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Lakeland, Florida

A Delightful Blend of Nature, Culture, and History.

Lakeland at a Glance

Lakeland, Florida offers tourists a delightful blend of nature, culture, and history. Known for its picturesque lakes, vibrant downtown, and friendly atmosphere, Lakeland has something for everyone.

Lakelands Natural Beauty

Lakeland is aptly named, boasting over 30 stunning lakes within its city limits. The largest and most iconic is Lake Hollingsworth, a popular spot for jogging, picnicking, and bird-watching. Lake Mirror, with its promenade and historic Hollis Garden, is another gem for those seeking tranquility amidst urban life.

Downtown Lakeland

Downtown Lakeland is a hub of cultural activity. Stroll through the historic district, where you’ll find charming shops, art galleries, and restaurants. The Polk Museum of Art showcases a diverse collection of artworks, while the Florida Southern College campus is home to the largest collection of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture in the world.

Lakeland’s Outdoor Options

Nature enthusiasts will appreciate the proximity of Circle B Bar Reserve, known for its incredible bird-watching opportunities and alligator sightings. For an adrenaline rush, visit the nearby LEGOLAND Florida Resort in Winter Haven, a theme park that promises fun for the entire family.

Lakeland History

Lakeland’s history is preserved at the Polk County History Center, housed in a neoclassical courthouse. Learn about the region’s past, from Native American settlements to the thriving citrus industry.

Events and Festivals

Lakeland hosts various events throughout the year, including the Sun ‘n Fun Aerospace Expo, an international aviation event, and the Mayfaire by-the-Lake, an arts festival. These events add a dash of excitement to your visit.

In Lakeland you’ll discover a city that effortlessly marries natural beauty with cultural richness. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful retreat or an action-packed adventure, Lakeland welcomes you with open arms. Come and experience the charm of this remarkable city for yourself.

Places to Stay in Lakeland

The Terrace Hotel - Lakeland, Florida | I-4 Exit Guide
The Terrace Hotel Overlooking Mirror Lake in Lakeland, Florida | I-4 Exit Guide

Lakeland welcomes tourists with its warm hospitality and a range of accommodations to suit every traveler’s needs. Whether you’re seeking a luxurious retreat or a budget-friendly option, Lakeland has it all.

If you crave a touch of luxury during your stay, The Terrace Hotel is the perfect choice. Located in the heart of downtown Lakeland, this historic boutique hotel offers elegant rooms, fine dining at The Terrace Grille, and stunning views of Lake Mirror. It’s an ideal spot for those looking to indulge.

For travelers who value comfort and convenience, the Hilton Garden Inn provides a central location, spacious rooms, and modern amenities. With a 24-hour business center and a pool, it’s an excellent option for both leisure and business travelers.

Hilton Garden Inn - Lakeland, Florida | I-4 Exit Guide
Hilton Garden Inn – Lakeland, Florida | I-4 Exit Guide

Lakeland’s beautiful lakes offer unique vacation rental opportunities. Consider booking a lakefront cabin or cottage for a tranquil getaway. You’ll wake up to breathtaking views and the chance to fish or kayak right outside your door.

Lakeland also caters to budget-conscious travelers. Chain hotels like the Holiday Inn Express and Comfort Inn & Suites provide comfortable rooms, complimentary breakfast, and easy access to the city’s attractions without breaking the bank.

Experience Southern hospitality at its finest by staying at one of Lakeland’s charming bed and breakfasts. These cozy accommodations offer a personalized touch, delicious homemade breakfasts, and a glimpse into the city’s history.

For outdoor enthusiasts, Lakeland has several RV parks and campgrounds. Saddle Creek Park Campground, for instance, offers spacious RV sites and serene surroundings.

No matter your preference or budget, Lakeland offers a wide array of accommodations to ensure your stay is comfortable and memorable. With options ranging from upscale hotels to cozy bed and breakfasts, you’re sure to find the perfect place to call home during your visit to this charming city.

Places to Eat in Lakeland

Harry's Seafood Bar & Grill - Lakeland, Florida | I-4 Exit Guide
Harry’s Seafood Bar & Grill in Lakeland, Florida | I-4 Exit Guide

Lakeland is a hidden gem for food enthusiasts, offering a delectable array of dining experiences that cater to every taste bud. Whether you’re craving Southern comfort food, international cuisine, or farm-to-table delights, Lakeland has something to please your palate.

Embark on a culinary journey through the Gulf Coast at Harry’s Seafood Bar & Grille. Dive into mouthwatering dishes like jambalaya, crawfish etouffee, and fresh Gulf shrimp in a casual yet upscale setting.

Located within The Terrace Hotel, The Terrace Grille offers a fine dining experience with a picturesque lakefront view. Savor exquisite dishes such as filet mignon and roasted duck, perfectly complemented by an extensive wine selection.

Fresco’s Bakery and Bistro is a beloved spot for breakfast and brunch. Enjoy delicious crepes, omelets, and pastries in a cozy setting. Their outdoor seating is perfect for soaking up the Florida sun.

On Saturdays, the Lakeland Downtown Farmers Curb Market transforms into a food lover’s paradise. Explore food trucks, fresh produce, and artisanal treats, all while enjoying the lively atmosphere.

Lakeland’s dining scene is a true reflection of its diversity and charm. Whether you’re seeking a romantic dinner, a casual brunch, or a unique food market experience, Lakeland, Florida, has it all to make your culinary journey memorable.

Places to Go in Lakeland

Hollis Garden - Lakeland, Florida | I-4 Exit Guide
Hollis Garden – Lakeland, Florida | I-4 Exit Guide

Lakeland is a charming city with a rich blend of natural beauty, cultural attractions, and historical sites. If you’re a tourist looking to explore this vibrant city, here are some must-visit places that should be on your itinerary:

Start your journey with a visit to Lake Hollingsworth, one of Lakeland’s most iconic lakes. This scenic spot is perfect for a leisurely walk, jog, or picnic along its lush shores. Keep an eye out for local wildlife and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere.

Adjacent to Lake Mirror, Hollis Garden is a beautifully landscaped formal garden that features a wide variety of plants, flowers, and decorative fountains. It’s a serene oasis in the heart of the city and a great place for a relaxing stroll.

Lakeland is home tothe largest single-site collection of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture in the world. Explore the campus of Florida Southern College to see these architectural wonders, including the iconic “Annie Pfeiffer Chapel” and “Usonian House.”

Art enthusiasts will appreciate a visit to the Polk Museum of Art. It boasts a diverse collection of artworks, including paintings, sculptures, and decorative arts. The museum’s exhibits provide insights into both local and international art scenes.

For nature lovers and birdwatchers, Circle B Bar Reserve is a must-visit. This sprawling natural reserve offers hiking trails, scenic views of wetlands, and a chance to spot Florida wildlife, including alligators and a variety of bird species.

Safari Wilderness - Lakeland, Florida | I-4 Exit Guide
Watusi cattle at Safari Wilderness in Lakeland, Florida | I-4 Exit Guide

Take a leisurely stroll through Lakeland’s historic downtown district. Here, you’ll find charming shops, boutiques, and restaurants housed in beautifully preserved historic buildings.

If you’re traveling with family, consider a visit to Safari Wilderness, where you can embark on a safari adventure and get up close and personal with exotic animals in a natural habitat.

Lakeland invites tourists to explore its unique blend of natural wonders and cultural treasures. Whether you’re interested in outdoor activities, art and architecture, or simply enjoying a peaceful day by the lake, Lakeland has something to offer every traveler.

Getting Around Lakeland

When you’re visiting the vibrant city of Lakeland, Florida, having a car at your disposal can be a convenient and enjoyable way to explore the area. Here’s a guide to getting around Lakeland by car and making the most of your tourist experience.

Rental Cars: If you’re flying into Lakeland, consider renting a car at the airport. Multiple car rental agencies operate at Lakeland Linder International Airport, making it easy to pick up a vehicle as soon as you arrive. Make reservations in advance to secure the car of your choice.

Navigational Apps: Utilize GPS navigation apps like Google Maps or Waze to help you navigate the city. These apps provide real-time traffic updates, turn-by-turn directions, and estimated arrival times, ensuring you reach your destinations efficiently.

Parking: Lakeland offers ample parkingoptions. Most attractions, restaurants, and shops provide parking facilities, often free of charge. Downtown Lakeland has dedicated parking areas, making it convenient to explore the historic district.

Traffic: Lakeland is known for its manageable traffic compared to larger cities in Florida. However, it’s advisable to be aware of peak traffic hours, typically during morning and evening commutes. Plan your outings accordingly to avoid congestion.

Scenic Drives: Lakeland boasts picturesque lakes and lush landscapes. Consider taking a leisurely drive along the Lake Hollingsworth Loop, offering stunning water views. Additionally, explore the scenic roads around nearby lakes like Mirror Lake and Parker Street Park.

Day Trips: Lakeland’s central location in Florida makes it a great starting point for day trips to attractions like LEGOLAND Florida Resort, Tampa, and Orlando. Having a car allows you the freedom to explore these nearby destinations at your own pace.

Safety: Observe traffic rules, wear seatbelts, and avoid distracted driving. Familiarize yourself with local speed limits and be cautious of pedestrians, especially in downtown areas.

Navigating Lakeland by car offers flexibility and convenience, allowing you to explore the city and its surroundings with ease. Whether you’re heading to a cultural attraction, enjoying a scenic drive, or embarking on a day trip, having a car at your disposal ensures you make the most of your visit to Lakeland, Florida.

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