A.D. Thompson
orlando florida

There are many wonderful neighborhoods to choose from for those living in Orlando. Depending on your lifestyle — and the things that are most important — residents here can practically customize their experience, putting the focus on anything from great schools and family-fun options to watersports, dog-friendly neighborhoods and walkable districts that find major favor with local foodies.

Read on for a look at some of the best 'hoods to consider according to those living in Orlando.

Thornton Park

This upscale area offers major proximity to downtown and sits just adjacent to the city's glittering centerpiece: Lake Eola Park. Weekends in Thornton Park come alive with regular events and an extensive Sunday farmer's market that draws people from all over the metro.

The homes here are loaded with historic charm and beautiful architectural details.


Winter Park

What began as a winter haven for rich northern snowbirds eventually grew into a thriving town rife with businesses, golf, lake-lifestyle options and wonderful schools.

Park Avenue is Winter Park's main artery and its loaded down with beautiful bistros and boutiques that beg exploration.


With the construction of the elegant and upscale Mall at Millenia, the area grew into a commercial shopping zone chock full of entertainment and dining options. Folks couldn't help but want to move in.

Millenia is also conveniently located right off I-4 and central to both downtown and Disney — Universal is mere minutes away.

South Semoran

Families and young professionals love South Semoran for its affordability and airport convenience, among other things.

In recent years, small restaurants and breweries have been popping up as well, adding a bit of indie street cred to its cache.

Metro West

Metro West has a history in citrus and is an attractive option for everyone from young singles looking for a central location and lots of space for jogging and cycling to families looking to settle down.

Empty nesters are also eager to fill their schedules with everything from shopping to outdoor pursuits.

Lake Nona

You can't talk about hot Orlando neighborhoods without hearing the name Lake Nona, which has seen massive growth in both residential and commercial development in recent years.

Both UF and UCF have medical schools here, the United States Tennis Association chose it for its expansive headquarters and campus and several state-of-the-art hospitals are already serving its community. And it's only poised for more growth.

Baldwin Park

A walkable, mixed-development community with Lake Baldwin at its center, Baldwin Park is home to some of the hottest restaurants in the city, boasts a beautiful dog park and seems light years from the bustle of downtown, even though it actually sits just minutes away.

From smaller apartments to expansive estate-style homes, those looking to move here will find myriad options.


Work here? There's absolutely no reason not to live here, as well.

Downtown Orlando doesn't close up shop after 5 p.m. Whether you're taking in a Magic game at the Amway Arena or a touring Broadway show at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, there's so much to do. Lots of independent bars and restaurants have helped turn Downtown into so much more than a vibrant business district.

Ivanhoe Village

Eclectic, funky and walkable, Ivanhoe Village (or the Ivanhood as it's sometimes called) is the sort of neighborhood you'll never want to leave, though it is easy since Downtown, Mills 50, Winter Park and a host of other neighborhoods are conveniently close by.

With so many fun activities, whether centered on drinks, dining or even activities on the lake, your friends from other parts of the city will be happy to visit. They may even come by bike.

Kirkman South

You could say “universal convenience" and mean it when talking about Kirkman South, which places residents in equally suitable locations for commutes to downtown or Disney.

This neighborhood is exceedingly suitable for those working in any capacity for Universal Orlando Resort, and keeps fans of the park close, as well.



About The Author

A.D. Thompson

A.D. Thompson spent the first half of her 25-year career behind the editor’s desk, including time at Playgirl Magazine. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Orlando Sentinel and a host of other publications, print and online. Now a full-time freelancer, she is the Orlando expert for USA Today’s 10Best.com and writes about everything from Mickey Mouse to marijuana-based tourism with equal levels of enthusiasm – and occasional bouts of the munchies.