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Lakeland’s own Hollywood sign

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Southgate Shopping Center | Photo by @dustin.barrow

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Lakeland’s got some pretty picturesque spots, but when it comes to finding a landmark that best represents our city – what comes to mind?

We all know the typical spots… Lake Mirror, our skyline of steeples, downtown tree arch, etc. – but what’s the one place that locals + out-of-towners alike look at and immediately think of Lakeland?

We asked you on Facebook, Twitter + Instagram what iconic images evoke the spirit of Swan City…and then ranked the top five based on your 180+ votes.

5️⃣ Southside Cleaners | 901 Florida Ave S.

No drive through Dixieland is complete without a glance at the Southside Cleaner’s quote of the day. The sea-foam green + sunny starburst sign has been around since 1962 and is curated with different phrases on the marquee throughout the week.

4️⃣ ‘Sputnik’ Roto-Sphere | 941 E. Main St.

This spinning neon demon (often dubbed as ‘sputnik’ because it looks like the satellites that were launched in the ‘50s) was designed by Warren Milks between 1961-1970. The Roto-Sphere is so much of a Lakeland landmark, that it’s said that pilots use it as a reference point at night.

3️⃣ The Frances Langford Promenade | Around Lake Mirror

Listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, the Frances Langford Promenade was completed in 1928 and later dedicated to Lakeland native Frances Langford.

2️⃣ The Polk Theatre | 121 Florida Ave. S.

The Polk Theatre may be one of the most famous landmarks in Lakeland. And it certainly ranks among the most photographed locales.

1️⃣ Southgate Shopping Center | 2515 Florida Ave. S.

Built in 1957, the Southgate Shopping Center transformed the Polk County skyline – and now, you’d be hard-pressed to find an illustration of Lakeland that doesn’t include it. Not to mention, its universal claim to fame with an Edward Scissorhands cameo. With an overwhelming number of votes, the Southgate Shopping Center arch easily cinched the top spot on our list of Lakeland icons. But are you even really surprised by that?

Honorable Mentions

While we love the symbols that define quintessential LAL, it’d be wrong not to pay homage to some of our lesser talked about landmarks – those that give our city an extra dose of character. Here are a few of your more eccentric suggestions:

“The Publix cake water tower.” – @yesjustkate

“The swan statue that the sun shines behind is what I picture when I think of home.” – @thespringhouse


– LALtoday team (Jessica + Kaylee)

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