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By Catherine Abbott

Catherine AbbottOrlando is the home of many lively attractions, including Disney World and Universal Studios, but there is much more to do beyond the theme parks. Welcome to Orlando, The City Beautiful, for the 2015 AAPS Annual Meeting and Exposition at the Orange County Convention Center!

Within four miles of the Orange County Convention Center, there are multiple retail, dining, and entertainment complexes, including Pointe Orlando and I-Drive, a vibrant area of food and entertainment. Check out all the action from the Orlando Eye, towering over the convention district.

Orlando Eye-Visit Orlando

Photo credit: Visit Orlando

Looking for good food and entertainment close to the convention center? Pointe Orlando has 15 restaurants, including Cuba Libre and the Blue Martini Lounge. On I-Drive, check out Yard House for a post-meeting happy hour, McFadden’s for dinner, or to get both food and entertainment, check out Cowgirls Rockbar or Mango’s Tropical Cafe. Venture to Restaurant Row to choose from over two dozen upscale and casual restaurants, including Dragonfly, Cedar’s, and Rocco’s. Learn more about where to eat here.

Have a free evening during the conference? Check out the Cirque du Soleil La Nouba, Blue Man Group, or the unique music/dance performance of DRIP.

Lake Eola

Florida is a tropical state, and with that comes gators. A lot of them. In 2012, there were an estimated one million American alligators and 1,500 crocodiles in Florida. Get in touch with your wild side and see these reptiles in their natural habitat by taking a WildFlorida tour via ranch buggy or airboat!

The Dr. Phillips Center for Performing Arts, which just opened a year ago, is home to Broadway Across America Orlando, the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, ballet, music of every kind, and community theatre. Other notable museums include the Maitland Art Center, the Cornell Fine Art Museum, the Orlando Museum of Art, and the Mennello Museum of American Art.

Airboat-Visit Orlando

Photo credit: Visit Orlando

Need souvenirs for family, friends, and coworkers, or just something to remember the trip? Oranges are of course a great Florida treat, but you can’t take home an alligator. Check out these unique local products:

Learn more about what to do in Orlando here. We look forward to seeing you at the 2015 AAPS Annual Meeting and Exposition in The City Beautiful next week!

Catherine Abbott is the AAPS publications manager. She has a master’s in publishing from the George Washington University and a bachelor’s in English from the University of Tennessee.