Orlando can come off as a huge city especially if you just moved here as a student. If you attend UCF or just happen to stop by the area, choosing a place to eat, finding a place for some fun or picking the best hang-out spot could initially intimidate you. Let your worries disappear because Orlando, although big and busy, fits as the perfect environment for trying new things and exploring new places.
Get pumped up for this fun and exciting 24-hour guide at UCF in Orlando!
6 A.M. Hammock by Memory Mall
Start the morning off in a calm, relaxing state at Memory Mall. Throughout the day you will see many students hanging up their hammocks by Memory Mall to study or to just take a breather. Find some morning Zen for your busy day by hammocking for a bit under some palm trees while you watch the early bird students heading to class (or Starbucks, since it stands right next to Memory Mall being right there).
7 A.M. Breakfast at the Omelet Bar
Start your day off with the most important meal of the day. Being a fan favorite and so close in proximity to the university, Omelet Bar begins your day in a delicious way. “It has a unique atmosphere and is not a chain so it’s something that I look forward to when I’m in Orlando,” said University of Central Florida sophomore Parker Rendell. “It has a good selection of foods and very good coffee.” From waffles, French toasts and omelets, of course, your belly will thank you for eating here.
8 A.M. Take a Morning Stroll at Jay Blanchard
About 10 minutes down the road you can walk off your breakfast at Jay Blanchard Park. Here, you can find yourself trailing through an 84-acre park adjacent to a river where you absorb a great dose of morning scenery. Equipped with basketball courts and fields for soccer or a game of tag, Blanchard park helps get you energized for the day.
9 A.M. Cool off at Lake Claire
A wise man once said, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Luckily, UCF provides students with resources to de-stress after a long week or day of classes. Lake Claire, found directly on UCF’s campus, provides students and guests a great time for relaxation. “You can go rent a boat or play volleyball on the sand,” said University of Central Florida sophomore Phyllis Fung. Family guests and students always enjoy the amenities Lake Claire offers. I know my favorite thing about Lake Claire was kayaking on a beautiful day. You might even get to see some turtle friends while wading through the lake.
10 A.M. Grab a cup of Coffee at Foxtail
Kickstart the rest of your day at Foxtail. The restaurant’s concept stems from an artisan craft-focused community; it embraces a rustic and quaint ambiance. Foxtail, although present in other cities, remains a UCF fan-favorite among students. “It is affordable, has delicious coffee and food. It’s also a cute, nice, quiet and not-so-crowded place to study,” said University of Central Florida junior Ambar Rodriguez. Plan to get pumped up for the rest of your day in a delicious, and not to mention, aesthetic farmhouse environment.
11 A.M. Tour UCF’s Campus on some Spin Scooters
Need to get around campus fast and efficiently? One of UCF’s newest additions, Spin Scooters, appear all around campus. With the help of the Spin app on your phone, when you see a scooter, you grab it, you scan it and go. “They are a fun way to go around campus and explore different areas on campus,” said Rendell. Take the weight off your legs from walking all morning and use the Spin Scooters to help you explore UCF’s huge campus.
12 P.M. Snap a Pic at UCF’s Reflection Pond
Iconic to UCF’s campus, Reflection Pond ties the whole campus together by providing a nice area to sit and dip your feet into the fountain. “If you are on the UCF campus you must check out the reflection pond!” said University of Central Florida junior Lindzie Gray. “In my opinion, it’s one of the most relaxing spots on campus and it’s really just a good place to reflect *wink wink* on everything.” If you really want to feel like a UCF student that day, make sure to capture a picture of it and share it on your social media stories.
1 P.M. Challenge Yourself at UCF’s Ropes Course
Free for students, UCF provides the opportunity to increase your mind and body skills with their ropes course. “You get to see if you are cut out to be a ninja,” said University of Central Florida sophomore Kitana Rojas. If that doesn’t sound exciting to you, I don’t know what does. You read that correctly–a ropes course ON campus. Not only does this course challenge your agility and balancing skills, but it also challenges how well you can communicate with your team. Don’t worry. If you show up alone, by the end of this challenge you will make a new friend or two. Challenging but nonetheless a great activity.
2 P.M. Lunch at Spoleto
You will definitely need a lunch break after all those activities. How does a quick stop for pasta sound? “It’s fast food pasta,” said University of Central Florida senior Miranda Magnan. “C’mon, who WOULDN’T say yes?” Spoleto offers a variety of inclusive options: Organic salad, substitutable gluten-free pastas and vegetarian options. If you happen to carry your student ID on you, you can order a choice of pasta with up to three ingredients, a sauce, Focaccia bread and a fountain drink all for only $7. At Spoleto’s, you’ll fill your tummy with some of the finest and quickest Italian food.
3 P.M. Connect with Nature at UCF’s Arboretum
UCF’s Arboretum, perfect for nature lovers, allows students and visitors to learn about plant life and other natural beauties on UCF’s campus. Sometimes the Arboretum will host events where you can gain experience-based learning. The Arboretum covers about 80 acres of land and contains more than 600 species of plants. The Arboretum allows students to engage in hands-on learning, like learning how to propagate plants or how to start a vegetable garden.
4 P.M. UCF’s Indoor Rock Climbing
UCF’s Recreation and Wellness Center offers a variety of equipment like machines, weights and courts; however, the indoor rock-climbing wall stands out from the rest of the center’s facilities. From personal experience, it looks easy to do in my head than in reality. Luckily, they provide different levels of ability so that everyone can enjoy and experience the rock-climbing wall.
5 P.M Locate the Koi Fish Pond
Finding the koi fish pond on UCF’s campus remains one of a UCF student’s bucket list to-do’s. As much as I would love to tell you where to find it, that would defeat the whole purpose. The pond itself is not hiding, but many students don’t pass by its location. Once found, students appear rather confused because they didn’t even know it existed. When you do find it, just know it serves as a very peaceful and shaded area to relax. “Find the Koi pond,” said Magnan. “It took me four years.” Good luck!
6 P.M. Play Games at Arcade Monsters
The largest arcade in Central Florida takes about a 10-minute drive to get to from UCF. With only one flat rate for your wristband, you can unlimitedly play console games, arcade games, pinball and virtual reality games. “It has arcade games from the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s, and there’s a student night on Thursdays,” said University of Central Florida sophomore Maya Lewis. All ages can join in on some fun, food and games.
7 P.M. Play some Holes at Congo River Mini Golf
Everyone loves a good game of putt-putt. Just about another 10 minutes from campus, you can play some holes at Congo River Mini-Golf. “I love mini-golf in general, but this is affordable, has a scavenger hunt included, and is about an hour and some change of all fun,” said Rodriguez. The mini golf course brings you along on a whole African adventure through waterfalls, mysterious caves and tropical rainforests.
8 P.M. Dine at Toasted
Grilled cheese to the MAX. At Toasted you’ll be greeted with a periodic table of all sorts of cheeses hanging on the wall. Name a cheese and I promise you they will most likely have it. Toasted offers a very inclusive menu providing vegan, gluten-free and lactose-free options. “You would never expect this from a grilled cheese but GODDAMN,” Rojas said. “Them rosemary French fries? Chef’s kiss.” It might sound cheesy, but how could you pass up on a place so gouda? (Haha, get it? Okay. I’m done here).
9 P.M. Walk around Waterford Lakes
From shopping, eating or watching a movie, Waterford Lakes caters to all attractions. Waterford Lakes Plaza takes about 10-15 minutes to get to, down the road from UCF’s campus. It makes for a cute hangout and offers a variety of places to munch and shop. “There are so many places to choose from and it is a safe area to be out at night,” said Rendell. From Target to Ross (get those deals), Panera to Chick-Fil-A or Regal Theater to Barnes and Nobles, Waterford carries it all.
10 P.M. Strike out at Boardwalk Bowl
Bowling makes for a great time whether you’re in a group or by yourself. If bowling doesn’t “strike” an interest in you, but it does for your group, fortunately, Boardwalk Bowl consists of a variety of activities. Dabble with different games, from bowling to arcade to virtual reality and billiards. Boardwalk Bowl caters to all ages, providing a bar for the adults, an arcade for the younger guests and even a comedy show. It also fills its space with 80 lanes for bowling!
11 P.M. Grab GIANT Pizza Slices at Lazy Moon
Do you like pizza? Great. How about a giant slice of pizza? Even better! Lazy Moon, found right off campus, never lets students down. “I’m not sure if I like it because one slice is bigger than my head or it’s really yummy too,” said University of Central Florida freshman Lexis Constant. Who could turn down a giant slice of pizza for only about $4? After you eat, you can play some Bocce inside the restaurant itself. You play Bocce ball, also known as Italian lawn bowling, by throwing and getting your bocce ball as close to the smaller target ball (the pallina) as you possibly can. Lazy moon even hosts Bocce Ball tournaments. Eat at Lazy Moon enough and you might end up a Bocce champion.
12 A.M. Hit the NightLife at UCF: Pub/Lib
Nothing screams “College Kids Night” more than the word clubbing! The Knight’s Library (Lib if you’re cool) and Pub holds the standard for your basic college nightlife. “Pub is great to go with a big group because it’s more chill than Lib,” said University of Central Florida sophomore Brittany Gootar. “Lib is like headbanging crazy napkin throwing but the drinks are good.” Dance the night away at one of UCF’s most common clubs.
1 A.M. Eat some Tacos at Gringos Locos
Trust me. You will want it. Open until 3 a.m., Gringos will satisfy your after-clubbing cravings whether it consists of tacos, burritos or chips and salsa. “Gringos is literally just the best taco I’ve ever had,” said Constant. Gringos serves giant burritos stuffed with beans, your choice of meat, rice, cheese, Pico de Gallo and all sorts of options. They also offer a variety of tacos like the traditional street taco and fish taco. My mouth waters just thinking about it. Located right on campus, Gringos classifies as a UCF classic.
2 A.M. Get a Sweet Treat from Insomnia Cookies
You exercised, ate, played and partied all day. Sounds like you need a little sugar rush to stay awake. In the name itself, Insomnia Cookies proudly serves you early in the a.m. “Insomnia Cookies is where it’s at!” Rodriguez said. “You walk into the store, and it just smells amazing! Nice, warm cookies that are filled with flavor! They are also a great price!” A box of specialty cookies ranging from double-chocolate mint, M&M or the classic sugar cookie (only boring until you try Insomnia’s) makes for a great sweet treat to share with your friends.
3 A.M. Drive through Downtown Orlando
UCF recently opened its Downtown Campus, so the area overflows with students. Although it takes about 20 minutes to get downtown from UCF, if on a weekend you find yourself in Orlando, drive through to catch a sight of downtown nightlife. Roll the windows down and observe all the unique things found in Orlando. You might stroll across a costume night, a music event or a hole-in-the-wall night club. Downtown Orlando nightlife cannot be passed up. Join in on the fun!
4 A.M. Tour and Experience the World’s Largest McDonald’s
Imagine ordering a pizza at McDonald’s. A concept such as this can only happen here. Although about a 25-minute drive, what better way to end the night than with some McDonald’s? This McDonald’s comes packed with an arcade upstairs (yes, three stories) where you can play air hockey and all the classics. They supply a customizable menu with options like ham and cheese, French toast or pasta. I don’t know about you, but I’m lovin’ it.
5 A.M. Catch the Sunrise on Top of UCF’s Garages
End your day (or start your morning) on a bright note by watching the sunrise. UCF contains many parking garages, most of which span about five stories in height. Since many people don’t arrive this early for classes yet, the atmosphere feels very tranquil. Take advantage of the emptiness and snap some sunrise pics for the gram! Pick a garage and enjoy the start of a new day with your frie