"Average" as can be
I lived in Orlando for five years as a young adult. The best way to sum up the city is average as can be. Orlando is fairly diverse but what nobody likes to mention is that it is extremely segregated. There are certainly well defined black neighborhoods, Puerto Rican neighborhoods, a small Vietnamese area with tons of their own businesses, and white families living just about everywhere else. It is more LGBT friendly than the average city in Florida. The city overall is very family focused with lots to do with kids. In general, people are not particularly nice or mean. They're friendlier than Miami's residents but definitely do not bring the southern hospitality and charm.
Transport: Orlando is spread out with horrible traffic and never ending construction. A car is a must as the city is not at all bike friendly and not safe for motorcycles. During rush hour it can take nearly 2 hours to travel from West Orlando to East Orlando. Public transportation is lacking and the buses unreliable but the Sunrail offers those lucky enough to live near a station and work near a station great public transport. East Orlando/UCF area is notorious for drunk drivers and wrecks. West Orlando is nearly as bad since everyone driving is a lost tourist.
Housing: Housing had only gotten drastically more expensive each year I lived there. Many apt complexes have waiting lists and houses for rent are difficult to come by. There are lots of planned communities further from Downtown and really is a "suburban dream life." Think tons of houses that look the same thrown up over night. Downtown, College Park, and Winter Park still have charming homes that don't fit that mold but they're becoming increasingly rare.
Culture: Orlando does not have any real culture compared to other big cities and I'd say thats its biggest downfall. There are several art museums and big concert venues but this is not the place to move if you're looking for hole in the wall bars, local music, pop up art venues, co ops etc. People like to mention Mills Ave every time this comes up but 1 street sprinkled with the occasional unique shop is not culture imo. There is a thriving Disney culture with self proclaimed "Disney girls" just about everywhere. Orlandoans are huge Orlando City soccer fans. There are people of all religions in Orlando but mega churches and Christian radio stations do have a noticeable presence. There are some good restaurants and you can find any type of food but for the most part Orlando has a ton of chains.
Entertainment: If you're not a fan of theme parks you're out of luck. There's movie theaters and bowling alleys, a few nice gardens, and great kayaking just north of Orlando but just walking around and checking things out isn't really a thing there at all. The beach is about an hour away. There are some okay bars downtown and near UCF but nothing to write home about. The thriving party scene is pretty limited to UCF which is basically it's own city anyways.
It's not exciting. It's not horrible. It's not a great place for young adults if you're not a UCF student. It's not a 24/7 city but not sleepy. It's a good place for families.
Dani | Asheville, NC