Orlando, FL Guide
By Jenny Agress
|Median Rent||Median Sqft|
|1 Bed||$1,673||735 sqft|
|2 Beds||$1,911||1,084 sqft|
|3+ Beds||$2,615||1,600 sqft|
When a destination is nicknamed the “Theme Park Capital of the World,” you know it’s going to be fun. Fly or drive into energetic, multicultural Orlando and explore all it has to offer — like a thriving arts and culture scene, must-see concerts and events, award-winning restaurants, stunning gardens, wild nature preserves, theme parks, and, outside of the tourist attractions, charming neighborhoods with beautiful, tree-lined streets. Within its sprawling 110+ square miles, this destination has plenty of things for any resident or visitor to do and see.
As of writing this guide, Orlando has a population of 307,000+ residents. This part of Florida is incredibly diverse, with a demographic that is 36% White, 24.2% Black, 32.7% Latino or Hispanic, 4.7% Asian American Pacific Islanders (AAPI), and 8.1% representing multiple races.
Like most of Florida, Orlando has a subtropical climate — so when the summer months hit, you can expect a lot of humidity. Temperatures average at a low of 50 °F in January and a high of 92 °F in July and August. When it’s nice out, you can find locals and tourists alike walking their dogs, relaxing at a neighborhood park, shopping at Orlando’s popular outdoor malls, eating outside at one of its tasty restaurants, or having some fun in the sun at a theme park. Orlando residents do have to deal with hurricane season, which runs from June 1st to November 30th. But even when there isn’t a hurricane, the rainy season runs from May through October, so it’s always good to have an umbrella or a raincoat nearby.
Orlando apartments and houses can be found in a huge variety of neighborhoods. Housing here runs the gamut from affordable apartments and single-family homes to historic neighborhoods with cobblestone streets, trendy condos in Downtown Orlando highrises, and suburbs with multimillion-dollar mansions. Live in the Mills 50 District in Downtown Orlando, and you’ll find modern apartment complexes with popular restaurants and bars you can walk to. Winter Park, on the other hand, is one of Central Florida’s most affluent neighborhoods, with historic and custom-built mansions on pedestrian-friendly streets, manicured lawns, beautiful gardens, and lush greenspaces. Just west of Downtown, Winter Garden is one of many attractive areas for families, as it has quiet neighborhoods, gated communities, and plenty of land where buyers can build a home, making it equally idyllic, welcoming, and safe. Whether you’re moving by yourself, as a couple, or with your family, Orlando is sure to have a neighborhood you’ll love.
Orlando is big and spread out, so most residents find that they need a car to live there. Fortunately, Orlando caters to the driving lifestyle; you’ll find plenty of public parking in Orlando, including lots, garages, and streetside parking through either meters or the ParkMobile app. Rideshare, taxi, and luxury car services are available. Orlando is easy to navigate, with convenient major highways and street signage directing drivers to all of the area’s top attractions, but it’s also crowded — so expect to sit in traffic, especially during rush hour. To make local travel even easier, Orlando is currently testing a pilot bike- and scooter-share program that lets riders rent and drop off bikes wherever they want. Through a smartphone app and embedded GPS technology, riders can simply locate a bike or scooter nearby, unlock it, ride to their destination, and leave it there.
For those who prefer public transportation, the LYMMO Downtown Circulator is a rapid bus that’s free for passengers and stops at major destinations throughout Downtown Orlando. It has three lines — lime, grapefruit, and orange — that take passengers to Dr. Phillips Center For Performing Arts, City Hall, Orange County Courthouse, University of Central Florida - Downtown, and more. Another option is the I-RIDE Trolley, which services the International Drive area.
Because Orlando regularly attracts travelers from all over the world, getting in and out of there is usually affordable and easy. SunRail, a commuter rail with service throughout Central Florida, can take weekday passengers to 16 stops in Orlando and along a greater 49-mile route from DeBary, in Volusia County, to Poinciana, in Osceola County. One of those SunRail stations doubles as an Amtrak station, which can expand passenger rail travel to include locations throughout the U.S. LYNX is a daily local bus service that takes passengers all over Orlando and its surrounding areas, including stops in Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Lake, Polk, and Volusia counties. Most exciting for Floridians is the much-anticipated Brightline express train, which will soon connect Orlando to Brightline’s existing stations in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach.
For those who need to fly, the city’s major airport, Orlando International Airport (MCO) hosts more than 40 airlines — including budget options — and offers direct routes to and from over 150 destinations around the world. Orlando also has a smaller airport, called Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB), which prides itself on only hosting affordable flights to and from cities across North America through a select group of budget airlines, including Allegiant Air, Swoop, Flair Airlines, Sun Country Airlines, and World2Fly.
Orlando is definitely a “foodie” town. Restaurants in Orlando are friendly and welcoming and include everything from casual cafés and dinner shows to celebrity chef restaurants and local haunts helmed by James Beard Award-nominated chefs. International Drive (or “I-Drive,” as the locals call it) has every kind of cuisine you could crave at every price point. The stretch of Sandlake Road between South Apopka Vineland Road and Turkey Lake Road is dubbed “Restaurant Row” for both the density and quality of its restaurants. Perfect for a special occasion, go there and make a reservation at Christini’s Ristorante Italiano for award-winning Italian fare, indulge in a Mediterranean steakhouse menu at The H Orlando, or head to homegrown Kabooki Sushi — a modern eatery with innovative Japanese dishes by James Beard Award semifinalist Henry Moso. Its more than 24 restaurants include popular chains like Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar, Bento Asian Kitchen & Sushi, Morton’s The Steakhouse, The Melting Pot, and Bonefish Grill. For some entertainment with your dinner, go to one of the city’s popular dinner shows, like the Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament or Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue.
Behind every good restaurant is a stellar chef, and Orlando has plenty. Brandon McGlamery, of both Winter Park’s Prato and Maitland’s Luke’s Kitchen, was a semifinalist for a James Beard Award in the “Best Chef: South” category, as were husband-and-wife duo Julie and James Petrakis, who helm The Ravenous Pig, Cask & Larder, and The Polite Pig. Guillermo Pernot, of Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar, won two James Beard Awards for “Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic” and “Best Single Subject Cookbook.” Of course, we can’t forget Chef Norman Van Aken, who won in the “Best Chef: South/Southeast” category for Norman’s in 1997 and is the only Floridian ever listed on James Beard’s prestigious “Who’s Who in American Food and Beverage” list.
If that name-dropping intrigued you, you’ll love Orlando’s celebrity chef restaurants, many of which are in theme parks. In Disney Springs alone, you’ll find Pepe and JALEO by José Andrés, Masaharu Morimoto’s namesake Morimoto Asia, Chicken Guy! by Guy Fieri, Frontera Cocina by Rick Bayless, and more. Head to the Swan and Dolphin Resort, at Walt Disney World, and dig into the fresh seafood and coastal fare at Todd English’s bluezoo. Don’t miss Cake Boss Buddy Valastro’s over-the-top cakes at Carlo’s Bakery, located in The Florida Mall.
Orlando’s bar scene is as diverse as its restaurants. Step back in time at Mathers Social Gathering—which has occupied the same historic building since 1894—where classily-dressed mixologists whip up inventive, Prohibition-era cocktails. Hanson’s Shoe Repair, found in the oldest building in Downtown Orlando, is a speakeasy that doesn’t allow phones or photos and requires a daily-changing password to get in. For a unique bar night, beer lovers can go to Player 1 Video Game Bar and choose from nearly 250 beers on tap and by the bottle, ciders, and meads while playing their favorite arcade games. If it’s wine you love, Wine Bar George in Disney Springs has over 140 wines available by the ounce, glass, or bottle just waiting to be sipped.
When you want to eat at home, there is guaranteed to be a grocery store (or five!) nearby. Grocery stores in Orlando include options like Publix, Whole Foods, The Fresh Market, Walmart, Target, Sprouts Farmers Market, and ALDI.
When it comes to shopping in Orlando, the city does not disappoint. Choose from its multiple outlet malls and boutique shopping streets to the world-renowned The Mall at Millenia. While the latter is a traditional mall, it’s anything from standard. It has more than 150 luxury brands and trendy retailers, from Forever 21 to CH Carolina Herrera and Chanel; popular restaurants like Johnny Rockets, California Pizza Kitchen, and The Capital Grille; and anchoring department stores like Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, and Neiman Marcus. Spanning 1.8 million square feet, The Florida Mall is the largest mall in Central Florida, with over 250 outlets for shopping, dining, and entertainment. Go here and shop at nearly 40 department and anchor stores—from Bed Bath & Beyond, Dillard’s, JCPenney, and Dick’s Sporting Goods to West Elm Outlet, HomeGoods, Saks OFF 5th, Super Target, and Nordstrom Rack—or take your kids to the one-of-a-kind Crayola Experience, check out the 3,000 square-foot Play Park, eat at one of 23 restaurants, or browse through hundreds of today’s top retailers.
Outlet malls in Orlando are a big draw. Between Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores and Orlando International Premium Outlets, you’ll find more than 180 popular brands like Puma, Disney Outlet, J. Crew Factory, Calvin Klein, Gap Outlet, and Tommy Hilfiger. While both also have luxury storefronts, you’ll find the best upscale outlet stores at Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets, the city’s only dedicated luxury outlet mall, where you can buy your favorite designer goods at up to 65% off.
If it’s vogue boutiques, antique stores, and vintage shops you seek, head to Orlando’s upscale neighbor, Winter Park. Originally an 1800’s resort town, this charming, oak-lined neighborhood town has specialty shops like Peterbrooke Chocolatier (for gourmet chocolates), Tugboat & The Bird (for bespoke children’s clothing), Ancient Artifacts & Treasures (for antiques), and Through the Looking Glass (for fashion accessories). Of course, we can’t forget to mention the shopping in Orlando’s theme parks and attractions areas, including Disney Springs, Universal Citywalk, and ICON Park.
In a city as big and diverse as Orlando, there is something for everyone to do and love. For starters, it’s called the “Theme Park Capital of the World” for good reason — friends and family of all ages visit Orlando solely to see Mickey and Minnie at Walt Disney World Resort, eat “around the world” at Epcot, ride the superhero rides at Universal Orlando Resort and Islands of Adventure, experience the magic of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and see the killer whales at Seaworld Orlando. Lego fans will love seeing life-size Lego installations of their favorite characters at LEGOLAND Florida Resort. And just steps away, the world’s first Peppa Pig Theme Park promises to delight young children. For a little outdoor adventure with your theme park, spend the day at Gatorland, the area’s oldest attraction, where you can go zip lining, hang gliding, or even off-roading in a Hummer. Many of these theme parks also have their own water parks, including Disney’s Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon, Universal’s Volcano Bay, Seaworld’s Aquatica Orlando, and an onsite water park at LEGOLAND.
Orlando has more than 100 attractions outside of its theme parks. Head to I-Drive and check out all the must-see attractions at ICON Park, like Madame Tussauds Orlando, SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium, and the Museum of Illusions. Not far away, you can test the thrill-seeker in you at Fun Spot America, Andretti Indoor Karting & Games, iFLY Orlando Indoor Skydiving, The Escape Game Orlando, and Axecelsior Axe Throwing.
When you’re craving arts and cultural experiences, the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts hosts over 300 Broadway shows, Orlando Ballet performances, comedians, and concerts from its Downtown location. Check the performance schedule at the Orlando Shakespeare Theater and the Orlando Repertory Theatre, just 10 minutes from Downtown, to see classic and modern plays for all ages. Catch your favorite stadium tour concerts at Amway Center, Camping World Stadium, and Exploria Stadium, or more intimate concerts at the House of Blues, at Disney Springs, or Hard Rock Live, at Universal CityWalk. If you like art and beauty, see more than 5,600 pieces from ancient to modern times at Rollins College — it’s free to visit — or explore the 50 acres of botanical gardens blooming with azaleas, bromeliads, palms, roses, camellias, elms, and oaks at Harry P. Leu Gardens.
Are you a sports fan? If so, join the crowds at Orlando Magic basketball games, Orlando Pride or the Orlando City Soccer Club soccer teams, Orlando Solar Bears hockey games, and the Orlando Predators arena football games. Keep that adrenaline pumping when you hop on the plentiful outdoor adventures in Orlando and its surrounding areas. You can go birding by Lake Apopka and see over 360 species of nesting and migrating birds — including bald eagles, great blue herons, snowy egrets, and anhingas — or check out the 17 wildlife viewing spots in Orlando that fall along The Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail. Just an hour outside of Orlando, Brevard Zoo is the only zoo in the U.S. where you can take a kayak tour around the entire zoo. See the manatees at Blue Spring State Park, in nearby Orange City. Cycle down the 20.8 miles of paved bike paths along the West Orange Trail, ride an airboat in the Central Florida Everglades with Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures, or explore 438 acres of wilderness at the Tibet-Butler Preserve. (The latter has seven different ecosystems and four miles of hiking trails for adventurers of all ages.) Finally, for a more relaxed outdoor outing, join the locals for a friendly stroll around idyllic Lake Eola, Lake Apopka, or Lake Conway.
With so much to do and see in Orlando, it’s an exciting place for students to spend their college years. Orlando is home to a variety of post-secondary schools and vocational opportunities, including the University of Central Florida, Rollins College, Full Sail University, Valencia College, and two-year colleges like Lake-Sumter State College and Seminole State College of Florida.
We rate and sort every listing based on fair market rent.
Pet Friendly Apartments Orlando
97 apartments starting at $999/month
Studio Apartments Orlando
10 apartments starting at $1,256/month
1 Bedroom Apartments Orlando
122 apartments starting at $1,000/month
2 Bedroom Apartments Orlando
154 apartments starting at $999/month
3 Bedroom Apartments Orlando
124 apartments starting at $650/month
Cheap Apartments Orlando
233 apartments starting at $650/month
Short Term Rentals Orlando
109 apartments starting at $999/month
Furnished Apartments Orlando
11 apartments starting at $1,750/month
Luxury Apartments Orlando
33 apartments starting at $1,400/month
Houses for Rent Orlando
116 apartments starting at $650/month
5 apartments starting at $1,100/month
Central Business District Apartments
20 apartments starting at $1,250/month
College Park Apartments
19 apartments starting at $1,440/month
Colonialtown North Apartments
6 apartments starting at $1,700/month
Lake Eola Heights Apartments
8 apartments starting at $1,500/month
Lake Mann Gardens Apartments
7 apartments starting at $1,050/month
Park Central Apartments
8 apartments starting at $1,350/month
7 apartments starting at $650/month
South Division Apartments
20 apartments starting at $625/month
South Eola Apartments
10 apartments starting at $1,899/month
South Orange Apartments
8 apartments starting at $1,300/month
Thornton Park Apartments
5 apartments starting at $2,395/month
5 apartments starting at $2,195/month
Altamonte Springs Apartments
46 apartments starting at $1,200/month
16 apartments starting at $1,299/month
Meadow Woods Apartments
24 apartments starting at $1,575/month
21 apartments starting at $1,566/month
Pine Hills Apartments
16 apartments starting at $935/month
Wekiwa Springs Apartments
12 apartments starting at $1,506/month
Winter Park Apartments
24 apartments starting at $1,325/month
Winter Springs Apartments
15 apartments starting at $1,470/month
Apartments near Full Sail University
50 apartments starting at $677/month
Apartments near Rollins College
27 apartments starting at $1,450/month
Apartments near Valencia College
44 apartments starting at $1,299/month
Nearby metro areas
40 apartments starting at $850/month
Jacksonville Metro Apartments
1,176 apartments starting at $448/month
75 apartments starting at $800/month
Miami Metro Apartments
3,712 apartments starting at $1,000/month
Orlando Metro Apartments
1,518 apartments starting at $500/month
Tampa Metro Apartments
1,984 apartments starting at $550/month