Dive into Orlando's Arts and Culture Scene this Fall
Dale Pauly READ TIME: 5 MIN. SPONSORED
Orlando's blockbuster lineup of theme parks may often hog the spotlight for visitors, but savvy travelers know that the Orlando area is also home to a rich, diverse, and vibrant arts and cultural scene that can complement a theme park holiday, or even fill up an entire itinerary on its own.
Gearing up to celebrate its 100th birthday next year, the Orlando Museum of Art (or OMART to locals) is set near downtown in Loch Haven Park. In addition to its impressive permanent collection and semi-permanent exhibitions, OMART will be hosting "Something Like a Hello: The Picture Book Art of Loren Long" from September 16 to December 10.
The flagship venue of Orlando's Downtown Arts District, CityArts is a collective of diverse art galleries under one roof, featuring a rotating selection of local and international artworks, with new pieces being added monthly.
Famed for its art nouveau holdings, the dazzling Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art in Winter Park is home to the world's most comprehensive collection of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany, including jewelry, pottery, paintings, art glass, leaded-glass lamps and windows, and his chapel interior from the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago.
Also in Winter Park, the Rollins Museum of Art at Rollins College has more than 5,600 pieces covering a wide swath of eras and aesthetics, from ancient art and artifacts to contemporary pieces – and admission is always free. The nearby Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens, set on the Czech sculptor's beautiful former property, illustrate his life and times.
Five minutes west in historic Eatonville – one of the oldest African American communities in the U.S. – the Zora Neale Hurston National Museum celebrates the works of the seminal author ("Their Eyes Were Watching God") and contemporary artists of African descent.
Back in Loch Haven Park, the Mennello Museum of American Art was established in 1998 to preserve, exhibit, and interpret an outstanding permanent collection of paintings by landscape artist Earl Cunningham. The museum also features lovely gardens, and hosts a rotating lineup of temporary exhibitions.
Just north of Winter Park in Maitland, the Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center teaches important lessons about the past while focusing on a future free of antisemitism and all forms of prejudice and bigotry. One of this museum's most unique and powerful exhibits is a virtual reality experience that transports you to the secret Dutch annex where Anne Frank and her family hid from the Nazis, as Frank shares her inspirational story.
Set in a former hotel built in 1921 to cater to Black guests who were barred from Florida's then-segregated hotels, the Wells'Built Museum of African American History and Culture in downtown Orlando's Parramore District houses memorabilia from Orlando's African American community, as well as exhibits about the American civil rights movement and African art and artifacts.
Learn about the upscale Hannibal Square district's origins as one of Florida's original African American communities at the Hannibal Square Heritage Center in Winter Park. The center's collection of photography, artwork, and oral histories invite you to take a closer look into the legacy that makes this community proud.
Housed in a historic 1927 county courthouse in the heart of downtown Orlando, the Orange County Regional History Center traces 12,000 years of local history through three floors of dynamic permanent collections. Starting in the Orlando area's prehistoric past, you'll see how it evolved from an Indigenous settlement to a small citrus and cattle town to a modern tourist- and tech-centric metropolis.
Located in downtown Orlando, the fantastic Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts is presenting a typically excellent calendar of offerings this fall and early winter, including many shows with special appeal for LGBTQ+ audiences. Morrissey will bring his "40 Years of Morrissey" tour to the Phillips Center's Walt Disney Theater on October 7, while writer and humorist David Sedaris comes to Steinmetz Hall on October 13. For Broadway lovers, "Funny Girl" will have a six-night run at the Walt Disney Theater from December 5 to 10.