14 Orlando

PopulationMetro: 2,509,831
Yes, there are theme parks. But Orlando is also a thriving food destination with plenty to enjoy without kids in tow.

Being the largest city in a region that generates more than $60 billion in tourism-related revenue every year gets you plenty of lift from a rising tide. That’s a lot of visitors with a story to tell if you give them the means. Orlando knows how to get people talking.

Its #8 ranking in our Promotion category drove its strong #14 large-city ranking among U.S. large cities, including the third-most TripAdvisor reviews of any large city. Long adept at coaxing testimonials out of visitors, Visit Orlando went all a few years ago with their social media-based Orlando Stories initiative, in which participants can win prizes for sharing their Orlando experiences via social media.

The result? Incentivized place champions and a flood of long-tail authentic content. Walt couldn’t have spun the story better himself.

CITY PERFORMACE
Place
Place 46
Product
Product 48
Programming
Programming 18
People
People 61
Prosperity
Prosperity 30
Promotion
Promotion 28

But great stories require stuff to talk about and Orlando plans buzzy product releases with military precision. It’s why the city ranks #4 for Attractions and #7 for Parks & Outdoors.

SeaWorld brought a beloved world to life with the opening of Sesame Street in March 2019, just in time for the show’s 50th anniversary. Families can explore six acres of the iconic neighborhood, including the famous 123 stoop. Not one to be outdone, LEGOLAND Resort debuted Lego Movie World, one of the largest additions ever made to the park, making it the perfect spot for fans of the popular 2014 film.

The city is also expanding its attentions beyond family fun. The new Orlando City Stadium houses the city’s MLS men’s and women’s teams, with seats for 25,500 fans.

Orlando’s Restaurants ranking is also an impressive #16 in the country. As the world’s chefs focus on the opportunity in a place with so many diners on vacation, they’ll@tom open outposts here. Until then, homegrown gems like the new Kadence (a tiny omakase and sake bar) and local expansions like The Polite Pig (from the creators of The Ravenous Pig—the James Beard-nominated husband-and-wife culinary team that wood-fired, smoked and grills to perfection) will be happy to feed the demand and build Orlando’s food scene.

In 2018, Orlando welcomed 75 million visitors. The increase of 4.2% over the prior year once again solidifies Orlando’s lead position as America’s most-visited destination.