Orlando has ten main street districts and each one has a distinct vibe which helps define Orlando. Over the course of the next few weeks, we’re going to feature each neighborhood and the Top Five things to check out in each one. If you haven’t explored one of these main street districts, you should most definitely take some time to check out each one. First up: Thornton Park!
The Thornton Park Main Street District lives in the heart of Orlando and includes some of the most iconic local Orlando spots. It’s home to both luxury apartments and bungalow style homes giving the feel of both a hip modern metropolitan city and turn of the century Florida.
The Thornton Park District website calls it “Downtown for Grownups” and that is definitely the feel of this district. As one of the most walkable districts in Orlando, Thornton Park’s luxury shops, resturants, and events attracts a crowd looking for a good time but with a bit of style and class.
1. Lake Eola
How could we start a post about Thornton Park and not start with Lake Eola. With the iconic fountain sitting right in the middle, Lake Eola is the symbol for the non tourism part that is Orlando. It is the epicenter for community activity. With a walking path that snakes the lake, you will always see people and pets walking (and running!) around or simply taking in the view.
Lake Eola is also a favorite spot for public classes like yoga in the park, and along the Central Street side of the lake, there are even a few resturants where visitors can sit outside and enjoy the sunshine and scenery. If you want an up close view of the iconic Linton E. Allen Memorial Fountain at Lake Eola, you can even rent a swan boat and paddle around the lake for a few hours.
If you want to meet friends for Sunday brunch, Thornton Park is a great place to meet up. There is so much to do here on a Sunday, it’s the perfect neighborhood to park your car and spend a few hours in the district enjoying your Sunday Funday.
There are plenty resturants that offer brunch like Dexter’s, Spice Modern Steakhouse, Baoery Asian GastroPub, and Sonoma Kitchen. Many of the resturants even offer great drink specials like bottomless Bloody Marys or Mimosas.
3. Farmer’s Market
After Sunday brunch, stop by the nearby Orlando Farmer’s Market at Lake Eola. It’s is one of the biggest markets in town and runs from 10am-4pm every Sunday. With an eclectic mix of food and artisan vendors, there are new things to explore every week.
At the center of the market is an area to relax with a drink and a good treat while you listen to a local musician play a few songs for the crowd. This market is dog friendly too, and many vendors will have some water waiting on hot days for your pooch to enjoy.
4. Second Thursday Wine and Art Walk
If you’re looking for a sophisticated version of a bar crawl, check out Thornton Park on the 2nd Thursday of every month where you can enjoy the Wine and Art Walk. Over 25 businesses participate in this walk every month where $15 will get you a glass and an opportunity to check out various shops, resturants, and bars you might not be familiar with in the neighborhood. While you explore the neighborhood, live music, artists, and DJs line the street to keep you entertained from stop to stop.
5. The Beautiful Bungalows
Drive or bike around the Thornton Park neighborhood, and you’ll see why it is one of the most desirable and expensive neighborhoods to live in Orlando. Lining the brick neighborhood streets are beautiful 1920 style bungalow homes tucked away under towering wizened oak trees with Spanish moss dripping down shading the streets. These beautiful bungalow homes harken back to a time when Orlando was smaller and Walt Disney World was only a dream of a young 20-something animator.