Plan a Long Weekend in Lakeland or Winter Haven
Hungry for something new? The Lakeland and Winter Haven area of Central Florida boasts a tantalizing culinary scene that’s sure to satisfy your foodie soul. From laid-back lakeside dining spots to creative upscale eateries, our eclectic selection of independent restaurants, bars and breweries delivers big-city taste without the crowds.
Where will you stay? At one of our many great hotels, vacation rental homes or resorts. Here's a few to consider:
What will you do? Take a scenic pontoon boat tour on Winter Haven's Chain of Lakes with The Living Water Boat Cruises, visit Bok Tower Gardens and Polk Museum of Art at Florida Southern College (and have dinner at Red Door Lakeland). Here's a few more options:
- Safari Wilderness
- Frank Lloyd Wright architecture tour at Florida Southern College
- Enjoy an indie film at the history Polk Theatre
The Local Cuisine
Harborside Restaurant on Lake Shipp in Winter Haven has been a local favorite for over 20 years. If you're in the mood for beautiful sunsets and great seafood or steaks, this restaurant is just what you're looking for. It's kid-friendly and just 10 minutes from LEGOLAND Florida.
Grove Roots Brewing Co. is a microbrewery in Winter Haven, creating inventive, artisanal beers inspired by the traditions and tastes of Central Florida’s citrus past. Their flagship beers include a while pale ale, an amber ale, a citrus witbier and a breakfast coffee stout.
Though it's not a brewery, we absolutely love Cob & Pen in Lakeland. Stop in for a local brew or glass of wine, and bring your appetite. From the greatest Deviled Eggs you've ever eaten to their Portobello Reuben or Jalapeno Burger, you'll enjoy your meal as well as the atmosphere of this locally owned pub.
Scarpa's Italian in Lakeland provides an upscale experience that has been approved by the likes of Emeril Lagasse. BAM! The food is made fresh daily and prepared to order. A few of our favorite menu items include Baked Brie, Penne & Mushrooms, Chicken Parmigiano and Penne Vernazza.
In downtown Winter Haven you'll find Arabellas Ristorante. This Italian and Mediterranean restaurant was named in OpenTable's lineup of the 100 most romantic restaurants in America in 2017. Popular dishes include Ravioli con Pollo e Formaggio, Carre Di Agnello Scottadito and Chateaubriand (served table side and prepared for two).
Nineteen61 opened in Fall of 2015 and quickly became the #1 Fine Dining restaurant in Lakeland, according to TripAdvisor. This restaurant is an integration of Modern Spanish style with Latin American and Southern propensities, in a setting unique to Central Florida. Serving dinner and Sunday brunch, dishes include Paella, Campo de Vaca and Wok Seared Lomo. Chef Marcos and his team are happy vegetarian and vegan entrees. Be sure to note any dietary restrictions when making your reservation (suggested).
Any visit to Lakeland must include a meal at Cafe Zuppina, the #1 Restaurant in Lakeland (overall) according to TripAdvisor. This small, family owned business resembles a European cafe and they serve unforgettable Turkish food using the freshest organic and local ingredients as much as possible. Popular dishes include Chicken Limone, Lamb Chops and the Veggie Platter (which can be ordered as a Vegan Platter). Be sure to leave room for Baklava and Turkish coffee!