The mere mention of Orlando, Florida evokes thoughts of theme parks, crowds, and larger-than-life attractions. It is the quintessential family vacation spot that every child dreams of visiting, and that inspires some obsessed adults to don their mouse ears and visit every year. Theme parks might be the focus of these getaways, but you should add Ivanhoe Village to your itinerary, too.
Still, there are probably some single adults, and even families, who may feel immune to the call of the city. Or there might be those Disney fans who, as much as they love the roller coasters and parades, might need a break from the relentless child-like cheer of the theme parks. That’s why discovering Ivanhoe Village, a little pocket of Orlando away from the madness of Disney, is so exciting and refreshing. With more than 50 local activities, shops, and restaurants that offer everything from custom art to craft beer. Ivanhoe Village is Orlando’s little-known artsy corner.
It is (almost) always sunny in Ivanhoe, a pedestrian, pet, and bike-friendly area adorned by palm trees and colorful storefronts. Located lakeside, it is a reprieve from the Orlando you think you know and home to events like the Orlando International Fringe Theater Festival. Come to connect with nature, learn from talented and artistic residents and dine on unexpected cuisine. Here are eight unmissable activities and restaurants in Ivanhoe Village.
Epic Paddle Orlando
Epic doesn’t begin to describe the sunsets on this tour, prominently featuring the Orlando skyline. This isn’t like regular standup paddle boarding – this is a much more adult version with music, beer and uninhibited dance moves by the guides that are impressive considering the balancing required. Epic Paddle Orlando sends photos of the experience to all guests after so there’s no need to worry about having your phone or camera out on the water– you’ll still get to post that epic shot to Instagram after your excursion has ended.
Where: 1600 N Orange Ave, Orlando, FL 32804
The Hammered Lamb
The Hammered Lamb is a classic neighborhood pub with a twist – lamb is featured prominently on the menu, breathing new life into old favorites like sliders, quesadillas, and paninis. Word of the bar spread quickly in part due to their free “train shots,” complimentary whenever a train passes by. Bonus – they’re environmentally conscious and do not utilize single use plastics or foam containers.
Where: 1235 N Orange Ave, Orlando, FL 32804
Ivanhoe Park Brewing Company
Ivanhoe Park Brewing Company is a craft beer company that opened in 2018 and is distributed throughout central Florida. They have four core brews – an IPA, Belgian witbier, golden pilsner and blonde ale. The best way to sample them all is to order a flight. Tours of the brewery are available upon request and they also host special events like a dog afternoon every second Sunday of the month. The brewery also offers trivia, watch parties and “Take One Home Tuesday” with half off refills on branded growlers.
Where: 1300 Alden Rd, Orlando, FL 32803
Better than Sex
Sure, sex is great, but have you ever tasted decadent desserts in a dimly lit, romantic setting? That’s what Better Than Sex offers its adult diners, with only 10 seats in a seductive atmosphere. From the risque names of the desserts to the drinks served, it is a more flirtatious version of date night – so be sure to bring someone you really love. Reservations are a must due to limited capacity and high demand.
Where: 905 N Orange Ave, Orlando, FL 32804
Maffrey’s is a boutique gift shop featuring a carefully curated collection of locally made items, from candles to cocktail infusions. You can find eclectic home goods here that would be great gifts, but who could blame you if you kept a couple treats for yourself: There are sweet smelling soaps, chocolate bars, and hot sauces to name just a few tempting items. The shop opened in 2020 and has thrived in part because of their commitment to “good goods,” meaning products that have a positive social impact. The shop was also named Best of Orlando in 2021.
Where: 1231 N Orange Ave, Orlando, FL 32804
Luna Mosaic Arts
Interested in crafting? You’ll find supplies and instruction to create your mosaic masterpiece at Luna Mosaic Arts. The shop offers classes and projects suitable for all skill levels. This female-owned establishment also serves as a workspace for rent and is open to artists.
Where: 813 Virginia Dr, Orlando, FL 32803
Something Different is a vintage furniture shop with chairs and couches from all eras and jazz music playing for shoppers to get you in the right state of mind while browsing. Visitors get a 2-for-1 deal when it comes to their shopping experience, with a new shop inside Something Different called Romancing the Light that features lit up trees, branches and flowers.
Where: 1618 N Orange Ave, Orlando, FL 32804
Succulents Empire is a dream for plant lovers, where anyone with an aspiring green thumb can browse rare and expensive plant varieties, as well as more accessible and easy to care for plants that are appropriate for even beginning gardeners. Opened in 2020, this female, Hispanic-owned shop has gained popularity on TikTok and Instagram. They offer shipping across the country and are lauded for the care shown to their plants.
Where: 1700 N Orange Ave, Suite 200, Orlando, FL 32804