It’s a time-honored tradition to “eat where the locals dine.” And why not? They are familiar with the territory and be far more familiar with good food than temporary tourists, right?
The same principle applies to visitor attractions. And by that standard, any visitor here should consider Orlando’s iconic Lake Eola Park. Not only because of its downtown location, but because in contrast to Disney and other theme parks, you don’t need to dig every deep into your wallet to have a great time here.
Some visitor comments:
“Definitely a good place to unwind in the Orlando area… One of the most picturesque nature spots in Orlando…It's hard to believe that out of all the hustle and bustle of Orlando that there can be this treasure called Lake Eola Park…How can you say something bad about Lake Eola?”
Visitors have found the same reasons that residents have for coming to this 43-acre downtown park first established in 1892 and known for its signature fountain and views of the constantly-changing city skyline.
Both tourists and visitors alike use it simply to walk or run the almost one-mile concrete pathway around the park. Families find a state-of-the-art play area, one for toddlers and one for older children. There’s bright lighting and comfortable parent seating.
There are areas to simply read a book under the shade of an ancient oak. Or walk your dog. Or have a picnic lunch to watch the passing people parade or the imported and often nasty-acting Black Swans.
For a small amount, swan-shaped paddle boats can be rented.
Many benches, sitting spots, and shaded grassy spots are here for picnics, reading, napping, yoga, drawing, or nothing at all.
Because so many enjoy this park, it has also become a popular location for many special events such as the Sunday Farmer's Market, Fireworks Over the Fountain (the annual 4th of July celebration) and Fiesta in the Park (an annual spring & autumn arts & crafts show.).Outside of the theme parks, there are probably more events here than anywhere else. One upcoming: The City of Orlando is hosting the 26th Annual Spring Fiesta in the Park on April 11 from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. and April 12 from 12 - 5 p.m. More than 200 artists and craft booths. And a kid’s area and live entertainment.
For affordable entertainment, check out the park's Walt Disney Amphitheatre. From concerts to theater performances. There’s also a Sunday Farmer’s Market.
There is free and metered parking within walking distance. Paid parking garages are located on South Osceola Avenue and North Eola Drive. Simply follow the city directional signs to the nearest garage.
The park is open Monday through Sunday from 6:00 a.m. - 12 a.m
If there are any complaints from residents and visitors, they may be related to the park’s not being open for longer hours. But there’s also parking. You might have to circle the park a few times for free or inexpensive parking.
Lake Eola Park is located in the heart of Downtown Orlando. The sidewalk that circles the lake is .9 miles in length, making it easy for visitors to keep track of their walking or running distances. Other activities available to park visitors include renting swan-shaped paddle boats, feeding the live swans and other birds inhabiting the park, seeing a concert or a play in the Walt Disney Amphitheater, grabbing a bite to eat at Relax Grill on Lake Eola or relaxing amid beautiful flower beds and a spectacular view of Orlando’s skyline.
Lake Eola Fountain
The original Linton E. Allen Memorial Fountain was built in 1957 and refurbished in 2011. It is known as the “official” icon of the City of Orlando. At night the fountain comes alive with a choreographed show set to music. The colors of the water and the musical themes change with the season. Shows run nightly, with the schedule dependent on the time of the year.
A ride on a paddle boat is a great way to explore Lake Eola. Lake Eola Park has swan-shaped paddle boats available for rent for $15 per half hour. Each boat holds 5 adults. Hours of operation are 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. Sunday through Tuesday; and 10 a.m. – 10 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. Rentals are accepted up to 30 minutes prior to closing time. Look for the boat rental dock by the Relax Grill. No reservations needed.
Lake Eola is a popular destination for festivals, concerts, fundraising walks and even weddings. There are various locations around the park available for rent as shown here. For information on park rentals, call 407.246.2378.
Lake Eola Park
195 N Rosalind Avenue