Orlando – the Tourist Capital of United States

Orlando is often reduced to its theme parks. Wrongly. Because the city in the center of Florida has many other attractions ready for its visitors. Interesting museums, shopping opportunities, theaters, parks and much more make the capital of Orange County an interesting travel destination and also make the hearts of those who want to not only plunge into the hustle and bustle of the theme parks beat faster.

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Nonetheless, it is, of course, above all the many theme parks with their parades, landmarks and other attractions that make Orlando the “tourist capital” of the USA and which made the city the most-visited tourist destination in the United States in 2014 with over 62 million visitors from all over the world.

Numbers, data, facts about Orlando (Florida)

  • State: Florida
  • County: Orange County
  • Population: 285,713 (V2018) / 2,474,314 (2016) – metropolitan area
  • Area: 261.5 km2
  • Population density: 1,092.6 residents per square kilometer
  • Founding year: 1875
  • Height: 34 meters
  • Time zone: Eastern (UTC -5 / -4)
  • Postal codes: 32803, 32812, 32817, 32822, 32824, 32829, 32831, 32833, 32835, 32837, 32839
  • Area code: +1 321, 407
  • Mayor: Buddy Dyer

Location and urban structure

Orlando is located in central Florida about 120 kilometers from Tampa and 200 kilometers from Jacksonville. If you want to drive to Miami, you have to cover 350 kilometers, while the distance to Tallahassee is 400 kilometers. Key West is even further away. Neighboring communities are Winter Park to the north and Belle Island and Edgewood to the south.

The city itself is divided into four boroughs: Northwest, Northeast, Southwest and Southeast Orlando. Downtown is located in the southwest of Northeast Orlando. The maximum west-east extension is 25 kilometers, the north-south extension 30 kilometers. Orlando is part of the Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, also known as Greater Orlando for short.

Weather and climate in Orlando

Orlando has a subtropical humid east side climate that shows characteristics of a tropical rainy climate. From May to September in particular, it gets quite hot and humid in Orlando. The temperatures are often over 30 degrees Celsius and seldom drop below 21 degrees Celsius even at night. During this time, the humidity and the chance of rain showers are high. There are thunderstorms and torrential showers almost every day.

It is milder and less humid in the months from October to April. During this time, temperatures range between around 9 and 25 degrees Celsius. Night frost and snowfall are rare in the region. The lowest temperature ever measured was -8 degrees Celsius. In the months of April to October hurricanes are to be expected, which can hit Florida very hard.

A good travel time is therefore the months of November to May, when there is a predominantly mild climate with low humidity. Hurricanes are not to be expected during this time. These usually haunt Florida from the beginning of August to the end of October.

Population of Orlando

Orlando is the fifth largest city in Florida by population and is home to 1,092.6 people per square kilometer. More than half of the population (60.7 percent) are white, including 29.7 percent of Hispanic descent. The African American population makes up 26.1 percent. 4.3 percent of people in Orlando are of Asian descent. 0.2 percent of the population have Native American or Alaskan roots.

At 51.4 percent, Orlando has slightly more women than men. The majority are between 20 and 39 years old. English is the mother tongue of around 75 percent of the population. The Spanish language accounts for 16.6 percent.

Tourism is essential economically

Economically, tourism is essential in the Orlando metropolitan area. The unemployment rate is 3.0%, below the national average. Orlando is home to a number of major corporations such as SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Planet Hollywood and Lockheed Martin.

The state University of Central Florida (UCF) is the largest institution of its kind in Florida and the second largest university in the United States. Over 50,000 students study at the university.

Good infrastructure allows you to travel there on a wide variety of routes

Orlando can be easily reached by rental car, train or plane. Interstate 4 is the only one of its kind that runs through the city. In addition, the urban area is served by various expressways such as Florida’s Turnpike and the East-West Expressway, which are similar to highways and are subject to tolls. In addition, some highways and state roads lead through the large tourist stronghold.

The connection with the railroad also works well. Because the Central Florida Rail Corridor runs through Orlando, which is served by SunRail from Poinciana via Downtown Orlando to DeBary. There is also an Amtrak train station south of downtown, which Silver Star and Silver Meteor serve daily to Miami and New York City. On long-distance buses, the Amtrak Thruway Motorcoach and the Greyhound Lines should be mentioned. Local bus services to the surrounding area are also offered.

There are also three airports in Orlando. Orlando International Airport is the main airport for Orlando and central Florida and handled around 35.7 million passengers in 2014. It is the second largest airport in Florida. Another international airport is Orlando Sanford International Airport 30 kilometers north of the city near Sanford. Orlando Executive Airport is only used for private and business aviation.

Book a hotel in Orlando

There are many hotels in Orlando. Including numerous luxury hotels with exclusive amenities. Well-known luxury hotels for high demands are, for example Ritz-Carlton Orlando in Grande Lakes, the JW Marriott Orlando in Grande Lakes or that Loews Portofino Bay Hotel on Universal Boulevard. This is also a luxurious hotel with a special flair Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel in Spanish style.

Nevertheless, it is not always easy to find a free room for your stay – regardless of whether you value amenities in a luxury hotel or not. Ideally, try to choose your hotel based on your travel plans. You will find many hotels near Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando, International Drive attractions, or the Holy Land Experience. The parks are all located southwest of Orlando. Not far from Disney is the Lake Buena Vista Resort Village. Epcot is approximately a 16 minute drive from the resort. The Rosen Center Hotel, which is not too far from the Universal Orlando Resort, also promises good value for money.

Tip: Book a hotel on International Drive for your stay. The location is well suited for visiting various sights in and around the city while on vacation. There is also no shortage of shops on International Drive.

History of Orlando

Orlando was first settled by Europeans in 1836. Before that, members of the Muskogee and other Indian tribes lived in the area. The settlement “Jermigan”, from which Orlando eventually emerged, was founded in 1842 and finally renamed Orlando in 1857. Orlando received its official city charter with only 85 residents in 1875 and was finally connected to the railroad network in 1881, whereby the population grew relatively quickly.

In 1890 Orlando had 10,000 residents and became the center of lemon cultivation thanks to its favorable climatic conditions. However, the rise was suddenly slowed down by a frost break, called Big Freeze, and the development of the city in history set back decades. From 1964 the city began to flourish with the theme parks and over time the city developed into an entertainment center that is second to none.

Arrival to Orlando

  • By Air: Orlando International Airport is located approximately 6 miles southeast of downtown Orlando. Non-stop flights are possible with Lufthansa from Frankfurt, for example.
  • By Rail: Orlando has Amtrak connections to Miami and New York.
  • By bus: Various long-distance bus routes serve Orlando.
  • By Car / Rental Car: Orlando is accessible from I-95 and I-75.

Orlando - the Tourist Capital of United States