Orlando gets more than 60 million visitors a year! And it’s not hard to see why.
With a plethora of attractions available from Disneyland and Universal, there’s plenty to do in Orlando, Florida. The problem is much of it doesn’t come cheap!
If you’re going to visit Orlando and you’re on a budget, you might be asking, do I have to spend a lot of money on my trip?
Orlando has plenty of free attractions to suit everyone, whether you’re looking to soak up the artwork a gallery has to offer or enjoy a relaxing stroll in nature.
Below, I’ll share 50 free things to do in Orlando.
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What will I learn?
Free Things to do in Orlando
Okay, so I’m going to cover a wide range of things you can do in Orlando, and also nearby, that are free.
I’ve broken down these attractions into categories, meaning you can find the ones that suit you and your family.
So, whether live in Orlando or are planning your next trip to “The City Beautiful“, here are absolutely free things you can do in this central Florida city.
Entertainment: Shopping, Dining & More
Do you love window shopping or discovering awesome restaurants?
Well, Orlando has plenty to offer. In this section, I’m going to cover how you can save money on entertainment, shopping, dining and more through some of the best entertainment complexes and attractions in Orlando.
1. Universal CityWalk
The Universal CityWalk Orlando is the gateway to Universal Studios.
While it may cost you money to get into the theme parks, you can visit the Universal CityWalk entertainment complex for free.
There’s so much there to see, including shops, restaurants and nightlife. You can find free music and entertainment there, which is awesome. Sometimes, there are additional free festivities on offer throughout the complex.
While it’s free to get into the complex, you do have to pay for parking.
2. Disney’s Boardwalk
Disney’s Boardwalk is an entertainment, dining, and shopping area close to Disney. It’s a fun place to go and take in the sights. On this quarter-mile promenade, you’ll find restaurants, unique shops, and entertainment, like Midway games, and even street performers. You don’t need a theme park ticket to access the Disney Boardwalk area.
3. Disney Springs
You’ll find lots of entertainment at Disney Springs.
You can shop at stores, pavilions and pop-ups, dine at restaurants, lounges and more, and enjoy lots of fun attractions, shows, family-friendly activities, live entertainment, and events.
Not only is Disney Springs free to enter, but parking is free too! You get complimentary parking in the surface lots and garages. Just look for signs directing you to available parking.
4. ICON Park
ICON Park includes more than 40 restaurants, bars, and shops. Admission is free and parking is too! You can also see The Wheel, a 400 ft tall observation wheel. It also includes other attractions, like Madame Tussaud’s. While the attractions require tickets, entry to the complex won’t cost you a penny.
5. Old Town Amusement Park
Have a great time at the Old Town Amusement Park. Located in Kissimmee, this attraction is worth visiting if you’re staying in the Orlando area. There, you can enjoy shopping, dining, rides and more. This Americana-themed walking district offers weekly car shows and special events too! It’s free to get into Old Town, but there is a fee for amusements, obviously.
6. Spook Hill
Spook Hill is a gravity hill that creates an optical illusion that makes cars look as though they roll up the hill. It’s located in Lake Wales, Florida, so if you’re in the Orlando area, it’s worth a visit.
7. Florida Mall
Florida Mall, which is located just minutes from the Orlando International Airport, and Walt Disney World Resort, is a great place to do a little window shopping. It features more than 250 retail and dining options, like H&M, Michael Kors, Apple, Rolex and Microsoft.
8. Celebration Town Center
Celebration Town Center is a community in Osceola Country, Florida that was originally developed by The Walt Disney Company. In the town, which is near Walt Disney World Resort, you can find lots of restaurants and shops. It’s modeled after small town America and includes a promenade around a lake too. It’s a fun place to walk around.
9. Winter Park Farmer’s Market
Take a visit to the Winter Park Farmer’s Market. It’s held at the old train depot, that’s been restored into a historical landmark that hosts a produce and plant market in Central Florida. The market is open every Saturday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. There are lots of vendors there, and you can find produce, plants, baked goods and more.
If you love to learn about history, go to a museum, and visit historical sights, then you’ll be glad to know that Orlando has plenty to offer.
Take a look at these awesome free historical attractions in Orlando.
10. Fort Christmas Historical Park
Fort Christmas Historical Park is located twenty miles east of Orlando. So, if you’re in the area, and love history, then consider making a trip there.
On December 25, 1837, during the Second Seminole Indian War (1835 to 1842) a force of 2,000 Army Soldiers and Alabama Volunteers arrived near this spot to construct a fort that was appropriately named, Fort Christmas.
It’s one of 200 forts built during the war. Now, there’s a full-size replica of Fort Christmas there, and it houses exhibits and a video presentation on the Seminole Indian Wars. There are also seven restored historical homes there that show pioneer life from the 1870s through the 1930s. Key themes are homesteading, hunting, cattle, citrus, fishing and trapping.
11. Orange County Regional History Center
The Orange County Regional History Center is a private non-profit history museum. It’s located in a historic courthouse in Downtown Orlando. The museum has lots of exhibits on local and regional history starting from 12,000 years ago! It offers four floors, so there’s plenty to see! Admission is free on the third Thursday of each month from 6 to 9 p.m.
12. Art & History Museums Maitland
The Maitland Art & History museum is located in Orange County, Florida, just minutes from Downtown Orlando. It’s operated by the Maitland Historical Society, and it’s made up of five museums that offer history and fine arts! Maitland Residents can get into the museum for free on the 2nd Thursday of the month.
13. Holocaust Memorial Resource & Education Center of Florida
Learn about one of the most devastating events in history at the Holocaust Memorial Resource & Education Center of Florida. It houses both permanent and traveling exhibits that are designed to communicate the history and lessons of the Holocaust. The museum is always free. It’s a one-of-a-kind Holocaust memorial that you should consider visiting if you’re in the area.
14. Winter Park History Museum
The Winter Park History Museum is a museum all about local history. It’s operated by the Winter Park Historical Association, and admission is free.
15. Sanford Museum
The Sanford Museum opened in 1957, and back then it was called The Henry Shelton Sanford Memorial Library and Museum. The building was expanded in 1974 and in 1993. Visit today and you can see the library and papers of city founder Henry S. Sanford, and view the European and American paintings, furniture, personal objects, and books from 1820 to 1890, which are on display. I don’t know about you, but one of my favorite things to see are old books! They just look so awesome.
16. Winter Garden Heritage Museum
The Winter Garden Heritage Museum is operated by the Winter Garden Heritage Foundation. It features exhibits on the history of West Orange County. Admission is free, but donations are appreciated.
17. Lake Mary Museum
The Lake Mary Museum is home to a collection of artifacts, photographs, documents, and other materials that are related to the history of Lake Mary, and the communities that surround it. Admission is free.
18. Central Florida Railroad Museum (Winter Garden)
Learn about the history and impact of rail transport in Central Florida at the Central Florida Railroad Museum. There’s lots on display from historic photographs to dining car china and silver.
From free local museums of art to local galleries, there’s plenty of free things to do in Orlando for art-lovers.
19. Cornell Fine Arts Museum (Rollins College)
The Cornell Fine Arts Museum is the first college museum in Florida to be accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. It’s also one of only four AAM-accredited art museums in Orlando.
Admission to the museum is free courtesy of the PNC Financial Services Group.
The museum is closed during installations and major holidays.
20. CityArts Factory
If you’re an art-enthusiast, head on over to the CityArts Factory. It’s the largest collection of art galleries located in the historic Rogers Kiene Building in Downtown Orlando. The art exhibits feature local, national, and international works of art that are rotated on a monthly basis. The galleries are open free of charge, Tuesday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
21. Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art
The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum houses the world’s most comprehensive collection of works from Louis Comfort Tiffany. So, you can see some really beautiful pieces there.
The museum isn’t always free. But it hosts several open houses throughout the year, and admission is free for all visitors on these days. For example, there’s a Thanksgiving Weekend Open House. Admission is free, and there’s live music too!
The museum has free events all throughout the year, so do have a check on the website.
22. Mennello Museum of American Art
The Mennello Museum of American Art exhibits a permanent collection of paintings by Earl Cunningham, as well as other paintings and sculptures. You can get free access to this museum through the Museums on Us program from the Bank of America on the first full weekend of every month.
Each cardholder of a Bank of America or Merrill Lynch bank card gets one free general admission to the museum. Just present your bankcard and a valid photo ID to get free admission from the program.
23. Street Art in the Mills 50 District
Mills 50 is one of Orlando’s oldest neighborhoods, and it’s located north of the downtown area. The area itself has plenty to offer, but it’s worth a visit just to take a look at its famous brightly colored, professionally illustrated murals. These pay homage to various aspects of Orlando living. So, do take a stroll around the area if you’re a fan of street art.
Whether it’s a tour of one of the region’s wineries, or a walking tour of a graveyard where you can learn about important figures in Orlando’s history, there are a few free tours on offer in Orlando.
24. Greenwood Cemetery Moonlight Walking Tour
Take walk through Greenwood Cemetery, and visit about 100 graves of notable individuals in Orlando’s history. The walk is about two miles within the 100-acre cemetery. Tours are provided for free!
25. Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards
Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards sits on a 127-acre estate in gently rolling countryside. It is located about 25 miles west of downtown Orlando. Lakeridge develops premium and sparkling wines from the native Muscadine grape varieties Noble, Carlos and Welder, as well as Vinifera varieties including Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Petite Sirah and Cabernet Sauvignon.
The winery overlooks 80+ acres of planted vineyards. Free winery tours and wine tasting are offered seven days a week, which is awesome!
26. Orlando Brewing
Orlando Brewing provides free brewery tours from Monday to Saturday at 6 p.m. It doesn’t take reservations for tours. They are offered on a first come first served basis – just see your server to get a ticket.
Brewery tours are not offered on the 30th of each month, or on special occasions, like Oktoberfest.
Orlando Brewing makes its beers according to the German Purity Law of 1516 (the Reinheitsgebot), which outlines that beer should only be made using four ingredients – water, hops, yeast, and malted barley. It only uses organic ingredients and it doesn’t use additives.
27. The Alfond Inn Art Tours
You can get a tour of the Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art on view at The Alfond Inn for free! The tours are held every Sunday at 1 p.m. Tours are open to the public. No reservation is required. Just join a Cornell Fine Arts Museum staff member in the conservatory at the inn to start your tour.
28. Quantum Leap Winery
Head on over to Quantum Leap Winery if you’re looking to learn more about Florida’s wine. Quantum Leap Winery offers free tours!
Festivals and Events
There are lots of festivals held in Orlando, from movie events to street festivals. Give these a try.
29. Popcorn Flicks in the Park
If you’re a movie fan, then you’ll love the Popcorn Flicks in the Park series. Presented by Winter Park CRA and produced by Enzian Theater, the Popcorn Flicks in the Park series features classic films for the whole family. The event is usually held on the second Thursday of each month in Winter Park’s Central Park, and it’s free and open to the public.
Of course, these outdoor screenings are dependent on the weather! So, it could officially post a cancellation notice on Facebook – and may wait until 30 minutes prior to the set screening time to do so!
Still though, if the weather’s good, it’s a super fun event!
30. Alive After 5
Alive After 5 is the largest recurring street party in Historic Downtown Sanford. It’s definitely the place to go if you’re looking to relax and have fun. It offers local artistry, music, food, craft beers, and shopping.
Admission is free, and the festival takes place on the 2nd Thursday of each month from 5 p.m. to 8 pm, “rain or shine.” The festival does take a break though in July/August.
31. Baldwin Park First Fridays Festival
Baldwin Park First Fridays Festival is a free sidewalk festival that’s held on the first Friday of every month, from 5.30 p.m. to 9.30 p.m. There, over 70 local artisans display their art. You can also shop and stroll through the heart of downtown Baldwin Park.
You’ll find many Central Florida based small businesses and non-profit organizations there with products and offerings ranging from beauty and fashion to health and fitness. It’s a family-friendly and pet-friendly place too!
32. WineART Wednesdays at Downtown Lake Mary
WineART Wednesday is a free event held at Downtown Lake Mary. There, you can enjoy live music, art, food, and of course a beer and wine garden! Of course, you have to pay for food and drink, but admission to the actual event is free!
33. Casselberry Art & Music in the Park and Food Truck Bazaar
The Casselberry Art & Music in the Park and Food Truck Bazaar is a free event that’s held on the 2nd Friday of each month from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. There, you can enjoy food, music, and of course art! It’s a great place to go for free entertainment.
Live Music and Comedy
Do you love live performances?
Whether it’s a live jazz band or stand up comedy night, or even a local theater production, Orlando has plenty to offer when it comes to live performances.
If you’re looking for a fun way to spend a night, then head on over to Tanqueray’s. It’s a bar in Orlando that offers free live music every night. So, all you need to pay for is the price of a drink! It offers funk, jazz, and blues.
35. Music at the Casa
Enjoy live music in a historical setting with Music at the Casa. On Sundays from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m., you can visit Casa Feliz and listen to live music and take a tour of the historic home museum, and the James Gamble Rogers II Studio. Light refreshments are served too. The event is free to the public, but donations are appreciated.
36. Drunken Monkey Coffee Bar
The Drunken Monkey Coffee Bar offers free standup comedy on Friday and Saturday. Friday is showcase night, and Saturday is open mic. There, you can enjoy anywhere from 10 to 15 local comics from 8.30 p.m. to 10.30 p.m.
37. Fred Stone Theatre
The original Fred Stone Theatre was demolished, but Rollins College is now building a new Theatre & Dance Complex. And while that’s under construction, it’s still offering its student-produced Second Stage series. The series is produced by Rollins Improv Players and directed, designed and performed by students. All of the Second Stage Series performances are free and open to the public. But, seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.
Want to take a walk through a stunning park or relax in a beautiful garden? Well, then you might want to give these free places in Orlando a try. If you love to get out in nature, you’ll be happy to know that Orlando, Florida has some beautiful natural sights!
38. Lake Eola Park
Lake Eola Park is located in Downtown Orlando. It offers a sidewalk that circles the lake 0.9 miles in length. At the park, you can see live swans and other birds that inhabit the park, rent swan-shaped paddle boats, or just relax amid the flower beds and look at the great view of Orlando’s skyline. There’s also a stunning fountain there.
39. Harry P. Leu Gardens
If you’re looking to take in some beautiful sights, then visit the Harry P. Leu Gardens. It’s a 50-acre botanical oasis that’s located just minutes from Downtown Orlando. The garden and historical home were donated to the city of Orlando by Mr. Harry P. Leu, and his wife, Mary Jane, in 1961.
While it normally costs $10 per person to get into the gardens, it does offer free admission days, which you can learn about on the website I linked to above.
40. Mead Botanical Garden
Mead Botanical Garden in Winter Park has 47 acres to explore. Admission to the garden is free. It features hiking trails, tall pine trees, and a creek, boardwalk, pond that’s home to turtles, fish and wading birds, butterfly garden, and greenhouse.
41. Tibet-Butler Preserve
Tibet-Butler Preserve is a wildlife haven close to Disney World. It offers 3.6 miles of gentle hiking trails that are perfect for families. The trail system loops through many of the area’s major habitats, like bayhead swamp, longleaf pine forest and scrub, and cypress-lined lakeshore.
42. Big Tree Park
Big Tree Park is a great place to visit, although it’s a bittersweet place.
Up until January 2012, the park was home to “The Senator,” an approximately 3,500-year-old National Champion Bald Cypress Tree. It was the oldest cypress tree in the world.
Unfortunately, someone burned in down in January 2012. Although firefighters tried to save it, the tree died. Now, you can see its remains in the park. On a happier note, you can also see the Senator’s sister tree at the park. It’s called Lady Liberty, and it’s a 2,000-year-old Bald Cypress Tree.
There’s also a clone made of The Senator, which is located near the playground. It’s called The Phoenix. The park also serves as a Trailhead for the Cross Seminole Trail.
Located in Longwood, Florida, it’s definitely worth a visit if you’re in the Orlando area.
43. Lori Wilson Park in Cocoa Beach
Cocoa Beach is one of the nearest beaches you’ll find if you’re staying in the Orlando area. It’s just an hour away from the theme parks and attractions of Orlando.
Lori Wilson Park in Cocoa Beach is definitely worth a visit. It’s a 32.43-acre regional beach park. Not only is admission free, but you don’t have to pay for parking either.
The park features three pavilions that are located along a 1,000-foot boardwalk, six dune crossovers, three outdoor showers, drinking fountains, and restrooms – so everything you need to spend a whole day there if you want to during your trip!
There’s also a playground, an open grassy area, a grassy area and picnic tables, and a sand volleyball court. There are also on-site vendors who can provide rentals, like beach chairs. There are also lifeguards on duty year-round to keep visitors safe.
There’s also a dog park there.
44. Kraft Azalea Garden
Another place to visit if you’re looking for nature is Kraft Azalea Garden. It’s a 5.22-acre public garden that’s located on the shore of Lake Maitland. It’s a beautiful garden in Winter Park that’s shaded by enormous cypress trees.
It features the Exedra Monument, which is a stone arc monument near the edge of the water. There are also eight benches there and a small dock that is open for fishing – common fish you can find include largemouth bass, carp, bluegill, gar, and tilapia.
45. Daytona Beach
Go swimming at Daytona Beach. It’s just an hour’s drive from Orlando, and one of the few Florida beaches where you can actually drive onto the sand. The beach also boasts plenty of other attractions and amenities, like a boardwalk, pier and water park. So, there’s plenty to do there.
46. Oakland Nature Preserve
The Oakland Nature preserve is located West of Orlando, between Winter Garden and Clement in the Town of Oakland. It’s a 128 acre preserve that offers education and ecotourist activities that are suited to visitors of all ages. It’s free to enter the Preserve, hike the trails and visit the museum. However, donations are appreciated.
47. West Orange County Trail
The West Orange Trail is a 22-mile paved trail that runs through downtown Oakland, Winter Garden and Apopka. If you love to hike, give this trail a try.
48. Cranes Roost Park
Cranes Roost Park surrounds Cranes Roost Lake. The lake is encircled by a mile of walkway with benches and covered seating areas, making it the perfect place to relax.
Within this 45-acre park, you’ll find a European-style plaza, including a choreographed fountain show, a 62-foot picturesque tower, and the Eddie Rose Amphitheater. The amphitheater features stadium-style seating and a one-of-a-kind floating stage.
The park is also an outdoor event venue with weekly, monthly, and annual events!
49. Lake Lotus Park
Lake Lotus Park is a natural park in the City of Altamonte Springs. The area is about 150 acres, which includes 120 acres of woods and wetlands. You can see natural flora and fauna at the park. There’s also one mile of raised boardwalk, an enclosed window on the lake, picnic pavilions and BBQ grills, an education center, a fishing pier, playground areas and restrooms.
50. Cady Way Trail
This 7.2-mile paved trail links Orlando and Winter Park. It’s a nice way to see the area.
Enjoy Your Stay in Orlando, Florida
Whether you are in Orlando for a vacation or live in the area, there are plenty of free things to do in Orlando.
Give these a try! Let us know your favorite free things to do in Orlando in the comments section below.
I was in Orlando just a week ago during Covid and it is crazy how much this city’s economy is almost entirely dependent on Disney.
I hope they can rebound from this, I’ve also been to Orlando during non-pandemic times and it is magical :)