Windhover – Orlando, FL

Eight miles southwest of Orlando's city center sits the quiet neighborhood of Windhover. While houses, condominiums, and apartments make up the vast majority of Windhover's land area, the community does feature a handful of shopping and dining options along South Kirkman Road on the east edge of the neighborhood. Windhover also features a large wooded area; while not designated a park, the greenery adds immeasurably to Windhover's charm. Furthermore, the famous Universal Studios Orlando theme park makes its home directly adjacent to the south of the neighborhood. While most of Windhover's locals only visit the park on occasion, the massive number of tourists traveling to the park plays a key role in Windhover's economic activity, and keep the roads and shops in the eastern half of the neighborhood quite busy.

Restaurants & Nightlife

Most of Windhover's restaurants cluster around South Kirkman Road along the eastern border of the neighborhood. Though lots of chain restaurants reside on this road, a number of locally owned eateries also operate, including the Border Grill Fresh-Mex. This well-liked establishment serves burritos, tacos, enchiladas, and other tex-mex style food, though undoubtedly the most popular dish is the Chicago Style Burrito. This succulent dish features pork, avocado and a number of other toppings, and it played a critical role in making the Border Grill Fresh-Mex one of Orlando's highest rated restaurants. Windhover's burger joint, the Junior Colombian Burger, holds a bit of notoriety within the Orlando dining crowd for its practice of spreading crushed chips on top of all their burgers. However, this isn't the Junior Colombian Burger's only twist on the traditional burger. The restaurant features an extensive condiment bar, sporting a range of sauces like garlic and pineapple. Because of the great food and extensive hours, Windhover's residents love stopping by the Junior Colombian Burger for a late-night snack. For fine dining, Windhover's best option is undoubtedly its Italian eatery, Mama Della's Ristorante. This restaurant serves huge portions of traditional Italian dishes including lasagna, chicken, and upscale wine. The restaurant regularly hosts live musicians, typically classical guitarists and opera singers, in an attempt to make guests feel as if they are eating in an authentic Italian estate. The tasteful decor aids in this endeavour, as well as the friendly service of the wait staff. Due to the proximity of the bars and clubs surrounding Universal Studios and those in downtown Orlando, residents typically leave Windhover on nights out. However, the neighborhood does contain a fantastic hookah lounge, the Alchemy Lounge. This establishment sells a wide range of tobacco flavors and adult beverages. Furthermore, the elegant decor and first-rate musicians give the Alchemy Lounge a smart, sophisticated feel.

History & Culture

Though the Seminoles held the land for hundreds of years, by 1860 cotton farmers and cattle ranchers made up the majority of Orlando's residents. The community initially grew slowly, but as word spread through the nation of the city's hospitable climate and work opportunities, the population began to grow exponentially. The abolition of slave labor following the Civil War killed the cotton industry in Orlando, but in its place rose the citrus industry which still flourishes today. Orlando changed considerably in the 1960's with the establishment of Disney World. This children's theme park positioned Orlando as one of the world's top tourist destinations, resulting in massive population growth and development of suburban and rural areas like Windhover. When Universal Studios Florida opened in 1990, Windhover secured a position as a residential refuge for Orlando's professionals and park workers. The Orange County Regional History Center near Windhover details the area's heritage.

Transportation

Few would dispute driving as the easiest means of transport in Windhover. Two major highways service the community, I-4 and the Florida Turnpike; please note the latter of these demands a toll. Public parking in Windhover's major streets often presents a challenge, though free streetside parking exists in abundance in the residential sections of the neighborhood. Because taxis frequently travel between the Universal Studios theme park and Orlando's city center, hailing a cab in Windhover is much easier than in most of Orlando's other neighborhoods, especially around South Kirkman Road. Uber, Lyft, and other ride-sharing apps all cater to the neighborhood. Unfortunately, none of Windhover's streets contain dedicated biking lanes, though low traffic levels on nearly all of Windhover's residential roads make the neighborhood safe for cyclists. Walkers will find sidewalks on all of Windhover's major roads. Alternatively, Orlando's public transportation system, Lynx, caters to Windhover via routes 21 and 40.

Cost

Despite its proximity to Universal Studios and Orlando's city center, Windhover's living costs rank close to Orlando's city averages on most fronts. For instance, a one-bedroom residence in Windhover may rent for $832, just under the city average of $850. Beer at one of Windhover's pubs costs only $4 per pint, while grocery prices rate 1% higher than the rest of Orlando. Because of the Lynx's flat rate system, single rides via public transportation cost $2. This saves Windhover residents money on gas, which typically costs 1% less than the city average and 2% lower than the national average.

Shopping

Windhover's shopping destinations mostly congregate around South Kirkman Road and Vineland Road. The shops in this district include both national chains and locally owned shops, such as Family Art Photography. This charming photography studio specializes in portraits and family shots at low prices, though they're open to more creative projects on request. Just a few miles southeast of Windhover sits one of Orlando's premium high-end shopping areas, the Orlando International Premium Outlet Mall. This upscale fashion venue features factory stores from many of the world's most recognizable brands, including a Neiman Marcus Last Call and a Burton Outlet. These luxurious shops compliment Windhover's more modest shopping options. Publix and Ken's Foods fill Windhover's grocery needs and, while no farmers markets exist within Windhover, two are situated only ten minutes away. To the north sits the Colonial Farmers Market, while the Economy Farmers Market lies in the east. Both of these markets operate weekly throughout the year to provide Orlando's citizens with fresh produce.

Parks

Despite the large section of undeveloped land in central Windhover, the neighborhood does not contain any official parks, and thus residents must travel west to Shadow Bay Park in the adjacent neighborhood of Dr. Phillips. This park features both a natural area and an exercise-centric section. The developed portion of Shadow Bay Park holds 17 tennis courts, a tennis pro shop, and both paved and unpaved biking paths. Sporting events, exercise camps, and children's events happen at these facilities on a regular basis. The park also invites children to play on both of its playgrounds. Shadow Bay Park's natural area centers around the ancient sand dunes. This extremely rare type of ecosystem boasts several endemic flower species, as well as a range of animals including tortoises, butterflies, migratory birds, and even bobcats. Several hiking trails bring visitors through the park's natural areas. This park charges no admission to enter.
3 days
Portofino
5974 Windhover Dr, Orlando, FL 32819
$869 - 1,709 1-2 Bedroom Available 04/07/17
844-227-3119
2 wks
Westbrook Apartments
4932 Eaglesmere Dr, Orlando, FL 32819
Call for Rent 1-3 Bedroom Available Soon
844-699-1486