Nightlife in Orlando may not be the biggest priority for most, but the city – along with its several big-name theme parks – hosts an awesome range of restaurants, bars, clubs and live shows. You’ll certainly not be lacking for choice.

    Both Disney and Universal promise plenty in the way of things to do after dark, including whole zones dedicated to nightlife, such as the popular CityWalk™ or the famous nightly light and firework shows over Cinderella’s Castle. Orlando’s quaint downtown area also comes alive in the evening, with a solid mix of local-style taverns, modern bars, rooftop spots and live theatre. There’s a good selection of huge nightclubs dotted around town, hosting everything from live rock bands to globetrotting EDM DJs.


    Orlando fireworks shows

    Brilliant skies over the city

    Fireworks shows only occur on special occasions in most towns and cities. But in magical Orlando, all days are unique, and dazzling fireworks displays can be seen cascading through the skies nightly. World-class theme parks such as Universal Orlando and the Magic Kingdom stage spectacular and incredible displays that light up night skies with bursts of sparkling, glittering, and glowing colors. 

    Of course, on the 4th of July and New Year’s Eve in Orlando, you’ll have many opportunities to see the night sky illuminated lavishly, with many venues featuring family-friendly activities, onsite vendors with food and drink, and synchronized sound or live music.

    Location: Orlando, Florida


    Orlando live shows

    Memorable performances for all ages

    At any given time in Orlando, numerous live performances entertain, awe and inspire. Known as a tourism capital with its world-class theme parks, Orlando attracts a broad range of intriguing talents from all over the globe. From live music to the latest technologically advanced light and sound shows, there’s plenty of opportunity to enjoy innovative, high-quality acts. 

    If you are on the fence about whether a live show is worth the splurge, think about this – when we are part of an audience, we are part of a shared experience, making them memorable. Live shows are almost always special for everyone, even when we least expect it, and that’s always worth it.

    Location: Orlando, Florida


    Wall Street Plaza

    Downtown Orlando

    Even though many of the bars here get packed-out with day-trippers, bachelor/bachelorette parties, and international tourists, Wall Street Plaza - right in the heart of Downtown – still offers a more ‘local’ experience compared to other nightlife areas in Orlando. This entertainment complex promises a fun mix of laidback restaurants, lively bars, and all-out nightclubs, with 7 venues in total. Head to Hooch for their 4pm to 7pm happy hour and alfresco setting, Monkey Bar for cheap and delicious martinis, Sideshow for feel-good American food and live sports, and end your night at Shine, a cheesy yet hugely popular nightclub.

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    Location: 25 Wall St, Orlando, FL 32801, USA


    Pointe Orlando

    International Drive

    Pointe Orlando is an all-in-one dining, nightlife and shopping complex wrapped up as one easy-to-reach entertainment and leisure hub just off International Drive. Other than all the watering holes, you’ll find a multi-screen movie theater, a dozen or so shops, and several restaurants, meaning this is a great place to hang out in the daytime, too. As for drinks, head to Blue Martini for an upscale atmosphere or B.B King’s Blues Club for some live music and classic Southern comfort food.

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    Location: 9101 International Dr, Orlando, FL 32819, USA

    Open: Daily from 11 am to 9 pm

    Phone: +1 407-248-2838


    photo by Dion Hinchcliffe (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified


    Universal CityWalk

    Universal Orlando Resort

    Though its theme parks close around 8pm, that doesn’t stop Universal from keeping in the crowds with its range of nightlife options, most of which can be found in and around the popular CityWalk™. Dubbed as Universal Orlando™’s ‘entertainment hotspot’, many of the bars, restaurants and shows here keep going well past midnight. Of course, the Hard Rock Cafe® here is always a safe bet when it comes to good, honest food and sing-along rock anthems, while other top dining spots include a sushi and burger bar. There’s also a movie theater, mini-golf course and nightly performances from the excellent Blue Man Group.

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    Location: Universal Orlando Resort, 6000 Universal Blvd, Orlando, FL 32819, USA

    Open: Daily from 8 am to 2.30 am

    Phone: +1 407-363-8000


    Orlando Improv Comedy Club

    International Drive

    Among the line-up of bars, restaurants, shops and other entertainment venues at the popular Pointe Orlando, this Comedy Club stands out as the most original nightspot, promising a night of adult-only laughs. The Improv Comedy Club has been heralded as a launchpad for the careers of dozens of famous comedians today, welcoming talents such as Robin Williams, Adam Sandler, Jerry Seinfeld, and Drew Carey to the stage since opening more than 40 years ago. Check the schedule before arriving, with the club normally only staging events Thursday through Sunday.

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    Location: 9101 International Dr Suite 2310, Orlando, FL 32819, USA

    Phone: +1 407-480-5233


    House of Blues

    Disney Springs

    One glance at House of Blue’s (HOB) impressive calendar of events and it’s clear to see that this is one venue that takes its live music seriously. They’ve got some huge homegrown and international names booked in on a regular basis. The massive venue is divided up into several zones, include a dining room, laidback bar area and a main concert hall, which is where the music happens. Non-blues fans shouldn’t be put off either; HOB is much more than just soft rock, with everything from EDM to pop, acoustic solo artists to thrash metal being belted out to hundreds of fans every week.

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    Location: Disney Springs, 1490 Buena Vista Dr, Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830, USA

    Open: Sunday–Thursday from 11.30 am to 11 pm, Friday–Saturday from 11.30 am to 1 am

    Phone: +1 407-934-2583


    Hard Rock Cafe Orlando

    Universal Orlando Resort

    This old favorite might not be the most original or adventurous place to spend the night, but after a busy day of chasing the kids around a theme park, more adventure is the last thing you need. Located along Universal’s buzzing CityWalk™, at Hard Rock Cafe® you know exactly what’s in store; feel-good American food, classic rock anthems and service with a genuine smile every time.

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    Location: Universal Orlando Resort, 6050 Universal Blvd, Orlando, FL 32819, USA

    Open: Daily from 8.30 am to midnight

    Phone: +1 407-351-7625


    Kings Dining & Entertainment

    International Drive

    Bowling, billiards and 2 lively bars all under 1 roof make this among the top family-friendly things to do at night in Orlando. Located on the prominent International Drive and right by Universal, it’s also super-easy to reach if you’re staying at one of the nearby resorts. There are 22 10-pin bowling lanes in total, alongside lots of other games such as billiards, table tennis, foosball and a full bocce court. Food-wise, expect wings, burgers and pizzas, but the drinks menu also throws out some surprises such as craft ales and signature cocktails for under $10.

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    Location: 8255 International Dr, Orlando, FL 32819, USA

    Open: Monday–Thursday from 2 pm to midnight, Friday–Saturday from noon to 2 am, Sundays from noon to midnight

    Phone: +1 407-363-0200


    Nightclubs in Orlando – particularly the ones found in the lively downtown area around Lake Eola Park – see international DJs packing out venues on a weekly basis. Venture into the world of lasers, lights and shiny surfaces in the highly-rated Tier Nightclub. The Beacham provides a huge space set in a converted old warehouse and hosts great one-off events and themed parties. Parliament House is one of the best places to check out Orlando’s thriving LGBT scene.

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    Paul Smith | Compulsive Traveler

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