Guide to Winter Park & Orlando

October 21, 2021

By Office of Admission

From premier dining and arts-and-culture offerings to theme parks and outdoor recreation, our admissions counselors share their favorite things about Rollins’ beloved hometown so you can experience it like a local on your visit to campus.

Sunset over Lake Eola in Orlando, Fla.Sunset over Lake Eola in Orlando, Fla.
Lake Eola in downtown Orlando.

Lake Eola Park
“Lake Eola is absolutely my favorite part of the city! I even got engaged there! It’s a great place to go for a walk or jog with the Orlando skyline as a backdrop. You can even take the swan boats out on the lake for a water excursion. Lake Eola Park also hosts a number of events such as a farmers’ market on Sundays, movies and concerts at the amphitheater, yoga and meditation on the lawn, and special events and festivals throughout the year.”
— Francisco Vanegas | Senior Assistant Director of Admission

Rollins students dining at Prato on Park Avenue, one of Winter Park’s favorite chef-driven local restaurants.Rollins students dining at Prato on Park Avenue, one of Winter Park’s favorite chef-driven local restaurants.
Rollins students dining at Prato on Park Avenue, one of Winter Park’s favorite chef-driven local restaurants.Photo by Scott Cook.

Winter Park Restaurants
“Park Avenue literally has some of the best restaurants just steps from campus. If you’re looking for breakfast or weekend brunch, Briarpatch is a must. For a quick lunch, Power House Cafe is a fresh Mediterranean option. For dinner, my favorites are Bosphorus or Prato.”
— Ed Bustos | Director of International Admission

View of Rollins College campus from Lake VirginiaView of Rollins College campus from Lake Virginia
Photo by Scott Cook.

Winter Park Boat Tour
“The Boat Tour is a fun way to immerse yourself in Winter Park’s natural beauty and view campus from Lake Virginia. This hour-long guided cruise narrates the history of Winter Park and Rollins as you venture through the Winter Park chain of lakes. Boats leave on the hour every day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and the dock is located a few blocks from both campus and Park Avenue.”
— Brandy Fransen | Senior Associate Director of International Admission

Rollins students choosing vegetables to buy at the Winter Park Farmers' MarketRollins students choosing vegetables to buy at the Winter Park Farmers' Market
Photo by Scott Cook.

Farmers Market
“Visiting the Winter Park farmers market is definitely part of my weekend routine. The market takes place every Saturday morning from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the old train depot located just a couple blocks from campus. This quaint locale is a popular spot to stock up on fresh produce, unique plants to decorate your dorm room, or just grab a made-to-order crepe for breakfast.”
— Frank Thomas | Senior Assistant Director of Admission

Rollins students paddle board on Lake VirginiaRollins students paddle board on Lake Virginia
Photo by Scott Cook.

Paddleboard Orlando
“Winter Park is home to some of the most beautiful lakes in the area, several of which are connected by canals. One of my favorite ways to explore the lakes is by paddleboard, especially with my dog as first mate. Paddleboard Orlando is just a short drive from campus and offers guided tours and rentals daily.”
— Elissa Jovita | Senior Associate Director of Admission

Clearwater Beach, Florida, on the west coast is just a couple hours' drive from campus.Clearwater Beach, Florida, on the west coast is just a couple hours' drive from campus.
Clearwater Beach, Florida, on the west coast is just a couple hours' drive from campus.

Beaches
“One of the best things about living in Florida is that you can visit the beach year-round. Cocoa Beach and New Smyrna Beach are just an hour from campus on the east coast, while the gulf coast beaches such as St. Petersburg Beach, my personal favorite, are just a two-hour drive and great for weekend trips. You can catch some rays while reading a good book or tap into your more adventurous side by surfing, parasailing, deep-sea fishing, or joining a nighttime bioluminescent kayaking tour. I love to finish off the day by enjoying some local seafood.”
— Teasa Mays | Assistant Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Rollins art majors debut their original exhibitions at the Rollins Museum of Art.Rollins art majors debut their original exhibitions at the Rollins Museum of Art.
Rollins art majors debut their original exhibitions at the Rollins Museum of Art.Photo by Scott Cook.

Winter Park Art Museums
“Winter Park boasts a very robust art scene with several museums and galleries within walking distance of campus. I love exploring the Rollins Museum of Art on campus, which showcases one of the oldest and most distinguished collections in Florida. I even had the chance to complete a curatorial summer internship at the museum! A few of my other favorites include the Morse Museum, which houses the world’s most comprehensive collection of Louis Comfort Tiffany's works, and the Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art at The Alfond Inn.”
— Kristina Bracero | Admission Counselor

An outdoor holiday concert on the lawn at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Orlando.An outdoor holiday concert on the lawn at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Orlando.
An outdoor holiday concert on the lawn at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Orlando.Photo by Scott Cook.

Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center
“I love that we have a world-class performing arts center so close to campus. Located in the heart of downtown Orlando, the Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center provides a venue for touring shows such as Broadway musicals, popular headliners, comedy specials, lectures, musicians, and local and emerging artists. You’ll often find Orlando Ballet, Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, Opera Orlando, and other favorites performing here. The venue also hosts classes and arts education opportunities. Two of my favorite shows that I’ve seen there are Something Rotten and Mean Girls.”
— Hannah Gonzalez | Admission Counselor

The Orlando City Soccer team celebrates a win.The Orlando City Soccer team celebrates a win.
Orlando City Soccer team.

Professional Sports
“Orlando is home to several professional sports teams. I’ve always been a huge soccer fan, and I was super excited when the Orlando City Lions and Orlando Pride soccer teams were founded. They have created a strong following in the area. Downtown Orlando is decked out in purple on game days, and you can feel the athletic spirit whether you’re enjoying the match in the stadium or at a local hangout. If you’re not a soccer fan, you can check out the Orlando Magic and the Solar Bears to get your basketball and ice hockey fix. All home games are held downtown and are easily accessible by the SunRail. You can also travel to Tampa for a Rays, Buccaneers, or Lightening game for a change of scenery.”
— Zaire McCoy | Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management and Dean of Admission

Rollins students enjoy a day at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World.Rollins students enjoy a day at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World.
Rollins students enjoy a day at the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World.Photo by Scott Cook.

Theme Parks
“Growing up a fan of all things Disney, I spent a large majority of my childhood hanging out at Walt Disney World and experiencing all the magic there. However, the fun doesn’t have to end as an adult. Whether you want to try new foods from around the world at Epcot, explore Hogwarts at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, swim with the dolphins at Sea World’s Discovery Cove, or watch the fireworks at the Magic Kingdom, there are so many fun ways to spend time at Central Florida’s theme parks! Rollins students have access to discounted theme-park tickets, and they also get Florida-resident rates on annual passes.”
— Joy Harlynking | Admission Counselor

Rollins students float on inner tubes in Wekiwa Springs.Rollins students float on inner tubes in Wekiwa Springs.
Photo by Scott Cook.

Wekiwa Springs
“Wekiwa Springs is definitely a hidden gem in Central Florida. This is the perfect weekend excursion if you love the outdoors. Just a half-hour from campus, Wekiwa Springs offers visitors the opportunity to relax in a natural setting, enjoy a picnic, or take a swim in the cool spring. You can also explore the river routes and see some of the local flora and fauna by renting a kayak or paddleboard. Thirteen miles of trails also provide opportunities for hiking, bicycling, and horseback riding. They even have live music at Wekiva Island on the weekends.”
— Mayra Villamizar | Admission Counselor

Rollins students walking to class.

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