Explore your City - Audubon Park
Nestled in between Colonialtown North and Baldwin Park is a Orlando neighborhood gem you might be driving right past. It's listed as one of Orlando's nine Main Street districts due in part to it's neighborhood commercial impact and pedestrian friendly environment. The Audubon Park Board and Executive Director, Jennifer Marvel, work hard to improve the quality of life to those who live there and others like me who hop, skip and jump across Mills Avenue to enjoy in it's many treasures. Continued improvement is always in the works including a coalition to narrow the five lane road down to three to slow the traffic and create a safer area Main Street.
It is a veritable mom and pop shop smorgasbord with locally owned businesses lining Corrine Drive. Beyond that, in my opinion, it hosts the most well organized and frequent community events such as Sip and Stroll, Trivia Nights, Kidfests, and Grandma Party Bazaars among many others.
If you don't live in or near the neighborhood you might visit a few of their more popular destinations from time to time, but this hood can certainly host an afternoon of exploration on foot.
What a great addition it was to the neighborhood when Redlight Redlight moved from it's old location on Bennett Road into their larger neighborhood hang in Audubon Park.
Upon entering you are given a somewhat overwhelming catalog of the beers and wines that they offer. Even my husband, a veteran of all things craft beer, still manages to engage in five to ten minutes of hemming and hawing before he orders.
I always find something for my soon-to-be-trained palette, but my favorite thing about Redlight is that they are always hosting community events and collaborating with local vendors. How many taverns can a gal visit and grab vintage garb?
One of my favorite events, Galentines, is coming up on February 13th. Here, a watering hole that could seem male dominated, perhaps even intimidating for people like me, is catering to ladies celebrating ladies in all our Leslie Knope inspired glory. I can always drink to that.
Coffee and Vegan friendly food is on the menu, but the ambiance at Stardust is great for a night cap. On select nights they are known for having musical acts and other themed events.
Every Monday night they host the Audubon Park Farmer's Market and they often co-host other community events like the Grandma Party Bazaar.
It's definitely a bustling hub in the neighborhood and a whimsical place to gather.
I have a soft spots for record stores. My high school job was working in the Disc Jockey in the now all but dilapidated West Oaks Mall. I loved every moment spent helping people find music they had heard on the radio by humming near tone deaf melodies to me, shrink wrapping CD's that had been returned, getting promotional singles and posters, and knowing that really cool way to open a CD case from the bottom without tearing the label on the top so no one knew it had been played. I shed a single tear when Virgin Mega Store closed it's doors because I spent so much time standing by the wall of listening stations jamming foolishly without a care.
Closer to my heart are the independent music shops that are still in existence, and even though it's so easy to click purchase on iTunes, I still make regular trips to Park Avenue CDs to find old forgotten gems, rarer finds, and vinyl.
Even grander, they sell tickets to select shows so you can cut out ticket fees and spend that money on another CD.
If there was a historic register for local music shops still fighting the digital age and comforting music lovers that still need to feel the plastic cases flip through their fingers, Park Avenue CDs would be on my list.
Vintage lovers have a few spots to shop on Corrine Drive including at the Lovely Boutique. It has the feel of an antique mall but with a mix of modern selections thanks to the variety of local vendors and artisans that sell their goods here.
Whether it's furniture, clothing, or decor, each nook has something that will catch your eye.
If you don't get your shopaholic fix at The Lovely you are steps away from another great boutique at Dear Prudence. It's part bead shop part clothing boutique. I've gotten quite a few quirky pieces here including lots of animal accessories. Cat and Fox lovers should really check this place out.
If you feel like getting crafty and creating your own pieces, head over and sort through the plethora of chains, pendants, and stones for a one of a kind look.
Prices are affordable so it's a great place to grab a gift or a new piece for your wardrobe.
I've already talked about my love for the Owl's Attic here, but this is a spot should not be missed for some amazing vintage finds. Almost every visit is a success not to mention an instant transport back to all the clothes I had in the 90's that I shouldn't have gotten rid of!
Don't fret if you need to restock on some items for your closet, pricing here is extremely reasonable here as well.
Dangerously addictive bakeries keep popping up around me and the struggle for the will power to say NO is real.
When P is for Pie opened last year I fell into an Oatmeal Cream Pie abyss that I am still struggling to climb out of. Just when I think I may have broken free, they have a BOGO day and I find myself in line in their adorable shop wondering how I got there.
Last week I got a Strawberry Balsamic muffin and almost keeled over from it's perfection. Their baked goods coupled with Stumptown coffee make it a great meet up spot.
Needless to say, the neighborhood isn't lacking in ways to treat yourself, especially with Kelly's Homemade Ice Cream and Blue Bird Bake Shop nearby.
For those of you more interested in healthy eating rather than indulging your sweet tooth, Fresh 24 Market brings produce from local farms just 24 hours after it has been picked.
Why is this quick delivery from farm to storefront so important? The faster it goes from the farm to your table means you are getting the highest level taste and nutrition, something your local supermarket chain cannot guarantee.
Not everyone can make it to a Farmer's Market on the weekend, so by visiting Fresh 24 you won't miss out on seasonal fruits and vegetables as well as other locally made items.
I know the East End Market gets a lot of love and most locals know about it by now, but it's still one of my favorite places in Audubon Park to grab locally made eats and chill.
These are my go-to's:
ANY coffee from Lineage Roasting
Smoothies and Quinoa porridge from Skyebird (basically anything from Skyebird is amazing)
Pretzels from Olde Hearth Bread Company
Pimento Cheese Spread, Tomato Basil Bisque Soup, and Chicken Salad with White BBQ Sauce from Houndstooth Sauce Company.
Fruit and Cheese plates from La Femme du Fromage
Any indulgence from Fatto in Casa
Don't feel overwhelmed if you go there on the weekend, take your time and enjoy the outside courtyard and keep an eye on their events calendar for classes and dinners.