Thornton Park is a trendy neighborhood in the heart of downtown Orlando. Catering to a diverse and hip crowd, this area is busy every night with activity. Don' t miss restaurants in the area include: 

Shari on Central Blvd. serves contemporary sushi.

Hue on the corner of Central Blvd, offering a progressive American menu.

Dexter's Wine Bar on Washington for a great happy hour or brunch. They have great salads and sandwiches too.

CityFish for fresh seafood on Central Blvd.  They have a huge variety of oysters but they can be pricey. 

For family entertainment:

On Saturdays visit Lake Eola Park for an upgraded version of Farmer's Market. Lake Eola Park has outdoor play area for the kids, a nice walkway around the lake. Feed the swans or take a cruise around the lake in a swan paddle boats. Get refreshed with a snack after your paddle cruise at Erik's on Eola.

Getting There:

Downtown Orlando takes about 30-40 minutes from Disney and about 15-20 minutes from Universal Studios.  

From Disney or Universal, take Interstate 4 East get off on the Colonial exit, head East, then right turn on Summerlin Ave. The heart of Thornton Park is at Central Blvd and Summerlin Ave.

 From the airport, take Semoran/436 North to 408 (toll road) Take 408 west and follow to the Mills St. exit. Take right on Mills and follow to Central Blvd. , turn left and you will see the center of Thornton Park in 1 block, at Summerlin Ave.

Thornton Park is a great place to relax. The people are friendly and it is a great place to have lunch or dinner.

It  is worth the trip if you are looking to get away from the Mouse and the tourist areas. There are many restaurants and shops and a short walk to the Mad Cow Theater and art galleries in downtown. It is a safe and nice place to walk around both day and night. You will see many joggers and dog walkers at all hours.  Occasionally there are free concerts sponsored by the local radio station, WMMO on Orange Ave. Check the website if you are making a trip on a Saturday afternoon, you might just get to see a band like Foreigner, free.

Don't miss Thornton Park! Ask the friendly locals advise on other "secret" spots to see in Orlando.