Sports fans and athletes will rejoice with a visit to Orlando. Not only has the city recently opened two state-of-the-art sports venues, there are also numerous sporting activities to keep you active. Here are five ways to indulge your inner sports fan.
Watch a soccer game at Orlando City Stadium
Orlando’s new soccer stadium, the Orlando City Stadium, opened in February 2017 and will host major league soccer games as well as national women’s soccer games. The stadium features a four-sided canopy roof, a natural-grass playing surface, 25,500 seats and North America’s only safe-standing supporters’ section, which is able to hold 3,800 excited soccer fans. The Orlando City Soccer Club team (nicknamed the “Lions”) is led by world-famous Brazilian player Kaká, named the most valuable player in 2015. Games are ongoing until Oct. 22. Tickets can be purchased online.
Watch the Orlando Magic shine at Amway Center
Cheer for Orlando’s most famous sports team, the Orlando Magic, at the Amway Center. The popular, modern venue boasts the largest scoreboard of its kind in the NBA—weighing more than 40 tons and soaring 42 feet high—and holds more than 20,000 cheering fans. It also features a kid-oriented fun zone, which includes a magic castle with various games. The 2017-2018 regular season starts Oct. 18 and single-game tickets go on sale Aug. 31.
Hone your tennis skills at the USTA National Campus
Whether you want to play tennis or watch national championships, the United States Tennis Association (USTA) National Campus in Orlando is the place to be. The new venue spans 64 acres and has 100 tennis courts for every type of player, both recreational and competitive, including 16 family courts for kids. Or simply relax and watch the USTA Florida Junior State Doubles Championship taking place from Sept. 16 to 18.
Go kayaking or canoeing at Wekiwa Springs State Park
If you’re looking to get on the water, drive about 30 minutes from Orlando to Wekiwa Springs State Park. Rent a kayak or canoe from Nature Adventures and paddle along the Wekiva River toward Wekiva Island. Along the way, you may spot wildlife such as alligators, turtles and lizards. The river in this protected ecosystem is less than two kilometres long, but more experienced boaters can paddle the approximately six kilometres to Buffalo Tram or 15 kilometres to Kelly Park.
Cycle the Urban Bike Trail
Orlando’s Urban Bike Trail is a wonderful way to explore the city. The trail runs through downtown, linking many attractions, and then up to the northern edge of the city at Mead Botanical Garden in Winter Park. Elite Road Bike Rentals delivers bikes right to your hotel and provides you with digital routes (via your phone or on a GPS).
Why to Visit Orlando in the Winter
Home to seven of the planet’s top theme parks (including Walt Disney World, LEGOLAND and Universal Orlando), and with perpetually sunny skies and warm temperatures, Orlando lures families in every season. But in January and February the city’s top draw—its theme parks—are much less crowded and, thus, most enjoyable, with reasonable wait times, especially if you plan your visit for Sunday through Thursday.