Sure, there’s plenty to see and do in Orlando — but we also love how central The City Beautiful is to so many other neat places to visit! So whether you’re looking for a few interesting stops on your way in, or somewhere a little different for a day trip, you’re sure to have plenty of options.
Take Lakeland for example. This unique Polk County town sits just 35 miles (30 minutes) from Encore Resort and features some excellent opportunities for exploration! Here are a few of our favorite things to do when we go to Lakeland:
What to Eat in Lakeland Florida
1. Visit 801 East Main Street.
Whether you’re craving a savory meal, a refreshing beverage or even a real New Orleans-style beignet, 801 E Main has it all! A popular collection of eateries and boutiques, the area also hosts a variety of events each month, including comedy nights, yoga sessions and local musicians.
2. Get your caffeine fix.
Of course, you’re going to want to stay fully caffeinated on your trip. Fortunately, if there’s one thing Lakeland does well, it’s coffee. Try these beloved hangouts:
- Concord Coffee: Between the hip atmosphere and robust flavors, it’s no wonder why CC has come to be known as the most popular coffee joint in town.
- Hillcrest Coffee: This quaint house-turned-coffee-shop has not only (what we consider to be) the best-tasting coffee, but fun live music as well!
- Poor Porker: Stop by the outdoor patio of this eclectic restaurant for their killer “campfire coffee” — you’ll be glad you did.
3. Sample Florida beer.
Craft beverage experts and novices alike will find Lakeland brewing alive and well. From downtown hotspots like Black & Brew and the coming-soon Swan Brewing, to the more mainstream Beer Revolution and Brew Hub tasting room, the variety is almost endless!
What to See in Lakeland Florida
4. Tour the works of Frank Lloyd Wright.
As the site of the world’s largest number of structures designed by this famous architect, Florida Southern College offers daily tours from its on-campus Sharp Family Tourism and Education Center. For architecture buffs (and those who love them), there may be no better way to spend a peaceful morning or afternoon in Central Florida.
5. Let your imagination soar.
An expertly curated museum-turned-event venue, Fantasy of Flight houses over 100 vintage aircraft from the dawn of aviation through WWII and beyond! This incredible collection features extensive, well-organized displays, ideal for losing yourself in the heroism of yesteryear and the lore of tomorrow.
6. Browse local artwork.
Small-town Florida may not be the first place that comes to mind, but don’t count Lakeland out just yet when it comes to having a creative edge. Consider visiting:
- The Polk Art Museum: Located at Florida Southern College and affiliated by the Smithsonian Institution, this museum offers world-class fine art exhibits, as well as monthly talks, yoga events and hands-on art lab activities for all skill levels.
- Outdoor Exhibits: In the mood for an inspiring outdoor walk? Both Munn Park and Lake Mirror are dotted with outdoor installations by local artists.
- Paint Party Venues: Do-it-yourself painting companies are on the rise everywhere including Lakeland. Check out Painting With a Twist or Paint Nite for a fun time with friends or family!
Other Lakeland Florida Experiences
7. Find the most popular food trucks.
Plan to visit on the second Thursday of every month for the Food Truck Rally at Munn Park from 6 to 9 p.m. From the classics like sliders and melts, to rarities like real Canadian poutine and vegan ice cream, the experience is worth the short drive. Some of our other favorites are La Michoacana (a permanently parked icon serving authentic Mexican fare) and A Cow Named Moo (an adorable cart that pops up at local events)!
8. Pick up one-of-a-kind market items.
A community staple, the Farmer’s Curb Market proudly stands rain-or-shine in the heart of downtown on most Saturdays. Selling everything from organic produce, fresh eggs and artisan breads, to leather products, funky paintings and vintage goods, its family-friendly atmosphere provides a charming look at the character of the area.
9. Attend a live event.
Lakeland may be a relatively small city, but the events at the RP Funding Center are anything but that. With dozens of sports games, popular concerts, theater productions, dance competitions, children’s productions and topical expos to choose from throughout the year, the calendar definitely warrants consideration.
Are you planning to stop by any of these fun things to do in Lakeland? Let us know how it goes! The staff of Encore Resort at Reunion would love to hear from you on Facebook, or answer any questions you may have about your upcoming stay through the chat feature on our website.