There are so many things to do in Ocala, Florida- a city with a small town feel located in North Central Florida between Orlando and Gainesville. Ocala is the Horse Capital of the World, and it’s also known for its grand mossy oak trees, golden sunsets, beautiful nature, and a great place for families. With its growing downtown, food scene, and places like the new World Equestrian Center, Ocala is attracting more visitors who may have previously only driven past it on I-75. Here is a list of my personal favorite things to do in Ocala, along with professional and personal photos. I am never without something to do here, and hope this list helps you find your next adventure!
World Equestrian Center
A stunning new property that houses horses from all over the world, horse shows, multiple world-class chef restaurants, the 5-star Equestrian Hotel, and more. The perfect place for all ages to walk around, explore, eat, drink, and see horses.
Silver Springs State Park – and Glass Bottom Boat Tour
A park that’s been famous for a long, long time, and is part of Florida’s history. Highly recommend the glass bottom boat tour or kayaking down the crystal clear Silver River.
Ocala’s own art museum. The marble outside of it is also stunning. Bring the kids to do their own art in the huge kids zone complete with all kinds of arts and crafts for all ages!
The historic Marion movie Theater
One of the original downtown buildings that will take you back in time, while showing current movies.
One of the prettiest parks in Ocala, with perfectly manicured landscaping. A very tranquil environment.
Marley Mae Market + Paperie
Super fun local boutique on the downtown square with inventory that makes perfect gifts.
Another local boutique on the downtown square worth checking out!
a large beachfront and surf style restaurant on Lake Weir. The umbrella drinks and views do not disappoint.
Ocala Downtown Market (Saturdays 9a-2p)
Local farmer’s market every Saturday with the freshest, local produce, sweet treats, live music, handmade items, and more.
First Friday Art Walk (Sep-May)
The first Friday evening of each month holds a night showcasing local artists and vendors set up all along the downtown Ocala square.
Gypsy Gold Horse Farm Tour
Book a tour to see these beautiful horses!
Pink/purple wildflower fields
The prettiest wildflowers grow all over town in the Spring mainly on the side of the road! Large field located on 441 just south of the Market of Marion.
Strawberry and blueberry U-Pick farms
Such a quintessential seasonal activity that is fun for the whole family!
Pick your own pumpkin off the vine at The Pick’n Patch (October)
Come ready to search for your perfect pumpkin still growing on the vine you cut and put in a wagon to bring home!
FAFO Ocala Arts Festival (October)
THE arts festival to be at each year to see local artists from all over Central Florida showcase their handmade pieces for sale.
Light Up Ocala – the downtown Christmas lights display
This really is something to see. Canopied string lights are hung all through the trees over the downtown square, as well as a giant Christmas tree each year.
An Ocala tradition! Typically the beginning of December Santa and many others will parade through Ocala.
Cut down your own Christmas tree at Kandy Kane Christmas Treeland
One of the most picturesque Christmas tree farms in Florida! You can cut down your own tree, take photos, or just enjoy that balsam pine scent!
Restaurants at the World Equestrian Center- Stirrups, Yellow Pony Gastropub, Miss Tilly’s Lollipops (and more)
First photo is a mural outside of Miss Tilly’s Lollipops- a candy/ice cream shop that will remind you of Disney! Photo on the right is inside Stirrups restaurant located inside The Equestrian hotel, overlooking the main arena. Highly recommend their breakfast!
Ivy on the Square
My personal favorite restaurant in Ocala. Famous for their Krispy Chicken. The inside decor is something to be seen as well.
Local wine on tap (beer too), AND you can even make your own wine!
Ocala’s fine French restaurant. Their Sunday brunch is one of a kind!
Old School Ice Cream
Located in SE Ocala, this ice cream shop will take you back in time with its decor. They even have a kids section with ice cream themed toys and more. Oh and they serve Bluebell ice cream- yum!
Mexican street tacos, margaritas, and fun outdoor seating with picnic tables, yard games, and string lights.
Stella’s Modern Pantry
Delicious cuisine popular for lunch, wine, and its cute gift shop area. Located on the downtown square.
The Gathering Cafe
Delicious coffee and cafe! They serve breakfast all day, have lunch items you’ll love, and sweet treats to die for!
Sunday brunch buffet at the Hilton hotel (includes a horse + carriage ride)
Super delicious breakfast buffet you can end with a carriage ride with Buddy the horse!
Big Lee’s (world famous) food truck
This BBQ food truck has people visiting from all over the world to come and try the food! The owner has a TV show on the Food Network. I don’t even like BBQ and I love Big Lee’s.
An Ocala mom and pop staple! The best local donuts.
Infinite Ale Works brewery
Local brewery in downtown Ocala. I’m not a beer drinker but still enjoy going there.
Downtown Hilton Garden Inn – Terrace on the Square restaurant
This hotel is brand new, and their restaurant has outdoor seating that overlooks the downtown Square (especially perfect during Christmas time with the lights below)! Large Sunday brunch menu and live music.
Enchanted Oaks Farm airbnb
Unique A-frame glamping AirBnB on the most beautiful, serene property that helps you forget your worries and just enjoy nature. Complete with animals like zebras, goats, cows, and a kangaroo you can pet!
Seven Sister Inn / The Rheinauer airbnb
Historic home that has been completely re-done to become a beautiful AirBnb. The design is stunning and it’s also probably the cleanest place I’ve ever stayed at!
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