One Day in Orlando, Florida: Itinerary & Where to Go in 24 Hours

Almost every Florida trip itinerary starts with at least one day in Orlando. Located in central Florida, Orlando is the most popular tourist destination in the United States. Over 75 million visitors from the US and around the world roam around Orlando every year.

Among travelers, Orlando is most renowned for its world-famous theme parks. Attractions like Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando Resort, and SeaWorld steal the show. Of course, you could spend your first 24 hours in Orlando at any one of them. But park hopping is a little too obvious. Instead, let’s go for a little adventure!

Beyond its family-friendly attractions, Orlando is a great city to explore. The city teems with museums and art galleries set between leafy parks & gardens and shimmering lakes. Roaming the streets, you can slip into trendy cafés, restaurants, bistros, and brewpubs.

Don’t know where to go in Orlando in one day without stepping foot in a theme park? Follow along with this complete 1-day Orlando itinerary.

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Where to go in Orlando in one day: A complete 24-hour itinerary

Fuel up with coffee in Winter Park

To start your one day in Orlando, wake up and head to the suburb of Winter Park. Located north of downtown Orlando, Winter Park is a pleasant city known for its outdoor spaces, museums & art galleries.

South Park Avenue in Downtown Winter Park

Downtown Winter Park centers around North Park Avenue. Stroll around its charming central shopping district. Settle down at one of its cool cafés to fuel up with a coffee & breakfast. For a more local feel, skip Starbucks and try Barnie’s Coffee & Tea Co. on S Park Avenue.

Walk around the Mead Botanical Garden

From Downtown Winter Park, it’s about a 30-minute walk or less than a 10-minute drive to Mead Botanical Garden. The 47.6-acre garden spans several different ecosystems. You’ll wander past beautiful flower gardens, ponds, and even a butterfly garden.

Mead Botanical Garden

Mead Botanical Garden is also listed on the Great Florida Birding Trail. Bring your binoculars. Walking along its pathways, you can spot species like great blue herons, cardinals, and woodpeckers.

The garden is a wonderful place to visit earlier in the morning on your first 24 hours in Orlando. It’s at its quietest during the first couple hours after its 8 am opening. Admission is free.

Browse the Orlando Museum of Art

From Mead Botanical Garden, it’s a 30- to 35-minute walk to the next stop on your Orlando itinerary, the Orlando Museum of Art. Skip the most direct walking route. Instead, opt for the more scenic walk via Lake Shore Drive. The road skims along the shores of Lake Sue and Lake Rowena. Alternatively, it’s a 5-minute drive to the museum via North Mills Avenue.

Orlando Museum of Art

The Orlando Museum of Art is located in Loch Haven Park between Lake Estelle and Lake Formosa. Opened in 1924, the museum has amassed a collection of 2,400 artifacts. The exhibits focus mostly on modern American art and African art. The museum also hosts one of the largest collections of ancient American art in the Southeastern USA.

The museum neighbors several other excellent museums & art galleries. If art isn’t your thing or you’re traveling with kids, head next door to the Orlando Science Center instead. For more American art, The Mennello Museum of American Art is just south of the park, too.

Chill out at Harry P Leu Gardens

From the Orlando Museum of Art, walk along the northern shore of Lake Rowena. Within about 25 minutes, you’ll land yourself at Harry P Leu Gardens. If you’re driving, it should take less than 10 minutes.

Harry P Leu Gardens

Harry P Leu Gardens spans almost 50 acres of tropical & sub-tropical gardens. Wander among its trails, shaded under oaks dating back hundreds of years. On the way, you’ll stroll alongside hundreds of exotic flora species from around the world. Most prominent is the collection of over 200 varieties of camellias.

For history buffs, the gardens are also home to Leu House Museum. Although currently at limited capacity, you can tour the National Historic Register home daily between 10 am and 1 pm. (Leu House Museum is closed on Mondays.)

Enjoy lunch in Colonialtown

Harry P Leu Gardens sits on the northern edge of Colonialtown. Continue your tour of Orlando in one day in Orlando with a short walk into this charming neighborhood.

Colonialtown is renowned for its eclectic dining scene. Along North Mills Avenue and East Colonial Drive lie hip restaurants, cafés, tapas bars, and brewpubs. It’s the perfect place to stop for a lunch break.

The area is most popular for its Asian culinary scene. Grab classic Southeast Asia-inspired fare at Hawkers Asian Street Food or Malaysian at Mamak Asian Street Food.

Relax at Lake Eola Park

After you’ve fuelled up in Colonialtown, it’s a 30-minute or 5-minute drive to Lake Eola Park. The park is an oasis in Orlando’s Central Business District. From the lake’s eastern shores, you’ll enjoy fantastic views across the water to downtown. For locals and travelers alike, it’s one of the coolest places to see in Orlando.

Stroll around Lake Eola Park, spotting ducks and swans along the lakeshore. If you’ve got extra time, you can even rent a paddleboat for a leisurely paddle around Lake Eola.

Lake Eola Park

Beer lovers can pop into the World of Beer on the southern edge of the park. This popular gastropub features a menu of over 500 beers from around the world.

Visiting Lake Eola Park on a Sunday? Be sure to also carve out time to visit the Orlando Farmers Market. The weekly vendors market takes place in the southeastern corner of the park.

Stroll around Thornton Park

Just east of Lake Eola Park lies Thornton Park. This charming residential neighborhood is often listed as one of the best places to live in Orlando. It’s full of great restaurants, cafés, wine bars, and craft beer joints.

Thornton Park

Dubbed “Downtown for Grownups,” Thornton Park centers around Washington Street. Along the drag, you can enjoy drinks & snacks from morning till night. A few of the most popular stops include burgers at Graffiti Junktion and craft beer & street food at Falcon Bar & Gallery.

Enjoy dinner & drinks in Downtown Orlando

From Thornton Park, it’s less than a mile west to the heart of Downtown Orlando. The downtown centers around Central Boulevard and Orange Avenue. The area presents some of the city’s best eating, drinking, and entertainment options. It’s a great place to end a day of sightseeing.

Church Street in Downtown

Among the restaurants are taquerias, burger joints, and international bistros. For pub grub and drinks in a laid-back, trendy setting, check out Downtown PourHouse. Or, to tackle your steak & seafood cravings, cocktail in hand, pop into the Kres Chophouse.

Where to stay with 24 hours in Orlando

As with any popular tourist destination, choosing where to stay in Orlando isn’t always simple. For this time-crunched travel plan, the best area to stay is in the city center. It’ll allow you to stick close to all the action. If you’re more interested in the theme parks, consider staying outside of the city center.


Aloft Orlando Downtown

Like all the hotels in its portfolio, this Aloft hotel sits in the heart of the city center. Its characteristic funky room designs are sure to charm. You’ll also love cooling down in the outdoor pool.

Embassy Suites

Embassy Suites Orlando Downtown

For a little extra space, grab a room at this mid-range hotel. All the suites center around a spacious sitting area for your comfort. Amenities include an outdoor pool and fitness center.

Grand Bohemian Hotel

Grand Bohemian Hotel Orlando

One of the city’s top luxury hotels, the Grand Bohemian Hotel is bound to get your attention. The hotel sits in the city’s Arts District. Rooms showcase regal elegance mixed with modern amenities. The views from the rooftop pool are outstanding.

More Orlando itinerary ideas

Walt Disney World Resort

Traveling to Orlando with kids? There’s a chance you’ll spend much of your Orlando trip itinerary at Walt Disney World Resort. The world-famous Disney World consists of four separate theme parks. Each section of the park could take a full day to explore on its own.

The most popular section of the park is the Magic Kingdom. Visiting Magic Kingdom, you’ll stroll along Main Street USA as Disney’s most famous characters pop into your selfies. The section of the park is also home to its most recognizable landmark, Cinderella’s Castle.

Magic Kingdom at Disney World

Your little future travelers will love spending time at Epcot. For thrills, drop into Future World, home to the theme park’s two main rides. At World Showcase, you’ll stroll through 11 different exhibits based on countries around the globe.

Movie buffs will relish the chance to relive their favorite Disney movies at Hollywood Studios. Animal lovers will likewise love spotting exotic species at Animal Kingdom.

Don’t want to pay to enter the park? Head over to Disney Springs. Formerly known as Downtown Disney, Disney Springs is an outdoor shopping plaza covering 120 acres. At Disney Springs, spend time shopping along the main street. There’s also a handful of theme restaurants for the whole family to enjoy a fun meal.

Universal Orlando Resort

Love the silver screen? Carve out in your Orlando trip plan for Universal Orlando Resort. Like Disney World, Universal Orlando is worthy of several days on its own.

One of the most popular Orlando attractions, the resort splits into three separate parks. Most famous is Universal Studios Florida. At this entertainment complex, you’ll be immersed in the world of some of your favorite movies and TV shows. Universal Studios Florida is home to half of the popular The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Universal Orlando Resort

For more thrills, zip over to Universal’s Islands of Adventure. Celebrating over 20 years of history, Universal’s Islands of Adventure is home to eight theme islands. It’s also home to several roller coasters including The Incredible Hulk Coaster.

Elsewhere, you can cool down at the new waterpark, Volcano Bay. Or take a stroll and grab a bite to eat along the Vegas-like Universal City Walk.

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

One of the best day trips from Orlando, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex lies about an hour east of the city. The popular tourist attraction is the visitors’ area of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral.

Kennedy Space Center

For space enthusiasts, no Orlando attraction is more fascinating than the Kennedy Space Center. At the visitor center, you’ll learn everything you ever wanted to know about NASA’s American space programs.

Be sure to sneak a peek at the Saturn V rocket, Apollo Lunar Module, and Apollo 14 Command Module. They’re on display in the Apollo/Saturn V Center.

Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art

Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art sits among a cluster of art museums in Winter Park. The museum is famed for its large collection of art nouveau. It’s also home to the largest collection of artwork from American artist Louis Comfort Tiffany.

Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art

If you’re an art lover, add a visit to the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum into your morning. The collections of stained glass, mosaics, furniture, and jewelry are unique among the area’s art museums.

Cornell Fine Arts Museum

Located on the Rollins College campus, the Cornell Fine Arts Museum houses over 5,000 items. Its collection spans antiquity to the modern era.

At Cornell Fine Arts Museum, you’ll uncover priceless paintings from old masters. The collection also includes over 1,500 prints, photos, and drawings. On display, you’ll see works from famous artists like Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol, and Francis Bacon.

When to visit Orlando

The best time to visit Orlando is between February and May. During these spring months, you’ll enjoy pleasant weather and sunny skies. Outside of school holidays, you’ll also get cheaper accommodation prices and better availability.


Hurricane season affects Florida between June and November. Although it affects the coast more than central Florida, summer is still not one of the better times to visit the city.

The heat & humidity can get oppressive in summer. Temperatures can soar as high as 33ºC (91ºF). June to September are also the wettest months of the year.

How to get to Orlando

By air

Orlando is served by Orlando International Airport (MCO). The airport is located 6 miles (10 km) southeast of Downtown Orlando. Several major airlines fly into MCO, including:

  • Silver Airways
  • Frontier Airlines
  • JetBlue
  • Southwest Airlines
  • Spirit Airlines

By road

You can reach Orlando from several major cities in Florida. Some of the most popular routes and fastest driving times include:

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How to Spend One Day in Orlando, Florida: A Complete Itinerary


Ryan O'Rourke is a seasoned traveler and the founder & editor of Treksplorer, a fiercely independent guide to mid-range luxury travel for busy people. With over 20 years of extensive travel experience, Ryan has journeyed through over 50 countries, uncovering hidden gems and sharing firsthand, unsponsored insights on what to see & do and where to eat, drink & stay. Backed by his travel experience and in-depth research, Ryan’s travel advice and writing has been featured in publications like the Huffington Post and Matador Network. You can connect with Ryan on Twitter/X at @rtorourke.

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