A welcome reprieve to the bustling theme parks and tourism corridor on International Drive, Winter Park offers a wealth of activities for entertainment between meetings and pre- or post-meeting stays. A New England-style town just three miles northeast of downtown Orlando, the area is where many of Central Florida's movers and shakers reside. Venues in Winter Park drip with upscale ambiance and quaint Old Florida charm; its main street, Park Avenue, is lined with high end clothing boutiques, art galleries, restaurants, wine bars and bistros.
Winter Park is located 15 miles for Orlando International Airport and 14 miles from the Orange County Convention Center. For groups, it is a superb selection for a day trip or spouse program.
Hotel venues in Winter Park are limited to the 143-room Best Western Mt. Vernon Inn, with five meeting rooms that can host 150 people; and the 28-room Park Plaza, a boutique hotel on Park Avenue with no meeting space built in 1922. Staying at a meeting-oriented downtown Orlando hotel such as the 247-room Grand Bohemian, 167-room Embassy Suites Orlando-Downtown or 290-room Sheraton Orlando Downtown hotel affords easy access to Winter Park (a five minute drive).
The list of Winter Park event venues is short but extraordinary: At the northern end of Park Avenue, Casa Feliz Historic Home Museum is a fully refurbished, brick, classic Spanish farmhouse with impeccable landscaping, courtyards, a library and detached garden room. It can accommodate groups of up to 120 for a cocktail party or reception. Mead Garden, a lush botanical garden, features a 300-seat amphitheater.
For shopping and dining, the tony Park Avenue and Winter Park Village (an outdoor complex) are excellent options. Both offer high-end shopping and al fresco dining opportunities. Winter Park Village has a 20-screen movie theater as well as restaurants like Ruth's Chris Steak House, Cheesecake Factory and Brio Tuscan Grille.
One-of-a-kind experiences dominate culturally rich Winter Park's activities menu, highlighted by the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art, home to the world's most comprehensive collection of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany, the Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College, which features works by Pablo Picasso, Thomas Moran and Henri Matisse, and the Scenic Boat Tour, a one-hour cruise aboard 18-passenger pontoon boats through the town's beautiful lakes and canals past mansions, gardens and Rollins College.