Soaring temperatures, rainy afternoons, and a daily giving of thanks for air conditioning…yep, it’s officially summer in Orlando! Don’t let the season put a damper on date night; instead, tackle this summer bucket list of activities with your partner while staying cool.
1. Sip a frosty cocktail at an ice bar
Icy temperatures are non-existent in Central Florida, but we do have ice bars to mimic the experience. Don your cozy winter jacket (provided with your ticket package), and sip an ice-cold concoction with your date. If you’re up for it, conduct an ice bar hop by visiting ICEBAR Orlando and minus5 Ice Bar in the same day—both are located on International Drive.
2. Go swimming at a nearby cold spring
True, you’re going to have to get up early or go on a weekday to beat the crowds, but the reward of refreshingly cool spring water is totally worth the effort. Wekiwa Springs, De Leon Springs, and Kelly Park are a few great go-to swimming spots nearby. Just be aware that the parks close once they reach capacity, almost a guarantee on summer weekends.
3. Spend a day at Volcano Bay
We got a chance to check out Volcano Bay, Universal’s new water theme park, and highly recommend you add it to your to-visit list this summer. Inside the park, you’ll find 18 different rides, including a trap door slide that travels through Krakatau, the volcanic centerpiece of the park. In addition to slides, there’s also a wave pool, lazy river, and a fearless river. Don’t forget to sip some adult beverages at the park’s two island bars.
4. Float down a lazy river
One of the perks of living where people vacation is that we’ve got pretty awesome resort pools and lazy rivers right in our backyard. Lazy rivers and pools are for hotel guests only, but some resorts offer access when you purchase a spa treatment. Four Seasons Resort Orlando offers non-resort guests all day access to resort pools, water slides, and the lazy river when you book an 80-minute treatment at The Spa. Other resorts with lazy rivers include JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes, Reunion Resort, Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate, Hilton Orlando, and Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek.
5. Tackle the Disney monorail pub crawl
Disney’s monorail is free to ride and stops at Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and three Disney resorts: Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. Your best bet is to start off the day with a dining reservation, park the car, and ride the monorail to each resort from there. Valet parking is $25 and available at all three resorts. When in doubt, call ahead to confirm the parking policy for non-resort guests.
6. Go bioluminescent kayaking under the stars
Words can’t describe the magical, one of a kind experience of kayaking during bioluminescence season. Just a short drive from Orlando, the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge is a hotbed of bioluminescence in the summer months, the waters coming alive with a blue glow at the tiniest disturbance. There’s no nearby light pollution, so you’ll also enjoy fantastic views of the night sky. Both A Day Away Kayak Tours and Get Up and Go Kayaking offer bioluminescent tours.
7. Share an ice cream flight
Nothing beats a scoop of ice cream (or four) on a hot day. Kelly’s Homemade Ice Cream in Audubon Park has tons of homemade ice cream flavors (I recommend the Mexican chocolate) but one of the best items on the menu is the ice cream flight. Choose four flavors and get a scoop of each, served up in mini waffle cone cups in a cupcake tray.
8. Go ice skating
Who says you can’t ice skate in the summertime? RDV Ice Den is open for public ice skating every day of the week. The chilly indoor facility is perfect for a budget-friendly date night. Admission is $7-$10 and skate rentals are $3.75. For extra savings, visit on a Tuesday or Thursday morning (May 30 – August 10, excludes the week of June 12-16 and July 10-14) when admission and skate rental is less than $10/person. (By the way, dads skate free with the purchase of a child’s public skate admission on Father’s Day!!)
Not a skater? RDV can correct that! Sign up for Learn to Skate. Summer session starts next Wednesday, June 14 (6:00-6:45pm) or Saturday, July 1 (12:05-12:50pm). More details here.
9. Take a cocktail class
Impress your friends at your next barbecue after picking up some new craft cocktail skills. Highball & Harvest just launched a summer food & booze series, which will teach you to pair various liquors with food and infuse new life into your recipes. For pure cocktail fun, The Courtesy and The Woods both offer hands-on cocktail classes.
10. Dine on the St. Johns Rivership
The Barbara-Lee, an authentic sternwheeler docked in Sanford, departs almost daily for river cruises along the St. Johns River in Sanford. I loved the Saturday dinner dance cruise, which pairs tasty cuisine with live music and dancing. The boat is air-conditioned indoors making this a summer-friendly night out. Tickets are $60.75/person for the dinner dance cruise.
11. Sip an over the top milkshake at Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen
It’s worth braving the tourist crowds at CityWalk to indulge in one of these savory milkshakes. They aren’t cheap (my red velvet milkshake was $12.50) so share one if you’d like to save some money and a few calories. Visit between lunch and dinner and head straight to the milkshake counter to avoid long wait times.
12. Take a night hike at the Central Florida Zoo
Enjoy two opportunities to see a new side of the zoo this summer during special night hikes. Take a guided, two-hour flashlight tour of the zoo after dark and partake in animal encounters. Night hikes are scheduled for June 17 and September 16, and tickets are $20 for members and $25 for non-members.
13. Savor a locally made ice cream sandwich
If you haven’t gotten your hands on a tasty stroopwafel from Gezellig Cookies yet, quit waiting! And even if you have, you won’t want to miss your chance to try a stroopwafel ice cream sandwich. Find them at the Winter Park Farmer’s Market, The Bear & Peacock, New General, Swine and Sons, and Imperial Wine Bar & Beer Garden (Orlando location only).
14. Laze the day away at Wekiva Island
Wekiva Island, a local gem located at Wekiwa Springs, offers endless activities. Take a swim, rent a cabana, go kayaking and paddle boarding, or sip on adult beverages at the on-site bar. Entry is $1 on weekends and weekday holidays.
15. Complete the Central Florida Ale Trail
New for 2017, Central Florida now has its very own ale trail. Drink your way through 16 local craft breweries (and 5 breweries in planning). After you’ve completed the trail, you’ll receive a special growler at your last stop. You can pick up a free ale trail map at any of the participating breweries.
16. Zip line after dark
There are several places in Central Florida to go zip lining, but only a few offer after dark fun. Soak up the night sky (and maybe spot some active wildlife) every Saturday evening at Forever Florida during their moonlight zip line ($89.99/person). Or, head to ZOOMAIR Treetop Adventure Park at the Central Florida Zoo for a Moon ZOOm ($59.95/person).
17. Pick up new skills at a couples cooking class
There are hundreds of cooking classes to choose from in Orlando, and you really can’t go wrong with any of them. While any class is suitable for date night, couples cooking classes make for an extra special evening. Publix Aprons Cooking School and Truffles & Trifles both host monthly couples cooking classes.
18. Book a summer getaway
The beach is calling, and luckily we’re not far from it! Save on beach getaways with Florida resident deals, or book a stay at one of 14 Florida hotels participating in a one-day flash sale where you can save up to 50% off (sale takes place June 21, 2017 only). The Plantation on Crystal River is welcoming the start of scalloping season on July 1 with guided and unguided scalloping packages from $380-$675 for a two-night stay. You could also head to our sister city, Tampa, to book a weekend stay at one of these charming B&Bs.
19. Try indoor skydiving
Feeling adventurous, but not quite ready to jump out of an airplane? Indoor skydiving is the perfect date for you. iFLY Orlando just opened their new location on International Drive complete with dual wind tunnels. The experience (including check-in and training) lasts a little under 2 hours. Packages begin at $69.95/person.
20. Be enchanted at Waldorf Astoria Orlando
Make your staycation plans at Waldorf Astoria Orlando for their annual Enchanted Evenings. Through September 3, enjoy a host of resort activities from champagne at check-in and fireside s’mores to spa happy hour and nightly live music. Other perks for guests include:
- Fireside s’mores
- Build Your Own Poolside Cocktails
- Bar du Chocolat: A decadent selection of à la carte chocolate treats hand-crafted by Waldorf Astoria Orlando’s world-class pastry team. A selection of champagnes are available. Highlights include chocolate truffles, exotic chocolate cakes and bowls of beautiful bon-bons.Priced per piece.
- Poolside yoga
- Holiday weekend fireworks
More details at waldorfastoriaorlando.com/enchanted-evenings.
21. Listen to live music during a home tour of Casa Feliz
Every Sunday from noon-3pm, Casa Feliz in Winter Park opens its doors for Music at the Casa. Tour the historic home museum while listening to live music. The event is free and open to the public.
22. Day trip to Kennedy Space Center
The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is a must-do this summer, even if you’ve visited in the past. Walk among rockets, see the space shuttle Atlantis and Saturn V rocket, be amazed at stunning IMAX films and check out the new Heroes & Legends exhibit. Tickets are $50/person.
23. Play a round of glow in the dark mini golf
While Artegon Marketplace sadly closed, several occupants of the space are still open for business. Putting Edge has a fun glow in the dark mini golf course that is great for a rainy summer day. While it may be a bit cheesy, the course is surprisingly challenging and a fun way to pass an hour.
24. Go tubing
Sit back, relax, and float! Rock Springs Run at Kelly Park is just 30 minutes from Orlando and tubes can be rented outside the park. If you’re up for a day trip, make the trek to Ichetucknee Springs where you can tube for hours.
25. Chill out at a Cryosauna
For those days when even the simple act of walking to your car results in sweat, head to Chill Cyrosauna for a cool down that’s also good for your health. This unique experience, known as cryotherapy, exposes your body to subzero temperatures for several minutes resulting in pain relief and improved health.
26. Watch an outdoor movie
There are opportunities to catch an outdoor movie all summer long, from MoviEola in Lake Eola Park to Popcorn Flicks in the Park in Winter Park and Movie Night at Leu Gardens. Most movies are free, and many allow you to bring food along with you.
27. Cool down with a boozy pop
The Pop Parlour (locations downtown and at UCF) puts a grown-up spin on popsicles with boozy infusions. Get your fix with flavors like Mango Mimosa and Watermelon Mojito to beat the steamy Florida heat.
28. Attend Paddle + a Pint
A Day Away Kayak Tours and Playalinda Brewing Company are partnering this summer for special Paddle + A Pint kayak tours. We attended the May event and had a blast on our guided 90-minute kayak tour followed by a free pint of beer at Playalinda Brewing Company. The next event will likely be a sunset tour. Stay tuned for details!
29. See Cirque du Soleil La Nouba
La Nouba has been a longstanding staple of Disney Springs, but at the end of the year, the show will come to an end. If you haven’t seen the spectacular performance of acrobatics yet, now is the time to go before it’s too late. Tickets start at $59/person for Florida residents.
30. Take a Limo Cycle tour
See Sanford from a new perspective and have a ton of fun in the process while pedaling your way through town on the Limo Cycle. The craft brewery tour takes place on Wednesday evenings at 7pm and stops at 3 local breweries for a refreshing flight of craft beer at each. Tickets are $45/person.
31. Nosh your way through a SunRail progressive dinner
Take advantage of cheap transportation and convenient stops for a progressive SunRail date night. Church Street, Florida Hospital Health Village, and Winter Park are all stations with great restaurants within walking distance. Try creative hot dogs at Frank & Steins (Church Street Station), savory desserts and cocktails at Better Than Sex (Florida Hospital Health Village) and farm to table fare at The Parkview (Winter Park).
32. Visit the Orlando Cat Café
Cat lovers will want to make the 40-minute drive to the Orlando Cat Café in Clermont. Grab your coffee from Axum Coffee, and then head into the cat play area to spend an hour petting and playing with the resident felines. All cats are available for adoption. Visit Tuesday-Sunday, or attend one of the cafés special monthly events like High Tea with the Kitties or Yoga with Cats. Admission is $8/person, and special event prices vary.
33. Step into Pandora – The World of AVATAR
Huge crowds will no doubt be flocking to Disney’s Animal Kingdom all summer long with the new addition of Pandora – The World of AVATAR. This new area of the park brings the fictional world of Avatar to life. Floating mountains, bioluminescent forests, and 3D rides are all part of the imaginative world. There are also some pretty noteworthy eats, like the blueberry cream cheese mousse.
34. Stay cool during a drive-in or dive-in movie
If it’s too warm to enjoy an outdoor movie, catch a flick while lounging in the pool or in the comfort of your air-conditioned car. Four Seasons Resort Orlando screens movies at their Dive-In pool movie screen every Saturday (guests only), and the Silver Moon Drive-In in Lakeland is a short drive away.
35. Take flight on the Orlando Eye
On a clear day, the Coca-Cola Orlando Eye offers unparalleled views of nearby theme parks, resorts, and the Orlando skyline. Bonus: each capsule is air-conditioned. Tickets are $20 for Florida residents.
36. See a classic movie at Enzian
Have an out of the box dinner and a movie night by visiting Enzian Theater and Eden Bar. This theater screens independent, foreign, and classic films. 35mm Cult Classics are screened several times a month, and Saturday Matinee Classes are screened the second Saturday of each month. Tickets are $8/person. Grab drinks and a bite to eat at Eden Bar before or after the show to round out your date.
37. Have a Dr. Phillips Center date night
The 2017-2018 season at Dr. Phillips Center is bringing tons of exciting shows to Orlando, from Broadway favorites to ballet and musical performances. Get your tickets to an upcoming show and make reservations at a nearby restaurant (might we recommend Rusty Spoon or Kres Chophouse?) for a romantic night out at DPAC.
38. Embark on a wildlife safari
Safari Wilderness is a 260-acre wildlife area in Lakeland where exotic animals roam free. Lemurs, zebras, ostriches, and more all call the expansive wilderness home. Explore on a guided vehicle safari, paddle through the wetlands on a kayak, or feed ring-tailed lemurs. Guided vehicle safaris are 25% off for Florida residents with code FLRESIDENT25 through June 30, 2017.
39. Go bowling and feast on food truck fare
Challenge your date to a free game of bowling and share eats from 6 different food trucks during the final Bowling & Bazaar event June 28, 2017. The Orlando Food Truck Bazaar by The Daily City and Boardwalk Bowl are teaming up for the final event in the series. The food truck line-up for June 28 is The Naked Cupcake, SwedeDISH Food Truck, SMAC Food Truck, Tamale Co. Food Truck, Up in Smoke BBQ Orlando, and Voodoo Kitchen Food Truck.
40. Eat breakfast tacos made by Mayor Buddy Dyer
Breakfast food (and taco Tuesday) will never be the same after this can’t-miss foodie event at Bikes, Beans & Bordeaux Cafe in Audubon Park. Mayor Buddy Dyer will be in the kitchen on June 20, 2017 at 5pm cooking breakfast tacos for guests. Get the details here.
41. Attend a local street festival
Head outside once the sun goes down for a street festival. There are many to choose from, but some of our favorites are the monthly Thornton Park Wine Walk, Alive After 5 in Sanford, and the First Friday Festival in Baldwin Park.
42. Discover a new favorite restaurant during Bite30
Bite30 lasts the entire month of June and serves as Orlando’s 30-day restaurant week. More than 20 Orlando restaurants are participating this year, each offering prix fixe $30 dinner menus. It’s the perfect time to discover a new favorite spot together!
43. Rise to the escape room game challenge
Repair and launch your spacecraft before cosmic radiation hits Mars during Mission: Mars at The Escape Game Orlando, solve a mystery in Sherlock Holmes’ Library at The Great Escape Room, and find the antidote to a dangerous virus developed by a rogue chemical weapons specialist at Escapology. Orlando’s escape room games are a great opportunity to exercise your teamwork muscle.
44. Practice yoga under the stars
I’m a big fan of the weekly outdoor yoga class in Lake Eola Park, but in summer months, it’s just too warm. Nighttime yoga is a great alternative, and there are several fun classes around the city to choose from. Aero Rooftop YogaGlow at Aero includes glow sticks, glow paint, and optional face and body paint. Orlando Brewing hosts Beer & Yoga Under the Stars, which includes a free pint of beer after the 7pm class.
45. Have a food truck date
46. Attend 1st Thursdays at the OMA
Nicknamed “Orlando’s Original Art Party,” 1st Thursdays at the Orlando Museum of Art invite visitors to the museum for art, live music, mingling, and a cash bar. Admission is $15 and includes access to the featured exhibit at the museum.
47. “Ooh” and “ahh” at holiday fireworks
Fourth of July weekend is just around the corner and you’ve got endless options for firework viewings. Many area resorts will have fireworks displays; Red, Hot & Boom takes place July 3; and Fireworks at the Fountain kicks off at 4pm July 4. And, of course, you can always head to the theme parks for a nightly display of fireworks.
48. Embark on a clear kayak adventure
Get Up and Go Kayaking has a fleet of completely clear kayaks allowing you to see what’s in the water around you and below you during a guided tour of Rock Springs Run. While you’ll definitely work up a sweat, there are several stopping points throughout the tour where you’ll be able to exit your kayak and cool off with a dip in the refreshing and clear water.
49. Cheer on the Lions at an Orlando City SC match
Show your pride for our resident soccer team and check out the new soccer stadium at a home game this season. Most games start at 7pm or later when the hottest part of the day is long gone. Check the schedule for a full list of upcoming games.
50. Take a workshop at Driftwood Market
Make something new and pick up crafty skills at the new hands-on workshops at Driftwood Market. The market is located in College Park, and upcoming classes cover everything from hand painted signs to string art and hand lettering. Workshops range from $20-$99/person.
51. Explore the Tampa Bay area
Since launching Tampa Date Night Guide, we have been BLOWN AWAY by how much there is to do in our sister city in the I4 corridor. We’ve already shared hundreds of ideas for fun activities, experiences and events so go check out our new site and then make a date to spend some time in Tampa, St. Pete and Clearwater this summer.