The Best of Orlando Nightlife
Orlando is well-known for its theme parks and amusement centers, but don’t underestimate the nightlife. Orlando nightlife is vibrant and offers many unique options for singles, couples, and even for families.
Universal Orlando and Walt Disney may be known as the two major theme parks in the city, but they also have something to contribute to the nightlife scene in the city. Universal CityWalk is a great dining and entertainment district with lots of options and Disney’s firework show brings Cinderella’s castle to life. The downtown Orlando area comes alive at night with its mix of modern bars, local taverns, live theatre, and even rooftop spots that will satisfy the heartiest of partiers.
Where should you go? The question should really be where should you go first. We have compiled a list of favorites to get you started.
Best Orlando Nightlife to Try on Your Vacation to Orlando
Whether you’re looking for a place with live music, a dance floor where you can bust your moves, or somewhere to have a drink and get some laughs, you’re sure to find something that will suit your taste in Orlando. Here are a few that you should consider on your next vacation.
- ICON Park Orlando. ICON Park is a 20-acre entertainment complex centrally located right on International Drive. With 40 restaurants, fun bars, and attractions like Madame Tussauds and SeaLife Orlando, there are lots of reasons to visit, night or day. But the main attraction is The Wheel, a 400-foot 40 story high observation wheel. For a one of a kind evening event, check out the Sky Party Flight. Enjoy a beer or wine soaring over the city with panoramic views for miles. This one is for adults 21 and older. An unforgettable experience.
- Wall Street Plaza. This entertainment complex contains some of Orlando’s best restaurants and nightlife. Even though the bars here tend to fill up with tourists and locals alike, what you’ll enjoy here is the local vibe that many nightlife areas in the city are missing. Located in the center of Downtown, this entertainment complex is a combination of lively bars, chill restaurants, and full tilt nightclubs. Start out at Head to Hooch to take advantage of their well known happy hour which runs from 4 pm to 7 pm and has an alfresco setting, or tries Sideshow to enjoy live sports as well as American comfort food. For the heartier partier, spend time sipping a delicious martini at Monkey Bar. Wall Street Plaza is definitely a local spot worth checking out.
- Universal CityWalk. Universal Studios is more than just a theme park destination but also contributes to the nightlife in Orlando. Regarded as the entertainment hotspot of Universal, CityWalk is packed with restaurants, bars, and shows that operate beyond midnight. Make your way to Hard Rock Café where sing-along rock anthems are being belted out as you enjoy a scrumptious dish, or check out the Blue Man Group if you want to see some live entertainment. Keep an eye out for street entertainers or track down a DJ where you can dance a set or two. Universal CityWalk has lots to offer. 
- SAK Comedy Lab. This Orlando staple has been around since 1991 and is actually a black box styled theater for audiences who are looking for an improv comedy experience. The shows here usually have a theme and tend to rotate every season. If you think the comedy scene here is weak, think again. You might be surprised to learn that Wayne Brady actually started here. And if you want to work on your game, you can even take comedy classes here at SAK Comedy Lab.
- Stardust Lounge. If you’re looking for a nightclub that has an intimate setting for you and your friends, Stardust Lounge should be on your list. This underground lounge gives off that Las Vegas vibe with its red leather couches and soft red glow. Sink in and enjoy a round of drinks while listening, or get into the act dancing to hip hop, dance beats, or whatever the DJ is spinning. And if you’re going here during the weekend, you may get a chance to see the Peek a Boo Burlesque show which happens once a month. 
- Lake Eola Park. Nightlife in Orlando isn’t all about bars and clubs. It can also include fun activities such as watching a movie in the park, watching the fireworks display from Lake Eola Park, or a free concert. This park offers free nighttime activities that are perfect for the whole family. Be sure to check their schedule to see what’s going on during your visit.
- Portofino Bay Hotel. Universal Orlando Resort always has something up its sleeves when it comes to night time entertainment for their guests. The Portofino Bay Hotel often showcases “Musica della Notte” at sunset, while the Harbor Piazza transforms into a lively source of entertainment for those who are looking for nightlife. The Italian musical celebration here is completely free with trained performers rotating their shows such as Classico Night, Romantico Night, and Italian Festival Night – all a special treat for their guests. 
- Ivanhoe Village. If you’re looking for a more laid back type of nighttime entertainment, then head to Ivanhoe Village which is packed with cozy restaurants, a dessert restaurant, wine bar, and lots of interesting shops, galleries and boutiques and lots of welcoming green space. There are beer and wine tastings available here for a fee which you can pair with a bite of the food trucks in the area while taking a stroll. 
- Casselberry Art and Music in the Park. Another example of more laid back Orlando nightlife that you’ll want to check out is the Casselberry Art and Music in the Park. You’ll find artisan goods, food trucks, as well as live music happening each month at Lake Concord Park. There will be 12 food trucks and more than 20 local artisans and businesses selling their wares. This is one nighttime adventure that you don’t want to miss and a chance to see authentic Orlando.
- Independent Bar. Night owls who are looking for a real nightclub experience will enjoy this three level venue with two dance floors spinning different tunes. Regardless of your taste in music, you’re in luck with everything from vintage rock to the top 40, indie all the way to new wave. Everything is covered here! This dance club and dive bar is a favorite hangout whether you want to dance the night away or just people-watch. The friendly atmosphere here is welcoming and fun.
- Player 1 Video Game Bar. If you’re on International Drive and asking, what’s the nightlife near me, check this video game bar out. Whether you’re a gamer who excels in old school games like Atari Pong or are more versed in something more contemporary, everything you love about games can be found here. And what makes this place extra special is that it has a surprisingly good offering of libations. Think good wine, fine craft beers, and sake just to name a few. Although kids are allowed here from 4 to 6 pm, the nightlife is reserved for patrons who are 21 and above. 
- Mango’s Tropical Café. A great family-friendly option that will liven up your evening on International Drive is Mango’s Tropical Café. Experience dining and entertainment melded together, and create some memories for the whole family. This Caribbean/Latin influenced spot offers salsa dancing, stage shows, and reggae. The Latin infused experience is a great place to celebrate a special occasion and the little ones will be enthralled!
- Zebra’s Sports Bar & Grille. Don’t miss out on your favorite sports while in Orlando! Zebra’s Sports Bar & Grille at Pointe Orlando is a great little sports and patio bar where the latest games will be on the screen. Located at the Rosen Inn, this is the perfect place for you to grab something to eat and drink, while enjoying your favorite sports show. There’s live entertainment, happy hour drink specials, and even Karaoke on most nights. Sit outside on the patio deck or relax inside if you wish.
- Sleuths Mystery Dinner Show. Comedy relief coupled with mystery, adventure and fine tasting meals is what Sleuths Mystery Dinner Show is all about. Play detective while enjoying your dinner of cheese lasagna, prime rib, or honey glazed Cornish hen with your family while participating in solving the mystery being played out before you. This is the perfect spot for families to bond and enjoy quality time together at night. 
Who would have guessed that Orlando would be so bustling with activities after the sun sets? The nightlife in Orlando is vibrant and diverse, with happening dance clubs, themed restaurants and good old sports bars. And if you’re not into the bar scene, no worries. There are lots of unique and fun experiences in Orlando after dark.