Lakeland, FL is a bustling town that is growing every day! This is my hometown, and I can attest Lakeland is a far cry from what she used to be 30 years ago. Back in the day, we had the movies, bowling, Family Fun Center, Davie’s Ice Cream, and that was about it. We even called our town, “Lameland” because there was never anything to do! You had to travel to Tampa or Orlando for anything exciting.
Our local entrepreneurs have changed the game, though! They have come up with innovative businesses to keep Lakelanders entertained!
Ekim’s Place has taken notice of the local businesses offering fun times and good entertainment, and we’ve grouped them together into a collection called, "Things to do in Lakeland".
1. COB AND PEN – Known as the Tudor House, this Lakeland landmark was originally a private home that was sold a handful of times, and mainly used for entertaining (they say Elvis even stayed here once!) It was set to be replaced by a new home when new owners bought it in 2014. Thankfully, the owners of Cob & Pen stepped up and relocated the Tudor House once more, saving this iconic building. It is now a funky and fun gathering place for the whole family! They serve 20 different types of craft beer, lively cocktails, and a menu full of comfort food with a creative twist. Enjoy your refreshments and foodstuffs in a variety of areas – at the bar, in one of the cozy rooms, out back on the patio under shade umbrellas, or out front on the lawn chairs.
2. UNION HALL – Looking for some live music? How about some karaoke? Need a venue for your next big event? If you answered yes to any of these questions, Union Hall is the answer! They are a premier event space in Dixieland, just blocks from downtown. Check out their event calendar for a fun time with friends and family! They have local bands, open mics, and even karaoke to help shed the weight of the week off your shoulders! They also rent their space out for weddings, business meetings, conferences, or other private events.
3. THE PINK PIANO – This is an intimate space with a 1920s vibe and an actual pink piano! They host live musicians, as well as an open mic night featuring both comedy and music. Bring your friends and co-workers to unwind in a cozy atmosphere with lively music and good company. They serve a wide variety of wines, concoctions, as well as craft and bottled beer. They also rent out their space for private parties or events! Ever want to attend a Private Sunday Supper Show? Contact Pink Piano and start your planning today.
4. GALAXY BAR – This is such a fun place! They have (almost) alllllll the arcade games from the 80s and 90s, as well as foosball, skee-ball, and pinball machines! They also serve from a full bar including craft beer! Try their signature cocktails – the Chocolate Truffle Shuffle is highly recommended – or their mocktails – like the 90s Kid (because it comes with a free slap bracelet – SCORE!). The best part may be their themed nights like 80s prom and 90s hip hop. They also have game tournaments and Drag Night events! Check out their events page for more info!
5. SWAN BREWING – Lakeland’s own local brewery, this is an easy breezy place to come and chill, mingle and otherwise have a grand time. The downtown location currently has 14 beers on tap that are brewed on site by Swan Brewing. Try the Swantoberfest – a lager with a good body! Just saying… They also serve 13 other craft beers made from different breweries in America. The downtown location hosts different food trucks to keep the munchies at bay, and live music to keep the toes a tappin’. With a lake view and a white tent over wooden picnic tables, the outside deck couldn’t be more perfect. Their southside location has 14 Swan Brewing brews on tap and featured nights like Player’s Night and Wine Down Sundays.
6. WHAT’S COOKING – Do you love to watch Ina Garten cook but burn the boxed brownies at home? If so, send your kids to What’s Cooking and maybe their new skills will rub off on you! This local business helps “kids get creative in the kitchen!” They will learn the value of scratch made food and clean eating that will last their whole life. What’s Cooking offers both classes and camps for kids of all ages, including teens! Examples of their upcoming classes include Teen Baking Class Paparazzi Brownie and Kids Specialty Pumpkin Cupcakes! Visit their website for the whole list!
7. ART CENTRIC STUDIO – “Children are naturally creative. It is our job to give them the freedom, materials, and space to let their creativity blossom to its full potential.” ~ Jean Van’t Hul. This quote is what Art Centric Studio is all about. They offer classes and camps for kids of all ages – even preschool! They are committed to “encouraging creativity in every student.” Get your kiddos out of the house and into an actual art studio filled with natural light, big tables and all the supplies they need to make and create! Visit their website for the full list of classes and camps.
8. PICASSOZ – There is something oh-so-therapeutic about sitting down and painting a piece of pottery - the focus, the creativity, the attention to detail. This process helps to naturally disconnect and obsess on something other than our life’s problems. They offer a big selection (including fun seasonal pieces) of ceramics and paint colors to choose from. They also offer mosaics – choose the background and the pieces and take it home the same day! A couple hours in the studio will have people of all ages relaxed, confident, and inspired!
9. POLK THEATRE – DYK the Polk Theatre is a non-profit organization? The revenue created helps keep the theatre running, and preserves the original architecture and the cinematic history. This is a great reason to go visit, but once inside, you will forget all about philanthropy and stand in awe of the grand entrance, the old timey ticket house, and the grand theatre room complete with velvet curtains. They boast of their “1400 seat atmospheric theatre” that serves up live performances and films all year. You can even rent out the entire space for your own private event or showing!
10. SILVER MOON DRIVE IN – Drive-in theatres are a thing of the past… But after 70 years of business, Silver Moon Drive-In has lasted the test of time and are here to stay! If you’ve never been to a drive-in, I highly recommend you check it out. There is something very comforting about drive-ins – giving off all the fall vibes of cozy, fun entertainment! They play new movies as well as classics 7 days a week! Visit the snack shop before the movie and load up on hotdogs, popcorn, and soda. Grab a blanket, turn on the radio for the sound, and settle in for a night to remember!
11. LAKELAND MOON WALK – Who doesn’t like a bounce house? I feel like a kid’s birthday party with a bounce house is an automatic win! Not only do the kids squeal with delight, but the adults have an excuse to let it all hang loose and bounce like no one is watching! Lakeland Moon Walk offers a range of bounce houses, moonwalks, party games, interactives, robots, rock walls, and inflatable water slides. If you want to win the parent of the year award, or the boss of the year award, contact Lakeland Moon Walk today and make some memories that won’t soon be forgotten!