Delaney Park/Crystal Lake

Delaney Park is, by many accounts, a sleepy neighborhood just south of Downtown Orlando. Its official size is one quarter square mile, and its official resident count is slightly more than 1,000 people.

In those ways, Delaney Park is small, quiet and out of the way. The same, too, is true for adjacent Crystal Lake. Each defers to the city center, downtown. Just don’t call them irrelevant. Delaney Park and Crystal Lake are historically significant and progressive.

Delaney Park’s crown jewels are highlighted by parks, such as namesake Delaney Park Al Coith one of Orlando’s most popular sites for picnics, exercise and family outings. Delaney Park Little League offers a microcosm of the entire neighborhood. Besides baseball, you’ll find a relaxed, inviting setting for neighborly socializing. Many of the surrounding houses were built in the 1930s and 1940s, with some of them handed down by generation.

All of this is only a short walk with plentiful sidewalks along brick-lined streets from one of Central Florida’s busiest thoroughfares, State Road 527/Orange Avenue. A shopping/ dining/ business district called SoDo (Downtown South Neighborhood Improvement District) is rising, literally, with new places to go and things to do.

SoDo expands the revitalization of downtown Orlando southward, anchored by the existing SoDo Delaney’s tavern are expected to arrive later this year across from Orlando Regional Medical Center. “Medical” is the dominant industry on this stretch of Orange Avenue.

For fun, residents don’t have to venture too far, evidenced by the popularity of Johnny’s Other, near Boone High School, which the owners attended.

Crystal Lake, meanwhile, Offers a similar setting, tucked away but close to growth. The location of Johnny’s, in fact, represents a sort of line separating the two neighborhoods.