First developed in the late 1800s as a winter refuge for wealthy northerners, Winter Park has stayed true to its origins. The downtown shopping district, centered around Park Avenue, features stately trees, lush gardens, extensive museums, fine boutiques and upscale eateries. Whether for a day trip or a weekend stay, Winter Park makes a lovely excursion.
Where to Stay
The Alfond Inn at Rollins College (300 E. New England Ave., Winter Park; (407) 901-9155; thealfondinn.com) is a 112- room boutique hotel regularly named to best-of lists. The inn boasts luxury amenities and an all-sizes-welcome dog-friendly policy. Plus, the hotel’s profits go toward the Alfond Scholars Fund at Rollins College. Closer to Park Avenue, the Park Plaza Hotel (307 S. Park Ave., Winter Park; (407) 647-1072; parkplazahotel.com) provides balcony views overlooking the park. Built in 1922, it exudes gracious old-world charm with its dark wood paneling, leather wingback chairs and Persian rugs.
What to Visit
The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art (445 N. Park Ave., Winter Park; (407) 645-5311; morsemuseum.org) might rightly be called the crown jewel of Winter Park’s art and museum scene. Featuring the world’s premier collection of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany—of Tiffany glass fame—the museum houses among its many treasures the chapel interior Tiffany created for the 1893 World Columbian Exposition in Chicago. To call it stunning would be an understatement.
Where to Eat
Across the street from the museum, Boca Kitchen (358 N. Park Avenue, Winter Park; (407) 636-7022; bocawp.com) provides farm-to-table fare in a rustic-chic atmosphere. Though it has plenty of indoor seating, its sidewalk tables offer a view of Winter Park’s stately trees and lush green spaces. Don’t miss the sweet potato pancakes at brunch. For dinner, Luma on Park (290 S. Park Ave., Winter Park; (407) 599-4111; lumaonpark.com) showcases an extensive wine selection and modern American cuisine in a sleek, upscale atmosphere.
Where to Browse
Park Avenue features the kind of shops that are perfect for wiling away an afternoon. The Spice & Tea Exchange (309 N. Park Ave., Winter Park; (407) 647-7423; spiceandtea.com) has a vast array of teas, teapots and tea accessories, while tugboat & the bird (318 N. Park Ave., Winter Park; (407) 647-5437; tugboatandthebird.com) carries whimsical children’s clothing and gifts. Among the familiar brands of upscale women’s clothing whose boutiques line the avenue—Eileen Fisher, Lilly Pulitzer, lululemon—the independently owned Sultre (290 N. Park Ave., Winter Park; (407) 699-9696; sultre.com) stands out. Shop here for gorgeous women’s apparel that feels both fresh and timeless.
Where to Stroll
Winter Park’s Central Park stretches along the west side of Park Avenue, facing its shops and restaurants. Old oak trees, fountains and benches fill the park’s 11 acres. The rose garden on the south end of the park with its central peacock fountain provides a tranquil— and fragrant—spot to relax.