Orlando’s perceived image has always been painted with an array of amusement parks like Disney World, SeaWorld, and Universal Orlando. However, while many visits tend to involve vacations with the little ones, The City Beautiful will definitely surprise you with its rich art scene.
All across the city and its neighboring suburbs, Orlando makes a case not just for rides and amusement, but also to take a cultural ride through town. If you’re not sure where to begin, we’ve come up with a tour of the city—strictly for art lovers.
Local Art at the CityArts Factory
Any art-centric visit to Orlando should begin at the CityArts Factory. Put on by Orlando’s Downtown Arts District — also referred to as SLICE — CityArts Factory represents the downtown’s largest arts and cultural center. The space showcases both local and international works of art and features several independently operated art galleries. If you can plan your visit to Orlando to fall Tuesday through Sunday, you can enter CityArts Factory for free from 11AM to 6PM.
Orlando’s Outdoor Sculpture Tour
Orlando is following in the footsteps of other cities with its See Art Orlando initiative. The best way to enjoy the sculptures is to go on a walking tour around Lake Eola, where you can see many of these permanent works. The pieces take on all different sizes and mediums and include Take Flight, an installation depicting a flock of birds ascending into the sky, and the Muse of Discovery, a giant woman half-covered in a blanket of grass.
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First Thursday at the Orlando Museum of Art
The Orlando Museum of Art has become the leading cultural institution in the region. Its collection includes a wealth of art from Africa and the Ancient Americas, as well as contemporary samples. Visitors can admire exhibits of local, regional, national, and international significance, and while you can check out this space at any time of the month, art fans looking to book flights to Orlando might want to schedule their visit around the first Thursday of the month. That’s when the museum hosts a special event showcasing local artists, with live music and drinks from 6PM to 9PM.
Tiffany at the Morse Museum of American Art
Considered one of the best museums in the Orlando area — and arguably one of the best in the Sunshine State — the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art is well worth the trip from Orlando to the nearby suburb of Winter Park. The renowned museum houses the world’s most comprehensive collection of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany, including stained glass, lamps, vases, and even a chapel interior. In addition to Tiffany works, guests can also peruse the museum’s collection of hundreds of works from the Arts and Crafts movement.
Have you ever had a brush with this other side of Orlando? What was your favorite experience when visiting? Let us know in the comments section below.