Orlando has lots of great areas, we all know that, but I happen to have a few favorites, and I like each of them for different reasons.
When we first moved to Orlando years ago, I thought we were moving to the land of "Bubba", where the confederate flag still waves and all pickup trucks wielded a gun rack. I was so wrong, thank god.
The first city neighborhood we encountered was Thornton Park. The rainbow flags, cobblestone streets, beautiful old houses and cool little restaurants immediately told us that we, as a gay couple, will be just fine in Orlando. I, of course, fell in love with Thornton Park, but my partner, who is much more practical, preferred to NOT have a project house. Master Suites, huge closets, newish, great rooms, etc., is what he wanted, and he also wanted to be fairly close to his job, which made total sense. So, we didn't move to Thornton Park, but it's still in my personal top 5 favorites and it's number 1 for charm.
My next favorite is DT Orlando. Full disclosure, I always wanted to be the young gay version of Mary Tyler Moore living DT somewhere, but I never did it, and to this day, I regret that decision. I like the vibe DT offers, with its walkable streets, restaurants, Lake Eola park, night life and beautiful condos! The only thing it's missing is a decent department store of some sort, otherwise it's nearly perfect. This ranks number 1 for active social life and LGBT activities.
Lake Nona, which is technically the City of Orlando but feels and functions as a suburb, is my favorite suburban community. I like this area for a few reasons, such as green space, opportunity and location. First, the green space...trees, trails, little neighborhood parks, golfing, bike lanes, etc., makes it extremely friendly for those of us who like to be active outdoors. Second is the promise and opportunity of Medical City, which is already bringing high paying jobs to the region and still offers good value for housing. The last reason is the proximity to DT (20 minutes for me), OIA, the attractions (20 minutes from Disney) and the Atlantic Ocean, which is 35 minutes away. My partner and I live here, and what's really great is we are not alone. This ranks number 1 for outdoor living.
Of course College Park is on my list! Being able to walk or bike to shopping, eating and drinking establishments is a little slice of heaven in my world! Who doesn't like that? And yet, the houses are still affordable AND, depending on condition, you can still get a fairly good deal on a fixer. This ranks number 1 for convenience.
My final choice is Colonial Town...North & South. I think this area is ripe for being the next up and coming location in Orlando. We are here at least twice a month gobbling up Vietnamese food then heading to the Milk District for a drink, or two. Everything is here. Shopping, restaurants, some super cool mid-century modern houses complete with terrazzo flooring...everything! Sprinkle a little bit of "fairy dust"on a fixer and watch what happens. This ranks number 1 for potential opportunity.