Downtown Orlando serves as Central Florida’s hub for both business and culture, and is a lively epicenter for nightlife, performing arts, retail, business, restaurants, and galleries. The bar and club scene is legendary, and touring musicians from around the world regularly stop in to play on the many local stages. Even though the theme parks are only minutes away, tourists rarely venture into the Downtown district, allowing the local culture to develop into something uniquely Orlando.
Downtown Orlando is the core of Central Florida’s diverse emerging economy. It is the hub for finance, government, and commerce. Under the current longstanding leadership of Mayor Buddy Dyer, Downtown Orlando serves these industries by creating a business and quality of life environment that supports the various industries in the Downtown core and the entire Central Florida region.
Downtown Orlando is the ideal location for corporate and division headquarters. More than 149,298 professionals work Downtown Orlando on a daily basis. Downtown Orlando also boasts 13 million square feet of office space in the urban core. It is the dominant Class A office supply in the Central Florida region. The cluster of professional services, large labor force, and proximity to government services are key contributors to the presence of major corporations in the community.
Downtown Orlando is the historic core and central business district of Orlando, Florida, United States. There are distinct neighborhoods in downtown; North Quarter to the north, Lake Eola Heights Historic District just north of Lake Eola, South Eola contains Lake Eola Park and continues to the east and south of Lake Eola, Thornton Park in the east, Parramore in the west, Lake Cherokee Historic District to the south, and the Central Business District between Colonial Drive and Lake Lucerne in the center. The estimated population of downtown is 43,388 with an average age of 41.3 living in 20,520 households. Downtown boast an employment-population, estimated to be 149,298 with over 40% being college educated. The 5-mile radius population of downtown is 273,335
Located north of Colonial Drive, the border of this area is Interstate 4 to the west, and Highland Avenue to the east, the north border is N Orange Ave & the I-4 on-ramps at Lake Ivanhoe. This is a vibrant area that has seen many apartments and condominiums built, bringing a diverse collection of businesses including dining and shopping to the area. With such close proximity to the Central Business District for working professionals, this has become a valuable area for those who seek the convenience of work/play/live in downtown Orlando.
Established in the 1880s, Parramore is the historical hub of Orlando’s African-American community. The area is located just west of the Central Business district along Division Ave and West Church Street. Now considered an economically depressed area, Orlando leaders are working with business owners in the community to improve the area’s reputation. While some parts of the neighborhood have been gentrified, Parramore still maintains its historical African-American identity.
It is a residential area with a large number of high-intensity entertainment and office institutions; such as the Amway Center, Orlando City Soccer Club Stadium, Camping World Stadium, Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre, US Courthouse for the Mid-District of Florida, Florida A&M University School of Law, county & state buildings, and Orlando Police Department headquarters. Smaller businesses include grocery stores, barber shops, and soul food restaurants.
Orlando officially considers Parramore to be three separate neighborhoods: Lake Dot (between Colonial Drive and Amelia Street), Callahan (between Amelia Street and Central Boulevard), and Holden/Parramore (between Central Boulevard and Gore Street). All three are bounded on the east by Interstate 4 and on the west by Orange Blossom Trail.
Central Business District
The central business district is Orlando’s Financial District and is the most recognized feature of downtown. The majority of Orlando’s night clubs are also in this area. Located here are corporate offices for Wells Fargo and Suntrust banks, Orlando City Hall, foreign consulates, and many hotels. SunTrust Center and City Commons are two large office complexes within the CBD. Church Street Station is also located in this area. Many of Orlando’s historic buildings are located within the CBD standing next to modern skyscrapers. The Rogers Building (built in 1886), originally an English Gentlemen’s Club built in the Queen Anne style, is the oldest building in downtown Orlando.
Lake Eola Park is located in South Eola, east of the CBD. Lake Eola Heights is located north of the lake and South Eola continues to the east and south of the lake. The park is historically significant and is a frequent venue for events and festivals. The park’s most iconic landmark is the Linton E. Allen Memorial Fountain (locally known as the Lake Eola Fountain), permanently embedded to the bottom with concrete beams in the center of the lake. The fountain is illuminated nightly in various colors with two nightly water shows. In addition to the fountain, the park features swan boat rentals and the Walt Disney Amphitheater. Every Independence Day, the park is host to a large fireworks display which draws thousands of people to downtown. A 0.85-mile (1.37 km) recreational pathway circles the park and leads to a playground.
Lake Eola Heights is unique in Orlando as it contains some of the oldest homes in the city and is another one of Orlando’s historic districts. There are many historical “Florida style” bungalows and century-old oak lined brick streets.
Thornton Park is located one city block east of Lake Eola Park. The streets creating its border are: Summerlin Ave, E Robinson St, N Brown Ave, E Central Blvd to S Hyer Ave, and S Hyer Ave south to Florida State Road 408. The area is similar to the Lake Eola Heights neighborhood in that it contains historic homes and the streets are paved with bricks, although it is roughly half the size. Thornton Park also enjoys a handful of small restaurants, bars, and boutiques along E Washington St. The neighborhood also has a small fountain located in the center of the intersection of E Washington St & N Hyer Ave which has become a focal point, and is described here: The Fountain is a replica of a fountain found in a Paris city center that is 25 times its size. In 1999 the “Taste of Thornton Park Event” was organized specifically to raise enough money to purchase the Thornton Park Fountain for around $17,000 + $23,000 for fountain foundation. Howard Middle Performing Arts School, which was the original Orlando High School, is located here.
From the historic homes of Eola Heights to the stylish bungalows of Thornton Park to the high-rise apartments in the North Quarter District, Downtown Orlando offers living arrangements to suit any taste and fit any budget. The average apartment rent in Downtown Orlando is $1,320 for a studio, $1,396 for one bedroom, $1,744 for two bedrooms, and $2,212 for three bedrooms. Apartment rent in Downtown Orlando has increased by 2.6% in the past year.