Located just north of Orlando, the suburb of Winter Park was created as a winter resort community. Today, Winter Park is still a great getaway any time of the year, especially for lovers of nature and art. Take a step back from the hustle and bustle of Orlando’s theme park scene with these top things to do in Winter Park.
Visit the Museum of American Art
The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art has the most comprehensive collection of jewelry, blown glass, leaded glass, enamels, pottery, mosaics, and art produced by Louis Comfort Tiffany. He even designed the chapel interior for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago.
Beyond its Tiffany Collection, the Morse Museum also houses treasures of American decorative art from the mid-19th century to the early 20th century. Their collection includes pottery, sculpture, painting, graphic arts, and stain glass from Tiffany contemporaries such as Frank Lloyd Wright.
Explore the Shopping District
The Park Avenue Shopping District in Downtown Winter Park is the centerpiece of this unique Florida city. Head to Park Avenue for not only some gorgeous scenery but for an amazing shopping experience in one-of-a-kind boutiques and chic dining at sidewalk cafes. I highly recommend stopping by The Parkview for a wine flight.
Park Avenue is also home to the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival, one of the oldest outdoor arts festivals in the country. If you’re visiting Winter Park in March, this festival is a must!
Take a Scenic Boat Tour
A Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour takes you on a pontoon boat ride through the city’s chain of lakes. You’ll cruise through tropical flora on three of the seven lakes and through two man-made canals, giving you an experience much like a gondola ride in Venice.
Your tour includes breathtaking views of the extravagant homes and private estates along the shores, including the home Mister Rogers stayed in while he studied at Rollins College. You’ll also get a unique view of other top Winter Park sights like the Albin Polasek Museum and Sculpture Gardens, the Kraft Azalea Garden, and Rollins College.
Discover the Sculpture Gardens
The Albin Polasek Museum and Sculpture Gardens features over 200 works by Czech-born American sculptor Albin Polasek. This museum is housed in his final home, chapel, and sculpture garden on Lake Osceola.
In 1961, Polasek set up the Albin Polasek Foundation and opened his home up as a museum. He died in 1965 and was buried in Winter Parks Palm Cemetery. The museum now offers guided tours of the gallery and gardens so that you can discover the same incredible views that inspired the artist.
Relax in a Beautiful Garden
The Kraft Azalea Garden is Winter Park’s secret garden. This serene 5.22 acre park has benches and walking trails as well as a small dock on Lake Maitland. It’s the perfect place to sit and read, go for a picnic, simply relax, or even have a private lakefront wedding.
The garden is open year-round, but its namesake azaleas will be in bloom January through March.
This article was written by Paige Watts of Paige Minds the Gap
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