Less than 15 miles west of bustling downtown Orlando, Winter Garden is the highest point in Orange County. Borne of the Sunshine State’s booming citrus industry at the end of the 19th century, the city has enjoyed tremendous growth over recent years. Its charming, historic downtown has been beautifully updated and offers myriad dining, shopping and cultural pursuits. And the city’s trails and year-round temperate climate provide visitors with a slew of options when it comes to outdoor activities.
Homes in Winter Garden — more than half of which were built after 2000 — are reasonably priced considering the area’s desirability and proximity to Orlando proper. The average home sale price is $351,250, while the price per square foot is $159. What’s more, homes are selling at an average of $9,450 less than their list prices, which provides excellent value.
Not surprisingly, hospitality is the largest employment sector in the Orlando metro — with Walt Disney World Resort clocking in as the top employer. However, the healthcare industry isn’t far behind. The Orlando area is among the top-ranked growing economies in the nation, making it an attractive destination for young professionals and growing families.
Photo Source: Flickr/Athena lluz
While downtown Orlando and all its attractions — resplendent Lake Eola park, loads of nightlife and the cultural allure of the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts — are just 15 miles away, there are plenty of beautiful sites in Winter Garden, as well. In fact, the restoration and updating of the city’s unique downtown — with brick streets and varied storefronts, much of it shaded by age-old, moss-draped live oaks — has made it appealing for tourists and locals from other parts of the metro. Residents delight in its proximity.
Noteworthy downtown attractions are plentiful, as well. The historic Garden Theatre boasts indie and classic films along with its original marquee and ticket booth. The Railroad Museum is a delight for both children and train-inclined adults; it even sits along a still-active rail line. And the celebrated Edgewater Hotel, which was built back in 1927, serves not only as a lovely option for out-of-town guests, but is home to both The Tasting Room and The Chef’s Table at the Edgewater, two locally lauded restaurants. Steps away, beautiful Plant Street Market houses more local culinary delights, as well as the Crooked Can Brewery.
Not all the area’s railroad track is operational, however. Twenty-two miles of it has been converted into the West Orange Trail. Here, residents can enjoy walking, running and cycling all year long.
The city is friendly and family-oriented with weather that’s well-suited to outdoor events and festivals. Residents can enjoy al fresco music with an “Evening at the Pops” on an annual basis, a quarterly display of classic automobiles at the Cruz N Car Show and a large selection of local farm fare at the weekly Farmers Market, among other city-sponsored events.
Getting Around Town
Save Amtrak and Lynx bus service, there isn’t much in the way of public transportation around these parts. The good news is that the average commute time is under 30 minutes — though this can vary depending on which highways are mandatory. I-4 construction can be challenging in places, but this will change over the coming years. As Orlando’s economy is expanding, many residents consider these transportation snags to be part of its growing pains.
The climate here is subtropical: Winter Garden is a two-season city for the most part. “Winter,” (a loose term for Central Floridians) runs from roughly November to March and offers cooler, drier conditions. June brings with it the rainy season — also known as “hurricane season,” though the city’s inland location makes these storms less of a threat. Temps are high, as is humidity, and rain falls almost daily.
If you’re ready to call this suburb home, head to Owners.com to search for a house in your price range.
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