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Orlando
  • $650   =  non-traditional average 1
  • $994   =  average 2BR ÷ 2, or traditional roommate rent 2
  • $1581   =  average 1BR, rented solo 3
  • (traditional vs. non-traditional roommates)
  • (the rest of the  southeast US)

67% live within a 10-minute walk of a park. 4
Most errands require a car. 5
Disney fiends, alligators, lightning strikes, heatstroke
professional sports teams, Disney 6
weird art kids, crime hills, section 8 lol, people with chickens, fun events but you'll get robbed, old apartments, Universal, Chicago lite, disney university, twistee treat, cows again, biggest school in the country, off campus slums, alligators, rednecks, traffic nightmare, and the place where the whale ate that lady are the largest hoodmap tags 7

SO, roomiematch.com's Orlando roommate rundown:

More than most metros, Orlando has a LOT of pros and cons, most revolving around their massive tourism industry.


PRO:   lower taxes, reasonable cost of living overall, no winter weather, discount shopping, lots of lakes, more unique entertainment options than anywhere in the world

CON:   severe heat with heavy humidity, tourist-dense traffic jams, lightning strikes, parked cars, gators


The cultural juggernaut that is Walt Disney World Resort (WDW to locals) overwhelms culturally and economically. In addition to WDW, Orlando (or technically nearby) is also home to a number of other massively popular attractions, like SeaWorld, Universal Orlando, LEGOLAND, Madame Tussauds, Fun Spot America, Cape Canaveral, and Daytona Beach.

All the tourists mean even though there are university campuses throughout, Orlando never feels like a "college town." It literally is. But it doesn't vibe that way.

For most residents, the tourism itself is a mixed bag. Orlando's greater metro area has more theme parks than anywhere in the world, visited by over 70 million every year, many from other countries. It's the third most visited US city after NYC and Miami . . . but much smaller otherwise. That means unlike NYC and Miami, at any given moment in Orlando, there are probably a lot more tourists than year-round residents.

And while summer and Spring Break (that's a few months too) are busier, tourism never slows to insignificance. You won't get as much as one tourist-free week.

Orlandoans must discover their own accommodations for being constantly surrounded. Some love to make new friends. Some make money off the tourists, like feeding, housing, transporting, and entertaining them.

Still others try to steer around them, both literally and metaphorically. Traffic jams happen during rush hours around downtown, and anywhere near a tourist attraction, especially when it closes. Locals recommend the north side as farther away from the most popular destinations, and thus less traffic jammed. But your lifestyle will probably require you head south, at least occasionally . . . right back into a huge herd of Disney superfans.

The take home point is you can't live in Orlando and escape tourism's impact. You must learn to live with it in your own way . . .

. . . along with the severe heat plus high humidity. It's almost year round. You'll be running your air conditioning 10-11 months out of the year. You'll probably get about 6 weeks of unconditioned air that's tolerable. That's it. And don't even imagine you'll survive without AC. You will have AC and you will spend real money on utility bills running it. Otherwise, you'll drop dead.

Never leave any living creature inside any parked car. Even with the windows cracked, even in the shade, the interior temp will rise much faster than most folks new to Orlando would ever imagine. Small mammals could die within 15 minutes, while larger mammals don't have much longer.

In summer thunderstorms happen almost daily, but since they drop temp, most folks find them refreshing. However, if you see lightning, go indoors immediately . . .

. . . especially near water. Or on a golf course. Near water on a golf course during a lightning storm might be the best place to get struck. So if the sky is sparkly, go inside so you won't spark up too.

Orlando is mostly wetlands, low elevation, with many swamps from forever ago. This means dozens of lakes near you, anywhere in Orlando. Plus why their tens of thousands of alligators regard humans as newcomers. Possibly delicious newcomers.

Alligators with all their scary teeth can suddenly appear in front of you anywhere in Orlando. (OK, maybe not a highrise, but we wouldn't bet on it.) They're all over Florida, especially anywhere with lakes, beaches, intracoastal waterways, storm drains, golf course water traps, damp hiking trails, puddled parking lots . . . anywhere at all with water in which they can slosh which is ALL OVER ORLANDO.

Orlando is covered in small bodies of water currently enjoyed by alligators, many of whom are less enjoyably small, in our opinion.

Gators also love suddenly hurling themselves up out of any waterway to murderously chomp cats and dogs and other delicious small creatures walking along its edge. This includes swimming pools.

When you want to swim, pick a non-murky man-made pool you can see through all the way to the bottom, that's either entirely inside and behind locked doors, or completely surrounded by a securely latched gator-proof fence. If a gator drops in anyway, get out immediately.

Then leave it alone. State law prohibits touching, feeding, harassing, or killing alligators. You're not even allowed to pelt them with a hailstorm of golf balls when they're inconsiderately sunning themselves all over your course. And unlike dogs or cats or any other animal anyone sane could love as a pet? If you feed a gator, that ingrate will be MORE likely to eat you.

So make sure you tell all visitors and roommates from out of town. If they've got a dog they walk outside, tell them twice.

Also tell them if they want to visit anything popular but with fewer (still a LOT, but fewer) tourists? Avoid summer and its teeming throng of schoolchildren on vacation in its entirely, plus all the hearty partying of Spring Break. So avoid March-September.

Really, just go after New Year's Eve but before Valentine's Day. You'll spend a lot less time sweating while standing in a long line.

And if you live near attractions out-of-town friends and family want to visit . . . probably to sleep nearby while not overpaying for lodging? You're a superstar!

(Hopefully a superstar with comfy crash-able couches.)

The rest of the Orlando roommate lowdown:

  • east central Florida, about 25 miles from the Atlantic Coast
  • about 2.5 million residents in the greater metro area, about 300,000 in the city
  • deep Southern climate, high year-round humidity, hot and rainy from May until November, winters are mild with lighter rainfall
  • You might need a jacket once a month between November and March. By May it's extremely hot and humid. Orlando is different than most cities on this list in that it does NOT host many summertime outdoor festivals. Orlandoans don't want unseasoned tourists coming to party then immediately croaking. It's considerate, but tell any roommates new to Orlando to keep this summer danger in mind, always.
  • home to Florida A&M University College of Law, Florida A&M University College of Medicine, Full Sail University, Rollins College, Seminole State College of Florida, the University of Central Florida, and Valencia College
  • no state income tax or sales tax on groceries
  • top-rated golf courses by the ton
  • Walt Disney World Resort (WDW to locals) is actually in nearby Lake Buena Vista . . . but that won't affect you and your roommates' life so much, as the rest of the world calls that Orlando anyway.
  • All Orlando's water also attracts all the birds, who in turn attract a lot of birdwatchers. You can see egrets, hawks, herons, ibises, and ospreys.
  • headquarters of LongHorn Steakhouse, Olive Garden, and Red Lobster
  • Orlando is one of the world's top cities for conventions, with huge convention spaces and hotels to accommodate them.
  • Lots of popular sports teams you and your roommates could follow, as it's a very entertainment-focused city: Orlando Anarchy (WFA), Orlando City SC (MLS), Orlando Guardians (XFL), Orlando Magic (NBA), Orlando Predators (NAL), Orlando Pride (NWSL) Orlando Solar Bears (ECHL), and the UCF Knights (college football).
  • Orlando is surrounded by outlet malls, particularly on Vineland and International Drive. If you and your roommates want some famous designer big name brand goods, there are bargains to be found all over these outlets.



After you're settled down, you and your roommates should experience Orlando's:

  • Orlando Museum of Art: Since 1924, Orlando's flagship museum also visited by thousands from all over the world. (Not quite as many as that other attraction, but still a lot.) Special focus on American art from the 19th and 20th centuries, Contemporary art, African art, Contemporary American graphics, and art of the Ancient Americas. You and your roommates could download a mobile guide with a highlights tour.
  • UCF Arboretum: 80 acres of arboretum and botanical garden, 600 species of plants, including natural lands and an organic community garden. You and your roommates can visit during daylight hours for free, but they do accept donations.
  • The Epic McD (how locals refer to it): Normally we wouldn't recommend fast food, particularly fast food almost everyone has already heard of? But if you already love McDonald's, Orlando has one of the largest in the world, at over 19,000 square feet. It features dozens of arcade games, an oversized PlayPlace, and several mostly discontinued menu items rarely seen at smaller locations.
  • Gatorland: Alligator and reptile park that predates WDW, since 1949. From babies to 14-foot monsters. Gatorland advertises itself as "down-home family fun" but . . . if we had children we're not sure we'd want them near live 14-foot monsters? (WDW monsters aren't real, folks. WDW characters hardly ever gnaw off human limbs.) But Gatorland has a lot to say about safety, so the gators here are under control more than . . . everywhere else in Florida . . . probably?

    So, if you and your roommates are super brave, there's a Screamin' Gator Zip Line!


Here's the Florida Statewide Nuisance Alligator Program, with a toll-free hotline (1-866-FWC-GATOR). If you and your roommates encounter any alligator posing a threat to people or pets, you call, they dispatch trappers. Never attempt anything with alligators yourselves. It's illegal, and you could die.





Notes

1.   The non-traditional roommate rent average for this city we've experienced over the last 3 years. We can't predict future rental availability, because we're neither in control of any rental market nor psychic, sorry!

But in most cities most of the time, the recent and relatively recent past are the best predictors.


2.   This idea came from smartasset.com's ranking of what a roommate saves you in 50 cities. They ranked where roommates will save you the most money, based on the average cost of a 1BR as opposed to a 2BR ÷ 2. Unsurprisingly, the more expensive the city, the more you can save, but the savings are significant in all larger metros. So we got the data for the rest of our cities from Zumper too.

This is really the minimum you could save, as you could live with more than one roommate, split more services, share food or other supplies, etc. More sharing tends to lead to more savings too, as per our roommate roadmap.

As per the rest of the description at the top of this page, we're calling this "traditional" roommate rent.


3.   From zumper.com.


4.   Directly quoted from the Trust for Public Land's parkland rating system.

"The ParkScore index awards each city up to 100 points for acreage based on the average of two equally weighted measures: median park size and parkland as a percentage of city area. Factoring park acreage into each city’s ParkScore rating helps account for the importance of larger “destination parks” that serve many users who live farther than ten minutes’ walking distance."

While each city's rundown already includes their individual ParkScore, nature lovers might like to see all roommate cities ranked for parkland.


5.   Directly quoted from Walk Score's Cities and Neighborhoods Ranking. They've ranked "more than 2,800 cities and over 10,000 neighborhoods so you can find a walkable home or apartment."

While each city's rundown already includes their individual Walk Score, dedicated pedestrians might like to see all roommate cities ranked for walkability.


6.   From various lists here on our own best roommate cities.


7.   From hoodmaps.com: a collaborative map where residents use tags describing social situations you're likely to find. Other users can thumb up or down, so the largest tags have been thumbed up the most.