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Orlando, FL and Lake Eola at sunset

Your Complete Guide to Living in Orlando

Florida Orlando

by Ivonne Spinoza Posted on January 23, 2024

Decided to pick up and move to Orlando? Then you can look forward to great weather, a thriving job market, excellent real estate, and more than enough recreational activities to last you a lifetime — just to name a few perks! 

Planning a move to Orlando? Start by getting a quote from PODS.

Keep reading to learn more about what living in Orlando is like and why the city is a great destination for families and young professionals (not just snowbirds and retirees!). And if you haven’t already, be sure to also check out our guide to Moving to Orlando, FL.

Orlando at a Glance

  • Living in Orlando means great weather year-round. If you’re fleeing the snow, you’ll be happy to learn that the average low during the coldest month of the year (January) is a balmy 52°F.
  • While the city is famous for its tourism and hospitality industries, many of Orlando’s citizens work in other fields. The job market offers many opportunities in bio tech, aerospace, education, health services, and more.
  • Despite Florida’s reputation as a retirement destination, the median age in Orlando is just above 34 (one of the youngest in the state), meaning it’s a place for young professionals and families more than retirees.
  • You’ll never be bored in a city that’s home to some of the best theme parks in the world.
  • It offers just the right mix of urban and suburban lifestyles.
  • The restaurant scene is constantly growing and offers options that will impress even the pickiest taste buds!
  • The real estate market — as of December 2023 — is a seller’s market, as is the case in many cities country-wide.

Pros and Cons of Living in Orlando

What is Orlando like? Here are a few of the perks and need-to-know aspects of life in Orlando, FL:
  • Pro: Orlando has a cost of living that’s 6 percent above the national average, but it’s lower than several other major Florida cities, such as Miami and Fort Lauderdale.
  • Con: It’s a seller’s market, which results in a more competitive rental market — the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment is about $1,900.
  • Pro: Florida is one of nine U.S. states with no income tax, plus the state sales tax is just 6 percent.
  • Con: The humid subtropical climate can come with rainstorms and a high risk of hurricanes.
  • Pro: Orlando offers almost every recreational activity under the sun (and the weather is sunny, indeed), from a thriving arts scene and theme parks to shopping and fine dining.

Q: Is Orlando a good place to live?
Living in Orlando has proven to be a great experience for many types of people. Retirees love the area, but its growing tech sectors and booming population also make it a great hub for young professionals and families looking for quality education, a thriving economy, and plenty of year-round entertainment.

1. The Housing Market Is Good for Sellers, But It’s Not Too Daunting for Buyers.

What is it like to live in Orlando, Florida, from a home-buying perspective? The housing market is still within reach of buyers, and while it’s definitely not a cheap city — with an average home value around $373,200 — it’s still more affordable than some other large Florida cities like Tampa and Miami

Prefer a more relaxed environment and better property prices than the city proper? Consider the lovely Orlando-area suburbs — with such great access, you won’t really feel too removed from the city. 

Insider Tip: If you’re thinking about buying real estate in Orlando, make sure you know how much house you can afford before diving into the listings.

On the flip side, for renters, things aren’t so rosy. A seller’s market translates to more renters to compete with and higher rents (like in most cities). The average monthly rent is around $1,900, and the average apartment size is 964 square feet.

Q: Is rent expensive in Orlando?
The average monthly rent for an apartment in Orlando, Florida, is about $1,900, according to RentCafe, and that’s for a 964-square-foot apartment, on average. Of course, apartments range in price — about half of Orlando apartments cost between $1,500 to $2,000 to rent per month.

White and brown homes in an Orlando neighborhood after a rainfall

(Source: E Mens via Unsplash)

2. You’ll Love These Orlando Neighborhoods.

If you’re considering living in Orlando, FL, here’s a starting spot for your “Orlando best neighborhoods” search (but be sure to check out our full guide to the best Orlando neighborhoods).

College Park

For those who love lots of things to do and being in the middle of all the action, College Park is a great area near downtown full of small businesses and award-winning restaurants. The area is also home to one of Orlando’s top public golf clubs — along with plenty of other green areas and city parks.

Mills 50

If you prefer up-and-coming neighborhoods, Mills 50 is already blooming, with a thriving art community and new restaurants and yoga studios opening all the time. 

Lake Eola Heights Historic District

For the history buffs who like to travel in time while strolling down the street, the Lake Eola Heights Historic District showcases a variety of architecture, from Mediterranean Revival to Art Deco.


For authentic food and affordable housing, look no further than Parramore. This historical neighborhood offers colorful street art, a close-knit community, and diverse culture. Be sure to check out the Wells’ Built Museum of African American History & Culture


If suburban life is more your style, Sanford is not too far and has been touted as one of the best places to live in the state.

Insider Tip: Already own a home in Orlando and planning to switch neighborhoods? Check out these Orlando realtor secrets for buying and selling your home

3. Orlando Has a Major Perk When it Comes to Cost of Living.

Is it expensive to live in Orlando? Well, that depends on where you’ve lived before. The cost of living in Orlando is generally higher than other cities in the state; however, it’s cheaper than many other major cities around the country, and it’s still more affordable than other popular locations in Florida, such as Miami or Fort Lauderdale. If you’re moving to Orlando from a smaller town or city, expect to pay more in food, housing, and transportation costs. 

One cost of living aspect in Orlando’s favor? Taxes. In fact, Florida state income taxes just aren’t a thing. There’s also no inheritance tax. In addition to that, the city has a relatively low sales tax rate of 6 percent, meaning more money stays in your pocket instead of going into Uncle Sam’s.

Q: How much money do you need to live in Orlando, Florida?
The cost of living in Orlando is lower than many major U.S. cities — but higher than some other Florida cities, and 6 percent above the national average. So how much money do you need? The required annual income before taxes, according to the MIT Living Wage Calculator, for an adult with no children is about $39,000. For an adult with three children, that number goes up to just over $127,000.

If you’re a numbers person, here a quick look at how life in Orlando stacks up to the cost of living in some other major Florida cities.

Orlando Costs of Living

Living in Orlando vs Tampa

Living in Orlando vs Miami

A school-age girl raises her hand in class

(Source: Anastasia Shuraeva via Pexels)

4. There Are Great Schools in Orlando.

Life in Orlando means access to top-rated public and private school options — great for families looking for the best educational opportunities for their kids. 

Also, if your kids are older or you want to continue your studies, the city is home to the second-largest university in the country, the University of Central Florida, as well as many public and private colleges and universities, such as Rollins College, Full Sail University, and Valencia College.

5. Orlando Weather Won’t Make You S.A.D.

Orlando’s weather is often one of the main deciding factors people mention when they move to the area.

While hurricanes are a serious and logical concern for many, the weather is just lovely down here most of the year. Even when it gets cold, the cold is much less severe than in most other states, with an average low of 52°F (and a high of 71°F) during the coldest month. 

The tropical weather does come with rain, but the rain is usually fleeting, so it won’t ruin your whole day. In fact, rain is often a welcome reprieve from the bright afternoon sun, so you’ll probably find it refreshing and actually enjoyable! 

A woman gladly accepts a new job, shaking hands with her interviewers

6. The Job Market in the City Is Booming.

The city has been consistently lauded as one of the best places for job seekers. This means that even if you’re not in the hospitality business, Orlando could be a great destination to advance your career, as the job market’s growth is not projected to slow down any time soon.

The city offers plenty of opportunities for professionals in varied industries. It's home to important hospitals and several Fortune 500 companies, for example, such as Siemens and Oracle — not to mention the one with the famous cartoon mouse.

7. The List of Things To Do in Orlando Is Virtually Never Ending.

Living in Orlando means you’ll never be bored, because there’s simply no shortage of things to do in Orlando — even if you’re coming from a busy coastal city. And while you probably know that Orlando is very popular with international travelers because of all the recreational opportunities this area offers, the fun offerings go well beyond the world-famous theme parks. But speaking of theme parks…

Cinderella's Castle at Walt Disney World

(Source: Brian McGowan via Unsplash)

Theme Parks in Orlando Are Incredible

We would be remiss if we didn’t mention the theme parks, and if you haven’t yet visited them, be sure to add that to your list! There’s a reason they’re world-renowned, and there’s enough variety to fit most tastes, between Universal Studios, Walt Disney World, and SeaWorld. LEGOLAND is another good choice for little ones and adult Lego aficionados alike, and as a Florida resident, you’ll even get special discounts! 

Sports and Recreational Activities Abound  

If you’re into active water or extreme sports, there’s the Orlando Watersports Complex, Andretti Indoor Karting & Games, iFLY Indoor Skydiving, and the Orlando Tree Trek Adventure Park, just to name a few options. 

Into more traditional mainstream sports, such as basketball? You’ll soon become a fan (if you aren’t already) of the Orlando Magic! If you’re into ice hockey, come and cheer the Orlando Solar Bears on, and if your family loves soccer, come to see the Orlando City Soccer Club play. Orlando is also a stone’s throw away from Tampa Bay, so football and baseball fans will find themselves just a quick drive away from the Buccaneers and Rays.

There Are Dedicated Entertainment Venues for Little Ones 

The youngest of adventurers have plenty of fun options in Orlando, as well. For example, check out the Crayola Experience if you want an entertaining and educational day or weekend out in a different setting than one of the more famous theme parks.  

The Art Scene Is Thriving 

Art tends to flourish in diverse and inclusive places, and Orlando is no exception. Here, you can enjoy the Broadway Across America Orlando series, the Orlando Fringe Festival, and the ZORA! Festival. 

Likewise, you can visit the Orlando Museum of Art, Osceola Arts, the Orlando Family Stage, and the Mad Cow Theatre, among others, any time your heart desires. So even if you’re moving from a larger city, it’s unlikely you’ll get bored here. 

Science and History Can Be Enjoyed Here, As Well

The Orlando Science Center is a must for those with inquiring minds, plus the area is home to hundreds of museums, historic homes, and even gardens that you can visit to further immerse yourself in the history of the area. 

Orlando’s Great for Bargain Shoppers

In addition to regular malls and luxury stores (plus the occasional antique boutique), Orlando also offers an unparalleled lineup of luxury and brand-name outlets. In fact, they’re so good, people from all over the world travel to do some discount shopping here! There are plenty of options, but some of the best-known ones are the Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets, the Orlando International Premium Outlets, and the Orlando Outlet Marketplace

The pier at Cocoa Beach on Florida’s east coast at sunset

(Source: Florian Schneider via Unsplash)

The Beach Is a Short Trip Away

If you need a break from city life, or if you just miss smelling the sea and feeling the sand between your toes, remember that there are plenty of beaches less than a couple of hours away from Orlando, where you can have a mini-vacation any weekend.

There’s Food in Orlando for All Tastes and Diets

Want to eat at a hot new spot any night of the week? You can in Orlando! From its privileged location, you’d expect lots of fresh seafood, and while that is true, there are also plenty of other cuisines and alternatives available. Domu offers amazing pan-Asian cuisine, Reyes Mezcaleria is the place for Oaxacan food, Kabooki has the best sushi, The Ravenous Pig is the place to go for modern American food, Enzo's on the Lake will show you some unforgettable Italian options, and for special celebrations, make sure to visit Knife & Spoon at The Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes. Wine lover? You definitely can’t miss the Orlando Wine Festival & Auction, which takes place every year. We could go on and on! 

8. Transportation and Commuting Options Are Decent.

Transportation in Orlando has both pros and cons. The city is a great hub for air travel, with three airports serving it, among which Orlando International Airport takes the trophy (it is one of the cheapest airports to fly from in the whole country!). Unfortunately, even though the city is very well connected in general, several routes in and near Orlando are often congested. And while the public transportation is among the best in the state, it will still pale when compared to other big cities.

For more occasional longer commutes during the weekend or to other places of interest, the options the city offers are more than sufficient, however. There are Amtrak, SunRail, and Brightline train routes. Buses are another great option, if you need to travel within the city or between Orlando and South Florida for fun, and there are even free shuttles that serve some areas within Orlando itself. 

If that’s not enough, Orlando’s privileged location gives you access to ports and cruise lines only about an hour away by car. 

A young couple stand in front of a PODS container as their driver explains how their things will be shipped to their next home

Moving to Orlando Doesn’t Have To Be Complicated

There’s magic in the Orlando air — the only possible issue is getting there. Need some advice? Enlist the help of pro movers, load it all up in a truck, or move with PODS. Rent a portable storage container and have it delivered to your driveway, ready for you to load at your own pace. Need help with the heavy lifting? PODS can even connect you with local packing and loading services. And when you’re ready, your container will be picked up and delivered right to your new Orlando home or taken to a PODS secure storage facility until you’re ready for it.

Moving from somewhere else in the state? Check out our Moving in Florida guide and save yourself some time and headaches. And if you haven’t quite made your mind up about Orlando, visit the PODS Blog to explore the Best Places to Live in Florida and other sunny cities.

Ivonne Spinoza is a freelance writer and a frequent contributor to the PODS Blog. Her work has appeared in Matador Network, PBS’ Independent Lens, and The Chicago Tribune, among others. When she’s not snuggling her cats, she’s either Kondo-ing someone’s life or fighting jet lag at some airport.

Editor’s note: For ease of reading, monthly rental prices were rounded to the nearest $25 and home values were rounded to the nearest $100.

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