| Jul 09, 2014
Most people view Orlando as a tourist city. Home of Walt Disney World and dozens of other theme parks and sites that make the most out of the 50 million visitors that stop by every year, Orlando is very much a city of entertainment. Families, retired couples, international travelers, those searching for sun and activity—the people who are drawn to the area come in all shapes, sizes, and backgrounds.
Of course, Orlando is also still a city where people live and work. The metropolitan area contains over two million year-round residents, many of whom include students of the University of Central Florida and employees in the booming technology industry here. Sun and theme parks might put Orlando on the map, but it’s the stable economy and great way of life that encourage residents to put down their roots.
Living and Working in Orlando
Although working in tourism is always a possibility in Orlando, most people who live here don’t work in connection with the theme parks. The city enjoys a strong technology industry, with engineering firms and manufacturing labs from Lockheed-Martin, Siemens, Veritas, and General Dynamics, just to name a few.
Military technology and development is also fairly strong, and there are numerous military facilities and warfare training companies in the area. Because Orlando is also near Patrick Air Force Base, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, and Kennedy Space Center, many of its residents are government employees. Orlando is also home to two of the ten largest hospitals in the United States, which makes this area a hub for medical research and development.
With a foundation like this, it’s no wonder that the city enjoys a strong economy and one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country.
Fun and Entertainment in Orlando
Once you take into account all the theme parks and resorts, the Orlando region is a fairly sprawling city, with plenty of hidden pockets of activity. Once you’ve exhausted all your Disney resources, you can start to get to know the real Orlando.
Downtown Orlando is very much a buzzing urban center with upscale neighborhoods, busy cafes, boutique shopping, and the famous Thornton Park, which promotes a feeling of community. State parks and wildlife refuges provide sprawling areas of acreage and nature, and most residents will tell you that the natural setting is one of the biggest draws here.
You’ve also got an incredible mixture of people. Because Orlando is one of the largest landlocked cities in Florida, it has its share of retirees who want a nice, tropical place to live without the hassle of the beach. There are also nature lovers looking for an ecologically friendly way of life, and families who appreciate the year-round sunshine and educational opportunities.
Welcome to Orlando!
In short, Orlando is the kind of city that offers much more depth than most people realize. While the city will always be overshadowed by its theme parks and tourist trade, most residents rarely set foot in these areas. For them, it’s about enjoying nature and all the amenities of a bustling metropolitan center. It’s about having access to health care and great technology jobs without losing out a family-focused way of life. And most of all, it’s about knowing there are many opportunities for the future.