Winter Garden is a city located 14 miles west of downtown Orlando in western Orange County, Florida. It is part of the Orlando–Kissimmee Metropolitan Statistical Area. As with most communities founded in the early 1900's of rural Florida, Winter Garden's economy relied heavily on agriculture and local orange groves were essential to Florida's livelihood. In the late 1960's, central Florida's economy changed and tourism quickly became Florida’s lifeblood. Winter Garden's proximity to Orlando and Walt Disney World made it an ideal spot for growth. The ambitious City Commission initiated an enthusiastic mission to spur growth in Winter Garden and Forbes.com ranked Winter Garden as one of the fastest growing suburbs.
Affectionately referred to as a modern-day Mayberry USA by residents, Winter Garden has become an ideal place for growing families and businesses. The Historic Downtown District has undergone a vibrant rebirth with art studios and live theatre, bicycle stores and flower shops, and a wide range of cafés and restaurants offering an active suburban community.
Land that was formerly occupied by orange groves and farmland, has been developed into numerous large-scale communities, including Independence, Signature Lakes, Stoneybrook West, Stonecrest, Summerlake, Westfield, and Wintermere Pointe. These communities are geared toward family living with a wealth of amenities ranging from community pools and fitness centers to tennis, golf and more. Some of these communities are guard gated for the exclusivity of their residents. The home designs are traditional Florida style with modern open interiors for today’s lifestyles. With the resurgence of private home construction, builders are competing with home designs that combine innovative and artful use of space with superior craftsmanship and a keen eye on energy efficient products.
Winter Garden is part of the Orange County Public School system. There are five Elementary Schools, two Middle Schools and one High School included in the public sector.
Winter Garden Village at Fowler Groves provides a large variety of chain retail and dining establishments. This open-air shopping center is anchored by a Super Target, a Best Buy, and a Lowe's home improvement store.
Winter Garden’s numerous parks offer many opportunities for a wide range of activities with facilities for basketball, tennis, racquetball and volleyball, football, soccer and baseball, walking and biking trails, water sports, pet areas, playgrounds and picnic areas.
Elected officials appoint the City Manager who is assigned to oversee all administrative duties and the daily business operations of the City. The City Commission legislatively establishes policies for the City and the Mayor presides at all City Commission meetings.
Winter Garden has its’ own Police Department and the Winter Garden Fire Rescue Department provides emergency fire and rescue operations, emergency medical services, along with fire prevention and life safety planning.
Both the Winter Garden Police Department and the Fire/Rescue Department report to the City Manager.