Lakeland is the largest city in Polk County, Florida, whose dominant feature is its many natural lakes. Thanks to Florida’s year-round sunshine, a stroll around these very lakes, in the downtown area, or in the parks and gardens is always accessible.
So Much To Do. So Little Time.
Nonprofit organizations such as the Downtown Lakeland Partnership and Lakeland Area Chamber of Commerce sponsor a wide range of fun, free activities.
Find out what’s happening in music, art, food, and discounts for the college-age crowd at YLakeland.
Downtown Lakeland offers unique specialty and antique stores and the outdoor shopping mall Lakeside Village is only a stone’s throw away.
Several local designers reside within a few blocks of campus, alongside stylish and fun thrift shops. Also, the traditional Lakeland Square Mall is located on the north side of Lakeland.
Searching For Good Food?
Lakeland can satisfy even the most serious food connoisseurs.
Local restaurants serve up everything from fine dining at Bay Street Bistro to the juicy burgers of S&L and historic Palace Pizza. Want a café with great coffee and a laid-back atmosphere? Check out Black and Brew.
If you’re looking for more international cuisine, favorites include West Caribbean Cuban, Gosh! Sushi, and Saigon Vietnamese Bistro.
Lakeland has enough food options to choose something different every night for months. My favorite downtown dining venue has to be Black and Brew Coffee House and Bistro for its mouth-watering selection of flavors! Its sophisticated, cozy atmosphere is the perfect place for an intellectual conversation or hanging out with friends - Samantha Braun
Live Music and Entertainment
When it comes to entertainment, the sky is the limit.
Check out weekend acoustic performances featured at intimate venues like the Red Door or Patio 850. Let the Lakeland Center revive your love for classic rock, or catch the Imperial Symphony Orchestra in action.
The historic Polk Theatre, built in 1927 as a vaudeville/movie house, shows an array of cult classics, foreign films, and new movies. Along with FSC’s own Festival of Fine Arts, The Lakeland Community Theatre and The Florida Dance Theatre are also close by, so there’s no shortage of exciting productions to enjoy.
The Arts & History
There are numerous galleries and studios to be found downtown, along with the annual Mayfaire by-the-Lake Art Festival, which attracts hundreds of artists and thousands of art lovers annually.
If Elvis Presley performed here, then there’s no question that our Polk Theatre is a place for artists and musicians. Our Polk Museum of Art, Imperial Symphony Orchestra and the Florida Dance Theatre all bring a variety of culture and artistic flavor to this amazing city.
Walk downtown one Saturday afternoon and experience the public art displays.
And don’t forget that FSC’s campus boasts the world’s largest single-site collection of Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture!
The city of Lakeland is vibrant with the arts and exciting events, giving the city a culturally strong atmosphere. With plenty of things to do with friends, it just never gets boring here. Every spring near Munn Park in the downtown area streets are shut down for cars, allowing people to set up tents and sell their handmade crafts and other homemade goods. - Jordan Finney
Parks and Recreation
Lakeland features well-groomed basketball and tennis courts, challenging golf courses, and even a skate park!
Area parks such as Barnett Park and Sunflower Playground provide a great place to play and picnic along the lakeside.
Another favorite spot for Lakelanders is Hollis Gardens — a botanical paradise home to more than 10,000 flowers, ornamental shrubs, and an elegant, neo-classical sculpture garden.
Though FSC’s NCAA Division II athletics program will keep the most ardent sports fan busy, Central Florida is home to several professional teams. Baseball enthusiasts will recognize Lakeland as the long-time spring training headquarters of the Detroit Tigers and the regular season home of their minor league Single-A Florida State League team, the Lakeland Flying Tigers. Indoor professional football also exists in Lakeland; the Florida Marine Lakers of the X-League Indoor Football are known to keep spectators on the edge of their seats.