, we’re into art, outdoor activities like hiking and canoeing, and we are both fans of metal. Do you have any recommendations for groups that we can join, or venues that we can go to, or things like that?
iamviolettaJuly 23, 2015 at 11:38 pm
Sorry for the late response. Don’t give up on Orlando! In many cases, there are pockets of artsy types who will just love getting to know you… just gotta find them!
Look for writing groups that meet at coffee shops—like Credo. Drop into Blue Jacket part for some Ultimate Frisbee. (There are folks of all level trying it.) There are lots of bike trails, places to canoe at the springs, and many great bands come to Orlando.
Also, check out the theater! Lots of artsy people work around there. Consider volunteering with kids too. Are you interested in working in the arts? Creative Mornings is a great thing happening in Orlando where every month a different creative from an industry gives a stimulating talk. I recommend signing up for those emails and dropping in on one. Sure, you have to be resourceful and put forth a little effort, but there are lots of fun artsy people around. The Rollins area has lots of students too, and there are art classes you can take on a Saturday morning just for fun in Winter Park too.
I’ll work on brainstorming more ideas for you, but I wouldn’t write it off as a fun place to live for that reason… hey if you hate heat or endless summer & humidity, that’s another thing all together. 🙂 Thanks for your comments!
PeterAugust 31, 2015 at 3:08 pm
Hey – great post. Curious to find out where to find artist studios in orlando. Are there sections that have spaces like this? I work with screen printing so… If i relocate i need to find a place to work out of.
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