Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links at no cost to you. Read my disclaimer for more information.
Lakeland is a charming city in the heart of Central Florida. With a population of over 100,000 people, Lakeland is known for its rich history, beautiful lakes, and thriving cultural scene.
The City of Lakeland is a business, education, and tourism hub, with plenty of activities and attractions to offer visitors.
Whether you're interested in exploring beautiful parks, cultural institutions, or entertainment venues, Lakeland has something for all ages. Some of the best things to do in Lakeland are shared below.
19 Best Things to Do in Lakeland
Lakeland, Florida, offers a variety of activities for visitors of all ages and interests, from outdoor adventures to cultural attractions and entertainment venues, there is something for everyone!
Below is a list of the best things to do while visiting Lakeland.
1. Joker Marchant Stadium (Publix Field)
The baseball stadium is the spring training home of the Detroit Tigers and the home field of the Lakeland Flying Tigers! The stadium has a seating capacity of over 8,500 and features state-of-the-art facilities, making it a popular destination for baseball enthusiasts.
The times of the games vary as to the ticket prices. Click here for info.
Address: 2301 Lakeland Hills Blvd., Lakeland, FL 33805
2. Safari Wilderness Ranch
Safari Wilderness Ranch is a privately-owned 260-acre+ wildlife park located in Lakeland. The ranch, home to over 400 animals from around the work, provides a unique and immersive wildlife experience great for all ages.
Enjoy the open vistas on a drive-thru safari tour from your personal vehicle, or join a guided tour in a canopied safari vehicle. What even more excitement? Try a guided camelback, ATV, or Kayak tour!
There are multiple tour options and extras to select from when booking at the Ranch. 1 hour long self-drive tours start at $125 per car. Guided safari tours start at $119 per person.
Note: Camping and Glamping are also available at the ranch!
Hours: Daily, 9 am – 5 pm
Address: 10850 Moore Rd, Lakeland, FL 33809
3. Frank Lloyd Wright Architecture at Florida Southern College
Architecture buffs will enjoy visiting the Frank Lloyd Wright Architecture at Florida Southern College – Florida Southern College, home to the most extensive collection of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture (13 structures).
There are two types of tours available: a self-guided walking tour or a guided tour option, both starting at the Sharp Family Tourism and Education Center.
- Visitors can purchase a map for $5 and take a self-guided walking tour of the campus to see the stunning buildings and learn about Wright's unique architectural style.
- Guided tours vary in length and cost. The shortest guided tour is 20-30 minutes and is $15 per person. The most extended tour is 2.5 hours long, with prices ranging from $35-$50 per person. Check out the tours here.
It is recommended that guided tours are booked a day in advance to check out this historic landmark.
10% Discounts are available for: AAA, Senior Citizens, Active Military, Members of the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation, FLLW Building Conservancy or by booking your tour via email on all standard tours. Group Tours are not discounted.
Address: 840 Johnson Ave, Lakeland, FL 33801
4. Florida Children's Museum
Florida Children’s Museum is designed for children ages 1 to 12 and provides interactive exhibits encouraging learning through play and exploration. The museum also has a space that is sensory-friendly and wheelchair accessible.
Some popular activities include where kids can pretend to work a grown-up job: grocery store, food truck, vet clinic, or as a first responder. Older kids enjoy the music area and the numerous areas that allow them to explore and play with green screens.
The museum is open daily. Prices vary, but in general, are $15 per person. Multiple discounts are available.
Address: 400 Bonnet Springs Blvd., Lakeland, FL 33815
5. Florida Air Museum
The Florida Air Museum features interactive STEM-based learning stations which allow visitors to learn through hands-on applications. Beyond the learning stations, guests can find the Howard Hughes Archives, Florida Aviation Hall of Fame, and historical aircraft on display.
In addition to its exhibits, the Florida Air Museum hosts various events throughout the year, including fly-ins, air shows, and other aviation-related activities. The feature event of the year, held at the end of March, is the SUN ‘n FUN Aerospace Expo. The expo features a daily airshow and workshops and even offers camping!
Generally, the museum is open daily (the exception is special events).
Hours: Monday – Saturday 10 am – 4 pm, Sunday noon – 4 pm
Adults – $15
Youth (11-17) – $10
Children (0-10) – Free
Seniors (65 or 50 w/AARP) and Retired Military– $12
Active Military –Free
Address: 4075 James C Ray Dr., Lakeland, FL 33811
6. Lakeland City Scavenger Hunt
Multiple companies have created scavenger hunt apps that get you out and exploring Lakeland. Use the app to find different things around the city, take photos and collect points.
Are you worried about getting stuck along the way? No worries, all the Scavenger hunts have a live remote host to help along the way.
Check out any of these companies for an exciting 2-hour adventure around town!
7. Family Fun Center
If you are dealing with a rainy day, consider the Family Fun Center in Lakeland. This vibrant and dynamic destination is packed with a variety of activities for the whole family, making it an ideal spot for a fun-filled day out.
Here's a taste of what you can expect to enjoy:
Mini Golf: Putt your way through an 18-hole mini-golf course complete with water features and obstacles that will test your skills and provide endless enjoyment. Cost: Adults $7.49, Children under 12 and Seniors over 55 $6.49
Arcade Games: The arcade is a haven for gamers of all ages. From classic video games to modern interactive experiences, you'll find a wide selection of games that will keep you entertained for hours. There are over 100 video and redemption arcade games to choose from! Cost: $5 for 20 credits
Kiddie Play Structure: The little ones are not forgotten at the Family Fun Center. A dedicated playground for children 12 and under where they can have a blast in a safe and enjoyable environment. Cost: $4.99-6.99 Note: Socks are required.
Laser Tag: Engage in exciting laser tag battles with friends and family in a state-of-the-art arena. Strategize, aim, and outmaneuver opponents to claim victory in this adrenaline-pumping experience. Cost: $6/player
Vault Assult/Beam Buster: Creep your way through the laser beams as quickly as you can without breaking the laser beam. Cost $3/player
Hours: Monday – Thursday 10 am – 9 pm, Friday – Saturday 10 am-12 am, Sunday 12 pm – 9 pm
Address: 4825 S Florida Ave, Lakeland, FL 33813
Free Things to do in Lakeland
There are several free things to do in Lakeland, making it an affordable destination for travelers attempting to stick to their budget.
8. Lake Morton
Lake Morton covers an area of approximately 40 acres and is known for its abundance of wildlife, including a large population of swans, ducks, and other waterfowl. Keep an eye out for some black swans on the lake!
The large population of swans at Lake Morton is an iconic part of the Lakeland community and is why Lakeland is often referred to as the “Swan City.”
Visitors can take a leisurely stroll around the lake and enjoy the beautiful scenery or sit and relax on one of the many benches along the shoreline.
Visit on Mother’s Day weekend to experience the Mayfaire by-the-Lake art festival, where 140+ artist booths are set up around the lake. This event is one of the oldest and largest art festivals in Central Florida.
Address: Lake Morton Dr., Lakeland, FL 33801
9. Circle B Bar Reserve
Circle B Bar Reserve is a nature reserve that offers visitors a chance to explore Florida's natural beauty. The reserve spans over 1,200 acres and features a variety of habitats, including freshwater wetlands, marshes, and oak hammocks. It is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including alligators, bald eagles, otters, and more.
Visitors can hike or bike along the reserve's trails, snap some breathtaking photos, or create peaceful paintings or sketches while enjoying the reserve. Free tram tours are offered a few times a month, providing a unique opportunity to explore the local ecosystems on wheels instead of on foot.
Tip: Want to see an alligator? Check Lake Hancock – they love to hang out around there!
Hours: 6 a.m. — 6:30 p.m. (Standard Time)
5:30 a.m. — 8 p.m. (Daylight Savings Time)
Address: 4399 Winter Lake Rd., Lakeland, FL 33803
10. Munn Park Historic District
Munn Park Historic District is located in the heart of downtown Lakeland and serves as the centerpiece of the community. Munn Park features a fountain and plenty of green space for visitors to enjoy. The surrounding neighborhood features 48 historic buildings.
Enjoy a leisurely stroll through the district and admire the well-preserved buildings. The district is also home to a variety of restaurants, cafes, and shops, making it a must-see destination when visiting Lakeland!
On the first Friday of every month, a themed event takes place at Munn Park. Affectionately called “First Friday,” the streets around the park are closed.
The area is turned into a Car Show, a vibrant Makers Market featuring skilled crafters and artisans, and an impressive lineup of over 60 First Friday Exhibitors.
Address: 201 E Main St., Lakeland, FL 33801
11. Hollis Garden
Hollis Garden is a stunning botanical garden boasting neo-classical architecture with some of the area's best flower beds.
The garden spans over 1.2 acres and is a beautiful oasis that offers visitors a chance to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life and immerse themselves in nature.
The garden features a variety of ornamental plants, water features, and sculptures. Visitors can stroll through the park while enjoying the soothing sounds of the water features and the stunning views of Lake Mirror.
The garden is accessible to the public and is open seven days a week.
Note: The garden is sometimes closed for private events.
Hours: Tuesday – Sunday: 10 am – 6 pm, except 4pm closure on Fridays
Address: 614 E. Orange St., Lakeland, FL 33801
12. Lake Mirror Park
Mirror Lake Park is a picturesque park in the heart of Lakeland, right next to Hollis Garden. The park, as the name implies, features a beautiful large lake. There is a lovely promenade, a walking path, and access to the water.
Mirror Lake Park hosts various events throughout the year, including concerts, festivals, and other community gatherings.
Address: 121 S Lake Ave., Lakeland, FL 33801
13. Lake Hollingsworth
Lake Hollingsworth is one of the most popular lakes in Lakeland, as it offers a 3-mile paved trail along the perimeter of the lake, making it a perfect location for a leisurely stroll or bike ride.
Other activities at the lake include fishing, bird watching, or picnicking. The lake is also a great place to catch a sunset!
Address: Lake Hollingsworth Drive, Lakeland, FL, 33803
14. Polk Museum of Art
Another attraction in Lakeland is the Polk Museum of Art, which features a diverse collection of art from around the world. The museum is an art lovers dream as it lands on the top 10 art musuems in Florida.
The museum offers a variety of exhibitions and programs that are designed to engage visitors of all ages and also features a small sculpture garden.
The museum boasts an impressive collection of over 2,800 works of art, including contemporary art, photography, and decorative arts.
The permanent collection includes works by Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol amoung others.The museum also hosts rotating exhibitions that showcase a wide range of art forms and styles.
Rain or shine, the museum is a great option to spend an hour or two of your time. The bonus is that the museum has free admission!
Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 10am to 4pm
Sunday, 1 to 5pm (closed on Sundays between May 31 through Labor Day)
Address: 800 E Palmetto St, Lakeland, FL 33801
15. Bonnet Springs Park
Bonnet Springs Park is a large public park that offers recreational and educational activities for visitors of all ages. The park features a welcome center, nature center, event center, snaack bar, a playground and is also home to the Flordia Children’s Museum.
Hop a ride on the tram and head over to The Depot Cafe to grab a bit to eat, visit the Butterfly Garden, or explore the tree house! There are so many fun areas and pretty views at this park – set aside a few hours to explore the park!
Hours: Daily, 6am to 8pm
Address: 400 Bonnet Springs Blvd., Lakeland, FL 33815
16. Barnett Family Park
Located near Mirror Lake, this park covers about 30 acres and offers a covered picnic area, restrooms, a splash pad, a multi-purpose field, and a playground. The Park is a lovely place to spend a few hours.
Playground Hours: Monday – Friday: 8 AM – Just before dusk, Saturday & Sunday: 8 AM – Dusk
Pavilion Hours: Monday – Friday: 10 AM – Just before dusk, Saturday & Sunday: 8 AM – Dusk
Splash Pad Hours: 10 AM – 5 PM, but closed Wednesdays for maintenance
Address: 730 E. Orange St., Lakeland FL 33801
Additional Parking: 121 S. Lake Ave., Lakeland FL 33801
Nighttime Activities in Lakeland
In the evening, Lakeland offers a variety of activities for visitors to enjoy. – from catching a movie, visiting a brewery, enjoying live music at a bar or restaurant, or visiting a park. Lakeland has something to offer for everyone's interests, whether you prefer a relaxed evening or a lively atmosphere.
17. Swan Brewing
Swan Brewing, located on Lake Wire in downtown Lakeland, features 30 taps of craft beer, live music, board games, and food trucks. The brewery features a spacious and inviting taproom where visitors can sample various craft beers and enjoy a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.
The brewery is family and pet-friendly, with plenty of space for everyone to enjoy. Overall, visiting Swan Brewing is a must for beer enthusiasts, foodies, and anyone looking for a fun and welcoming atmosphere in Lakeland.
Note: Craft beer enthusiasts might enjoy the “Adventure on Tap” craft beer pass, where they can be rewarded with prizes as they visit participating breweries! Sign up here and get a text and email with the free pass.
Hours: Monday through Thursday, 3 pm – 9 pm, Friday & Saturday, noon – 10 pm, Sunday noon – 7 pm
Address: 115 W Pine St, Lakeland, FL 33815
18. Historic Polk Theatre
The Polk Theatre is a historic movie theatre originally opened in 1928 and was designed in the Mediterranean Revival style and features ornate detailing and a grand entrance.
The historic building was restored in the 1990s and reopened as a performing arts center, where it hosts various events and performances, including classic movies, live theater productions, concerts, and comedy shows.
Catch a show at this ornately decorated theatre, or just go enjoy the history and architecture of the building. Click here to see more.
Address: 121 South Florida Ave. Lakeland, FL 33801
19. Silver Moon Drive-in Movie Theater
The Silver Moon has two movie screens that typically show first-run movies. Each screen has a double feature seven nights a week. Enjoy listening to the film on the FM car radio. Some rows offer in-car speakers.
Bonus: On Saturdays and Sundays, the Theatre grounds are transformed into a free Swap Shop, where customers are welcome to explore the bustling market where most anything can be bought or sold! Early birds get the worm – the gates open at 5 a.m.
Drive-in Movie Fee:
$10 for ages 10+
$3 ages 4-9
Free under 4
Address: 4100 New Tampa Hwy., Lakeland, 33815
20. Lakeland Escape Room
At Lakeland Escape Room, you can test your critical thinking skills in one of many themed escape rooms. Combining elements of scavenger hunts and puzzles, you'll have 60 minutes to work with your group (8 people max) to find clues and solve challenges to escape the room.
Note: Rooms are not intended to be scary, but if you're looking for a spookier experience, just let the staff know, and they will be happy to increase the scare factor.
Fee: $30 per person plus tax. (Not recommended for children under 11 years old)
Address: 308 E. Pine Street, Lakeland, FL 33801
21. Lakeland Farmers Market
If you're a fan of fresh produce, artisanal goods, and a vibrant community atmosphere, the Lakeland Farmers Market is a must-visit destination during your stay in Lakeland.
Located in the heart of downtown Lakeland, this bustling market is a treasure trove of local delights that will tantalize your taste buds and provide a unique shopping experience.
Address: 200 N Kentucky Ave, Lakeland, FL 33801
Parking is conveniently available in various locations within walking distance of the market. Here are some options to consider:
- Heritage Parking Garage: Located at 114 N Tennessee Ave, this garage offers ample parking space and is a short walk away from the market.
- Main Street Parking Garage: Situated at 201 N Massachusetts Ave, this garage provides easy access to the market and nearby attractions.
- Summit Parking Garage: Found at 110 W Main St, this garage is another great option for parking close to the market.
- Trinity Presbyterian Church Parking Lot: If you're attending the market, the parking lot of Trinity Presbyterian Church, located at 301 W. Beacon Rd., can also be used.
- City Parking Lots A and C: These lots, located off S Iowa Ave and S Kentucky Ave, offer additional parking choices.
- On-Street Parking: Look for available on-street parking on Tennessee Ave. or cross streets like Orange St., Lemon St., Main St., or Pine St. Be sure to check for any parking restrictions.
With these parking options available, you'll have the flexibility to choose the one that suits your convenience best and enjoy your visit to the Lakeland Farmers Market without worrying about finding a place to park.
What to Expect: Seasonally, on Saturdays from 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM, the Lakeland Farmers Market comes alive with a diverse array of vendors offering a wide range of products.
From fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables to handcrafted jewelry, artisanal cheeses, baked goods, and even unique home decor items, you'll find a little bit of everything at this market.
Visiting Lakeland: FAQs
Lakeland offers an extensive array of activities to immerse yourself in during your stay, regardless of the season.
Does Lakeland have a beach?
Lakeland is located in the heart of Florida, so no, there are no beaches. However, there are several great beaches within an hour or two of Lakeland!
- Clearwater Beach
- St. Pete Beach
- Fort DeSoto
- Cocoa Beach
What airport do you fly into to get to Lakeland?
Tampa International Airport (TPA) is the closest major airport to Lakeland. Lakeland is located about 40 miles east of Tampa and is accessible via I-4.
Orlando International Airport (MCO) is also an option, located about 56 miles east of Lakeland.
Note: there is an airport in Lakeland, but commercial flights are extremely limited at this time.
TPA is very convenient, as a tram connects the terminal to the car rentals every three minutes.
What is the weather like in Lakeland?
Lakeland has a humid subtropical climate with hot and humid summers and mild winters.
Summers have average high temperatures in the 90s°F and occasional thunderstorms. Winters are mild and comfortable, with average high temperatures in the 70s°F and occasional cool fronts bringing cooler temperatures.
The wettest months are June through September.
Hurricane season in Florida runs from June through November, and Lakeland can be affected by tropical storms or hurricanes.
Where to eat
Lakeland is not only a city known for its picturesque landscapes and vibrant culture but also for its flourishing culinary scene.
From upscale eateries to cozy cafes, this charming city offers an array of dining options that cater to all palates and preferences.
Here are a list of a few places to check out:
The Chop Shop – The Chop Shop offers a diverse burger menu in downtown Lakeland.
Harry's Seafood Bar & Grille – If you're a fan of seafood and Cajun-inspired dishes, Harry's Seafood Bar & Grille is a great choice. The restaurant offers a lively atmosphere and a variety of dishes influenced by Southern and Creole flavors.
Black & Brew Coffee House and Bistro – If you're seeking a more casual atmosphere, Black & Brew is a popular spot for coffee, sandwiches, salads, and light bites. It's a great place to relax, unwind, and enjoy a cup of freshly brewed coffee.
Fresco's Southern Kitchen & Bar – Specializing in Southern comfort food with a modern twist, Fresco's offers a cozy setting for enjoying dishes like fried chicken, shrimp and grits, and more.
Palace Pizza – For delicious pizza and Italian fare, Palace Pizza is a local favorite. They offer a variety of pizza options, as well as pasta, sandwiches, and more.
Nineteen61 – Known for its Latin-inspired cuisine, Nineteen61 offers a fine dining culinary journey through the flavors of Latin America with a contemporary twist.
Lakeland has a variety of hotel options for visitors. Ultimately you will need to decide if you want to be within walking distance of activities and restaurants or if you want easy freeway access.
La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Lakeland East is located off of I-4, and is close to many attractions, such as the Hollis Garden and the Polk Museum of Art.
The guest rooms are modern and include a flat-screen TV, free Wi-Fi, a mini-fridge, and a microwave. The hotel offers a variety of amenities, including an outdoor pool, complimentary breakfast, a business center, and meeting rooms.
Address: 4315 Lakeland Park Drive, Lakeland, FL, 33809
✔️ Luxury Suggestion
The Terrace Hotel is a historic hotel is located in downtown Lakeland and offers a luxurious experience with a rooftop bar, fine dining restaurant, and elegant rooms.
The rooms feature high ceilings, plush bedding, flat-screen TVs, and complimentary Wi-Fi, along with a fitness center, a business center, and a variety of meeting and event spaces.
Address: 329 E Main St, Lakeland, FL 33801
Looking for some other hotel options? You can find more recommendations here.
Final Thoughts: 21 Things to do in Lakeland
Lakeland offers a variety of activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy. Whether you're interested in exploring the city's cultural offerings, shopping, or enjoying the great outdoors, there is something for everyone.
From the beautiful scenery and hiking trails at Circle B Bar Reserve to the fascinating architecture at Florida Southern College or to watch a baseball game, there are plenty of things to do and see in Lakeland.
With a variety of hotels and accommodations available to suit every budget and preference, Lakeland is a great destination for anyone looking for a fun and memorable trip.