Top Things to Do in Lakeland

Note: This article shares some of Lakeland’s wonderful places to enjoy. Due to the changing nature of safety precautions from COVID-19, always check with a location before you go to see if it’s open and which safety precautions you will need to take while there (such as face coverings and social distancing.)

While some may find Lakeland on a map and only see a stopping point between Busch Gardens and Disney World, the city is so much more. Lakeland is home to several attractions, many of which are free or easily affordable on a college student’s budget. So, why not make the most of your time here? 

Great Eats 

The Downtown Farmer’s Curb Market:  The Farmer’s Market, located on N. Kentucky Ave and surrounding streets, celebrates the Lakeland community by connecting local artists and growers with the public. Every Saturday from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. (September–May) or 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. (June–July), you’ll find a variety of food, art, produce, plants, jewelry, and woodwork. 

Coffee Shops and Bakeries: If you’re looking for a place to get your coffee and sweets fix, Lakeland has plenty of options such as Born and Bread Bakehouse, Hillcrest Coffee, Black and Brew, Mitchell’s Coffee House, Charlie’s Mini Donuts and Coffee, and the Market at Cafe Zuppina

The Joinery: This modern food hall is comprised of Bloom Shakalaka flower shop and restaurants that serve coffee, ramen, sushi, tacos, burgers, pizza, and artisan ice cream. Housed on E Main Street, you’ll love being near beautiful Lake Mirror and surrounded by the vibrancy of Downtown Lakeland.


Movies: Streaming services definitely have their place. However, movie theaters offer an experience that’s difficult to replicate with Netflix. Cobb Theatre in Lakeside Village provides students with the familiar excitement of going to the movies and a discount (student tickets are $5 on Tuesdays!). The historic Polk Theatre shows both classic and current films. Due to COVID-19, they now have virtual cinema options. Feeling nostalgic and not entirely committed to going out? Try out the Silvermoon Drive-In with your friends. 

Polk Museum of Art:  Admission to The Polk Museum of Art at Florida Southern College is free. View galleries of ancient, professional, and student work. Attend an art class or event. Purchase specialty goods from their shop and support the museum’s educational programs. 

SUN ‘n FUN: SUN ‘n FUN is a nonprofit organization that hosts year-round events to fund the Aerospace Center for Excellence’s (ACE)’s STEM and aerospace education programs and scholarships for students.  The Fly-in raises over $2 million for ACE every year, and their Aerospace Expo is one of the largest aviation events in the world. You can attend the next expo from April 13–18, 2021. 

Joker Marchant Stadium: Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium is home to the Detroit Tigers Spring Training. As part of a partnership with the Detroit Tigers, the stadium is also the site of SEU Fire’s Spring Training exhibition games against the major league team. Click here for a schedule of events and tickets

Nature Preserves & Parks: True to its name, this city is full of lakes. Jog around Lake Hollingsworth. Sightsee around Lake Mirror and visit the nearby Hollis Garden, a formal botanical garden, or Barnett Family Park. This park is the perfect place to take younger family members to enjoy the playground, water feature, picnic area, and multipurpose field. 

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Explore Lakeland
Explore Central Florida

By Jordan Fleming, SEU Student