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Top 5 Community Spotlight: The Milk District

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. This week: The Milk District(Check out our last community spotlight on Ivanhoe Village)

The Milk District is the newest addition to the Orlando Main Streets program, officially becoming a main street district only late last year. However, this unique neighborhood has been an established area for good food, good fun, and some retro flare for a years now.

Aptly named for the TG Lee Milk Factory that defines the district, the Milk District is made of established Orlando favorites and new up and coming businesses with Locksmiths In Phoenix that are helping define the neighborhood.

1. Great Daytime Eats Spots:

If you are looking for the perfect spot to grab lunch, the Milk District will give you ample choices to choose from. Grab some Double Ds at Gringos Locos and load them up with some hot sauce.

Gringo’s ProTip: Happy Hour is every day from 4pm to 8pm. Free chips and salsa, $5 burritos, $2 tacos, and great drink specials!

For the best southern fare in town grab brunch or lunch at Se7enbites. Fill up on yummy vegan food while you shop handmade wares at Market on South. Pick your Pho destiny at Siagon Noodles and Grill, Pho Hoa or Pho Vihn, then get your caffeine fix or a bite to eat at Drunken Monkey Coffee Bar.

Sandwich lover? The Milk District is the perfect place to explore! There are so many sandwich inspired places to choose from, it just depends on what you’re in the mood for, and if your friends or families are searching for activities that you can do to bond try NYC escape games.

Eat the best steamed roast beef sandwich in town at Orlando almost 49 year old mainstay, Beefy King. If you are in the mood for gourmet chef created sandwich fare, wander over to food truck turned sandwich shop Bad As’s Sandwiches.

If you want a twist on tried and true classics, head over to Pom Pom’s Teahouse to grab a cup of tea and try Mama Ling Lings Thanksgiving sandwich or the Spicy Elvis for a twist on a PB&J. [Editor’s note: Pom Pom’s also makes a FANTASTIC Lavender Tea!)

2.  Relaxed Late Night Fun:

No need to dress to the nines to enjoy a night out in The Milk District. Throw on a fun t-shirt, your favorite pair of jeans and enjoy a fun, relaxed night out full of good drinks, fun atmosphere, and great music.

For an Orlando classic, grab a strong drink at Whiskey Lou’s (don’t forget to bring cash!). The Milk Bar is the perfect spot if you want to sip on craft beer or wine while enjoying local art and poetry.

A diverse crowd hangs out at Sandwich Bar to enjoy a beer and hear some great underground tunes.

For a great outdoor spot in the district, grab a drink at Barley and Vine Biergarten. Hit the dance floor at one of the best LBGTQ clubs in town at Southern Nights.

The best thing about the Milk District is there are new businesses popping up all the time as the area grows like installing a custom home theater. Look for the Iron Cow, a new restaurant and hang out spot to open in the summer of 2017. It’ll be the only bar on Robinson with a full liquor license and will have an awesome event space to feature local performers.

3. Event Central:

The Milk District is quickly becoming place to find great local events to enjoy any day of the week. Along with all the regular late night spots to have fun at in the district, there are plenty of fun alternative things to do too.

Grab your skate board and learn a new trick at Orlando Skate Park. Head over to Colonial Lanes and enjoy that old school bowling feel. Another Orlando staple, these lanes have been in Orlando since 1959. (PBA Bowler Jason Couch’s dad is the General Manager!) On Friday Nights you can sing karaoke in the bar or enjoy a couple of hours of cosmic bowling featuring black lights and loud pop music.

Drive by on a random weekend and you might see a festival to explore or a live community concert at Festival Park. Of course, don’t forget to check out all the great live performances you can catch at the The Plaza Live.

There’s practically something to do every night of the week in The Milk District. For Bingo lovers, the Elks Lodge has bingo each Monday. You don’t have to be a member because the event is  is open to the public.

Tasty Takeover Tuesdays happens weekly. Come hungry and enjoy a rotating group of food trucks that takes over the area each Tuesday night. You can sample all types of flavors at the event then head over to one of the area’s local bars or shops. Many of them participate with weekly specials to coincide with this event.

In the near future look out for Thrifty Thursdays where visitors will be able to purchase vintage wares from vendors weekly.

4. Live Healthy and Stay Active

If a healthy lifestyle is important to you, it’s easy to maintain living in the Milk District. Work up a sweat at Crossfit Milk District or find some clam at  Orlando Power Yoga.

If you would rather get your activity outside, rent or buy a bike at Kyle’s Bike Shop. Alternatively, grab a group of friends and head out to Festival Park to play a round of sand Volleyball or Basketball.

Green thumbs can get a plot in the community garden at the park where you can grow your own healthy crop. For a quick nourishing juice to sip on, grab a drink at  Juice Bar.

5. Retro Alternative Community

There is definitely a community of alternative fashion and retro vibe that lives in the Milk District. If you have an old soul and love self expression, you’ll find a lot of ways to help your personality shine in the Milk District. Define your style at Etolile Boutique where you can find a collection of both handmade items and vintage finds. In this place you will definitely not find any video games with ELO Boost services.

Update your collection with a rare record from your favorite band at Retro Records who have been providing beats to the area since 1980s. Get some custom ink done at Little Joe’s Primrose Tatoo Parlor. The gentlemen can enjoy the old school barber haircut and straight razor treatment at Jusincredible Cutz, and Liberty Barbershop. If you love self expression and want to express your unique identity, the creative alternative community in the Milk District will help you shine.

Community Spotlight: Mills 50

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. This week: Mills 50 District. (Check out our last community spotlight on Ivanhoe Village!)

The Mills 50 Orlando Mainstreet District is named aptly for its prominent intersection; Mills Avenue and State Road 50 (also known as East Colonial Drive). Its home to Colonialtown, Lake Eola Heights, and Park Lake Highland neighborhoods. Although this district might feel like it’s just a drive by area, there is so much culture and interesting sites to see as this district quickly changes from one block to the next—making it one of the most varied districts in town. Mills 50 is also one of Orlando’s quirkiest areas.

The corner of Mills and 50 features two murals by local artist Andrew Spear, one dedicated to the victims of the Pulse tragedy on June 12, 2016.

Mills 50 Art Projects, Murals, and more

A large mural by artist Mark Ghmeling on the side of Snap! Space in Mills 50

Most of the Mills 50 district is composed of buildings that are older, mid-century strip malls. Because these boring cinderblock buildings, while functional, don’t offer much aesthetic appeal, artists have been commissioned to use the sides of the buildings like blank canvases to make their mark. These murals has given the area new life and vibrancy, and it is easy to spend your weekend exploring the neighborhood to fill up your Instagram with these beautiful and fun pieces.

Not only will you find epic murals on the side of buildings, but you will also see smaller pieces on everything from drains to electrical boxes, fences, and even dumpsters receive this special artistic touch. Most of the art has a street art aesthetic to it, adding to the urban vibe of this fun neighborhood.

Great Cheap Eats and Dive Bars

Outside of Will’s Pub in Mills 50

The Mills 50 district is one of the best places to go for a fun night out followed by some good, cheap eats. It’s no wonder this district is a favorite of the 20-something crowd as it is easy on their wallet and their dollar can go just a bit further.

Fun bars to explore include Wally’s which is an Orlando cultural mainstay, indie music venue Will’s Pub, and Uncle Lou’s Entertainment Hall just to name a few.

For cheap eats you can check out King Bao, Tako Cheena, Lazy Moon, Pig Floyds, Pho88, Little Siagon, or one of the dozens of other Asian resturants that line the main strip. If you have $10 and an empty stomach you’ll be able to find something yummy to eat while avoiding fast food drive throughs.

Eclectic Businesses

Mills 50: An Orlando Mainstreet District

Mills 50 is the most eclectic of all the main street districts. While the busy intersection of Mills and State Road 50 define the center of the district, only a few hundred yards away you will find quiet brick roads lined with homes.

The businesses in this district are varied too! The District at Mills 50 is a new addition, which is a mini-market of sorts featuring 30 different local artisans and their creations. You can also find a violin store, a print shop, multiple salons, many ethnic markets to explore, small art, hobby, and photography studios, tattoo shops, smoke shops, pop-up events, a costume store, and so much more. The eclectic nature of this district means you never know what kind of business you might wander in upon.

Cultural Diversity

This “Red Bull” mural can be found at Mills and Lake Highland. Artwork by: Andrew Spear.

Cultural diversity permeates Mills 50 everywhere you look – and it’s wonderful! There are many  different cultures represented through business owners who come from China, Vietnam, Thailand, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Italy, and England just to name a few.

There is also a prominent LGBTQ+ community that is quite visible. Both the Zebra Coalition and The Center (The GLBT Community Center of Central Florida) call Mills 50 home. Such diversity shows through in the many different businesses that live in the district.

You can purchase beautiful Japanese from Dong-A Imports, pick up some Earl Grey Tea from The British Shoppe, and go to Gracie Barra Brazilian Jiu-jitsu to get a workout and learn the practice.

 Health Focused

Central Florida businessmen Terry Smith, Tracy Dent, and Dana Flugel opened on Track Shack on North Mills in 1977. In the years since, Track Shack has hosted many events, training programs, and has become a leader in road race management.

If you are looking to add variety to your fitness routine, you should definitely check out the Mills 50 district for a fun new class or activity to try. Learn some new dance moves at Jazzercise Orlando, Florida Tribal Dance or Russian Ballet Orlando. Find a personal trainer at Florida Fitness Concepts. Pick up a new pair of running shoes at Track Shack and start training for a 5k. Or learn kickboxing and MMA style fighting at The Jungle.

Behind the Fresh Market, you can hop right on the Urban Trail and take a bike ride to either downtown Orlando or Winter Park. You won’t get bored working up a sweat in this district!