Picking back up on our time in Orlando – After figuring out my Orlando grocery strategy, I began research on the local hangouts. I surely did not want my six-week break from Florida to become a six-week break from gaining cool points.
Taking some ideas from my in-the-know Orlando friend Janessa, a 10-year resident of NYC, I compiled a list of cool places to find a sense of creative community. Some might call these hipster hangouts. I happen to like hipsters (although I’m not really sure what they are). Here’s where they, and other creative types, can be found:
A quirky place to eat, drink, and be on your laptop. Shimmering silver streamer curtains in one corner, a tiny stage with an organ in another. Did I just step into Brooklyn? Cool Dad found the atmosphere a little too dark for getting serious work done. And I’m not sure if boisterous kids would be welcomed. But I appreciate the decor and the fact that this place has survived many years in a city that is filled with unimaginative chain restaurants and stores.
Every Monday night from 6-10pm you can find a bunch of people getting together in a blocked-off parking lot reveling in local food, organic produce, drinks, music, crafts, and food trucks. I scouted this out while wearing Cool Newbie in a baby carrier. Friendly folks abound. And you can bring your kids! What a treat for live-music-deprived parents.
Another quirky place to have some tea and brunch and take a break from the kids. When I first went by to pick up a menu, I knew it was my kind of place. An African American girl with black shorts, black tights, and a killer afro stood in the doorway. Later, as I dined with Janessa and reminisced about middle school, an early 90s Paula Abdul hit started playing. Perfect. I also heard some Ratatat in the mix as I cut into my delicious basil hollandaise potato pancakes.
This is a bright daytime event, and I guess that makes for fewer hipsters, but still a lot of fun. The amount of vendors is astounding, and the location is convenient. It’s right next to Central Park and Park Avenue–the miniature Orlando versions! Park Avenue is a nice hangout in itself. You can look down the street and actually see people walking around with their dogs or eating at outdoor cafes.
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See, a trip to Orlando no longer has to mean a cool point deficit (ie. theme parks)! For more hangout ideas, check out this wonderfully accurate description of the Orlando neighborhoods at The Daily City.