Oviedo, FL is a vibrant, multi-cultural community recognized for award-winning schools, abundant recreation opportunities and easy commutes to major employers, theme parks and both Atlantic and Gulf Coast beaches. Its name, pronounced today as “Oh-VEE-do,” was chosen in 1925, in honor of Florida’s Spanish heritage (although the true Spanish pronunciation is “Oh-vee-AY-do”).
What to See
Once known for orange groves and celery farms, Oviedo now hosts a tech-savvy population employed primarily by University of Central Florida, Seminole State College or Siemens, all just minutes away by car or bicycle. Tech career magnets such as Lockheed-Martin and others involved in the burgeoning flight and vehicle simulator industry are all within a 15-minute drive, with downtown Orlando just 30 minutes away.
Today’s Oviedo is far different from its simple beginnings just after the Civil War in 1865, when former soldiers and former slaves, as well as immigrants from European countries such as Sweden, began homesteading along the shores of nearby Lake Jesup. According to the Oviedo Historical Society, the area boasted a population of just 800 when it was formally incorporated as a City in 1925. Today, more than 33,000 people live within the official city limits, with thousands more residents of surrounding unincorporated Seminole County contributing to the family-friendly vibe of the area.
What to Do
Want to visit Mickey Mouse or Harry Potter? Oviedo offers quick access to major highways including State Routes 417 and 408, by which you can get to Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando Resort and other major theme parks in less than 45 minutes.
To experience the wilder side of Oviedo, head north just a few miles to Black Hammock Adventures, where you can view live alligators, dine on frog legs and gator tail and take an airboat ride across Lake Jesup.
Or, grab a skateboard or BMX bike and head to the rippin’ Riverside Skate Park, just one of the many offerings of the Oviedo Recreation and Parks Department.
If you prefer more leisurely outdoor activities, you can take a stroll along Oviedo’s winding sidewalks, study birds including scarlet ibis (or play baseball or basketball) at Boston Hill Park, bike the Cross Seminole Trail, practice your golf swing at Tee It Up, or hit the links at Twin Rivers Golf Club. Water sport enthusiasts can canoe or kayak on the Little Econlockhatchee River.
On the rare days that the sun is not shining or it’s “cold” outside (Oviedo’s coldest average temperature is a balmy 61 degrees Fahrenheit in January), you can get your game on at La Liga Indoor Soccer, test your trampoline skills across the street at Boing! Jump Center, practice Krav Maga or Taekwondo at facilities like Victory Martial Arts, or simply enjoy watching birds and butterflies flit about inside the Lukas Nursery Butterfly Encounter.
Other live music and theater productions abound, at UCF, as well as at the nearby Winter Park Playhouse, and in Orlando at The Plaza Live and the Bob Carr Performing Arts Center, featuring tour Broadway productions and the Orlando Philharmonic.
Major sporting events include Orlando Magic basketball games, college bowl games such as the Citrus Bowl played each year in Orlando, as well as local hockey, soccer and rugby teams, and major conventions held at the Orange County Convention Center.
Local Businesses, Restaurants & Employers
Where to Eat
When it’s time to eat, your options are endless. The Oviedo Farmers Market, Good Neighbors Farmers Market and Petting Zoo and a mid-week Farmers Market at the Oviedo YMCA all feature fresh homegrown fruits and vegetables, while Cavallari Gourmet Meat Market and Specialty Grocery Shop, is a foodie heaven for both the home chef and those who need a great meal on the go. Try barbecue (or breakfast) like you’ve never experienced it before at Bonfires. Another breakfast, lunch and dinner gem is Santorini Greek Restaurant, centered in a row of antique stores in downtown Oviedo. Get your fare broiled, blackened or fried at local favorite TJ’s Seafood Shack, take a trip back in time to a Zagat-rated, old-fashioned diner at The Town House, or go upscale urban with your fish and chops at Sushi Pop.
Craving old-world Italian, great pizza and giant pastries for dessert? Head to Café Panuzzo’s. Need a Kona Coffee to put some pep in your step or a Longboard Brew to relax? Try Hawaiian Grindz for a delicious taste of the Korean/Japanese/Portuguese/Polynesian melting pot that is Hawaiian food.
If a fiesta featuring magnificent margaritas is what you’re after, Azteca D’Oro, El Potro or Habaneros Mexican Grill may be just the ticket. The cultural influence of area colleges and universities can be seen in the number of restaurants featuring even more international cuisine, including Kimchi Korean Restaurant, Pho Hoang Minh Vietnamese Restaurant, Falafel Cafe (Mediterranean) and Thai Basil.
If wine tasting is your style, make time for a visit to Roget’s Fine Wine and Beer or Tim’s Wine Market, which host weekly and monthly tasting events, some free, others for a fee, complete with catered food. For live music on Saturdays, check out blues music at the Starlight Lounge at Harry’s Cigar and Brew or various local artists at JC 360 Sports Grille. JC 360 offers up tasty wraps and burgers, and specializes in jumbo wings tossed in any of 17 sauces, as well as pouring their own branded red ale on draft. Weekly Trivia Night and Poker Night events provide those seeking a little friendly competition a chance to meet new pals.
And getting to from the Oviedo area could not be easier, with not only Orlando International Airport but also Orlando Sandord International Airport, which is offering an increasing number of daily flights. And, getting around town is possible by public bus transportation.