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Living in Orlando

Swans on Lake Eola

Fast Facts About Orlando

  • U.S. state: Florida
  • City size: 287 km2
  • Population: 2.7 million people (metropolitan area)
  • Demographics: White: 41%, African American: 28%, Hispanic: 25%, Asian: 4%
  • Average temperature: 15°C in January, 25°C in May, 27°C in September


Most UCF REUs provide students on-campus housing for the duration of their REU experience! Explore all that the UCF campus has to offer by spending the day at the William E. and Mary Jo Davis Recreation Area at Lake Claire or having a picnic at the Reflecting Pond! Rock climb at the Rec and Wellness Center or challenge yourself on the high or low ropes Challenge Course.

Popular Attractions

You will never be bored at UCF. Sometimes you need a break, luckily Orlando is home to lots of fun, inspiring and exciting things to see and do. Take advantage of the weather and spend the day at an amusement park. Eat your way around the world without ever leaving town. Or feed your brain and soul with science, art, and music. Check out some popular activities below to get started on experiencing the best of Orlando.

Walt Disney World Resort Orlando

  • Magic Kingdom: Go on dozens of rides and say hi to Disney characters.
  • Epcot: It’s like a trip around the world, under the sea and into outer space.
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios: All about Star Wars, Pixar and other famous movie and television experiences.
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park: The place to see exotic animals and Broadway-style shows.

Universal Orlando

  • Universal’s Islands of Adventure: Rides and live shows based on comic books and other imaginative stories.
  • Universal Studios Florida: Jump right into the action with rides inspired by Transformers, Despicable Me and other Universal Pictures movies.
  • Wizarding World of Harry Potter: A theme park dedicated to everyone’s favorite wizard? Yes!
  • Universal’s Volcano Bay: Cool off at this water park full of fun rides in a tropical island atmosphere.

Exploria Stadium: Orlando City MLS Soccer team, events and more.

Amway Center: Orlando Magic, Orlando Solar Bears, music concerts and more.

International Drive: Fun attractions, delicious food and more.

Lake Eola: Small lake and park in Downtown Orlando with boat rentals, events, live performances and more.

Cocoa Beach: Sun, swimming and sand close to Orlando!

Travel and Transportation

A big University in a big city can get intimidating, but it’s easy to get around in Orlando. You can get across town, across the country or around the world with just a little effort. Orlando’s convenient public transportation, airports and more make it easy and effortless.

UCF students boarding a bus

Orlando Public Transportation

LYNX: LYNX offers local bus service with 80+ routes throughout Orlando. You can get a LYNX bus pass at the SGA Ticket Center or online.

KnightLYNX: This safe and reliable public transportation option is available Friday and Saturday nights from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m. KnightLYNX covers the UCF campus and surrounding area and is free for UCF students with a campus ID card.

Biking: Grab your helmet and explore beautiful Orlando in cycling style. If you do not have your own bike, Orlando has a bike share program.

Airports, Trains and Buses

Orlando International Airport (MCO): Modern airport just 20 minutes from UCF. Service includes nonstop flights to 51 international and 76 U.S. destinations.

Orlando Amtrak train station: Amtrak, the United States’ national train service, stops at a station 1.2 miles from downtown Orlando. Ride down to Miami or up to Washington, DC.

Orlando Greyhound bus station: Greyhound provides coach bus service to more than 3,800 destinations around the United States. The bus station is 3 miles west of downtown Orlando.

Traveling to Other Cities

Florida is known for great beaches, delicious food, and other thrilling amusement parks. You can experience other local Florida cities that help define the FL culture just within a couple of hours.

Tampa, Florida

  • Travel by car: 1.5 hours. Train or bus: 2 hours.
  • Tampa is home to Busch Gardens Tampa, an amusement park with an African safari theme. Because Tampa is on the west coast of Florida, the nearby town of St. Petersburg has amazing beaches with warm ocean water. You can also watch professional baseball, American football and ice hockey games. Hungry yet? Try a Cuban sandwich, invented in Tampa.

Miami, Florida

  • Travel by car: 4 hours. Bus: 4.5–7 hours. Airplane: 1 hour.
  • Exciting Miami is one of the U.S.’s biggest cities. You can find anything here, from big music concerts to high-end shopping to amazing food from around the world (especially Hispanic food). For daytime, there are stunning beaches with even more stunning people on them. And when the sun goes down, Miami has popular clubs and other nightlife.

St. Augustine, Florida

  • Travel by car: 2 hours. Bus: 2-3 hours.
  • The beautiful coastal city of St. Augustine is home to pristine beaches and centuries of history. St. Augustine is the oldest continuously-inhabited European-established settlement in the contiguous United States.