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If you’re planning a vacation to two of Florida’s most popular cities and wondering which one will give you the most bang for your buck, this comprehensive Orlando vs. Miami guide is a great resource.
While both cities offer endless attractions, lively nightlife, and highly rated culinary scenes, you might be asking which is better for your vacation.
That’s where I come in.
As someone who travels to Florida often, I have traveled near and far, east and west throughout the Sunshine State to provide the most up-to-date and helpful advice possible.
Continue reading below to learn where to stay, where to play, and where to eat in both Orlando and Miami to help you plan your next Florida adventure.
Booking a last-minute trip to Orlando or Miami?
If so, we have you covered. Here are some top recommended tours and experiences!
Top Tours in Orlando
Everglades Airboat and Wild Florida Tour (Florida Wildlife Tour With Optional Lunch)
Glass Bottom Guided Kayak Eco Tour (2-Hour Tour Perfect for Nature Lovers!)
Kennedy Space Center Adventure with Transport (Enjoy NASA’s Kennedy Space Center)
Top Tours in Miami
Speedboat Sightseeing Tour (Miami Coastline Cruise)
Little Havana Food & Walking Tour (Definitely the best food & walking tour in Miami)
Wynwood Graffiti Golf Cart Tour (Ride around the street arts of Miami via golf cart)
Top Hotels In Orlando
Marriott’s Cypress Harbour Villas – (Perfect For Couples)
Ette Luxury Hotel & Spa – (High-Rated Luxury Hotel)
Top Hotels In Miami
The Elser Hotel Miami – (Highly-Rated Located In Downtown)
Loews Coral Gables Hotel – (Top Location & Highly Rated)
Looking To Get Around In Orlando Or Miami?
Check out rental car rates here! 🚗
Orlando vs Miami- Which Is Better For Your Vacation?
Best Things To Do In Orlando
This may come as no surprise, but it’s not a trip to Orlando without visiting at least one or two theme parks.
In fact, they are the main reason why more than 50 million people visit each year.
Walt Disney World Resort is obviously the most popular park, followed by Universal Orlando Resort and Epcot.
It’s recommended to spend at least two days at each park to experience a majority of the rides and attractions.
Once you’re done with the theme parks, watch an NBA game with Orlando Magic, stroll through the Harry P Leu Gardens, or admire the artwork at the Orlando Museum of Art.
Best Things To Do In Miami
It would take a separate blog post or two to go over all of the must-do things in Miami, but for the sake of time, I’ll just name a couple.
First, sample the culinary scene with a Miami Culinary Food Tour (think fresh seafood and authentic Cuban food like flan and Cubano sandwiches!).
Next, enjoy a couple of hours on a private cruise out on Biscayne Bay or Coconut Grove.
You’ll get an amazing view of the cityscape and likely see some mega-mansions owned by billionaires along the way.
Attractions Near Orlando
There’s plenty to do in Orlando (way more than you can see in just one or even two trips), so if you stay in the bustling city, you’ll be quite busy!
However, there’s plenty to do outside of this large city, too.
For example, you can take a day trip to the nation’s oldest occupied city: St. Augustine. Less than two hours away, it’s brimming with history, great restaurants, and museums.
On the way back to Orlando area, stop by Gatorland to check out the white gators and other native wildlife.
Attractions Near Miami
One of the great things about visiting Miami, is that you can enjoy the excitement of the city, yet escape to the solitude of nature in no time.
Just 35 minutes West sits the Florida Everglades National Park.
An hour and a half South, you can explore the Southernmost point of the U.S. on the historic island of Key West.
If you want some time outdoors without the travel time, hit up South Beach for an afternoon of Art Deco, brunch, or bar hopping.
Orlando vs Miami: Which City Is Better For Couples?
Miami is the easy choice here. The city has a sizable nightclub and bar scene in addition to intimate beach front hotels, and both public and private beaches.
Couples looking for a more lively scene can spend an afternoon at Miami Beach, partying on a private yacht, or club hopping into the morning hours.
Those looking for a more relaxing vacation can stroll the Bayside Marketplace, visit the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, or kick back at the Matheson Hammock Park.
Events In Orlando
There’s so much more to Orlando than just theme parks.
For nature lovers, the Blue Spring Manatee Festival is an amazing experience.
Tens of thousands of people descend on Central Florida each November to catch a glimpse of the Florida manatee.
In the nearby Crystal River, you can even safely swim with the gentle giants.
For food lovers, visiting Epcot July through November is a perfect choice!
Visitors can sample food from around the world at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.
Events In Miami
There’s always something exciting happening in and around Miami.
A few of the more popular annual events that occur throughout the year include the South Beach Wine and Food Festival, the Miami Open, and Art Basel.
SOBEWFF features vendors of top restaurants and tourism brands from around the world.
You can also get the chance to see your favorite Miami Heat players in the NBA playoffs such as Jimmy Butler, Kyle Lowry, Bam Abedayo, and more.
The Miami Open brings the world’s top tennis players to the city for two weeks every year, and Art Basel displays artwork from the world’s leading galleries.
Best Restaurants In Orlando
Breakfast: KeKe’s Breakfast Cafe
Enjoy sweet and savory made-to-order meals using fresh local ingredients.
Some of the most popular menu items include banana nut and caramel French toast, blueberry compote pancakes, and the Scrambler Bowl.
Lunch: Hunger Street Tacos
If you’re craving street food, stop by Hunger Street Tacos.
Order the Campechano, the Chori-Pollo, and the Fried Avo Taco.
Come hungry as you’ll want to order at least three tacos!
Dinner: Wine Bar George (Disney Springs)
Looking for a great place that has it all? Welcome to Wine Bar George.
For dinner, don’t pass up the House Made Avocado Ricotta with hot honey, and the House Made Meatballs.
Best Restaurants In Miami
Breakfast: El Bagel
Serves hand-rolled bagel sandwiches and bagels with a variety of unique cream cheese flavors and toppings.
Order an iced coffee with a “King Guava” with Guava marmalade, plain cream cheese, papitas (potato stix), and a local fried egg.
Lunch: Old Greg’s Pizza
This former pandemic pop up has become a local favorite for wine and pizza.
Order the polenta crusted wings, the O.G Roni pizza, and a cannoli of the day.
Dinner: The Surf Club Restaurant
If you’re looking for an upscale restaurant for dinner plans, look no further.
Featuring an extensive wine list and cuisine with heavy European influence.
Order the Oysters Rockefeller and the French Onion Dip and Kettle Chips.
Orlando vs Miami: Which One Is Cheaper?
The answer to this ultimately depends on your personal budget and the types of attractions and experiences you want to have.
Generally speaking, however, Miami is usually cheaper than Orlando.
Lodging in Miami is slightly more expensive than in Orlando, but public transit, entertainment, and food expenses in Orlando far outweigh that of Miami.
To put it in perspective, the average daily cost of a person on vacation in Miami is $206, while the average daily cost of an Orlando vacation is $256.
In regards to cost of living, however, Orlando is 18 percent less expensive than Miami.
Why Is Orlando Florida So Popular?
Two words: theme parks. Known as the “Theme Park Capital of the World,” Central Florida is home to 12 main Florida theme parks.
These include the Walt Disney World parks, Universal Orlando parks, ICON park, and the SeaWorld parks.
In addition to theme parks, Orlando is also home to nearly 150 other parks including gardens with live music, recreation centers, festivals, and wildlife parks.
All of this in addition to amazing food and a stellar entertainment scene makes it the perfect place for families to vacation.
Where To Stay In Orlando
Photo Credit- Expedia
⭐️ Rating 8.3/10 with over 1485 reviews!
Known for its great location seven minutes from the parks, Castle Hotel is a great choice for lodging in Orlando.
The property features a cocktail lounge, restaurant, a delicious buffet breakfast, outdoor pool and jacuzzi, free WiFi, and a spa.
Book the Castle Hotel Autograph Collection
Photo Credit- Expedia
⭐️ Rating 8.7/10 with over 1780 reviews!
One of the most popular properties to book in Orlando, this tropical-style resort can be found inside the Universal Orlando Resort complex.
The property is a playground of fun and excitement with a lagoon pool with slides, 4 themed restaurants and bars, and a gym.
Additional perks include free park shuttles, access to character events, and early admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Where To Stay In Miami
According to Booking.com, there are more than 1300 hotels and resorts throughout Miami Dade county alone.
From world class luxury beach resorts to cozy mid-range boutique hotels, there are endless lodging options to fit every traveler’s preference.
Photo Credit- Expedia
⭐️ Rating 8.3/10 with over 1485 reviews!
This newly renovated downtown hotel offers a rare spirits bar, outdoor cigar lounge, rooftop restaurant with city views, two sparkling swimming pools, and a complimentary evening wine hour nightly.
They also offer yoga mats in every room!
Book the Kimpton EPIC Hotel
Photo Credit- Expedia
⭐️ Rating 8.9/10 with over 920 reviews!
This luxury hotel is away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Miami, directly next to the airport.
It features a free shuttle, a full size gym, on-site dining at the Miranda Cafe + Bar, and a Terrace cafe.
Bonus: the hotel will be getting a spa soon!
Book the EB Hotel Miami
FAQ’s: Orlando vs Miami
Is Orlando Or Miami Better?
The answer to this depends on who you ask! It’s entirely a personal preference as every person has different interests.
If you’re looking for a more laid-back family-friendly vibe, Orlando would be the best place.
If you’re looking for the best nightlife and pristine white sand beaches, Miami is a good place to go.
What Is The Difference Between Orlando And Miami?
Orlando is smaller with just 300,000 people.
It’s more suburban compared to the concrete jungle of Miami with nearly 500,000 people.
The vibes of both cities are completely different as well. Orlando is geared more towards family fun and entertainment.
Not that you can’t also find family-friendly things to do in Miami, but it definitely attracts more young, single adults and couples for parties, beach days, bars, and music festivals.
Final Thoughts- Orlando vs Miami
In conclusion, when comparing Orlando and Miami, Florida, there is no clear winner. Both offer unique attractions, beautiful beaches, and plenty of activities to keep you busy.
Ultimately, the best city for you will depend on your personal preferences and what kind of experiences you’re looking for.
Whether it’s a vibrant nightlife in Miami or thrilling theme parks in Orlando, both cities have something to offer and can be enjoyable fun places to visit!
Additional Orlando & Miami Travel Posts
Me strolling along the vibrant beach of Miami in February. ☀️
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Book Your Next Trip! For Accommodations and short-term rentals, I recommend Booking.com as they are the best in the business when it comes to rates and places to stay.
To Book Activities- For activities, I suggest booking with Viator, they have thousands of 5-star activities to choose from!
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