12 days of Lakeland

Good luck getting the song out of your head...

The Southgate sign's silhouette in the sunset

The Southgate Sign is every Lakelander’s favorite sight.

Photo by Joe Castagno

Table of Contents

It’s the time of year when holiday songs are stuck in our heads. We thought we’d contribute to the ever-growing canon of holiday content with our own semi-original song, featuring our favorite topic — yup, you guessed it — Lakeland.

Now don’t get your stockings in a twist — this isn’t even close to an exhaustive list. We could fill 100 verses with things we love about Swan City, but to preserve your time — and all of our sanity — we’ll just stick to one. So, here you have it: LALtoday’s 12 Days of Lakeland.

On the 12th day of Christmas, Swan City sent to me... 🎶

Twelve counter-service restaurants
Order up. From hot chicken to açaí and buildable bowls, we took a tour of Lakeland’s eateries where you can have your cake and eat it, too.

Eleven questions with Nate Fleming
As far as our Q+As go, this one was probably the most likely to make you chuckle. We sat down with local entrepreneur and founder of the comedy group Swan City Improv, Nate Fleming.

Ten Lakeland coffees
Hot or iced? Whether you turn your nose up at cream and sugar or believe the more customized, the better, you can venture to one of these Lakeland establishments for a cup of joe.

Nine spots for wellness
Sit back, relax, and check out our guide to the ultimate self-care day.

Eight restaurants you’d bring back
They say nothing gold can stay, and that’s the case for this batch of Lakeland eateries you’d patronize again, if given the chance.

Seven Swan City lakes
From running Lake Hollingsworth to greeting our iconic royal swans on Lake Morton, we dove into the most interesting history, facts, and events at the bodies of water that give Lakeland its name.

Six barbecue joints
We’re still drooling over this list of Lakeland BBQ establishments.

Five tours you can’t miss
Learn more about architecture, Lakeland history, and native wildlife at one of these tours.

Four local gardens
Lakeland’s flora is a sight to behold — visit one of these botanical attractions or community gardens.

Three teams to cheer for
Go-al the way to this list to learn more about Lakeland’s professional sports teams — from soccer to basketball and baseball.

Two City Editors
You see our names at the bottom of your morning newsletter, but who are we? Introduce yourself to Rilee and Connor.

And a pet alligator, Blinky
Perhaps one of Lakeland’s most quirky and iconic bits of history, this communal pet with a kissable snout now lives on in our memories, and at Florida Children’s Museum as a 100-ft playground.

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