Park Ave, Winter Park
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Winter Park has an absolutely gorgeous main street, Park Ave (seven blocks from Fairbanks Ave to Canton Ave), that is like being in Europe! Flower baskets hang from the storefront windows, and little cute French patisseries and icecream shops in historic buildings line the street. Across from the shops is a large European-style city park called Central Park where young people sit on the grass by the fountain. At the south end of Park Ave is beautiful Rollins College. How amazing to be able to walk from your college campus to such a lovely destination!
There is a rose garden at the southern end of the park. My daughter was so enchanted by the whole area that she spent over an hour making up an imaginative game on the terraced steps of the rose garden.
A cute toy store called Lighten Up is 348 S. Park Ave.
There is an enchanting indoor alley with fountain and fake tree at Paris Bistro, which also has tables out on the sidewalk. Briarpatch has cute indoor and outdoor (no dinner) seating, and serves yummy icecream. Frenchy's Authentic French Cuisine has delicious almond and pear tarts and yummy sandwiches, quiches, and salads, which you can enjoy at great outdoor seating where you can people watch. Their chocolate croissants are great- skip on their decorated cookies though (not fresh). There are so many attractive, and yummy-looking places to eat in Winter Park it's incredible! Croissant Gourmet has good chicken salad sandwiches on crispy fresh croissants. Prato has amazing Florentina pizza and a chic interior with orchids covering the wall, plus great outdoor seating with heat lamps. Bosphorous has the best food of all, turkish cuisine with delicious mild spices and a plate piled high with fresh vegetables. Try the Chicken Adana. Winter Park has a nice mix of happy students, interesting businesspeople, and wealthy older people. There are intelligent conversations going on everywhere!
Other streets in Winter Park such as Fairbanks Ave are not so charming (there is a ton of traffic too), but once you're on Park Avenue, you're in heaven!
For a pretty walk down to the lake, take Morse Blvd to the east where it dead ends (there are parking spots here). There is a one hour scenic boat tour there that leaves on the hour. It didn't have a shade covering so we didn't go- come early or late in the day to avoid getting burned. The lake is charming with a gazebo on its banks, stately mansions, and plenty of oaks with Spanish moss lining its shores.
There is not a single storefront on Park Avenue that is not leased, a sign of this area's economic vitality.From mid-Nov to the beginning of Jan there is real iceskating in Central Park in a big tent on the corner of New York Ave and Morse Blvd (see times and prices below).Christmas in the Park is a sumptuous free one-night event with backlit Tiffany glass windows that make a walkway, enriched by the Bach Festival Choir and various other music groups. It was held on Dec 5, 2013 from 6-8pm. If you want to change things up and have dinner somewhere different, walk west two large blocks on New England St and you will come to Hannibal Square where there is a block of restaurants amongst delightful architecture- this area is kind of dead in the afternoon but livens up at night. At the northern end of the shops on Park Ave is the Morse Museum, a warm and engaging museum that describes and displays incredible interior design and objects made by Louis Comfort Tiffany, plus Art Deco glassware, ceramics based on nature, and Tiffany's paintings. The presentation is beautiful and not sterile-feeling like other art museums. Do not miss it!If you continue driving north up Park Ave you have a treat of mansions to feast your eyes on! You come to a slightly hilly area with tall trees and peeks of the lake, around Green Cove Rd and Summerland Ave. Also nice is a stroll through Rollins College, enjoying the marvelous architecture. Walk to the Lake Virginia side of campus and you can take a long path that hugs the water- what a joy!
If your kids need a playground, drive to adorable Azalea Lane Playground where many families gather in the early evening after work. Or you can walk west along New England Ave to Castle Playground at Martin Luther King Jr Park, a large wooden playground and exercise station on a pond.
For a romantic stroll amongst a tropical nature area, check out Mead Botanical Garden. For another super place to hang out and enjoy lovely views, have a hot dog on the lake at Lakeside Shopping Plaza.
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Winter Park's main street is Park Ave, north of where it intersects with W. Fairbanks Ave. It lasts for seven blocks all the way to Canton Ave. There is free parking at the city lot and along Park Ave and the side streets. The city lot is on the corner of Canton Ave and Park Ave.
Exit Highway 4 at Fairbanks Ave and head east for almost two miles. Turn left on Park Ave. There is a lot of traffic on Fairbanks Ave so plan accordingly.
Bosphorous, 108 S. Park Ave, Winter Park FL 32789, call (407) 644-8609.
Briarpatch, 252 North Park Avenue, Winter Park FL, call (407) 628-8651.
Frenchy's Authentic French Cuisine, 212 North Park Avenue, Winter Park FL, call (407) 622-2232.
Prato, 124 N. Park Ave, Winter Park FL 32789, call (407) 262-0050.
Scenic Boat Tour, 312 E. Morse Blvd, Winter Park FL 32789, call (407) 644-4056. $12 (cash only) per adult. $6 for kids aged 2-11, and kids under 2 ride free. Open daily 10-4 (last tour leaves at 4). Closed Dec 25.
Winter in the Park ice skating, corner of New York Ave and Morse Blvd. Nov 15, 2013 to Jan 5, 2014. Open M-Tr 3-9, F 3-10, S 10-10, Sn noon-8. Longer hours on school holidays. Cost is $10 to skate (includes skate rental).
This is an interactive map, you can zoom and move it.
Overall Visitor Rating: Unrated.