Orlando Nightlife

As one of the world's leading tourist destinations, Orlando has to meet the challenge of offering entertainment to more than 50 million visitors each year—and providing memorable experiences that will bring them back again and again.

Not too long ago there was little to do after dark. Then, when Disney saw a flood of their guests heading off to a Downtown Orlando entertainment complex,

they retooled their after-dark options to include Pleasure Island (now The Landing) and later West Side, now both part of the Downtown Disney (soon to be Disney Springs) entertainment complex. In response, Universal Orlando opened CityWalk. Now, with the expanded entertainment venues of the Dr. Phillips Arts Center and Amway sports arena, a good number of locals are filtering back to the city core and leaving the theme parks to tourists.

If you're here for at least two nights and don't mind losing some sleep, reserve one evening for Downtown Disney and the next for CityWalk. Disney has the advantage of being its own government entity so they can often stay open later than bars elsewhere. One difference you may detect here is that Disney’s clubs are largely frequented by off-duty Disney cast members. At Universal, however, it appears to be a cross-section of young, virile club goers who work outside the theme parks. Also, to its credit, CityWalk premiered the Blue Man Group in 2007, which certainly upped the stakes. In Downtown Orlando, crowds are the usual variety pack. Club locations here are scattered, with the trendy Thornton Park district appealing to young urbanites, and serious club-goers preferring the Downtown core and the various bars and clubs along Orange Avenue and Church Street. Keep in mind that smoking is not permitted in any Florida restaurants and bars that serve food.

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