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Discover Your Dream Home: 9 Top Places to Live in Orlando

Kathy Williams April 25, 2024

Looking to settle down in the heart of Florida? Wondering where the best places to live in Orlando are? As an experienced Orlando real estate agent, I’ve helped countless people find their dream homes in the city over the years. 
Orlando has been known as the city beautiful for decades, and it’s not hard to see why. With lush green spaces, shimmering lakes, beautiful communities, and urban districts brimming with restaurants, nightlife, shopping, and entertainment, there’s something for everyone in Orlando. It’s no surprise that so many people want to call Orlando home.
In this blog post, I’ll take you on a tour of 9 of the best places to live in Orlando, Florida – from the vibrant downtown area to the serene Maitland. Whether you’re looking for a starter home or a forever home, I’m here to guide you in finding your perfect match. Let’s explore the finest neighborhoods in Orlando and see which one best fits your needs and preferences!

01. Downtown Orlando

When people think of Orlando, downtown is usually the first place that comes to mind. With a population of nearly 30,000 people, downtown Orlando is the epicenter of the city and home to a variety of exciting and lively communities.
Downtown Orlando offers the best of city living without the hectic vibe of other Florida metro areas like Jacksonville or Miami. It’s connected by I-4 and just a 20-minute drive away from Orlando’s famous theme parks. Downtown Orlando contains a lot of high-rise buildings and condos, as well as several really cool urban neighborhoods. If you’re a working professional, downtown Orlando is an incredible place to live. You can walk to the theater for Broadway shows and concerts, and both the Orlando Magic and Orlando City Soccer play their games here.
There are some great neighborhoods to explore in downtown Orlando, including the Lake Eola Heights district and the Mills 50 district near Lake Ivanhoe, which is full of modern apartment complexes and planned around trendy restaurants and bars.

02. Winter Park

Winter Park is home to over 30,000 people and spans two counties, Orange and Seminole. It’s considered one of the best places to live in Orlando. The historical city of Winter Park is located in the heart of Orange County, just a 12-minute drive north of downtown Orlando. Winter Park is an affluent community known for its brick-lined streets and sparkling lakes.
There’s a rich history to Winter Park. It was established in the late 1800s as a winter playground for northerners. Winter Park now remains one of the most exquisite places to live in Central Florida. This affluent city is home to many significant historical landmarks, including the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of Modern Art, which opened in 1942 and is the largest collection of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany, Rollins College, founded in 1885 and is the oldest college in Florida, and Central Park, an 11-acre park in the heart of the city on Park Avenue featuring beautiful fountains, rose gardens, and lots of festivals throughout the year.
Residents love living in Winter Park mainly because it’s so picturesque. For homes, there’s everything from multimillion-dollar mansions to quaint bungalows. Winter Park is centrally located, making it an easy commute to almost anywhere. It’s the hub of museums and outdoor concerts.

03. Maitland

Next up on the list is Maitland, one of the lesser-known but affluent suburbs of Orlando Florida that’s often considered one of the region’s best-kept secrets. Located on the edge of Winter Park along the I-4 corridor, it’s a haven for families and young professionals who want to live near downtown Orlando without sacrificing space or amenities.
Maitland is one of the older communities in the Orlando area and is a place that honors its history, with many homes and buildings maintaining their original charm. However, it’s also thoroughly modern, with the newly built city center featuring trendy restaurants, retail, and breweries centered around a community lawn. It’s a really cool area to explore.
Despite its size, Maitland has a wide range of housing options, from apartments and mid-century condos to lakefront mansions and spacious ranch-style homes.
Maitland is home to plenty of public parks, sports facilities, lakes with boat ramps, and playgrounds, making it an extraordinary little city. Additionally, it features the annual film festival hosted at one of my favorite places, the famous Enzian theater. It’s a popular independent movie house with a unique twist – it also features a restaurant attached, allowing visitors to enjoy dinner while watching a movie. In addition to the annual film festival hosted here, the theater’s cool vibe and enjoyable experience make it one of my favorite places to visit.

04. Celebration

Moving on to number four on our list, if you’re a Disney fan and want to be closer to the Magic Kingdom, then you’ll love Celebration. This picturesque community was developed by the Walt Disney Company and is located right next door to the theme park. So, if you’re ready for annual passes and hanging out with Mickey Mouse all year long, then Celebration is the perfect place for you. And although Mickey Mouse probably won’t be living in the house next door to you, you can still experience the magic of this wonderful community.
What can you expect if you decide to move to Celebration? First and foremost, you’ll feel right at home in the vintage theme of the town. There’s a strong presence of homes, townhomes, apartments, and condos, all of which are beautifully designed in a Victorian colonial style. Additionally, you can walk down to Celebration Town Center for a variety of restaurants and shopping, and then take a stroll down to the lakefront park to relax and enjoy the serene surroundings. There’s so much charm in this town, and who wouldn’t want to live in such a beautiful location?

05. Winter Garden

Moving on to number five, we have the family-friendly town of Winter Garden, which is at the top of the list of the best places to live for families. Located on the west side of Orlando, Winter Garden is a haven for people who prefer a quieter, more peaceful life. Throughout the city, you’ll find gated communities and lots of new construction. 
One thing that stands out about Winter Garden is the historic downtown Winter Garden, which is full of cute restaurants and independent shops. It’s a wonderful place to spend the weekend, and there’s also a bike path that goes right through the town and goes about 40 miles in either direction. Winter Garden is a fantastic place to call home for anyone who wants to soak up Central Florida living at its finest.

06. Windermere

At number six on our list is the luxurious town of Windermere. It’s a great choice for those who want to live in the lap of luxury. Like many cities in the US, Orlando has neighborhoods that cater to the rich and famous, and Windermere is one of them. Founded in 1887, it’s been a highly sought-after location for almost a century. Windermere is home to many prestigious neighborhoods, such as Ellsworth, and it’s known for its breathtaking Butler Chain of Lakes, which offers plenty of opportunities for water activities like paddleboarding. The canals that connect the lakes are teeming with native Florida wildlife.
Windermere is just a 20-minute drive from downtown Orlando, making it an ideal location for those who want to live close to the city while enjoying the peace and serenity of a beautiful, natural environment. All of these factors make Windermere a prime location for anyone looking for a luxurious and scenic community in Orlando.

07. Baldwin Park

If you’re looking for a more modern place to live in Orlando, let me introduce you to my favorite neighborhood – Baldwin Park. It’s built on the land that once hosted the United States Naval Base and has now become one of the city’s newer neighborhoods. One thing I love about Baldwin Park is its bustling walkable community of homes, rental communities, and a variety of excellent restaurants, shops, and amenities, all clustered in what they call “new urbanism.”
The concept of new urbanism creates a town center within a neighborhood, and Baldwin Park is no exception. With bike lanes, tree-lined streets, sidewalks, and relaxing parks, this style of living allows for an active lifestyle to flourish. There’s even a 23-acre park in Baldwin Park that’s dog-friendly – perfect for pet owners like me!
If you’re considering moving to Baldwin Park, picture yourself strolling down a well-maintained sidewalk to your favorite local restaurant, followed by some light shopping at your very own grocery store right in the neighborhood. Baldwin Park truly offers a unique and convenient living experience that I highly recommend.

08. Lake Mary

Next up on our guide of the best areas to live in Orlando is none other than Lake Mary. I have to say; this city is definitely one of my favorites. Located approximately 80 miles north of downtown Orlando, Lake Mary is a standalone city that offers a peaceful yet lively lifestyle. This community is known for its well-planned residential areas like Heathrow and Alaqua.
What I love most about Lake Mary is its focus on high-tech businesses and growing neighborhoods. It’s no wonder why it has become a choice destination for professionals and families alike. The city has outstanding businesses, including great restaurants, and a lot of shopping options. It’s interesting to know that Lake Mary was first known as such in 1882, and while it has certainly grown and modernized since then, it has still managed to maintain a genuine sense of community.
If you’re looking for a place with a slower pace and a genuine sense of community, then Lake Mary is definitely worth considering.

09. Lake Nona

Number nine on the list is Lake Nona. If you’re looking to be close to the Orlando International Airport and be a part of one of the nation’s most high-tech infrastructures, Lake Nona might be just the place for you. It’s located just 20 minutes from the city limits of Orlando and even closer to the airport. The town has some excellent golf courses that are scattered around the area, making it a popular destination for professional golfers like Nick Faldo and Anika Sorenson.
If you’re part of the health and life sciences community, then Lake Nona could be perfect for you. With the University of Central Florida’s Health Sciences Campus, UCF College of Nursing, Nemours Children’s Hospital, and the VA hospital, it’s no surprise that Lake Nona has become known as Medical City.
Lake Nona offers something for everyone, including fun places like Boxi Park, which features live music, cool shipping containers, and great restaurants with food truck-style options and volleyball courts. It’s a perfect destination for technical and medical startup companies. And if you’re looking for new construction options, Lake Nona has plenty of those, as well as the suburb of St. Cloud which is also experiencing a lot of new construction.
So, if you’re planning on moving to Orlando Florida, and you’re looking for a community that offers something for everyone, Lake Nona is definitely worth considering.

Final Thoughts

Orlando is an incredible city with so many wonderful neighborhoods to explore. Whether you’re looking for a trendy urban community or a quiet suburban neighborhood, there’s a place for you in Orlando.
I hope this list has given you a good idea of some of the best places to live in Orlando. If you’re interested in learning more about any of these communities, or if you’re thinking about buying or selling a home in Orlando, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me, or download my FREE relocation guide. As an expert in Orlando real estate, I would be more than happy to provide you with additional information and help you navigate the local market. Let’s work together to find your dream home in Orlando!

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