Orlando's diverse neighbourhoods make it a vibrant destination. Downtown, you'll be close to Orange Avenue, where there's a superb choice of restaurants and lots to do at night. With Florida being a popular spot for spring breakers, you'll find a wealth of buzzing bars and nightclubs. Orange Avenue and Southern Boulevard have a good concentration of the best nighttime venues. Alternatively, head to the quieter Dixie Belle quarter, a residential area with a wealth of holiday rental properties. Colonialtown, more suburban, boasts a charming town centre and proximity to gorgeous Baldwin Park, the ideal place to enjoy the sunshine and perhaps an ice cream or two. Southwest Orlando is where you'll find the Millenia neighbourhood and the Mall at Millenia, one of the city's most upscale shopping destinations and the best place for retail therapy.
When you rent a car in Orlando, you'll be able to travel easily between the area's amazing range of theme parks. The big ones include Disney World, Universal Studios, SeaWorld, Islands of Adventure, and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. As some of these are outside the city, they're best reached with your own vehicle. Local attractions worth seeing include the dramatically named Mary, Queen of the Universe Shrine, and the Arboretum at the University of Central Florida. The state's sunny weather makes car travel particularly pleasant. If you're really into driving, have some adventurous four-wheel fun at Revolution Off Road Adventures, where you can try your hand at dune buggying. Gatorland is another smaller theme park worth seeing. The nature preserve features one of the state's best-known creatures, the majestic American alligator. Wherever you go, make sure to bring your camera and lots of sunscreen!
Orlando is pleasantly warm to hot year round. You can expect temperatures around 20°C in January, and in the low 30s in August. March to May is an excellent time to visit, as you'll avoid the wet weather of autumn and the busy mid-summer season while catching the most pleasant temperatures. However, summer and winter visits are still popular, especially for families. With the excellent climate control in hotels and many rental homes, you can stay comfortable whenever you come. Florida's cuisine, characterised by 'Floribbean' dishes, mixes excellent local seafood with cuisine brought over by island immigrants. Southern home-style cooking such as satisfying fried chicken and shrimp and grits is also abundant. And of course, you'll find fast food and barbeque galore, with diners and food stands throughout the city selling inexpensive and satisfying bites.
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Florida offers a rather unique ecosystem that explorers will soon discover while travelling between its main cities, making renting a car in Orlando particularly pleasant. From the sprawling Everglades wetlands near Miami to the gorgeous, sun-kissed stretches of countryside and palm-lined residential streets, the journey in Florida can be just as exciting as the destination. With a full UK driving licence, proof of insurance, passport, and warning triangles packed, you'll be good to go. 21 is the usual minimum age for car rental in the US, but some companies may require you to be 25 or older. The blood-alcohol limit is 0.08%, but as always, avoiding alcohol completely when driving is very much recommended. Although driving on the right side of the road may be a challenging change for UK drivers, the wide American thoroughfares and large, powerful vehicles are a real delight.