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Orlando offers much more than theme parks, kiddie entertainment, and warm, subtropical weather. Entertainers and creative people from around the world flock to the city to be a part of the exciting arts scene. If you are traveling with family, keep in mind that many hotels in the Orlando area offer or refer babysitting services, so it's not out of the question to enjoy Orlando culture even while traveling with little ones.
Art in Orlando
In the heart of the Downtown Arts District in Orlando, the CityArts Factory is filled with six different art galleries and the home to the SAK Comedy Lab. The Mad Cow Theatre is located within this district, as are a handful of art gallery spaces, eclectic boutique type shopping, pubs, and restaurants.
LG Art Gallery in North Orlando specializes in both modern and contemporary art. Check out abstracts, landscape pieces, watercolors, and interesting sculpted works that echo today's modern artist perspectives.
Baterbys Art Gallery in South Orlando is centrally located to several attractions, including Seaworld, Universal Studios, and tons of shopping along International Drive. The gallery is also within walking distance of the Improv Orlando Comedy Club. Beyond the art auction pieces, this gallery displays works by Dali, Picasso, and Chagall.
Theater in Orlando
La Nouba, Cirque du Soleil, is located inside Walt Disney World at Downtown Disney. The contemporary circus show features aerial ballet, BMX stunt bikers, jugglers, trapeze artists, high wire, and trampoline acts performed to an exhilarating sound track.
Located next to the Orlando Science Center and the Orlando Museum of Art in Fairview Shores in North Orlando, the Orlando Shakespeare Theater emphasizes the works of William Shakespeare. Despite its namesake, the theater also hosts non-Shakespearian dramatizations also.
The Mad Cow Theatre offers dramatic delight in the Downtown Arts District in downtown Orlando near the Orlando Public Library. The Mad Cow is considered one of the more prestigious stages in the area, with talented performers trying out both classical and contemporary story lines. While there is no onsite restaurant, the surrounding downtown area is filled with restaurants, making it easy to spend some serious time watching serious performance.
Music in Orlando
House of Blues Orlando is about two miles east of Celebration and Disney's Hollywood Studios in touristy South Orlando. The venue - which has locations all over the US - has a full-service restaurant, full bar, and even serves brunch on Sundays with live gospel performances.
Both The Social and the Amway Center are located in downtown Orlando. The Social is an 18+ intimate live music venue that features emerging artists of all genres with two bars for patrons over 21. Amway Center, which is the home to the Orlando Magic, is a huge venue downtown that attracts headlining music acts. Both venues are within walking distance of several restaurants, bars, and hotels.
Comedy in Orlando
The entertainment at the
SAK Comedy Lab
starts around dinner time and continues on past midnight on Friday and Saturday nights. The club is located in
Orlando's Downtown Art District just a few blocks from the Amway Center on the second floor of the CityArts Factory. The venue has a snack concession bar, but does not serve meals or alcoholic drinks during comedy shows. SAK specializes in improvisational ensemble comedy – they even offer classes!
Improv Orlando Comedy Club is located on International Drive, midway between Universal Studios and Seaworld. The club offers stand-up every night of the week.The Improv is where a lot of today's big comedians got their start. Enjoy a steak, dessert, or drinks at the show. The club only admits guests age 21 and over.
Bonkerz Comedy Club has 20 locations around the country, including one located in Mojo Bar & Grill in downtown Orlando and another at the Boardwalk Bowl Entertainment Center in East Orlando near Azalea Park. Both locations serve food and offer a full-service bar, so you can make a night of it. The clubs offer stand-up on weekend nights. Show tickets are reasonably-priced, though there is a two-item minimum order from the food and drink menu.