5/15 UPDATE: The City of Orlando issued the following statement following the publishing of this post. “City parking garages within the downtown core will limit access at 11 p.m., however, drivers will be able to exit. This applies to no new reentries. Should the specific garage be shared with an adjoining residential building, they would show proof of residency and be permitted in after 11 p.m. as they will remain staffed.


The City of Orlando, in partnership with the Orlando Police Department, has adopted a new policy to close city parking garages after 11 p.m. on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights.

The City of Orlando quietly put the new policy into play on May 10, 2024, without any real public announcements, leaving downtown goers and business operators both scratching their heads. Some businesses took to social media to share the news as quickly as possible with their followers, like this message posted by Bullitt Bar.

IMAGE VIA BULLITT BARR INSTAGRAM PAGE

The move is just one of many new policies in the city’s attempt to shift the downtown core away from nighttime entertainment and towards something more in the sanitized shape of a family-friendly neighborhood. The City’s moratorium on new nightclubs and bars downtown was recently extended through September 20, 2024, and its restrictions on operating hours without a late-night alcohol permit are still going strong.

New rules are poised to be approved later this month as well, including the following:

  • Sidewalk cafes and restaurants are not to be open after midnight.
  • A restaurant’s kitchen must be open while sidewalk cafes are seated.
  • Bars and nightclubs must have designated queuing areas, approved by City Hall, with an approved right-of-way agreement.
  • Bars and nightclubs must be at least 300 feet away from other bar and nightclub uses.
  • Existing nightclubs can be remodeled but they only have six months to reopen after remodeling and rebranding.

Another new policy that will have some major impact in Orlando is that all new bars and nightclubs, even outside of the Central Business District, must be more than 600 feet away from residential zoning districts or apply for a Conditional Use Permit. This should be of particular note to any new operator looking to open a bar or nightclub in any of Orlando’s popular Main Street Districts, which are known for their monthly pub crawl fundraiser nights, made possible due to the walkable distance between businesses.

A city official confirmed with Bungalower that this would likely be the only new policy coming from City Hall to affect neighborhoods outside of downtown.

“While we’ve been working to reduce the over-concentration of nightclubs in our downtown, we’ve started seeing a rise in new bars opening in places outside of the core, and we want to make sure we help prevent a similar problem from arising in our Main Street Districts.”

Ashley Papagni, Public Information Officer for the City of Orlando, shared the following statement from the Office of the Mayor concerning the recent changes in late-night parking policies.

“We have made significant investments to ensure our downtown is a thriving economic hub and a vibrant destination for our residents and visitors to enjoy our world-class amenities and unique businesses that provide for a high quality of life, with safety an important component in this effort.

This includes the launch of our Orlando Connect and the Safety Awareness For Everyone (SAFE) program, as well as code changes to further enhance visitor safety that is aimed at securing private parking lots, making adjustments to our noise ordinance, extending the nightclub moratorium and requiring late-night businesses serving alcohol after midnight to obtain an After-Midnight Alcohol Sales permit. 

As the city continues to work with the Orlando Police Department to ensure the safety of residents and patrons in our downtown and to manage the large crowds that converge on the weekends, starting May 10, 2024 the city implemented limited access to city parking garages after 11 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. The implemented road closures in downtown have been in place for 25 years. These measures are just one of several initiatives the city has taken to further safety in downtown.”

– ASHLEY PAPAGNI, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER, CITY OF ORLANDO

Brendan O'Connor

Editor in Chief of Bungalower.com

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  1. There’s some awful DTO nightclub and bar owners who push drugs, serve underage, and sex trafficking, and they have for years. Their greed has ruined it. DTO now has zero business that’s not inebriation, drug and violence centric. No successful downtown has ‘nightlife’ as their only egg in the basket. DTO has become that.

  2. Maybe start by getting all of the homeless junkies off the sidewalk who leave their crack pipes and garbage everywhere

  3. Plenty of privately owned garages downtown…..if you can get to them. The city making a vibrant downtown? The only retail down there are convenience stores, smoke shops and tattoo parlors.

  4. That’s some real GOP/DeSantis stuff city of Orlando just pulled. They created the environment for downtown instability and now are out to ‘fix’ the problem.

    Pathetic what the Orlando Democrat leaders have done taking a book straight out of the Florida Republican Party.

  5. So much for a free market. Instead of enforcing restrictions on bad behaviors, screw the responsible population. BTW if you rent an apartment in a high traffic entertainment district expect noise and people or don’t move there. I lived in Manhattan for years, that is the price you pay. Family friendly… amazing!

  6. Improvements should be made to the walkability of Downtown Orlando as a start to any changes being made. Closing the parking garages will only incentivize street parking, which won’t make pedestrian access any easier for anyone trying to get around. More street parking will also make it seem like there’s a higher demand for street parking, which wouldn’t really be true due to the closure of parking garages (the preferred way to park during late hours). I can only see this being a net negative to the overall goal of reducing ‘night life activities’, and even more so towards the goal of making our city one that can be safely be accessed by pedestrians. Hopefully this doesn’t stay in place forever.

  7. Maybe we should just make the drinking age 40 while were at it. Or require everyone to have their grandparent as a chaperone – that’ll make everyone behave 😏

  8. i see several business going under due to this and Orlando missing out on some money as a whole . Downtown is a adult area at night its not family place were not Disney were already not allowed to have a casino.

  9. This is not a well thought out plan! I live in a building that uses a city owned garage for parking. Am I now not able to have guest who come to visit after 11 PM?

  10. As visitors from out of Town , we look forward to walking around in the evenings to enjoy entertainment and Dining a little later in the evenings. We are in our late fifties and have been visiting Orlando for many many years! I guess we can go elsewhere where are money and we are appreciated. When out of town who likes to be stuck at your resort sitting around all evening! Because you can’t find a place to park!!! In Chicago you can park anytime day or night! You are driving people and their money 💰 away!

  11. Another step towards actual quality family friendly nightlife in downtown Orlando. Dallas, Texas has a great model for night lift that works and is success and family friend.

  12. Majority of DTO are parking garages and they continue to make it difficult for residents and visitors to park and enjoy DTO. This will continue to negatively affect the businesses in downtown as they rely majority of the business from weekend sales. Also to restrict renovations on a hard deadline, knowing that majority of these businesses are operating in older buildings that may have other underlying issues.

  13. Brendan, is there a way to find the affidavit for this law to be able to review it in detail?

  14. Does this mean that if I park in a city garage and see a show at DPAC that doesn’t get out until after 11, my car is stuck? Seems like a big problem for an art’s center built without parking…