For those looking to do a little exploring over spring break you may not have to look farther than your own backyard.

A New York Times list titled "52 Places to Go in 2015" pegged Orlando at No. 13 between exotic getaway locations St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Zimbabwe. Snagging the No. 1 spot is Milan, Italy.

While UCF is ever expanding, its home city seems to be following suit.

"The city is growing up thanks to a string of civic developments, including the $429 million Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center, the 62-mile-long SunRail commuter train, both opened last year, and a coming 19,500-seat soccer stadium set to open this year," Times writer Adam H. Graham wrote.

The article also mentioned Orlando's burgeoning food scene. It specifically cited East End Market, which is a "neighborhood market and cultural food hub inspired by Central Florida's local farmers and food artisans," according to its website.

Also mentioned was Txokos Basque Kitchen (pronounced cho-kos) whose chef, Henry Salgado, was nominated twice for the James Beard Award in 2012 and 2014.

Fellow Beard nominees James and Julie Petrakis, owners of The Ravenous Pig and Cask & Larder, got a nod with Graham mentioning that the couple is opening a market-restaurant hybrid called Swine & Sons Provisions.

Recently James Petrakis told USA Today that, "there are so many young chefs around here! [Orlando is] exploding and it makes you want to be better, I guess, for fear of survival."

Long known for its theme parks, Orlando is adding some adult options as well with its recent acquisition of the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World, which opened in August 2014 and features a golf course, a rooftop lounge and an adults-only pool.

Top 10 places to go in 2015:

1. Milan, Italy

2. Cuba

3. Philadelphia

4. Yellowstone National Park

5. Elqui Valley, Chile

6. Singapore

7. Durban, South Africa

8. Bolivia

9. Faroe Islands

10. Macedonia


Alex Wexelman is a Senior Staff Writer for the Central Florida Future. Email him at

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