Orlando for Grown-Ups: The Definitive Guide

Orlando Resort Pools Locals Can Use - Four Seasons Orlando

With Mickey Mouse in our backyard and thousands of visitors flocking to Orlando each year, there’s no shortage of family and kid-centric activities throughout the city. But who says kids get to have all the fun? Dive a little deeper into Orlando and you’ll find a multitude of adult-centric activities. Here’s our guide to experiencing the best of Orlando for grown-ups!

Pool Time

Remember the summer days of your childhood spent lounging by the pool and eating concession stand snacks? Reconnect with those youthful memories by spending the day at an Orlando resort pool that’s just for adults. Relish in relaxation at the quiet resort pool (18+) at Hilton Orlando (accessible to non-resort guests with the Poolside Cabana Package only), South Beach Pool at Gaylord Palms, or the Ritz-Carlton Spa pool. With a spa reservation, each pool welcomes non-resort guests for the day.

Prefer to feel like you’re on vacation for the whole day? Book the Daycation Experience at Four Seasons Resort Orlando, and then lounge at the adults-only Oasis pool for the day. Another favorite, the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress, features a stunning grotto-style pool worthy of exploring with your date. Purchase a day-use pass (same day only; more details in this post) or plan a luxurious weekend staycation.

The Grotto at Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress by Instagrammer @chelseabelledesigns

Disney, Grown-Up Style

Theme parks may be primarily geared towards kids and families, but there are plenty of opportunities for grown-up fun. Pause for a date at adult-centric spots inside the parks, such as Nomad Lounge (Animal Kingdom), BaseLine Tap House (Hollywood Studios), or Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar (Epcot).

Of all the parks, Epcot has a reputation for being the most adult-friendly, especially when it comes to the annual Food and Wine Festival. Feast (and sip) your way around the world to experience a multitude of flavors from the world’s diverse cultures.

Alternatively, conduct your own pub-crawl or progressive dining experience while bar hopping at Disney Springs or resort hopping via the Disney monorail on a DIY pub crawl.

Sunset Dining

What’s more romantic for date night than pulling up a seat to feast while watching the sun dip below the horizon? Here are a few of our go-to’s for a romantic sunset dinner:

Canvas Restaurant in Lake Nona

Hop on a Beer Tour

The Hop On! beer tour takes beer lovers on guided brewery tours of some of the best stops along the Central Florida Ale Trail. In addition to getting stamps on your Central Florida Ale Trail map (visit all breweries and receive a commemorative growler!), you’ll learn about the brewing process, sample local beer, and make new friends. Check out the Orlando City Ticket and Pregame Package during soccer season, which includes a beer tour and ticket to a soccer match afterward. 

Leu’s Movie Night

On the first Friday of most months, Leu Gardens sets up an outdoor movie screen and invites you to come cuddle up on the lawn to watch a Hollywood flick. Fill a picnic basket with food, wine, and beer and stake out your spot on the lawn before watching a movie under the stars. Movies typically begin around 7:30pm, but the gardens open at 6pm. Most movies are PG-13. Food trucks and concessions with freshly-made popcorn are usually on the scene. 

Leu Gardens movie night. Image credit: Kristen Manieri

Orlando Science Center for Adults

The Orlando Science Center isn’t just for kids! Several times throughout the year, this hub of science and learning opens its doors after hours for Science Night Live, an adults-only event. Throughout the evening, you’ll have access to the Crosby Observatory, science exhibits, special presentations, and more. Beer and wine are available for purchase if you care to imbibe while expanding your mind.

Orlando Food Tours

While most Orlando food tours are kid-friendly, the vast majority of tour-goers are grown-up foodies on a mission to try new restaurants and learn something new. Currently, Orlandoans can nosh their way through Audubon Park & Park Avenue in Winter Park with Orlando Food Tours, Winter Garden with Winter Garden Food Tours, Downtown Orlando, Sanford with Sanford Food Tours (relaunching with a revamped tour in 2018!), and more. Some tours even include adult beverages.

Winter Garden Food Tour

Dr. Phillips Center by Night

One of our favorite swanky dates is getting dressed up for a show at Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. This stunning arts center features multiple theaters, a Broadway show lineup, grand lobby, and more. Plus, it’s within walking distance of some of our favorite downtown restaurants, including Kres Chophouse, The Rusty Spoon, and The Boheme.

Weekend Getaways

If you truly want to get away from it all, make your way to Streamsong Resort, a tranquil golf resort about an hour and 45 minutes from Orlando. Two of the resort’s golf courses were awarded in the top 15 of Golf Magazine’s “Top 100 Courses You Can Play” for 2016-17. In addition to golf, the resort boasts a grotto-style spa, four dining options, and activities for adults such as archery and guided bass fishing.

For those adults looking for an Orlando hotels near Disney, (and with the recent hike in rates for official, on-property Walt Disney World Resorts across the board) the Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa is a longtime favorite for those hitting the theme park area for a quick Central Florida staycation, or,… for those on (ahemm…) group dates, Westgate is more than equipped to handle the challenge of finding 2 or 3 bedroom suites in Orlando!

Atypical Bar Hopping

We love our local dives and watering holes, but it’s fun to change things up every once in awhile. Sip craft cocktails at a true speakeasy after obtaining the day’s password at Hanson’s Shoe Repair, get your nerd on at The Geek Easy while sipping craft brews, play arcade games at Joysticks Arcade Lounge and Retro Bar, climb the staircase to The Treehouse, or step down into the cellar bar at El Buda. The options are endless!

Photo credit: The Treehouse Orlando

Couple’s Cooking Classes

Ready to heat things up? In the kitchen, that is! Add a little spice to your at home date nights by picking up new skills at a local cooking class. The Publix Aprons Cooking Schools in Winter Park and Dr. Phillips, and Truffles and Trifles in College Park both offer cooking classes specifically for couples. Check our latest roundup of cooking classes here.

Laugh it Up at SAK 

Laugh the night away as you watch a live Improv comedy show at SAK Comedy Lab! In collaboration with audience participation, onstage comedians invent characters and scenarios on the spot. Attend one of the weekly signature shows, or put your own skills to the test by signing up for an 8-week Improv course.

Visit Our Downtown Winery

Wine enthusiasts have endless sipping options in Central Florida. In the Mills 50 District, Quantum Leap Winery produces sustainable wines with grapes from around the world. Check their calendar, which is always packed with unique events, or join the wine club. If you’d rather sip at a wine bar, The Parkview and Imperial Wine Bar are a few local favorites.

The Thornton Park District’s monthly 2nd Thursday Wine & Art Walk provides another unique way to savor wine. For $15, you’ll get a glass and a map detailing more than 20 businesses offering samples throughout the evening.

The Happiest of Hours 

Date night doesn’t need to be reserved for the weekend. Meet up midweek for nibbles and cocktails during a budget-friendly happy hour date. Many local restaurants offer robust happy hour menus with signature cocktails and shareable dishes priced at $10 or less. Here are our picks for the best Orlando happy hours.

Sip and Sample Under the Stars

Escape to Italy for the evening while sipping wine and sparkling wine and feasting on gourmet food samples at Loews Portofino Bay. Harbor Nights is an ongoing foodie-friendly event that takes place at the Universal Orlando Resort several times per year. In addition to food and wine, enjoy the romantic setting and live music. Get Your Jazz On, held four times a year in the courtyard at The Alfond Inn, is also a great bet.

Top Orlando event picks April 17-23, 2017
Harbor Nights

Channel Your Inner Mixologist

Ready to make your cocktail dreams come true? Several bars in Orlando and beyond regularly invite curious cocktail lovers to grab a seat at the bar and learn the art of mixology. In downtown Orlando, The Courtesy hosts a cocktail class on the 1st and 3rd Saturday of each month for $55, inclusive of full-size cocktails, materials, and gratuity.

Travel a little further to Sanford to Bitters & Brass, a bartender owned and operated craft cocktail bar, which hosts a cocktail class featuring a different spirit each month. The cost for the class is $50 inclusive of materials, cocktails, and gratuity.

Orlando for Grown-Ups The Courtesy Cocktail Class
Image credit: The Courtesy

Orlando Museum of Art… After Hours

While we totally recommend regularly visiting the rotating exhibitions at the Orlando Museum of Art, 1st Thursdays are a fresh new way to wander the museum at night. Featuring a new theme each month, the event features original work inspired by the theme, in addition to adult beverages for purchase. While you’re there, check out the permanent and rotating exhibits, too.

Pedal on the Limo Cycle

Get into some adult shenanigans, literally, when you hop on the pedal-powered Limo Cycle for an evening of games, laughter, and drinks. Book the Limo Cycle with friends for a scavenger hunt, trivia tour, or our personal favorite, the Shenanigans Wild & Wacky Game Event. If you don’t have a group, hop on a public tour like the Sunday Funday Brunch.

Make Something Sweet Together

Have a wicked sweet tooth? Then you’ll love the date night workshops offered at Farris & Foster’s Chocolate Factory and Wondermade. The former invites you to create a pound of chocolatey confections to take home (bonus, you can bring a bottle of wine to share), while the latter invites you behind the scenes for a tour and crash course in decorating homemade marshmallows. Both events are geared towards adult couples.

Get Artsy 

If you and your sweetie love exploring your inner artists, sign up for a public pour party with The Dirty Pour Project. Held at local breweries around Orlando, these public painting classes will teach you the art of fluid painting. After diluting your paint colors with water, layer them into a plastic glass, dump it onto a blank canvas, and watch the colors mix to create an abstract and original piece of art.

The Dirty Pour Project

Feature image credit: Four Seasons Resort Orlando