15+ things to do in Lakeland, FL

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Lakeland, Florida from the sky | Photo via @eagle_8_wfla

The holidays are almost here, and if you’re hosting out-of-town guests in Lakeland, but aren’t sure where to take them or what sights to see, we’ve got plenty of recommendations for you to build the perfect itinerary for your visitors. 


The Terrace Hotel | Photo via LALtoday team

Stay

If your visitors are not staying with you, but looking for hotel recommendations, here are some LALtoday approved places to stay:

Springhill Suites, 511 W. Lime St. | $120+

This new addition to Lakeland’s hospitality scene is within walking distance of the RP Funding Center and a 5 minute drive to downtown Lakeland

Home2 Suites, 3610 Lakeside Village Blvd. | $108+

This collection of modern suites in the heart of Lakeside Village is within walking distance of shopping, dining, and entertainment. Additionally, it’s located 10 minutes from downtown Lakeland and has easy access to Polk Parkway and I-4. 

The Terrace Hotel, 329 E. Main St. | $107

This recently renovated historic hotel in the heart of downtown is known for its luxury accommodations and on-site restaurant. Stay here to be within walking distance of some of Lakeland’s staple restaurants, retail stores, and entertainment venues.

One of Lake Morton’s royal swans | Photo via @cathyannstokes

Sightseeing

Is it even a trip to Lakeland without seeing the royal swans on Lake Morton? You can also take your visitors to one of Lakeland’s Instagram-worthy murals for the perfect family photo. If you’ve got any film buffs in the group, head to the Southgate Signfeatured in multiple iconic movies.  

Food + Bev 

If your guests need coffee to get going in the morning, but you’re not exactly a barista — Black and Brew Coffee House and Bistro, Concord Coffee, Mitchell’s Coffee Shop, and Hillcrest Coffee are all offering a range of seasonal drinks.

Lakeland is home to a handful of local breweries. Swan Brewing, Craft + Kitchen, Brew Hub, and the downtown’s newest addition, Dissent Brewing, are fan favorites. 

Need plans after sunset? Enjoy a craft cocktail at a local bar: Revival, Lakeland Loft, and Cob & Pen all feature handcrafted drinks by trained mixologists

As for food — our personal favorites include Nineteen61, Scarpa’s Italian, Harry’s Seafood Bar & Grille, and brunch at Frescos Southern Kitchen and Bar. Stop by Lakeland’s food hall, The Joinery, if your party wants to share a table + order from different restaurants.

We also love Cafe Roti, Palace Pizza, and Bay Street Bistro. Looking to satisfy your sweet tooth? Stop for dessert at Cafe Zuppina— order the espresso hazelnut parisbrest or a signature frappe.

We’ve also got plenty of articles to help you navigate the local food scene. You can’t miss these top-rated local eateries that are beloved by locals and visitors alike.

And if you’re gluten-free, we’ve got you covered there too. Check out this list of 20 local restaurants with gluten-free options.

The Shio Ramen at Sabu Ramen, located in The Joinery | Image via LALtoday team

For the whole family

Let the kids — or grandkidsrun around + explore The Florida Children’s Museum, formerly known as Explorations V Children’s Museum, or plan your escape with the whole family at the Lakeland Escape Room or Escapology

Outdoor activities

If your visitors are ready for some outdoor fun, we have a variety of parks to explore. Grab some snacks in downtown Lakeland + head to Lake Mirror for a picnic, or take the kids to Hollis Gardens or Barnett Family Park and set them loose on the playground. 

The walking trail at Peterson Park is the perfect way to get some fresh air while taking in all of the beauty Lakeland has to offer. Visitors from out of state may be interested in taking a walk down Alligator Alley at Circle B Bar Reserve, so long as they aren’t afraid of running into a reptile. 

Alligator lounging on the path at Circle B Bar Reserve | Photo via @jawnofthedead138

Indoor activities

While we’d be willing to bet your visitors won’t be catching any snowflakes on their tongues, temps this time of year can still dip into the 50s, 40s, and even 30s. Should your guests experience any chilly weather, stay warm by spending a day exploring Polk Museum of Art or taking a tour of Frank Lloyd Wright’s work at Florida Southern College

If you’ve got any sports fans in the group, here is the Lakeland Magic’s winter home game schedule.

If your guests are looking to do what Lakelanders do on any given day this month, send them our November events calendar in advance to get a feel for what kinds of things they’ll want to see + do while in town.