Winter Park is located north of Orlando, Florida. It is a peaceful haven from the resorts and tourist traps of Disney and Universal. It’s enchantment made up of a historic district, culture, art, and world-class dining. Here are just a few reasons why we love Winter Park!
One of the best ways to describe Park Avenue is new-world sophistication meets old-world charm. Park Avenue is located just off of Fairbanks Ave in Winter Park. It has it’s own 11-acre park filled with shady oak trees, landscaped planters, sitting areas, open space, and three beautiful fountains. Located at the park is a rose garden at the southern corner of Central Park where you can take time to stop and smell the roses. The beatufiul gardening and lush foliage is perfect for picnics, date nights and wedding photoshoots. Park Avenue is home to a variety of outdoor concerts, movie screenings and art festivals. Park Avenue is home to an array of unique boutiques and gift shops, world-renowned art museums, chic salons/spas and epicurean delights from sidewalk cafes and trendy wine rooms to fine dining and gastro pubs. Often called “Little Europe,” Park Avenue is a destination that has provided the citizens and visitors of Winter Park with an elegant place to stroll, dine, and shop.
The official Park Avenue walking map is a great tool to use. Grab a cup of coffee or an iced tea at Orlando’s favorite coffee spot, Barnie’s, and experience Park Avenue by foot.
Winter Park Lakes
Since Winter Park feels like a “world” away from the tourist corridor. It always surprises visitors that its location is just minutes away from the world’s most popular theme parks.
Winter Park was originally developed for wealthy Northerners seeking a tranquil place to live and escape from the harsh winters. Winter Park was actually called Lakeview until 1881 when two businessmen, Loring Chase and Oliver Chapman, decided they wanted the name to be more representative of a park in the winter … thus the city was renamed Winter Park. To this day, the city still attracts a lot of winter visitors because of its wonderful weather, relaxing lifestyle and plethora of unique places to visit.
Peacocks roam freely in Winter Park
There are so many reasons to fall in love with this quaint city and it has been featured in numerous articles, movies and TV shows. National Geographic Traveler magazine recognized the city as one of the world’s top historic destinations, noting “this gracious town manages to retain its reputation as an oasis within the helter-skelter growth of Central Florida. Winter Park’s small downtown has a commercial district with some interesting historic buildings and small businesses. It also has a nice historic residential area. There is a clear sense that this is very much a place where people live, work, go to school – not just a showpiece for tourists.”
In 2015, Winter Park was featured in an award-winning Super Bowl commercial. Winter Park was the selected location because it symbolized the quintessential American hometown.
Winter Park’s vision statement really sums up its essence: Winter Park is the city of arts and culture, cherishing its traditional scale and charm while building a healthy and sustainable future for all generations.
The Winter Park Boat Tours
Established in 1938, the fleet of six 18-passenger boats travels through the pristine Winter Park chain of Lakes. It is a definite MUST SEE for locals and visitors alike. Every tour promises breathtaking views of nature as well as an historic overview of the luxurious private homes and estates along the shores. Keep an eye out for the occasional water skier, yogi on a paddleboard, or a sunbathing alligator. The dock is less than a 5-minute walk from Park Avenue. It is located on the East end of Morse Boulevard on Lake Osceola.
Rollins College is ranked as one of the most beautiful US college campuses. Founded in 1885, Rollins College is Florida’s oldest recognized college, and is consistently ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of “America’s best colleges.”
The College of Arts & Sciences offers full-time undergraduate programs in the liberal arts. The Crummer Graduate School of Business is consistently ranked by Forbes magazine among the best business schools for return on investment, Forbes has ranked the MBA program No.1 overall in Florida. The Hamilton Holt School serves the Central Florida community by offering exceptional undergraduate and graduate degree programs during evenings and weekends to students diverse in age, experience and professional development.
Rollins College has been ranked among the most beautiful U.S. college campuses by the Princeton Review for the past decade, ranking #1 in 2015 and #10 most recently in 2017.
Casa Feliz Historic Home
Casa Feliz (“happy house”) is the beautifully restored Spanish Farmhouse designed by acclaimed architect James Gamble Rogers II. The exterior of the house and grounds are picture-perfect and an amazing place for weddings and other special events. The rich textures of original Spanish roof tiles and whitewashed century-old bricks, a turret, a bell tower, a heavy timber balcony detailed in colors of the Mediterranean, lush landscaping – courtyards, sweeping oaks, and native plants – make it a must see in Winter Park.
Casa Feliz is open to the public free of charge for self-guided tours on Tuesday and Thursday from 10am – 12pm.