History lovers, art buffs, and nature enthusiasts alike will enjoy Lakeland, the largest city in Polk County, Florida. Halfway between Tampa and Orlando, the historic city was settled in the 1870s and is known throughout Florida’s history as the home to numerous Native American tribes. Today, much of that land is protected on the Circle B Bar Reserve. Visitors can enjoy the area’s historic sites, engaging museums, and gardens filled with indigenous flowers and plants. There are also several lakes to explore near the city, making for easy walking trails and scenic views. Keep reading for a detailed guide of Lakeland’s most popular attractions and things to do while visiting.
Lakeland has many can’t-miss things to see, do, and eat while visiting. The heart of the city’s downtown area offers the beautiful Lake Mirror Park, complete with a historic promenade, amphitheater, and pedestrian walkways. Peruse the antique dealers, specialty shops, art galleries, and museums in the walkable downtown Historic district.
The best things to do near Lakeland include:
A trip to Lakeland doesn’t need to break the bank. There are plenty of fun, cheap things to do with friends, family, or whoever you’re traveling with. From outdoor activities, foodie favorites, and local must-sees you can’t experience anywhere else, almost everything in Lakeland is equal parts enjoyable and affordable.
To get your itinerary started, here are a few cheap things to do near Lakeland:
From beautiful landscapes to cultural must-sees, Lakeland is an underrated tourist destination to visit year round. With its tranquil atmosphere, nature lovers will flock to one of the many lakes and parks. The famous promenade at Lake Mirror is the the crown jewel of the historic downtown Lakeland area. The 1.2-acre botanical garden at Hollis Garden that boasts several fountains and hundreds of flowers.
Some of the popular attractions near Lakeland include:
Summer is in full swing, which means plenty of daily activities to experience in Lakeland right now. From daring in-flight adventures at the Aerospace Discovery Center to historic city walking tours, as well as numerous happy hours around town, you’ll be busy from morning until late at night.
Exciting activities near Lakeland include:
Lakeland’s nightlife is buzzing with breweries, wine bars, plus plenty of venues to experience a live show or music. There are also a plethora of delicious restaurants ranging from Puerto Rican food, seafood, classic American, and BBQ. Most don’t require a reservation and all range in price from low to gourmet. Treat yourself to a nice dinner and then experience entertainment from comedy, to art gallery parties, theater productions, and of course, live music.
Nighttime activities near Lakeland include:
Your calendar is even busier in the summer and that’s thanks to the many different things to do this weekend happening in Lakeland. So whether you’re a local or visiting for the weekend, take advantage of your time off to explore what this great city has to offer.
A few weekend activities near Lakeland include:
Summer is the perfect time for kids to explore new and old favorites in Lakeland. Most are inexpensive, even free, activities and places to go that you can also enjoy. From indoor fun at the Family Fun Center to exploring Oponay Farm, there are numerous things to do with kids that will leave the whole family happy.
Family-friendly things to do near Lakeland include:
With it’s dewy heat, tropical plants, and lakes for days, Lakeland’s atmosphere only makes all the romantic things to do even more heated. And whether you’re going on a first date or have been together forever, a date night is essential for all couples.
Some examples of date night ideas near Lakeland include:
Grab your girl gang, friend group, or whoever you hang out with because Lakeland has plenty of group activities to do. Whether you just want to hang out at a local bar for happy hour or try something totally new like an escape room, your friends will thank you for finding something exciting to try.
Things to do with your friends near Lakeland include:
With so much stimulation all around us–work, social lives, and the overall responsibilities that come with adulthood, it’s important to dedicate time to self-care and relaxing. And while Lakeland is well-known for its various outdoor activities, there are plenty of indoor things to do as well.
Here are a few ideas for Lakeland things to do indoors:
Lakeland wouldn’t be the amazing city it is without it’s abundant lakes all around the city. The area is also lucky to have accompanying outdoor activities to satisfy your active side and keep you in nature. And if you want to be outside without the commitment of an all-day hike, hop on a bike tour and explore that way.
Other active things to see in Lakeland include:
Every city has its hidden gems, and Lakeland is no exception. And if you’re only there a few days, it’s important to know the best things to see and do ahead of time. Hop in the car and drive just outside of the city limits to experience the surrounding ecosystem (be sure to keep an eye out for gators!). Lakeland is also home to the world’s largest collection of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture.
A few must-see places near Lakeland include: