Aside from theme parks, dozens of lakes, and, well, more theme parks, Orlando, Florida, is a city known worldwide. But you may not know whether it’s a safe place to take your family on your next Floridian adventure.
Here’s the thing about Orlando: it’s one of the biggest tourist hubs in the world. While it isn’t Rome or Paris, it is still a place where unsuspecting visitors will be preyed upon because it’s easier done in crowds.
So regardless of the city’s nitty gritty crime statistics, it’s crucial to use your common sense whether you’re at Walt Disney World or meandering through the Orlando International Airport.
With two of my best friends (and my mini best friend, their toddler) living in the Orlando area, I try to get down to see them at least once a year. If you take nothing else away from this article, recognize that if you are from a big city like my home, Chicago, Orlando is nothing to be worried about.
And if you’re from a small town, just be aware of your surroundings. Orlando is far from one of the most dangerous areas in the country, but you can still take steps to protect yourself — even if it’s something as simple as finding the right travel insurance.
So, the question stands:
Show Table of Contents
- Is It Safe To Visit Orlando?
- Orlando Crime Rates
- How Safe Is Orlando Public Transport?
- Is Violent Crime an Issue in Orlando?
- Do I Need Travel Insurance?
- Is Downtown Orlando Safe?
- Is Orlando Safe For Solo Travelers?
- Is Orlando Safe For Queer Travelers?
- Natural Disasters and Hurricane Season in Orlando
- What are the Most Dangerous Neighborhoods in Orlando?
- Safety Tips for Visiting Orlando
- What are the Safest Neighborhoods in the Orlando Area?
- Some Fun Things to See and Do in Orlando
- Walt Disney World & Disney Springs
- Universal Studios
- Is it safe to walk in downtown Orlando?
- Is Orlando, Florida, a safe city?
- Is Orlando safer than NYC?
Is It Safe To Visit Orlando?
When it comes to visiting Orlando, safety is always a top priority. This land of theme parks like Universal Studios and Walt Disney World can be magical. Even so, the city’s crime index still indicates some room for concern.
Albeit, the bigger issue in Orlando isn’t violent crime, but rather property crime. That makes sense since millions of tourists flood into this central Florida city each year for vacation. Tourists are prime targets for property crimes worldwide, so Orlando is far from an exception.
All of that said, overall, Orlando is a very safe city. Especially if you plan to spend most of your time at theme park spots or touristy areas like International Drive, these tend to be among the safer spots in the city.
See Related: Best Islands in Florida to Visit
Orlando Crime Rates
As we’ve already mentioned, Orlando’s crime rate is a pittance compared to other major cities around the county. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take precautions when visiting the city, though it should alleviate some concerns. Let’s take a peek at some figures sourced from NeighborhoodScout.com.
|City (Crime Rate per 1,000 residents)||Violent||Property||Total|
|Los Angeles, CA||7.40||24.60||32.00|
|New York City, NY||5.21||19.62||24.83|
|San Francisco, CA||5.39||54.33||48.94|
|U.S. National Median||4.00||19.00||23.00|
Orlando’s overall crime rate is slightly higher than the national median but decidedly average when compared to other major U.S. cities. The only real exception is the slightly elevated property crime rating, likely due to increased rates of pickpocketing and petty theft, thanks to the nature of this extremely touristy destination.
I will mention that many of the more statistically dangerous parts of Orlando are predominantly Black and brown neighborhoods, as in many other cities. The Orlando Police Department is known for “over-policing” these communities, which bolsters crime rates and reinforces racism in the communities. So keep that in mind when considering crime rate data.
One way to keep yourself safe is to be aware of petty crime, particularly by protectively carrying your belongings. Keep your bags closed, your eyes up, and your attention piqued. The easiest way to have property stolen is not to be aware of what’s going on around you.
See Related: What is Travel Insurance?
How Safe Is Orlando Public Transport?
Public transportation in Orlando is not something folks brag about, mainly if you’re used to considerable systems in places like New York City or Chicago. You can use public transportation modes while traversing the city, though I wouldn’t recommend it.
Lynx, Orlando’s public transit, is notoriously unreliable–ask the Orlando Sentinel. They did a series on laborers in the city and highlighted commutes in one part.
Still, if you use it to get around, just be mindful of your belongings. Most of the issues you’ll have here are property crime-related.
Also, if you’re staying somewhere like Walt Disney World, you can utilize their free transportation systems and hopefully avoid lengthy waits for the Lynx. However, if you head to International Drive, the I-RIDE Trolley system is pretty fun and a cheap way to get down the drive.
See Related: Best Car Rental Sites to Find Great Deals
Is Violent Crime an Issue in Orlando?
Likely because of lax gun laws, Florida is quickly rising in gun violence stats nationwide. Although violent crimes exist in Orlando, the numbers have steadily declined even as the rest of the state struggles to keep gun violence under control.
In places like International Drive or theme park areas, tourists don’t have to worry as much about their bodily safety. Generally, these areas have fewer violent crimes than other more dangerous neighborhoods around the city.
Do I Need Travel Insurance?
Whenever someone asks me this, especially if they preface it by saying this is a trip they’ve saved up for years to do, my answer is always yes. Whether you want insurance to protect your belongings, your itinerary, or yourself, there are travel insurance options out there for you.
Personally, SafetyWing is always a go-to. Their flexible travel insurance options can help out when things go awry, no matter where you are in the world. You could give them a try for your trip to Orlando and then use them countless times after that for big trips elsewhere around the globe.
See Related: Best Health Insurance for Visitors to the USA
Is Downtown Orlando Safe?
Regarding the city’s crime rate, Downtown Orlando isn’t the safest part of the city. Although I’ve never gone bar hopping downtown or spent time there at night, I’ve felt perfectly safe there during the day.
Even so, while the majority of the city’s crime rates are below the national average, the crime data for downtown is the opposite. Downtown as a whole actually has crime rates higher than the national average, which makes sense since it is more densely populated than other neighborhoods around the city.
Don’t take it from just a tourist, though; even surveyed locals by a wide margin said they don’t feel safe downtown at night. If you plan to hang out downtown after sundown, just be more careful than you are during the day. All things considered, the area is still pretty safe for tourists.
Is Orlando Safe For Solo Travelers?
Because Orlando is home to places like Disney World, many tourists come to the city on their own. Solo travelers find a unique community embrace here with one another. Particularly, anyone coming to enjoy a theme park or two will find a lot of other solo adventurers looking for park pals.
If you plan to visit Orlando by yourself, use common sense to keep yourself safe. Don’t wander around alone at night in places outside of the safety of a theme park or tourist destinations, and consider taking a cab or rideshare home if you’re elsewhere in the city. Unlike other Floridian cities, Orlando isn’t a very walkable place.
See Related: Essential Solo Travel Luggage & Accessories
Is Orlando Safe For Queer Travelers?
Before Florida started rolling out anti-LGBTQIA+ laws, Orlando was ranked one of the most LGBTQ+-friendly cities in the country. Now, however, it’s falling down the rankings.
Many queer travelers have knocked Florida off their travel list until the state’s government stops discriminating against us. I cannot say I blame them.
Even so, as a queer traveler, I’ve always felt safe in the touristy parts of Orlando. Though, in full disclosure, I don’t always look queer (whatever that looks like, amirite?).
The good news is, if you go to a theme park, they tend to be very safe and accepting for queer folks. The problematic Floridian laws didn’t stop GayDays at Disney Parks. So, if you want to, wear those Pride ears with pride!
See Related: Best Places to Travel Alone in the World
Natural Disasters and Hurricane Season in Orlando
Orlando and other communities around Florida are no strangers to hurricane season. The majority of hurricanes in this part of the country take place between August through October.
So, if you’re trying to hit Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party at Disney World, be prepared. You might encounter spooky weather!
Just because hurricanes and other natural disasters are possible in Orlando shouldn’t be a reason to avoid visiting. If your trip falls in hurricane season, you need to be aware of your travel rights and ways to stay safe while you’re on your adventure.
Remember that central Florida often does not get the brunt of a hurricane. Still, if there is even a remote chance that a storm will interrupt your trip, keep these things in mind:
- Contact your airline, hotel, and attractions to discuss hurricane/natural disaster refunds or rescheduling
- Pack battery packs, some snacks, a flashlight, and any other things you might need in case of a storm
- Keep an eye on storm activity with a site like Florida Disaster
- Be aware and prepared for the risk that your return trip might be delayed or canceled
See Related: Fun & Best Things to Do in Hollywood, Florida
What are the Most Dangerous Neighborhoods in Orlando?
In a city like Orlando, unless you’re staying in a rental with friends, it’s pretty easy to avoid more dangerous parts like Roosevelt Park, Johnson Village, or Washington Shores. Still, knowing which parts of a city have higher crime rates than others is good.
What makes these neighborhoods more dangerous is that their violent crime rates and car theft rates are higher than other areas of Orlando. If crime rates are a concern, consider not staying in these neighborhoods or touring around them when you visit Orlando.
Statistically, the most dangerous neighborhoods in Orlando are (in no particular order):
- Mercy Drive
- Roosevelt Park
- Malibu Groves
- Lake Sunset
- Rock Lake
- North Orange
- Carver Shores
- Washington Shores
- Johnson Village
- New Malibu
See Related: Travel Insurance Reviews: Find the Best Plan
Safety Tips for Visiting Orlando
Orlando is far from a dangerous city. While crime in Orlando isn’t as bad as in other parts of the country or even the world, you still need to be mindful while you visit anywhere to keep yourself safe. Crime can still happen even if you’ve spent your entire life somewhere.
Here are some tips to keep you safe on your trip to one of the most visited cities in the country:
- Before you leave, shop around for some travel insurance
- When exploring tourist areas, keep your belongings out of sight and keep an eye on your stuff
- If you’re going to have a car, invest in a steering wheel lock to prevent motor vehicle theft (I’ve anecdotally heard of some rental places giving these out too)
- Bring a travel umbrella for the frequent afternoon thunderstorms
- Avoid those dangerous areas!
What are the Safest Neighborhoods in the Orlando Area?
Overall, crime throughout the city is relatively low. Still, there are some parts of Orlando proper that are statistically safer than others. This list doesn’t include areas like Lake Buena Vista or Disney property, which are also among the safest spots in the Orlando area.
In fact, Orange County, Orlando’s home county, as a whole, is relatively safe. So, these Orlando neighborhoods, in conjunction with the multitude of safe tourist areas, give visitors a lot of the city to see in relative safety.
Most tourists probably won’t stay in several of these neighborhoods and suburbs because they are mainly residential. But this means the vacation rental game in some of these neighborhoods is off the chain.
Here are statistically the safest neighborhoods in Orlando and the surrounding area (in no particular order):
- Winter Park
- College Park
- Lake Como
- Winter Garden
- Thornton Park
- Delaney Park
- Park Lake
- Audubon Park
See Related: Best Hotels in Key West, Florida
Some Fun Things to See and Do in Orlando
Walt Disney World & Disney Springs
Comprising four different Disney Parks and dozens of hotels, restaurants, water parks, and more, Walt Disney World is the most visited theme park in Orange County–and on earth. This magical resort has a theme park for every kind of explorer, from the conservation-focused Animal Kingdom to the character and story-ride-filled Magic Kingdom.
This 43-square-mile behemoth is the crown jewel of Orlando. I’m incredibly biased since it is one of my favorite places in the world, but the 58 million annual visitors to this place can show you why.
Formerly known as Downtown Disney, the Disney Springs shopping area is one of the premier Orlando attractions. Opened in 1975, this area houses nearly 100 shops, 65 dining locations, and 20 entertainment locations.
Just steps away from the parks, folks staying on property at Disney World can hop aboard the complimentary shuttle and enjoy their shopping and dining excursion.
Enzo’s Hideaway is one of my favorite spots here, a speakeasy-style bar with delicious food and cocktails. If you’d like to stay nearby, consider the affordable and chic Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace Hotel.
See Related: Best Vacations for a Group of Friends
Address: 7007 Sea World Dr, Orlando, FL 32821
Two years after Walt Disney opened his Orlando park, SeaWorld followed suit, making the city a multi-tourist destination. This theme park and marine zoological park is the country’s 10th most visited amusement park.
Although there are only 18 rides at SeaWorld, there are rides for every family member. No one has to feel slighted here, from the littlest adventurers to the die-hard extreme thrill seekers.
When you’re done with rides, you can also enjoy the animal exhibits around the park, which feature critters like polar bears, beluga whales, walruses, and over 200 penguins. Shamu the Orca has long been SeaWorld’s most iconic imagery, and the residential orcas have significantly contributed to controversy for the SeaWorld locations.
There is no shortage of hotels in Orlando, let alone around the theme park areas. One of the prettiest locations you’ll get without breaking the bank is Marriott’s Cypress Harbour Villas.
This hotel isn’t far from SeaWorld or the fabulous shopping at the Vineland Outlet Mall. There are also three pools and a spa here to be enjoyed by all.
See Related: Orlando CityPASS Review: Is It Worth It?
Address: 6000 Universal Blvd, Orlando, FL 32819
Opened in 1990 to be a direct competitor with the nearby Disney Park, Universal Studios Florida is a theme park devoted to all things cinema.
The park has nine themed areas, including Minion Land on Illumination Ave, London/Diagon Alley, World Expo, Springfield, USA, and Hollywood. Among the areas, there are over 30 rides, restaurants, character meet and greets, and other attractions.
One reason visitors may prefer Universal to Disney is because of the level of thrill associated with the rides. Universal has a lot more thrilling coasters since the park is less geared towards small children in all areas of the park.
When you’re done with the adventure for the day, you don’t want to have to go far to get some rest. There are several hotels practically inside Universal Studios Park, and the Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando is one of the swankier ones.
The Hard Rock will continue you onward in the Hollywood lifestyle carried over by Universal. Are you ready to sleep like a rockstar? Do rock stars even sleep?
See Related: Best Resorts In Florida
Is it safe to walk in downtown Orlando?
During the day, yes. While walking around downtown at night isn’t inherently dangerous, you’ll want to be more careful and aware of your surroundings.
Is Orlando, Florida, a safe city?
Compared to the rest of the country, Orlando is somewhere in the middle. It’s nowhere near as safe as somewhere like Madison, Wisconsin, but it’s safer than places like Detroit, Michigan.
Is Orlando safer than NYC?
Statistically, no. Based on the overall crime rates, New York City is statistically almost twice as safe as Orlando. That said, if we’re going by crime rates, Orlando isn’t all that dangerous compared to others.
- About the Author
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Amanda is a Chicago-based queer travel, arts, and lifestyle writer who is passionate about exploring the world. Her work has been featured in Newcity Stage, The Chicago Reader, HuffPo, and Yahoo, as well as the November 2022 book, “Chicago Like a Local.” Amanda’s favorite destinations include Costa Rica, Prague, Dublin, Hong Kong, and every Disney park she’s visited.