This post was sponsored by National Car Rental
Orlando is not only a premier tourist destination, it’s also a major business hub that brings in travelers each week from countries throughout the world.
One of my missions is to help travelers enjoy their destination city or town like a local, whether they’re visiting for leisure or business. I thought it would be fun to share places right in my hometown that can give you a feeling of being an Orlandoan.
The next time you’re in town for a big convention, meeting or other business, take home memories of Orlando and nearby beaches by visiting some of these great, free places that we locals enjoy. Whether you have a full day or even a few hours of free time, you’ll see why Orlando is called “the City Beautiful.”
Crane’s Roost Park
Cranes Roost Park is at the heart of Altamonte Springs, in an area known as “Uptown Altamonte” which surrounds Cranes Roost Lake. The lake is encircled by 1 mile of continuous walkway with benches and covered seating areas. Within the 45-acre park is a European-style plaza, which includes a choreographed fountain show, a 62-foot picturesque tower and the Eddie Rose Amphitheater featuring a one-of-a-kind floating stage. The cobblestone pathways, ionic columns, gathering areas with seating and themed lighting fixtures create the perfect atmosphere for leisurely strolls, listening to music or just enjoying the beauty of the park. Cranes Roost Park is Central Florida’s premier outdoor event venue with weekly, monthly and annual events.
Lake Eola Park
Lake Eola Park is located in the heart of downtown Orlando. The sidewalk that circles the lake is a 0.9-mile loop, 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 with a spectacular view of Orlando’s skyline. It’s especially beautiful in the evening when the fountain in the center of the lake is illuminated with color.
Grand Bohemian Hotel’s Art Display
Located catty-corner from Orlando’s City Hall, and right across the street from the newly-opened Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, downtown’s Grand Bohemian Hotel houses an impressive art gallery worth a visit. The gallery’s Kessler Collection features more than 150 pieces from both local and international artists making it well worth the trip to stop in to see what’s in the current exhibition.
Enjoy beautiful beaches and lots of sightseeing options in the city of Cocoa Beach. Florida’s Space Coast is just a quick trip east of Orlando and is full of great restaurants, attractions, and, of course, scenic beaches. Go fishing off of one of the many beach piers, catch a live event in Historic Cocoa Village, take a hike in the Enchanted Forest Sanctuary, brush up on history at the Brevard Veterans Memorial Center, and make sure to check Kennedy Space Center’s calendar for any upcoming rocket launches.
The arboretum is an 80-acre area of native trees, lakes, hiking trails and a conservatory. It contains more than 600 species of plants – including more than 100 bromeliads – in cultivated gardens and has approximately 3 miles (4.8 km) of walking/biking trails. It’s a beautiful place to unwind in nature at the end of a business day or on a weekend.
Not only are these locations free to visit, you can explore them and other areas of Orlando with National Car Rental’s One Two Free promotion. As a registered member of National’s Emerald Club loyalty program, you’ll have the opportunity to earn a free rental day with every two qualifying rentals, or after accumulating 600 points. With the flexibility to choose when and where to redeem your earned free rental days, you can explore Orlando (or other cities you visit for business) by adding on a free day for leisure.
I’ve long been an Emerald Club member and love the speed, choice and control I experience renting with National. I bypass the counter and choose any car in the Emerald Aisle — and choose my own reward. You can do the same by registering for One Two Free today.
Enjoy your stay in Orlando!