City Profile: Lakeland

By: VISIT FLORIDA staff

ADD TO FAVORITES
Sports, the arts, shopping and proximity to both Tampa and Orlando make this a versatile vacation spot.

Surrounded by Florida's legendary attractions, Lakeland is conveniently located between Orlando and Tampa just off of Interstate 4.

In the heart of downtown, Lake Mirror Park offers a historic promenade, amphitheatre and pedestrian walkways. Hollis Garden, located around the walkway, is a breathtaking formal garden overlooking Lake Mirror and showcasing more than 10,000 flowers and Florida indigenous plants. A grand staircase connects the park and the garden.

History comes alive in Lakeland's legendary downtown Historic and Antiques district. Antiques dealers, specialty shops, art galleries, museums, restaurants and pubs can be found here, in the heart of downtown. The historic Polk Theatre, built in 1927, and restored to its original splendor, provides a venue for special events also located in the downtown area. Nearby, Explorations V Children's Museum offers fun-filled adventures in learning for kids of all ages. The Polk Museum of Art exhibits a collection of pre-Colombian artwork, a unique sculpture garden and other traveling exhibitions. Also check out what's happening at The Lakeland Center, a top-rated entertainment, sporting and convention complex. (Speaking of sports, Lakeland has been the spring training home of the Detroit Tigers since 1934. See them play at Joker Marchant Stadium.)

Popular events throughout the year include Mayfaire-By-The-Lake, a juried outdoor art festival held Mother's Day weekend; the springtime "Child of the Sun" Jazz Festival, hosted by the Lakeland Rotary Club in downtown Lakeland at the Lake Mirror Amphitheatre; and the week-long Sun 'n Fun Fly-In at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport. The Sun ‘n Fun International Fly-In and Expo (held every spring) is the second largest air show in the U.S. and the largest convention in the state of Florida. The Florida Air Museum at Sun 'n Fun displays a rich variety of aircraft and aviation artifacts year 'round for lovers of flight. Another popular sightseeing spot is Florida Southern College, which is the largest single-site collection of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture

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