Founders Loring Chase and Oliver Chapman knew their purchase of 600 acres for $13,000 in 1881 was a wise investment. Now, just over 140 years later, the City of Winter Park continues to offer ways for residents and guests to experience the community’s vast history, heritage and unique assets. The City, with its old-world charm and New England feel, has become known for its neighborhoods, historic homes, shopping, dining and cultural opportunities.
When the pandemic created unprecedented economic challenges, the City partnered with the business community by offering financial support and developing creative solutions to continue service in a socially distant manner. Now in 2022, the resiliency of the City’s businesses is demonstrated in a high occupancy rate for office and retail citywide. After the recent holiday season, the City received reports of sales increasing by up to 70% over last year. In addition, Winter Park’s lakes, vast parks system, extensive tree canopy and annual events, such as its spring and autumn art festivals, make the City’s 10 square miles a popular destination for residents and visitors.
The City continues to seek opportunities to further enrich the lives of its residents, businesses and guests. The City’s main street, Park Avenue, is the epicenter of the business community, offering more than 140 boutiques, museums/galleries and sidewalk cafes. Anchored on the southern end of Park Avenue is Rollins College, the No. 1 regional university in the South ranked by U.S. News & World Report for the 2021-22 school year. At the northern end, Park Avenue is surrounded by the City’s golf course, fondly referred to as the WP9. The WP9 was the first golf course in Florida to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has been rated one of the Top 10 nine-hole golf courses in the country.
Just a few blocks away from Park Avenue is the City’s newest 21st-century facility, the Winter Park Library and Events Center, which opened in December 2021. This project was designed by internationally acclaimed architect Sir David Adjaye, who also designed the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African-American History and Culture on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The Library and Events Center features a two-story library as well as a welcoming covered passageway at the entrance of both facilities. The events center has a spacious grand ballroom and rooftop terrace with views of Martin Luther King, Jr. Park and downtown Orlando’s skyline.