The Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) is currently preparing for a $500 million renovation/expansion which will only add to its status as one of the most-visited convention centers in the world. When you visit the OCCC for your event, we know you can’t spend all of your time there. As locals of Orlando and frequent visitors of the convention center, we want to help you maximize your Orlando trip by sharing some favorite hotspots of both locals and visitors near and around the OCCC.
Where to Stay
Located within a short walking distance from the OCCC, both the Rosen Centre Hotel and the Rosen Plaza Hotel offer sleek accommodations along with covered walkways that lead directly to the west hall of the convention center.
At the full-service Hilton Orlando, not only will you have access to a wide range of amenities and activities—including a resort-style pool, complete with waterslide and lazy river—but you’ll also be able to quickly walk to the south hall of the OCCC via a covered walkway.
Formerly the Peabody, the stylish Hyatt Regency earns extra points for convenience by being located directly between the west and south halls of the OCCC.
Las Palmeras by Hilton Grand Vacations Club
Boasting modern luxuries such as upgraded suites, resort-style pool, fitness center, meeting space, and dining on site, Las Palermas includes a convenient walkway to the convention center.
Other convenient places to stay
- Doubletree Orlando at SeaWorld
- Embassy Suites Orlando International Drive
- Marriott’s Harbour Lake
- The Ritz-Carlton Orlando-Grande Lakes
- Rosen Shingle Creek
With activities such as go-karts, laser tag, bowling, zip lines, racing simulators, arcade games, and much more, Andretti in Orlando is your one-stop shop where everyone in your group can find something fun to do. The thrills don’t stop there — all meals at Andretti are made from scratch with the freshest ingredients, perfect for vegans and meat-lovers alike.
Pro Tip: Hop on the XD Dark Ride — it’s a fan favorite!
Dave and Buster’s is a classic destination for fun games, tasty food, and refreshing drinks, and the Orlando location is right in the middle of the bustling International Drive, which is just a short drive from the OCCC.
Pro Tip: On Wednesday’s games are half price. Ideal for those who love a good deal, but no so much for those who want to avoid a large crown.
Don’t be fooled into thinking Top Golf is just a regular driving range: it’s a high-energy spot for you and your colleagues to mingle, grab food and drinks, or watch sports. There are plenty of climate-controlled hitting bays making it an ideal spot to unwind and test your golfing skills.
Pro Tip: We recommend calling ahead to avoid long wait times. There’s a fee to reserve the bay but it’s well worth the investment.
Exciting bowling action and a lively atmosphere combine to make Kings in Orlando one of the most popular entertainment destinations on International Drive. Private lanes are also available to rent for groups who are looking for a more personalized level of service. Just remember — children are not allowed after a certain time and dress code is strictly enforced.
Just steps away from the Rosen Plaza Hotel and the OCCC, Cuba Libre offers Cuban-inspired cuisine and a fantastic rum selection. Boasting a tropical, open-air environment and upbeat Latin music, be sure to stick around after your meal for a fun evening of salsa dancing — perfect for unwinding after long hours of exhibiting.
Places to Eat
Fun, Casual Dining
You can enjoy all of the classic Greek dishes you know and love at Taverna Opa. You also get to partake in festive live entertainment and nightly belly dancing at this one-of-a-kind restaurant on International Drive.
Pro Tip: We highly recommend trying the Baklava – it’s phenomenal!
Located a short distance from the OCCC, Miller’s Ale House is a great place to unwind, enjoy sampling one (or two) of the 75 beers on draft, and watch sports in a laid-back atmosphere. All without breaking the bank!
Pro Tip: The zingers are the house special and once you try them, you’ll understand why.
Tin Roof prides itself on being an unpretentious joint where you can enjoy outstanding live music, delicious bar food, and cold drinks.
Yard House in Orlando ups the ante for sports bars with an eclectic menu of refined bar food and plenty of great viewing angles to watch your preferred game, or all of them at the same time. They also happen to have one of the best draft beer selections you’ll find anywhere in the city.
BB King’s Blues Club an ideal place to entertain colleagues or potential clients. Whether you choose to get out of your seat and dance to the live blues and jazz music, or sit and enjoy the traditional southern comfort food, the $5 cover charge is well worth it.
You don’t need to be in college to let loose and enjoy a night of cocktails and Mexican cuisine with friends at this vacation feel restaurant. Known for offering the perfect mix of fun and flavor, patrons can enjoy bull riding, karaoke, balloon hats, and DJ beats. At Señor Frog’s the only rule to follow is to follow no rules!
Pro Tip: On weekends, plan to take an Uber ride or remember to bring cash for parking.
Professional, Intimate Dining Options
At the Blue Martini Lounge, you can celebrate your successful convention with expertly-prepared martinis, elegant champagne, a menu featuring an exciting array of global tapas, and live music. Ladies can enjoy half-price cocktails on Wednesdays and if you’re looking for a tasty option to kick off your dining experience, we suggest the shrimp and crab dip appetizer.
At Maggiano’s you’ll find a dazzling array of Italian classics served family style, as well as a relaxed, yet sophisticated ambiance that lends itself to numerous occasions. Can’t decide what to eat? The lasagna is a fan favorite!
The Capital Grille combines outstanding steaks and seafood, meticulous service, and a polished atmosphere to cement its place as one of the premier fine dining destinations near OCCC.
Ideal Restaurants for Large Groups
With its array of perfectly-cooked cuts of beef as well as seafood and other options, Ruth’s Chris Steak House is an excellent option if your team is looking to impress clients following a day at the convention.
Pro Tip: If you’re able to sneak away from the convention center a little early, the happy hour from 4:30pm-7:30pm is amazing!
Offering a wide selection of cuts of prime steaks served in a distinctive atmosphere, look no further than Del Frisco’s on International Drive. Offering private and semi-private dining options with A/V capabilities, the restaurant is perfect for large parties and companies looking for a space to host a presentation outside of the exhibit hall.
Pro Tip: The Thick-Cut Nueske’s Bacon Au Poivre with Bourbon Molasses Glaze appetizer is not only mouthwatering but gluten-free as well!
This stylish, seafood-centric dining destination features a fantastic selection of oysters-on-the-half-shell, a luxurious caviar menu, and live jazz at the bar. Need a private dining space? Eddie V’s will provide large parties with an event coordinator and option to customize menus for a seamless entertainment experience. If you have room for dessert, the Banana Foster Butter Cake is a home run!
After the Show Is Over
Downtown Winter Garden
Winter Garden is a thriving community on the western side of the Orlando metro area, located about 20 miles from the OCCC. It is known for its outstanding restaurants, historical attractions, and a bustling Saturday farmer’s market. Be sure to stop by the Crooked Can Brewery at Plant Street Market which brews their selection in-house.
Lake Eola is a beautiful park and lake near downtown Orlando that hosts many community events and various performances throughout the year. Enjoy a relaxing environment that provides one-of-a-kind activities like paddle boating, concerts, and plays in the Walt Disney Amphitheater.
Shop for farm-fresh Florida produce, pick your own fruit, and enjoy live entertainment on the weekends at this expansive working farm west of Orlando.
Conveniently located on International Drive, guests can enjoy a robust menu and award-winning wine produced exclusively for Cooper’s Hawk. Added bonus: All Florida locations offer a happy hour from 3pm-4pm on weekdays which includes phenomenal food and beverage discounts.
Explore this sprawling 50-acre botanical wonderland that features a wide array of flora such as roses, azaleas, palms, and much more. With each garden specifically designed to educate and inspire visitors, your team will appreciate the sounds and smells found at Leu Gardens.
For an all-inclusive shopping, dining and entertainment experience, look no further than Disney Springs. Choose from 110 shops, 62 restaurants, and 29 entertainment and activity options and discover the magic of Disney.
Pro tip: Hidden gem Art Smith’s Homecoming has handcrafted moonshine that’s definitely worth trying.
At Rockway Exhibits + Events, we are prepared to help you maximize the value of your trade show from both a business and social perspective. If you have any questions about your Orlando trade show experience, contact one of our local experts today.