Lakeland Florida

Sat, Jan 20, 2024

A view of the lakes of Lakeland, Florida
A view of the lakes of Lakeland, Florida

The city of Lakeland FL: What to See and Do in Central Florida

Welcome to the city of Lakeland Florida! This hidden gem in Central Florida is a thriving city known for its stunning natural beauty, rich history and unique attractions. From its picturesque lakes to its impressive collection of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture, The city of Lakeland FL offers something for everyone. Are you ready to discover the wonders that await you in this vibrant community?

Homes For Sale in Lakeland FL

City of Lakeland FL Takeaways

  • Explore Lakeland’s stunning natural beauty, 38 lakes and Circle B Bar Reserve.

  • Enjoy Frank Lloyd Wright architecture, Florida Southern College tours, downtown shopping & dining and sports/entertainment options.

  • Live in an affordable city with diverse job opportunities & educational institutions plus easy access to Orlando & Tampa!

  • Downtown Lakeland FL

Discovering Lakeland's Natural Beauty

Nestled between Tampa and Orlando, Lakeland is a city that truly lives up to its name, boasting 38 breathtaking lakes that offer a scenic escape from the bustling urban life. The city’s lakes, such as Lake Parker, Lake Hollingsworth and Lake Morton provide a picturesque backdrop for various outdoor activities, including boating, fishing, and hiking.

The captivating natural beauty of Lakeland extends beyond its lakes, with the Circle B Bar Reserve and Polk County Parks offering even more opportunities for residents and visitors to connect with nature.

The Lakes of Lakeland

The 38 beautiful lakes of Lakeland not only provide ample recreational opportunities, but they also hold a wealth of history and cultural significance. Lake Parker, the largest and most impressive lake in the city, has a rich history that includes Native American tribes who once inhabited the area.

Similarly, Lake Blanton which is known for its charm and picturesque views has a history that dates back to the Creek Indians who once lived in the region. Whether you’re an avid hiker, boating enthusiast, or history buff the lakes of Lakeland offer a fascinating and scenic experience for all to enjoy.

Circle B Bar Reserve

A scenic view of Circle B Bar Reserve located in Lakeland, FL

Wildlife enthusiasts should not miss the chance to visit the Circle B Bar Reserve. This 1,267-acre nature reserve in Lakeland offers a wealth of opportunities to explore and appreciate nature. The reserve is home to a variety of hiking trails, birdwatching spots, and alligator sightings, making it an exciting destination for nature lovers of all ages.

Conveniently situated between Lakeland and Winter Haven, the Circle B Bar Reserve is a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the natural beauty that Central Florida has to offer.

Polk County Parks

Polk County Parks present a diverse array of recreational opportunities. With more than 50 park sites and mini-parks in Northern Polk County, you’ll find no shortage of playgrounds, sports facilities and picnic areas to enjoy with family and friends.

Some of the amazing parks in Polk County include:

  • Aldine Combee Park

  • Banana Lake Park

  • Christina Park

  • Highland City Park

  • Hunt Park

Whether you’re a sports enthusiast, a nature lover, or simply looking for a relaxing day outdoors, Polk County Parks offers a little something for everyone.

Frank Lloyd Wright Architecture in Lakeland

A view of the Florida Southern College in Lakeland, Florida

Lakeland, apart from its natural beauty, houses a unique architectural treasure - the world’s largest single-site collection of Frank Lloyd Wright designs at Florida Southern College. Known for his innovative and organic approach to architecture, Frank Lloyd Wright’s designs often feature open floor plans, integration of indoor and outdoor spaces and the use of natural materials.

In Lakeland, you can experience firsthand the genius of this iconic architect and learn more about his designs through guided tours at the college.

Florida Southern College

Established in 1883, Florida Southern College is the oldest four-year private college in Florida and boasts an impressive collection of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture. In 2012, the college was voted the most beautiful campus in the country, thanks in part to its stunning Wright-designed buildings, including the iconic Annie Pfeiffer Chapel.

In addition to its architectural gems, Florida Southern College offers over 70 undergraduate programs, shaping learners into dynamic leaders and enriching the Lakeland community.

Guided Tours

Guided tours are on offer for those keen on delving into the architectural wonders of Florida Southern College, providing an in-depth look at the history and design of the buildings. Led by student ambassadors, these one-hour walking tours offer a unique and enjoyable way to experience the campus and its architectural highlights.

For those who prefer to explore at their own pace, self-guided walking tours are also available. Don’t miss the opportunity to immerse yourself in the beautiful grounds and architecture of the campus, including the stunning Frank Lloyd Wright-designed buildings.

Downtown Lakeland: A Hub of Activity

A view of the downtown area of Lakeland, Florida

A beehive of activity, Downtown Lakeland offers a myriad of shopping, dining, and entertainment options catering to both residents and visitors. From the Downtown Farmers Curb Market to the First Friday artisans market, there are plenty of opportunities to shop local and discover unique finds.

When it comes to dining, Lakeland boasts a diverse culinary scene, with highly-rated restaurants like Nineteen 61, Love Bird Almost Famous Chicken, Red Door, Cob & Pen, and Krunchy Krab.

Throughout the year, downtown Lakeland also hosts a variety of events and festivals, ensuring there’s always something exciting happening in the heart of the city.

Shopping and Dining

Whether you wish to indulge in a leisurely shopping spree or savor a delicious meal, downtown Lakeland caters to your needs. Browse the Downtown Farmers Curb Market for fresh produce and artisan goods, or check out the First Friday artisans market for unique, handcrafted items.

After a day of shopping, treat yourself to a meal at one of the many highly-rated restaurants in the area, such as:

  • Divicious Deli and Coffee Shop

  • Downtown Diner

  • Nineteen 61

  • Harry’s Seafood Bar and Grille

  • The Joinery

  • Frescos Southern Kitchen & Bar

With so many options to choose from, you’ll never run out of new places to explore and flavors to savor.

Events and Festivals

A plethora of exciting events and festivals keep Downtown Lakeland vibrant throughout the year. From the monthly Lakeland Food Truck Rally to the annual Sun ‘n Fun Aerospace Expo, there’s always something happening in the heart of the city.

Other notable events include:

  • First Friday: Cookie Carnival

  • Plant Pop-Up in Munn Park

  • Lake Mirror Classic Concours & Car Show

  • Fall Night Market

  • End of Summer Scavenger Hunt

  • Tasty Tuesday + Tunes in Munn Park

  • Leading Edge Take Heart 5K

No matter the season, downtown Lakeland offers a vibrant calendar of events that cater to a wide range of interests and tastes.

Sports and Entertainment in Lakeland

A view of the Detroit Tigers Spring Training in Lakeland, Florida

Beyond its natural beauty and architectural wonders, Lakeland also provides a variety of sports and entertainment options for residents and visitors to relish. Catch the excitement of the Detroit Tigers Spring Training at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium, or watch the Lakeland Flying Tigers minor league baseball team in action, just a short drive from the Tampa Bay area.

The RP Funding Center, a multipurpose entertainment complex, hosts a variety of events, including concerts, comedy shows, and sporting events. From golf and bowling to movie theaters, there’s always something fun and exciting to do in Lakeland.

Detroit Tigers Spring Training

Baseball fans will rejoice with the opportunity to catch the Detroit Tigers during their spring training season at Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland. Every year, from February to March, the stadium comes alive with the anticipation and excitement of a new baseball season.

In addition to the major league team, Lakeland is also home to the Lakeland Flying Tigers, the city’s minor league baseball team. Whether you’re a die-hard baseball fan or just looking for a fun day at the ballpark, Lakeland’s baseball scene has something for everyone.

RP Funding Center

The RP Funding Center serves as a hub for an array of thrilling events and entertainment options in Lakeland. This impressive multipurpose complex features an 8,000-seat arena, a 2,200-seat theater, and over 100,000 square feet of flexible space for conferences, meetings, and more.

The RP Funding Center hosts a variety of events, including:

  • Festivals

  • Dance performances

  • Sporting events

  • Concerts

With its diverse lineup of events and state-of-the-art facilities, the RP Funding Center is a must-visit destination for those seeking entertainment in Lakeland.

Living and Working in Lakeland

A view of the cost of living in Lakeland, Florida

More than just an exciting tourist spot, Lakeland thrives as a city with a diverse economy, affordable housing options, and a burgeoning population. The cost of living in Lakeland is lower than both the national and state averages, making it an attractive destination for both families and young professionals.

The city’s job market is expanding, with opportunities in:

  • healthcare

  • logistics

  • retail

  • major employers like Publix, GEICO, and Amazon

Discover what makes Lakeland an ideal place to live, work, and thrive.

Cost of Living

Living in Lakeland comes with many benefits, a lower cost of living in comparison to the national and state averages being one of them. The overall cost of living index for Lakeland is 88.3, housing being a particularly great value at 75.8. The median home cost in Lakeland is an attractive $282,500, making it an affordable option for those looking to purchase a home in a thriving city.

With its lower cost of living and growing population, Lakeland is an ideal destination for families and professionals alike.

Job Opportunities

With an expanding job market, Lakeland offers a variety of exciting opportunities across diverse industries. Major employers in the area include Publix, GEICO and Amazon providing stable job opportunities for residents.

In addition to these major companies, the healthcare, logistics and retail sectors are rapidly growing, offering even more job options for those looking to build their careers in Lakeland. With its diverse economy and expanding job market, Lakeland is an attractive destination for those seeking new career opportunities, including those at Lakeland Regional Health.

Education in Lakeland

A view of the historic buildings and landmarks in Lakeland, Florida

Education holds significant importance in Lakeland, providing a spectrum of opportunities for learners of all ages. From public and private schools to esteemed higher education institutions like Florida Southern College and Southeastern University, Lakeland is dedicated to providing quality education for its residents.

Public and Private Schools

Lakeland is home to 61 public and 25 private schools, ensuring that families have a variety of educational options to choose from. The city’s public schools offer enriching extracurricular activities, advanced classes, and specialized programs, while private schools provide smaller class sizes, individualized instruction, and a personalized learning atmosphere.

With so many options available, families in Lakeland can find the perfect educational fit for their children.

Higher Education Institutions

In addition to its excellent primary and secondary schools, Lakeland also boasts two impressive higher education institutions: Florida Southern College and Southeastern University. Florida Southern College, the oldest private college in Florida, is renowned for its Frank Lloyd Wright architecture and offers over 70 undergraduate programs.

Southeastern University, a private Christian university, is the largest Assemblies of God educational institution in the country, providing a wide range of programs and degrees for students to choose from. With these outstanding higher education institutions, Lakeland is committed to fostering lifelong learning and educational excellence.

History of Lakeland

A view of the Lakeland Linder International Airport in Lakeland, Florida

The rich history of Lakeland enhances the charm of this thriving city. From its early settlers and Native American inhabitants to its historic buildings and landmarks, the past is very alive in Lakeland.

Delve deeper into the city’s history, and discover the stories behind the people and places that have shaped Lakeland into the vibrant community it is today.

Early Settlers and Native Americans

Before the arrival of European settlers, Lakeland was inhabited by the Tocobago, Timucua and Calusa Indian tribes, who brought with them a rich culture and history, reflecting the diversity of Native American Cultures.

The city was founded in 1885 by Abraham Munn and a group of Kentucky businessmen, who were committed to creating a vibrant and prosperous community in Central Florida. As you explore the city’s lakes and parks, you can still find traces of these early settlers and Native American inhabitants, offering a glimpse into the fascinating history of Lakeland.

Historic Buildings and Landmarks

The town of Lakeland is home to an impressive array of historic buildings and landmarks that showcase the city’s architectural heritage and storied past. Some of these iconic structures include the Terrace Hotel, New Florida Hotel and Polk Theater, each with its unique architectural details and historical significance.

Other notable historic landmarks in the city include:

  • Joker Marchant Stadium

  • Lake Mirror

  • Frank Lloyd Wright at Florida Southern College

  • Munn Park

  • The Wonder House

  • Magnolia Building

  • Benjamin Franklin Holland House

  • Southgate Sign

  • Frances Langford Promenade at Lake Mirror.

As you wander through the streets of Lakeland, these historic sites serve as a beautiful reminder of the city’s rich heritage and storied past.

Traveling to and from Lakeland

Strategically located between Orlando and Tampa, Lakeland offers easy access to both residents and visitors. The Lakeland Linder International Airport offers convenient travel options for domestic and international flights, while the city’s proximity to major attractions, beaches, and cities in Florida ensures there’s always something new and exciting to explore in the surrounding area.

Whether it’s a day trip to the beach or a weekend getaway to a nearby city, Lakeland’s prime location makes it an ideal home base for exploring all that the central Florida area has to offer.

Lakeland Linder International Airport

The Lakeland Linder International Airport, conveniently located in Lakeland, Florida, offers easy connectivity to both domestic and international destinations. The airport offers a variety of flights to major cities in the United States, as well as international destinations in Europe, the Caribbean and Central America.

With its modern amenities and services, the Lakeland Linder International Airport offers:

  • Delicious restaurants

  • Exciting shops

  • Convenient car rental services

  • Free Wi-Fi

Traveling to and from Lakeland is a breeze with these offerings.

Proximity to Orlando and Tampa

Tucked between the vibrant cities of Orlando and Tampa, Florida Lakeland strikes the perfect balance between small-town charm and big-city amenities. Just 56 miles from Orlando and 36 miles from Tampa, Lakeland provides easy access to popular attractions like Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, and some of the world’s most renowned beaches. You can see the homes for sale in Tampa FL here.

Whether you’re planning a day trip or a weekend getaway, Lakeland’s central location makes it the perfect starting point for your next adventure.


In conclusion, Lakeland, Florida is a captivating city that offers a unique blend of natural beauty, rich history, and modern amenities. Whether you’re exploring the stunning lakes and nature reserves, marveling at the architectural wonders of Frank Lloyd Wright, or enjoying the vibrant downtown scene, Lakeland is a city that truly has it all.

With its affordable cost of living, expanding job market and top-notch educational opportunities, Lakeland is not just a great place to visit, but also an ideal place to call home. So why not pack your bags and discover the wonders that await you in this charming Central Florida gem?

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the town of Lakeland FL a good place to live?

Lakeland is a great place to live, with plenty of attractions nearby and beautiful wildlife. Residents love its proximity to larger cities like Tampa and Orlando, and the nickname, ‘Swan City.’’

The city is known for its many parks and outdoor activities, such as fishing, boating and hiking. It also has a vibrant arts and culture scene, with a variety of cultural offerings.

Is Lakeland FL expensive to live?

Lakeland Florida is very affordable to live in, with the cost of living nearly 12 percent lower than the national average.

Is Lakeland Florida closer to Tampa or Orlando?

Lakeland is conveniently located approximately midway between Tampa and Orlando, only 45 minutes from Tampa and less than an hour from Orlando.

What is the pros and cons of living in the city of Lakeland Florida?

Living in Lakeland, Florida offers a variety of advantages such as beautiful natural scenery, access to major highways and airports, and plenty of entertainment options.

On the downside, the cost of living can be higher than in other parts of the state and there is the risk of dealing with hurricanes. Overall, it’s a great place to call home!

What is the cost of living like in Lakeland, Florida?

Living in Lakeland is both accessible and affordable, making it a great choice for those looking to settle down or start a business. Thank you so much for researching the city of Lakeland FL.

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