Orlando, FL

Your Complete Guide to Living in Orlando

Florida Orlando

by Ivonne Spinoza Posted on January 19, 2022

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

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 industries such as bio tech, aerospace, education, health services, and more.
  • Despite Florida’s reputation as a retirement destination, the median age in Orlando is just above 37 (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 January 2022 — is a seller’s market, as is the case in many cities country-wide.
Q: Is Orlando, Florida, a good place to live?
A: 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 not too daunting for buyers

The housing market is still within reach of buyers, and while it’s definitely not a cheap city — with a typical home value around $333,000 — it’s still more affordable than some other large Florida cities like Tampa and Miami. 

It’s also worth mentioning that the typical home value in Orlando increased by nearly 23% over the last year, making Orlando a great city if you’re looking to build equity, so you’re not just getting a property but a good return on your investment, thanks to the booming real estate market. 

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 $1,700, and the average apartment size is 963 sq. ft.

Two-story homes in an Orlando neighborhood
(Source: E Mens via Unsplash)

2. You’ll love these Orlando neighborhoods

Some of the top areas to live in Orlando include:

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, community, and culture — including 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 Tampa. 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 6.5%, meaning more money stays in your pocket instead of going into Uncle Sam’s.

A little girl raising her hand in a classroom
(Source: Anastasia Shuraeva via Pexels)

4. There are great schools in Orlando

Orlando boasts multiple top-rated public and private school options 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, Full Sail, and Valencia, to name a few.

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 quick to go, so it won’t ruin your whole day. In fact, rain is often a welcomed godsend when the sun is shining too brightly, so you’ll probably find it refreshing and actually enjoyable! 

A woman shaking her interviewer's hand

6. The job market in the city is booming

The city has been constantly lauded as one of the best places for job seekers (yes, even over the past year!). This means that even if you’re not in the hospitality business, Orlando could be a great destination if you’re looking 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, 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

You’ll never be bored because there’s 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…

Theme parks in Orlando are incredible
It would be remiss of us not to 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, to name a few. 

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. 

Cinderella's Castle at Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL
Cinderella's Castle at Walt Disney World
(Source: Brian McGowan via Unsplash)

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 Repertory Theatre, 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. 

Birds flying over the Cocoa Beach Pier in Orlando
Cocoa Beach Pier
(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 under your feet, 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
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 (upcoming) Virgin Trains 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 couple speaking to their PODS driver

9. 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. When you’re ready, your container will be picked up and delivered right to your new Orlando home or taken to one of PODS’ secure storage facilities 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.


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