Even if you haven’t visited downtown Orlando, you’ll recognise Lake Eola’s rainbow-hued lakeside theatre, its famous fountain and the swan boats from postcards and pictures of the city.
Many guests don’t make it as far as downtown Orlando, but Ruth Moriarty, one of our homeowners, says everyone should venture a visit!
We’re really delighted that Ruth has kindly shared some more of her Florida travel tips with us. Her blog about Bok Tower Gardens was really well received. Plus, it’s so great to hear about attractions that are a little off the beaten track.
So… over to Ruth…
Lake Eola & Downtown Orlando by Ruth Moriarty
Firstly, although this is a blog about downtown Orlando, this is not about shopping …well, very little about shopping!
I had a French friend over to stay with me in February 2020 and she asked about visiting downtown Orlando. I have owned my home in Florida since 2002 and lived there for a number of years, but I think I only made it as far as downtown once before!
Lake Eola Park is right in the centre of the city, but far from hustle and bustle of any description. We went there one Sunday, so there were no problems finding a free parking spot right by the Lake.
It was wonderful to see families out together. A smile “good morning” went a long way to striking up conversations with all sorts of people.
This little pooch even came in his own car!
Lake Eola isn’t a tourist destination. But there is a wonderful walk of around one mile you can stroll.
This is where locals come for downtime, dog walking, exercise and the Sunday market.
The Lake Eola Farmers’ Market is a lovely place to wander around. You’ll discover food stalls, jewellery, flowers, jams, drinks and much, much more.
The Sunday Farmers’ Market usually runs from 10am to 4pm.
When we visited, we treated ourselves to a bag of freshly popped corn. Then, a bit later on, we shared a bag of warm, little donuts, freshly cooked and shaken in powdery sugar – extremely tasty!
The rainbow arcs of the Disney Amphitheatre sit just alongside the lake. Regular events are held here – so keep an eye on local listings. It’s also a colourful addition to any photos you take and can be seen from all round the lake.
The lake teems with birds. We saw black and white swans, geese, ducks, egrets and anghingas. We watched the anghingas fluff out their black wing feathers to dry off. Then trod carefully by some protected swans’ eggs, nestled alongside the path.
There were no alligators as far as we could tell!
Our only small disappointment came from our discovery that the Swan paddle boats weren’t running the day we visited. However, that’s simply given me a good excuse to return when I am next in Florida!
All in all, our lovely, slow saunter around the lake edge and the market took around 2-3 hours, stopping to take photos and explore the market.
The great thing is – it cost us nothing, apart from the few purchases we made at the market.
The path is quite wide and very well maintained so wouldn’t be a problem for people with strollers or in wheelchairs. It’s a calm and gentle walk, great to be away from the madding crowds elsewhere.
NOTE: At the moment, the farmers’ Market is still closed due to Covid 19. If you’re thinking about visiting, check the website for current information – hopefully it will be reopening soon.
About Ruth’s home
If you’d like to book your stay to enjoy downtown Orlando, Lake Eola or other Central Florida attractions, please check out our homes here.
Ruth’s home is the very wonderful Sapphire Sky Villa at Orange Tree. See more – and book – here.
Would you like to share your tips for great days out in Florida?
We’d love to share contributions from our guests and homeowners about great days out in Florida. If you have tips or ideas you’d like to share on our blog, please reach out to our team.