Home to some of the nation's greatest theme parks, including Disney World, Universal Studios, and Sea World, Orlando is a top travel destination attracting over 51 million tourists each year from across the country and around the world. Orlando is also one of the busiest American cities for conferences and conventions, attracted by the great weather and plentiful accommodations. More than 53,000 people are employed in a $13.4 billion dollar technology sector that spans digital media, agricultural technology, aviation, aerospace, and software design. More than 150 international companies have facilities in the metropolitan Orlando area, and the Central Florida Research Park serves as the hub of the nation's military simulation and training programs.
Orlando was originally settled by Aaron Jernigan, a cattle rancher who purchased 1,200 acres of land to establish a ranch and farm near Lake Conway. The name Orlando was adopted in 1857, and Orlando grew to become the hub of Florida’s citrus industry until a hard freeze in 1894-1895 devastated the market and put many small growers out of business. Florida experienced a housing boom in the 1920’s that ended when the housing market crashed in 1926, followed by the 1929 stock market crash and the depression. Orlando eventually recovered after WWII when soldiers stationed in Orlando decided to stay in the area when they left the military. Walt Disney announced plans to build Disney World in 1965, leading to an economic explosion for the region that continues today. Orlando now has more theme parks and entertainment attractions than anywhere else in the world.
Orlando is known for year-round sunny and mild weather. In keeping with the "Sunshine State" moniker, central Florida maintains a comfortable annual average temperature of 72 degrees and a mostly dry climate from October to May. High temperatures in the summer reach 90°F and winter nights only occasionally dip below freezing.
Orlando is served by LYNX, a public bus system that services all of central Florida. LYNX also offers a free bus system within Downtown Orlando called LYMMO, and the I-RIDE trolley system shuttles tourists between destinations on International Drive. Orlando International Airport is the closest commercial airport to Orlando’s tourist attractions, the Orange County Convention Center, and downtown Orlando. Both JetBlue and Southwest offer numerous non-stop flights between Orlando and other destinations.
Cost of Living in Orlando
The cost of living in Orlando is slightly below the national average. Groceries and utilities costs are above the national average, but housing prices are significantly lower than the national average. Use these cost of living calculators to determine how your current budget matches living in Orlando.
There are 151 public schools and 286 private schools serving pre-k through grade 12 students in Orlando. The Orange County school district offers pre-kindergarten classes in 85 of its elementary schools. All high schools offer some advanced placement and honors courses and 16 magnet programs are available in the high schools with specialties in aviation/aerospace, language, fine arts, science, economics, medicine, law, finance, animal science, and international studies.
The top-ranked hospital in Orlando, and in the entire state of Florida, is Florida Hospital Orlando. This hospital is a general medical and surgical facility as well as a teaching hospital. If you’re planning a move to Orlando, it’s a good idea to know the medical resources available to you.
Orlando Real Estate
With home prices 20% below the national average, purchasing a home in Orlando is a great option. Use the links below to explore properties in Orlando.
Whether you are looking for convenience, family-friendly amenities, a romantic getaway, or luxury accommodations, you are sure to find a great place to stay in Orlando, Florida! The Ritz-Carlton Orlando offers the ultimate in luxury with spacious rooms, 18-hole golf course, day spa, and walk-in swimming pool. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge offers rooms overlooking the savanna where animals run free. Rates vary by season and hotels often sell out, so be sure to book well in advance. Use these links to explore places to stay in Orlando.
Orlando has a wide variety of restaurant options for every taste. From independently owned neighborhood restaurants to family-friendly establishments, you will enjoy exploring the Orlando dining experience. Texas de Brazil is an upscale steakhouse with an international flair or for something closer to “home-grown” try Manny’s Original Chop House for their endless salad bowl. If you prefer organic, The Rusty Spoon features locally sourced ingredients whenever possible. Explore great local restaurants using the links below.
Things to Do in Orlando
There is no denying that most people visit Orlando for the great theme parks, but there is so much more to do when you visit the "theme park capital of the world". Orlando is one of the world’s largest golf destinations with over 150 courses within an easy drive. You can explore the central Florida everglades on an airboat tour, or take an early morning hot air balloon ride above the city. During basketball season, there’s nothing like watching the Orlando Magic play on their home court, and if you just want to stroll and take in the nightlife, the historic core of Old Orlando resides along Church Street, between Orange Avenue and Garland Avenue. To plan your visit to Orlando, visit the links below.