Greater Orlando Area
Home to much more than Disney World, Sea World and Universal Studios, the Orlando area encompasses 1.7 million people throughout Orange, Seminole, Osceola and Lake Counties. Complementing the spectacular weather (average high temperature in January is 71 degrees and the average low in July is 73 degrees), the region boasts many beautiful lakes – large and small. These shimmering bodies of water provide some of the premier real estate in all of Florida.
If you're moving to the Central Florida area from out of town, one of your main questions will probably be: "What town, district, neighborhood or development is the best one for me?" We've gathered photos and useful facts on some of the best neighborhoods and towns in the Orlando area to help you answer that question. No matter where you ultimately choose to live and work, the Greater Orlando area is blessed with “big city” heart, spectacular arts and theater, world class shopping and old fashioned hospitality.
Just northeast of downtown Orlando, Winter Park is home to some of the area's finest homes. Most neighborhoods are well established. There is great diversity in the style and size of homes including Bungalows, Craftsman, Ranch, Georgian, Mediterranean, Italian, Cape Cod and New Orleans styles. In many cases older modest homes have been razed and replaced with stately residences.
Once a major citrus-growing region, Winter Park was a popular retreat for well-to-do Northerners who traveled south by train in the early 20th century. From those roots, a city sprang up where culture thrived and natural resources were well protected. Today, Winter Park is 8 square miles (20.7 square kilometers) with 20,000 oak trees and is home to almost 28,000 residents. One of the best ways to get a peek at the Winter Park lifestyle is on the Scenic Boat Tour, a local attraction for more than half a century that takes visitors past lakefront mansions and through the city’s historic canals.
Residents are attracted to Winter Park by the charm of the oak-lined brick streets, the beautiful chain of lakes and the fabulous shopping at downtown specialty shops and boutiques on Park Avenue. There are numerous art and antique galleries in the Winter Park’s downtown corridor as well as incredible casual and fine dining restaurants and sidewalk cafes. Its attractions feature three fine art museums and a historical museum, in addition to wonderful shopping on Park Avenue, Hannibal Square, and Winter Park Village shopping districts.
The city boasts some of the best schools in Orange County and is home to Rollins College (recognized as one of the top rated liberal arts colleges in the southeast) Crealdé School of Art and Full Sail, one of the premier media arts colleges in the world.
There are numerous sites in Winter Park that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places including the Annie Russell Theatre, Knowles Memorial Chapel, Winter Park Country Club golf course (open to the public), Casa Feliz and the Winter Park Farmers’ Market (Saturday mornings). Winter Park has many public parks including Lake Island Park, Craft Azalea Gardens, Mead Gardens and Central Park, which runs along Park Avenue.
Annually, the city hosts over one million cultural visits at many nationally recognized events including the Bach Festival, the Sidewalk Art Festival, the Florida Film Festival, the Autumn Art Festival, and the Concours d’Elegance exotic car show.
Household Median Income is $55,968. Median Home Cost is $408,400. The Median Age is 43. http://www.cityofwinterpark.org/ http://www.winterpark.org/
Located just north of Winter Park, Maitland offers many older homes built in the 1950's and 1960's in established neighborhoods as well as lovely lakefront homes along 2 of the chain of lakes. Maitland is well known for its excellent public and private schools, many public parks and - for the most part, affordable home prices. The proximity to Maitland Center business park and to downtown Orlando make Maitland particularly attractive to families seeking short commute times.
Maitland is a city that is rich in history. As one of the oldest incorporated municipalities in Central Florida, it boasts many historical homes still in existence. The entire downtown corridor is being revitalized and features: Lake Lilly Park (home of the Maitland Art Festival) and the Enzian Theater which is a non-profit art house theater and hosts the internationally acclaimed Florida Film Festival.
Maitland has a wide variety of restaurants and cafes and is home to a historic and distinctive Art Center, founded and designed by architect and artist Jules Andre Smith in 1937. In 1982 the Maitland Art Center was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
Maitland’s population is 12,058. The Median household income is $65,947. The Median home cost is $350,900 and the Median age is 40 years old.
Downtown Orlando & Historic Districts
With its many historical districts, tree lined brick streets, and sparkling lakes, downtown is becoming an increasingly popular area to live, especially for those who work in the area. Many of the historic downtown neighborhoods offer a great variety of architecture and give you a feeling of community where many people live and work. From the trendy and traditional Thornton Park and Lancaster Park historic districts to upscale and uptown condo projects, there is a home for every taste, family size and generation.
Beautiful older homes and estates grace many Orlando neighborhoods, including around Lake Ivanhoe, Lake Adair, and the Orlando Country Club.
Downtown Orlando is blessed with many Arts and Science venues including: Orlando Ballet, Orlando Opera Company, Orlando Science Center, Orlando Museum of Art, Orlando Shakespeare Theater, Mennello Museum of American Folk Art, Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, Orlando Repertory Theatre as well as handful of small community theaters.
Residents take advantage of the great weather by spending a lot of time outdoors as well, in one of the many popular public parks, like Lake Eola Park (right in downtown), Orlando Loch Haven Park (surrounding many of the art and science buildings) and Heritage Square (home to the Orange County Regional History Center).
One of the charming old neighborhoods ringing downtown, Thornton Park is Orlando’s center of new urbanism, with residential lofts, renovated cottages and historic homes—all within walking distance of a burgeoning collection of shops and restaurants. Historic architecture ranges from Craftsman-style bungalows to Neoclassical and Tudor Revival homes.
Just northwest of downtown Orlando is delightful College Park, with streets named for famous colleges like Harvard, Yale and Dartmouth. Most of College Park consists of a mix of bungalows and turn-of-the-20th century manses and centers along Edgewater Drive and environs, where newcomers mix with longtime residents in inviting shops and restaurants. Perhaps one of College Park’s most famous residents was writer Jack Kerouac, who shared a back-porch apartment with his mother at the time his famous On the Road was published. The Kerouac Project, headed by local businesses, raised funds to buy and restore the house, now hosting a “writer in residence” program.
Baldwin Park and Celebration
Those nostalgic for the quintessential small town America experience will enjoy a visit to Baldwin Park, located just minutes from downtown Orlando, and Celebration, located in Osceola County near the Walt Disney World Resort. Both areas were designed to foster a sense of community, featuring narrow streets and wide sidewalks, miles of walking trails, distinct architecture, vibrant town centers and a mix of amenities that allow residents to live, work and play in their own neighborhood. Rather than creating a private enclave, both communities host several festivals and events each year to showcase their special way of life. During the holiday season, it has been known to snow in Celebration to help set the mood.
Incorporated in 1883 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1998, Eatonville is the oldest African-American municipality in the United States. Its most famous former resident is Harlem Renaissance author and folklorist Zora Neale Hurston, who spent her early years in Eatonville and writes about those years in “Their Eyes Were Watching God” and “Dust Tracks on a Road.” Her accomplishments are showcased in an annual festival each January and in the Zora Neale Hurston Museum of Fine Arts. Though many of the neighborhood’s original buildings are gone, a walking tour highlights significant structures.