Kissimmee is best known for being right next door to Orlando's theme parks and tourist destinations like Walt Disney World and Universal Studios. In fact, this area was exclusively rural up until the Walt Disney World resort opened in the adjacent neighborhood of Lake Buena Vista in 1971. After that, tourism became Kissimmee's most lucrative business, and the community continues to thrive on the tourism industry.
While it is true that Kissimmee is one of Orlando's most widely known neighborhoods and draws thousands of tourists year round, it is also true that the area still has a significant amount of rural areas and even some small-town pockets. Essentially, the further south one ventures, the more rural and less "tourist" the area gets.
Living in Kissimmee gives you the luxury of being minutes away from Orlando amusement parks and resorts like Disney, Downtown Disney, Universal Studios of Orlando, Islands of Adventure, and SeaWorld.
Kissimmee is also home to several water parks, miniature golf courses, and the family-friendly theme park Fun Spot.
Kissimmee's historic Old Town district combines shopping, dining, arcade games, and weekly car shows for the entire family to enjoy.
Many people don't realize that Kissimmee is actually home to the headwaters of the Everglades – yes, the famous "River of Grass" at the southern tip of the Florida peninsula. Given its ecological importance, tens of thousands of acres have been set aside for conservation, and much of this land is open to the public for eco-tourism. You'll find amazing hiking, horseback riding, and even ziplining.
Kissimmee's shopping scene is primarily limited to The Loop and Old Town. Both provide great shopping experiences and are hubs for dining and entertainment.
The Loop is an outdoor, town-center style mall packed with popular stores like PacSun, American Eagle Outfitters, Pier 1 Imports, Sports Authority, and Old Navy. Old Town's shopping options feature small boutiques and specialty gift shops.
If you're looking for more shopping options, a short trip to metropolitan Orlando via I-4 provides plentiful shopping opportunities at any of its malls and outlets.
From Southern barbeque to Italian cuisine, Kissimmee offers dining options for all appetites. Its assortment of local eateries, national chains, and upscale dining can tantalize just about any palette. El Tanampa is one of Kissimmee's top-rated restaurants, and serves Mexican fare in a cantina-style restaurant brought to life by live mariachi bands and the colorful murals painted on each wall. Fat Boy's Bar-B-Q is a no-frills, authentic barbeque joint right in the heart of Kissimmee that has received top marks from locals and visitors alike for its family-friendly atmosphere and selection of smoky meats and sauces.
You'll always be able to find something to eat nearby, even if you're out running errands. While shopping at The Loop you can enjoy a meal at any one of the center's restaurants such as Chipotle or Panera without leaving the plaza.
Athletics and sports are a big part of Kissimmee life. The Houston Astros have spring training here, and the NCCAA men's soccer National Champion Tournament is hosted annually in Kissimmee.
The ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex is only a short distance away and regularly hosts a wide range of athletic events featuring your favorite regional and local teams.These are the opinions of writers and not the opinions of 407apartments.com or any of our advertising partners.