Downtown Orlando, Florida, is a popular neighborhood known for its many amazing restaurants, nightlife, and sporting events. It’s the central business district of Orlando, Florida, and its entertainment capital. Residents will find gorgeous 19th-century buildings between modern skyscrapers and easy access to everything the city offers. So if you’re considering relocating to this bustling neighborhood, here’s what you need to know about moving to downtown Orlando.
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Table of Contents
Where is Downtown Orlando?
Downtown Orlando is at the heart of the city, in the direct center of the metro area. Its borders are St. Marks Street, Mills Ave, Orange Blossom Trail, and Kaley Avenue. Within downtown Orlando are multiple smaller communities, including the North Quarter, the City District, Lake Eola Heights South Eloa, the Central Business District, Thornton Park, Callahan, Lake Dot, and Parramore. The area of the entire downtown area is about 3.656 square miles. It’s primarily an urban environment. However, there is a lake in Lake Eola Park and several bodies of water in and around the North Quarter.
Several major thoroughfares run through downtown Orlando, including the I-4 Expressway and Spessard L. Holland East-West Expressway. Residents also have several options for public transportation, including the LYMMO – a free rapid transit bus system that runs several days per week – as well as Sunrail and Amtrak Stations.
Map of Downtown Orlando
Downtown Orlando History and Overview
The history of downtown Orlando goes back to 1875, with the incorporation of the town of Orlando. A fire destroyed the original village in 1884, but settlers rebuilt it and established Orlando as a city in 1885. The arrival of the Atlantic Coast Line Railroad in 1890 brought incredible growth to downtown Orlando, as did the Florida land boom of the 1920s.
Orlando became a major military center during WWII with the development of the McCoy Air Force Base just southeast of downtown. The opening of Disney World in 1971 transformed the city’s character into a major tourist destination, leading to the development of office buildings, shopping, and hotels in downtown Orlando. Orlando had a relatively modest downtown area until the 1990s, when a building boom kicked off in 1998 and continued throughout the 2000s. Today, Orlando is one of Florida’s most important economic and cultural hubs that attract millions of tourists each year and families seeking sunshine and affordable living.
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Downtown Orlando Demographics
- Downtown Orlando population: 18,731
- Household income: $58,968
- Educational attainment: 92.6% of residents have a high school diploma, while 39.7% have a bachelor’s degree.
- Median age: 35.7
- Foreign-born population: 22%
What’s it Like Living in Downtown Orlando
Downtown Orlando has a great vibe that attracts residents from all walks of life. It offers a booming economy, walkable streets, and easy access to all the best shopping and restaurants in the city. The central business district has a dense, urban feel with plenty of skyscrapers and high-rise apartment buildings. For those looking for a more family-friendly neighborhood in Orlando, the Lake Eola Heights neighborhood offers gorgeous single-family homes and a park with a small lake and walking trails. The Thornton Park District is another popular area offering good schools, low crime, and great real estate. Downtown Orlando has a mix of urban excitement and suburban bliss, with a central commercial area surrounded by smaller residential communities.
Although Orlando is famous for its theme parks, it also has a unique local culture with recurring film and music festivals, museums, street fares, and more. It’s also a bit of a melting pot, blending influences from the Southern United States with Hispanic and Asian communities. Downtown Orlando is a very walkable neighborhood, and you’ll often see residents riding their bikes to work or taking public transportation. Downtown Orlando is also surprisingly family-friendly for a major commercial area, and you’ll often see kids in many more residential sections. Plus, it offers great job opportunities in industries ranging from healthcare to aviation and aerospace. So if you’re looking for a healthy mix of action and tranquility, you’ll love living in downtown Orlando.
Things to Do in Downtown Orlando – Best Restaurants, Attractions, and Shopping
Regardless of your age or background, you’ll find plenty of fun things to do in downtown Orlando from excellent restaurants to sporting events. Downtown Orlando restaurants are some of the best in Florida and offer unique dishes from an array of different cultures.
Kres Chophouse in the historic Kress Building is one of the best places to eat in downtown Orlando, serving surf and turf dishes and craft cocktails. But if you’re looking for something more casual, Tin and Taco on Washington Street is one of the best restaurants in downtown Orlando for gourmet tacos and craft beer.
Most of the shopping in downtown Orlando is in the central business district around Central Blvd or Colonial Drive. The Orlando Farmers Market is open every Sunday in Lake Eola Park. Just down the road, residents can find popular shops and boutiques like Color Me Places Clothing Store or the Library Bookstore.
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Aside from shopping and restaurants, residents will find a variety of other downtown Orlando attractions to keep them entertained. The Amway Center is a legendary sports and entertainment arena which is home to the NBA Magic and hosts other events, from concerts to professional wrestling. If you’re looking for downtown Orlando family activities, the Orlando Science Center offers educational exhibits on everything from dinosaurs to space, or the SAK Comedy Lab is one of the best things to do in downtown Orlando if you want a good laugh.
Here’s where to find the top Downtown Orlando Attractions:
- Kres Chophouse, 17 W Church St, Orlando, FL 32801 (407) 447-7950
- Tin and Taco, 40 W Washington St, Orlando, FL 32801 (407) 425-4340
- Orlando Farmers Market, 20 N Eola Dr, Orlando, FL 32801
- Color Me Places, 103 E Pine St, Orlando, FL 32801
- Library Bookstore, 101 E Central Blvd #3, Orlando, FL 32801 (407) 835-7495
- Amway Center, 400 W Church St, Suite 200, Orlando, FL 32801 (407) 440-7900
- Orlando Science Center, 777 E Princeton St, Orlando, FL 32803 (407) 514-2000
- SAK Comedy Lab, 29 S Orange Ave, Orlando, FL 32801 (407) 648-0001
Schools in Downtown Orlando
For a major urban area, downtown Orlando has several top-rated schools, including public and private schools and institutions of higher learning. There are a total of nine public and private schools in Orlando. The Orange County Public School System serves the neighborhoods in downtown Orlando, which ranks above average for test scores and class sizes.
Public schools in downtown Orlando include Hillcrest Elementary, Howard Middle School, Jones High School, and William R. Boone High School. There are also multiple private schools in downtown Orlando including the Christ School, Parramore Academy, Trinity Downtown, and more. Although there are several good schools in downtown Orlando, it’s more of a commercial district, and many top Orlando schools are in more residential areas.
However, several colleges and universities have campuses in downtown Orlando, including the University of Central Florida, Florida A&M University, FSU College of Medicine, and the Adventist University of Health Sciences.
Is Downtown Orlando Safe?
Although plenty of areas in downtown Orlando are perfectly safe, it does experience some crime, especially in the CBD. The central business district has a crime rate of 2638 per 100,000 residents, which is 12% higher than the national average. It also has a violent crime rate of 487 per 100,000 residents (25% higher than the national average) and a property crime rate of 2151 per 100,000 residents (10% higher than the national average).
However, other more residential areas have an even lower crime rate. For instance, Callahan and Lake Dot have a total crime rate that is 100% lower than the national average. So as long as you’re aware of your surroundings in more densely populated areas, downtown Orlando is perfectly safe.
The Orlando Police Department patrols the area and has 1074 employees, including 806 officers and 268 civilian employees.
Downtown Orlando, FL Real Estate
The downtown Orlando real estate market offers affordable prices and a wide selection of architectural styles. The median price of downtown Orlando homes for sale is $294,500, which is affordable for a major urban area. The median sales price per square foot is $341, which is up by 10.4% since last year. Residents can find anything from high-rise apartment buildings and condominium complexes in the central business district to ranch or Mediterranean-style single-family homes in the surrounding neighborhoods.
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Downtown Orlando also has a strong rental market. According to RentCafe, the average downtown Orlando rent is $2178 per month. Prices start at around $1400 for a studio, up to $9,000 for a three-bedroom. Although the average rent in downtown Orlando is higher than the national average of $1727, residents can find affordable options, and 59% of rentals are under $2000.
Ready to relocate to this exciting metropolis? Let our experienced team of downtown Orlando movers make your transition easy and painless. Call 813-922-1529 to request a free quote.