orange87

Is downtown Orlando a tourist destination and is there "nothing to do there?"

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1 hour ago, Uncommon said:

St. Pete’s downtown versus Orlando’s and Tampa’s downtowns are sort of apples to oranges. I lived in St. Pete for 2 years and although the downtown had a lot going for it, it felt more like a small city’s downtown, like Winter Park or St. Augustine or even St. Pete Beach, as opposed to a central business district. Beach Drive is nice and has beautiful views, cool restaurants, and bars, and the nearby Vinoy Park and beaches are awesome, not to mention the Dali museum and Locale, but outside of that one strip, the downtown is small and not very vibrant or walkable.

I disagree...I currently am working on a project on Central Ave in St. Pete and there are about 7-8 significant buildings going up at the moment in DTSP. Central Ave alone has a TON of foot traffic. Restaurants/cafes galore and retail/shopping options blow ORL and TPA away.

The WaterStreet project alone in Tampa will leave DT Orl way behind IMO. Orlando seems content with small incremental additions while these cities are going for the jugular 

4 minutes ago, sunshine said:

That is fair accessment,  I do agree there is nothing to do in downtown Orlando.

The only attraction I can think of is walking around Lake Eola and that is being generous. 

We are not a strong "placemaking" city.

Winter Park has more to do than downtown Orlando.  Visiting Rolling college campus, Morse museum, Park Ave, boat tour, quality restaurants.......

 

 

 

100% this. Its SLOWLY getting better but we are WAY behind even little 'ole WP

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So maybe I'm off base here... but the specific discussion that started this was AFTER eating AFTER a soccer game.

The Houston game started at 7:30.  That means it ended at 9:30.  By the time you walk to Wahlburgers and eat its 1045 optimistically?  

I know I'm the local drunk, but... you aren't doing any of those "culture" activities at 11PM.

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20 minutes ago, HankStrong said:

Andy, there are no lines at cultural things when they are closed.  Duh.

Break in and go!

A Vincent Price Classic - Terror In the History Museum!

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2 hours ago, AndyPok1 said:

So maybe I'm off base here... but the specific discussion that started this was AFTER eating AFTER a soccer game.

The Houston game started at 7:30.  That means it ended at 9:30.  By the time you walk to Wahlburgers and eat its 1045 optimistically?  

I know I'm the local drunk, but... you aren't doing any of those "culture" activities at 11PM.

I think the game was around 1PM and we had Wahlburgers about 3:30. The discussion was after we ate.

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34 minutes ago, orange87 said:

I think the game was around 1PM and we had Wahlburgers about 3:30. The discussion was after we ate. 

I was waiting until we got back to the original time to the original afternoon spoken of.

First off, I'm calling bull crap, because you are harping about something from March 31st on a Saturday afternoon 1pm and a home WIN? Go walk around and explore and go somewhere better to mid-day eat, then watch the Final Four later on. Go shoot a rack at burton's or sportstown. Being 74degrees at 3:30pm and cloudy, heck go to the history center, or grab a lane at colonial lanes (RIP). What in the heck would he do at 3:30pm in Tampa on said date and time, and I want food and activity, go.

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15 hours ago, jgardnerucf said:

I was waiting until we got back to the original time to the original afternoon spoken of.

First off, I'm calling bull crap, because you are harping about something from March 31st on a Saturday afternoon 1pm and a home WIN? Go walk around and explore and go somewhere better to mid-day eat, then watch the Final Four later on. Go shoot a rack at burton's or sportstown. Being 74degrees at 3:30pm and cloudy, heck go to the history center, or grab a lane at colonial lanes (RIP). What in the heck would he do at 3:30pm in Tampa on said date and time, and I want food and activity, go.

Well, Orlando needs to get going. Tampa's Water Street, by itself, may eclipse downtown Orlando for the kind of activity you're looking for.

Edited by Dale
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19 hours ago, orange87 said:

I think the game was around 1PM and we had Wahlburgers about 3:30. The discussion was after we ate.

Memories are flawed, that's fine.  But even if it was a late afternoon game, we haven't had one of those since April.  Unless your friend was using "football" in the European sense... the science just doesn't check out.  We basically only have night games because of the Florida sun.

Ignoring that, let's go back to the original question I posed.  What does your friend like to do for fun that doesn't exist?  Where can we improve?  Unless they have a very niche interest, or they only like bowling/trivia/karaoke/shopping malls, I'm hard pressed to understand what we don't have.

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1 hour ago, AndyPok1 said:

Memories are flawed, that's fine.  But even if it was a late afternoon game, we haven't had one of those since April.  Unless your friend was using "football" in the European sense... the science just doesn't check out.  We basically only have night games because of the Florida sun.

Ignoring that, let's go back to the original question I posed.  What does your friend like to do for fun that doesn't exist?  Where can we improve?  Unless they have a very niche interest, or they only like bowling/trivia/karaoke/shopping malls, I'm hard pressed to understand what we don't have.

We have nothing interesting to look at.

DTO is fine after dark on a Friday or Saturday night for bars and restaurants.

But if you're entertaining a visitor from someplace like Seattle or San Francisco or Boston or NOLA etc, etc, etc during the daytime, and they ask you to take them around downtown and show them the sights, what are you going to show them?

Lake Eola? The library? Church Street Station? The Amway Center? OK, fine. Ten square blocks. Then what? Thirty minutes and you're done.

Get in the car and drive to College Park then Park Avenue? Maybe out to Winter Garden?

Mostly, it's not Orlando's fault because of our geography and topography. There are just no real interesting natural assets in Central Florida. No downtown riverfront. No seaport. No big ships coming and going. No bridges. No sittin' on the dock of the bay, watching the tide roll away. No buskers/street musicians. No market square. No Chinatown. No Little Italy. Little Vietnam is way up in Mills 50 and isn't much to speak of.

Etc, etc, etc.

I love living in Orlando for it's local charms, but for visitors coming to downtown from more interesting places, I think DTO would be kind of a let down.

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5 hours ago, Dale said:

Well, Orlando needs to get going. Tampa's Water Street, by itself, may eclipse downtown Orlando for the kind of activity you're looking for.

Skeptical of this statement. Water Street should go a long way to help repair Tampa’s messy grid and bring in some pedestrian activity to what is generally a hostile area to walk around. 

Tampa’s downtown still does not have a single contiguous pedestrian street, like say, Central Ave between Orange and Summerlin (which was also about a 15 year incremental transformation).

Also, if you look the sum of the parts in Tampa’s proposals, Orlando has similar development (or even larger ones toe-to-toe such as UCF downtown).

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27 minutes ago, prahaboheme said:

Skeptical of this statement. Water Street should go a long way to help repair Tampa’s messy grid and bring in some pedestrian activity to what is generally a hostile area to walk around. 

Tampa’s downtown still does not have a single contiguous pedestrian street, like say, Central Ave between Orange and Summerlin (which was also about a 15 year incremental transformation).

Also, if you look the sum of the parts in Tampa’s proposals, Orlando has similar development (or even larger ones toe-to-toe such as UCF downtown).

Creative Village won’t hold a candle to Water Street. And to clarify, I am arguing that Water Street *by itself* will have more synergy than downtown Orlando. 

 

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55 minutes ago, prahaboheme said:

Skeptical of this statement. Water Street should go a long way to help repair Tampa’s messy grid and bring in some pedestrian activity to what is generally a hostile area to walk around. 

Tampa’s downtown still does not have a single contiguous pedestrian street, like say, Central Ave between Orange and Summerlin (which was also about a 15 year incremental transformation).

Also, if you look the sum of the parts in Tampa’s proposals, Orlando has similar development (or even larger ones toe-to-toe such as UCF downtown).

Sparkman Wharf alone is going to be better than anything downtown Orlando has to offer. That’s not to mention new shops, retail, and views of the Bay that Tampa will bring to the discussion. Creative Village will help close the gap that will exist, as will the Magic complex and eventually, the Under-I park. Tampa is going through a sort of renaissance, and Orlando is too. Can’t we just enjoy both cities and agree they each have so much going for them?

 

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Time will reveal. By all measure, Tampa has the superior geographic location, so this really shouldn’t be equal.

There are very few major cities, historically speaking, that did not grow up around a body of water. Mexico City and Madrid come to mind as a few exceptions and to illustrate the point that’s it’s possible to achieve greatness if there is good urban planning.

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3 hours ago, JFW657 said:

We have nothing interesting to look at.

DTO is fine after dark on a Friday or Saturday night for bars and restaurants.

But if you're entertaining a visitor from someplace like Seattle or San Francisco or Boston or NOLA etc, etc, etc during the daytime, and they ask you to take them around downtown and show them the sights, what are you going to show them?

Lake Eola? The library? Church Street Station? The Amway Center? OK, fine. Ten square blocks. Then what? Thirty minutes and you're done.

Get in the car and drive to College Park then Park Avenue? Maybe out to Winter Garden?

I... don't know... what mid-major cities have that?  When you go to Cleveland or Detroit or Indianapolis or Oklahoma City or Cincinnati or Pittsburgh what do you show them for more than 30 minutes?

Unless you're San Antonio that has the Riverwalk or New Orleans with French Quarter, it's just not a thing in my mind.  I was in San Diego recently, and I wandered around during the day... there was nothing of note.

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Since the 19th century (certainly in the US), being on the water has been less important because rails, asphalt and airports now make cities viable. Had that not been true, Sanford would today be central Florida's major city and Jacksonville would be a lot bigger than Orlando.

The funny thing is that the channel leading from downtown to Old Tampa Bay is not exactly picturesque. Having rowed along Bayshore Boulevard during my days on UCF crew, I'd also point out it often smells to high heaven (we used to refer to that as UT's "secret weapon" for their meets.)

Nevertheless, Tampa's port has been a major factor for them and it helped them jump ahead of us growth-wise in the early to mid-20th century.

All that changed, however, when Martin Andersen made Orlando the state's crossroads by rerouting I4 and the Sunshine State Parkway in the early '60's. That prescient move led Buzz Price and Walt Disney to select a nearby swamp to change Florida forever.

Today, there's a branch of urban economics that posits a successful airport is a city's most valuable transportation feature, and Orlando long since passed Tampa on that score. We won't even talk about the next frontier just really beginning to get underway after a long sleep and that's access to space.

We tend to take them for granted, but folks, especially from land-locked areas, are struck by the sheer number of lakes we have. Individually, they're not significant, but taken together throughout downtown they make an attractive feature. (Minnesotans know all about that - the state motto is "Land of 10,000 Lakes.")

I always go back to the bottom line: Orlando's growing faster, so it's working for us. Not that it matters: in 25 years or so, the region will be known as "Orlampa" and we'll be one continuous megalopolis along the I4 corridor. Our future is as one.

 

 

 

 

Edited by spenser1058
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Some of you need to lose the attitude. What the heck is so hard to believe about me going to a day Orlando City game? It was March 31st at 1PM. Orlando won 4-3. It was their first home win of the season. What the heck is so hard to believe about that?

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4 hours ago, AndyPok1 said:

I... don't know... what mid-major cities have that?  When you go to Cleveland or Detroit or Indianapolis or Oklahoma City or Cincinnati or Pittsburgh what do you show them for more than 30 minutes?

Unless you're San Antonio that has the Riverwalk or New Orleans with French Quarter, it's just not a thing in my mind.  I was in San Diego recently, and I wandered around during the day... there was nothing of note.

Most of those cities like Cleveland, Detroit, Cincinnatti & Pittsburgh all have great waterfronts, a lot of historic buildings and neighborhoods with plenty to do and see. 

Orlando's downtown is just very small and our history is pretty minor league.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not putting our city down. Miserable summer weather aside, I love it here. But in all honesty, DTO still has a long way to go before it becomes a destination in itself.

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Given that Cleveland, Detroit, Cincy and Pittsburgh are all barely growing or losing population, maybe we're better off like we are?

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I tend to agree with JFW. We don't have much downtown, but I love living here. Lake Eola, Lake Lucerne, and Lake Ivanhoe are gems. DPAC and Amelie are great assets DT. Creative village is a great start. I would like to see more museums and parks. Under-I will be a great asset IMO and tying in the trails system to Under-I and transit will make it even better. MEC, if it ever does happen could be a draw. Church Street is still a destination IMO, but it could be even better back to its "heyday" with a little more effort and investment. We will never have a riverfront or port or bay like other cities, but that doesn't mean we can't have other things that make us great. We need to keep the momentum going and get some more culture/green/art/interesting things to see and do and some variety. 

Edited by dcluley98
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3 hours ago, spenser1058 said:

Given that Cleveland, Detroit, Cincy and Pittsburgh are all barely growing or losing population, maybe we're better off like we are?

Growth is nice, but in terms of a central core/downtown, those cities 50 years ago had today's DTO beat. It would be nice to have some significant history and have that history reflected in our structures and amenities.

Orlando proper, for all the growth in the surrounding metro area, is still in it's infancy.

Adolescence at best.

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8 hours ago, dcluley98 said:

I tend to agree with JFW. We don't have much downtown, but I love living here. Lake Eola, Lake Lucerne, and Lake Ivanhoe are gems. DPAC and Amelie are great assets DT. Creative village is a great start. I would like to see more museums and parks. Under-I will be a great asset IMO and tying in the trails system to Under-I and transit will make it even better. MEC, if it ever does happen could be a draw. Church Street is still a destination IMO, but it could be even better back to its "heyday" with a little more effort and investment. We will never have a riverfront or port or bay like other cities, but that doesn't mean we can't have other things that make us great. We need to keep the momentum going and get some more culture/green/art/interesting things to see and do and some variety. 

100% agree with this. Orlando needs to try and centralize things again, even this late in the game. Shift back to its core instead of sprawling out anything of significance. OMA in DTO IMO is the first step. The Holocaust Museum is another great step.  A MAJOR food hall DT would be huge. Under 1-4 park would be a nice asset. Also, we need retail. Less clubs would be great. Too many drunk teens roaming the streets at night does not attract visitors back. 

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Unless you plan to put OMA in Parramore, I expect it to move downtown about the same time the High Museum leaves Midtown for downtown Atlanta.

There's a reason the trial balloon sent up by OMA's new director when he first arrived to establish his street cred (and given just a wee bit of ballast by Tavistock,) never took flight. A museum of that size would take too much valuable land off the tax rolls.

A satellite of the Loch Haven location might work, but even that hasn't gained traction so far. The expansion of Harriett's OBC (and the Fringe's success at Loch Haven) only solidifies the future of the park as an arts destination.

Personally, I like the idea of Loch Haven as the "arts park" coupled with Leu Gardens. There's enough land to incorporate a sculpture park and, in my wildest dreams, a place for the Morse neon collection (probably indoors to keep the proper Rose Isle folk from hyperventilating.)

What does need to happen is better connections between downtown and Loch Haven by whatever method that might be. If a good use is ever found for the Cheney power plant, we could have an amazing "arts trail" from DPAC/Carr to Morse/Cornell/Polasek/Knowles/Annie Russell and even onward to Enzian and the Maitland Art Center. A stop along the way at the Ivanhoe antique district only makes it more fun.

It would be truly a unique set of gems for us. Think of it as an arts version of Boston's Fenway.

A question I have also is why we think one of our most precious assets, Winter Park, doesn't matter. It makes me wonder if Minneapolis is a failure because the state capital is in St. Paul or that Duke University needs to up and move over to Raleigh. It's not unusual for a "twin cities" approach to an urban area to work. (Going even further afield, how about Buda and Pest?)

We should play to our strengths and not be a pale copy of everyone else.

Edited by spenser1058

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Winter Park is a great asset. Winter Park is not Downtown Orlando, which this is about. I like WInter Park how it is. Kinda like Atlanta and Buckhead. Or even Tampa and Hyde Park. It is just fine how it is, but we need to keep momentum going on DT!  Just because Winter Park is there and is easily accessible doesn't mean we should not continue to focus on making DT better.   

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