When you hear Orlando the first thing that comes to mind is Disney and theme parks. I decided to spend two days there discovering a different Orlando and uncovering some great plans and hidden gems – without visiting any parks. Needless to say, it was a success!

Day 1: Downtown & Winter Park

I checked in at a centrally located hotel in Downtown and decided to explore that area first. The most beautiful spot was Lake Eola Park. It was a sunny day so I headed to Eola General, a very-recommended cafe-deli. I bought bagels, sandwiches and an antipasti board, and set up a lovely picnic at the park. It was full of swans and little ducks and very picturesque!

For dinner I headed over to Winter Park, up north. I LOVED this area. No doubt my favorite neighborhood of Orlando. It was like a little town taken out of a story book. Full of little brick-wall shops, cute restaurants and a pretty park. During my research I had heard a lot about Prato, an Italian restaurant offering a modern take on classic dishes. I tried 3 dishes and they were all phenomenal: the margherita pizza, the asparagus with egg, and the cacio e pepe pasta. Price-quality ratio was amazing too!

Day 2: Rock Springs & Winter Park

For Day 2 I decided to be a little more adventurous and wanted to see what the Florida Rock Springs had to offer. First, I had breakfast at Soho Juice Co. a cute smoothie bowl café off the road that makes these incredible smoothie bowl combos. I needed energy for my next activity: Kayaking in the Rock Springs. The experience was incredible. The photos can’t do justice to the waters’ crystal-clear blue color!

In the afternoon I headed over to Winter Park again (can you tell I loved it?) for an early dinner as I wanted to see it during the day. I was also keen on checking out Ava Mediterraegean, one of Orlando’s trendiest spots right now, and from the same owners as Mila Miami. Their menu is an upscale take on Greek cuisine. I would definitely stand out their grilled halloumi, wagyu carpaccio and millefeuille potatoes. My meal there was actually during Easter weekend, so for dessert they had a special Easter chocolate egg full of goodies that you smashed with a hammer. Talk about Insta-worthy content!

All in all, if you don’t feel like going to a theme park, Orlando has a lot to offer if you want to spend a couple of days there. They have a great selection of restaurants and outdoor activities that will make your trip worthwhile. Find my Orlando Guide on the Andiago app and follow on Instagram to stay updated about my future trips!

By Natasha Mass