When I think of Orlando, I think of the most expensive vacation that my parents planned to the happiest place on earth. We would mainly spend all of our time (and money) at the theme parks, not knowing the ample amount of free things to do in the city.
Today, we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite things to do in Orlando for free.
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Last Updated: Nov 27, 2018
25 Free Things to Do in Orlando Florida
1. East End Market
3021 Corrine Drive, Orlando, FL 32803 map
East End Market is a trendy, neighborhood market that features goods from top local artisans. It’s a delightful cluster of shops to peruse through. There’s something for everyone here from daily baked bread, organic juices, to bold soups and delicious sushi. Sit outside by the fruit and veggie garden and enjoy the community space. We also loved hanging out at the picnic tables with a good book and a cookie from Gideon’s.
2. Disney Springs
1486 Buena Vista Dr, Orlando, FL 32830, map
Some of you guys might remember this entertainment district as the old Downtown Disney. It’s now bigger and better than before and it’s a one of the locals’ favorite free attractions in Orlando. There are always live musical performances and a ton of free family activities. Take a boat ride from one end to the other while enjoying pretty sights and sounds. Kids will also love playing at the Lego Imagination Center for free.
Pro Tip: Self-parking in the parking garages and surface lots is complimentary.
3. Universal Citywalk
6000 Universal Blvd, Orlando, FL 32819, map
Universal City Walk is one of our favorite spots to walk around after dinner to soak up the night lights with tons of photo ops and shops to browse. There’s also live music and bunch of areas to sit down and listen.
Local Tip: Go after 6pm when self-parking is free and there are plenty of parkings attendants to direct you.
4. Baldwin Park First Fridays
2055 Lake Baldwin Ln, Orlando, FL 32814, map
On the first Friday of each month, visitors can enjoy a free, family and pet friendly sidewalk festival. Over 70 vendors and local artisans set up shop between 5:30pm and 9:30pm, many of them displaying art, playing live music and selling local goods.
5. Cornell Fine Arts Museum
1000 Holt Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789, map
Cornell Fine Arts Museum is a small museum on the campus of Rollins College with free admission. They have impressive rotating exhibits as well as a wonderful permanent collection.
Pro Tip: Hook up your phone to their free audio tour.
6. Alfond Inn In-House Art Tours
1603 Greenwood St, Orlando, FL 32801, map
Definitely stop by this hotel for their remarkable contemporary art collection on display. They offer free guided tours every Sunday at 1pm, as well as a happy hour tour on the first Wednesday of each month at 5:30pm. No reservations are required.
7. Kraft Azalea Garden
1365 Alabama Dr, Winter Park, FL 32789, map
This is a quaint neighborhood park with beautiful views of Lake Maitland. Pretty foliage and trees line the park, making it an especially nice spot for a picnic or a perfect photo op.
Pro Tip: Go in the spring to see colorful azaleas.
8. Orlando Brewing
1301 Atlanta Ave, Orlando, FL 32806, map
Orlando Brewing Company offers free brewery tours from Monday to Saturday at 6pm, first come, first serve. They also have a ton of other free events, from concerts to yoga sessions. Your fur baby can also attend some of their dog friendly events. Check out their events calendar for more info. It’s not free, but this is also a great place for special events. If you want to schedule a bigger event, reach out to this email address.
9. Free Yoga at Crescent Park
10. West Orange Trail
501 Crown Point Cross Rd, Winter Garden, FL 34787, map
This 22-mile scenic trail spans over downtown Oakland, Winter Garden, and Apopka. It’s well paved and is perfect for biking, running, or a nice stroll. There are several trailheads with free parking, bathrooms, and water fountains.
Local Tip: Make a pit stop in downtown Winter Garden on your way through. So many charming restaurants and shops!
11. Orlando Critical Mass
900 E Hampton St, Orlando, FL 32803, map
This is every cyclist’s dream. Hundreds of cyclists shut down the streets and gather together for a mass bike ride. It starts at Downtown Orlando’s Loch Haven Park and ends at Nora’s Lake. The entire loop is about 8 miles and cyclists of all skill levels can participate for free.
12. Lake Eola Park
512 E Washington St, Orlando, FL 32801, map
Located in the heart of downtown Orlando, this notable park is a great spot to hang out under a shady tree and have a nice picnic. A wide sidewalk circles the lake, offering an easy walk and a fun view of resident swans, birds, and turtles. Enjoy the sculptures surrounding the park and the farmer’s market that is held on Sundays.
Pro Tip: There are tons of metered parking along the park, but we noticed that parking is free on Eola Drive on the east side of the lake.
13. Celebration, Fl
851 Celebration Ave Celebration Ave, Celebration, FL 34747, map
In 1994, the Walt Disney Company created an inhabited town. Visitors will find rows of Disney-esque homes and shopping centers, perfectly lined up in village clusters. All of the buildings in the community look like they are part of Disney World. It’s worth checking out, especially if you’re into Disney architecture.
Pro Tip: Check out the interactive fountain – the kids will love running through it.
14. Old Town Kissimmee
5770 W Irlo Bronson Memorial Hwy, Kissimmee, FL 34746, map
Only five miles away from Walt Disney World is Old Town Kissimmee. It’s a 10-acre outdoor walking district with amusement rides, restaurants, and kitschy shops. In addition to daytime fun, they also hold a really cool classic car parade on Saturday nights. Admission and parking are both free.
15. Oakland Nature Preserve
747 Machette Trail, Oakland, FL 34760, map
Oakland Nature Preserve is a beautifully kept nature preserve. You’ll find a long boardwalk over the marsh that leads towards Lake Apopka. There are plenty of covered areas where you can sit and enjoy the wildlife, and there’s a good chance you’ll see some gators.
16. Mead Botanical Garden
1300 S Denning Dr, Winter Park, FL 32789, map
Take a walk on the nice boardwalk around the park or grill out at one of the shady pavilions. We definitely enjoyed getting away from the theme park noise by surrounding ourselves in pretty botanicals and the butterfly garden (Esther would be terrified!).
Pro Tip: Self-parking in the parking garages and surface lots is complimentary.
17. Big Tree Park
930 N Thornton Ave, Orlando, FL 32803, map
Big Tree Park is a small but interesting park with a long history. The largest, oldest bald cypress tree in the world, The Senator, was once located here before it was burned down. But don’t miss Lady Liberty, a tree over 2,000 years old and stands 40 feet tall, and The Phoenix, a clone of The Senator. In addition to the scenery, there’s also a great playground for the kids.
19239 US-27, Clermont, FL 34715, map
Lakeridge Winery offers complimentary tours and wine tastings seven days a week. First, you also get to watch a cool video presentation on how the wine is harvested, made, and bottled. And finally, you get to try several of their wines. This is a perfect cheap date in Orlando away from the kids!
19. Wekiva Island
1014 Miami Springs Dr, Longwood, FL 32779, map
Just a short drive from Orlando, you can find a calming escape in Florida’s flora and fauna. It’s the perfect oasis for relaxing under private cabanas, swimming in the river, and some adult bevvies. They also offer paddleboard and kayak rentals for a small fee. This is where all of the locals go, so you know it’s a hot spot.
Pro Tip: Get there early morning since it gets pretty crowded during prime hours.
20. Moonlight Walking Tours at Greenwood Cemetery
1603 Greenwood St, Orlando, FL 32801, map
Take a stroll through the historic Greenwood Cemetery with Moonlight Walking Tours. You’ll get to visit over 100 graves of distinguished Orlandoans and learn about the city’s rich history. Be sure to register here to schedule a tour date and time.
Pro Tip: Each tour is sponsored by a different charity and donations are appreciated.
21. The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art
3212, 445 N Park Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789, map
Stunning glass and art pieces by Louis Comfort Tiffany of Tiffany & Co. are on display. Don’t miss the incredible chapel, with its original lamps and lighting. Admission is free from November through April, from 4-8pm.
22. Mills 50 Mural Tour
N Mills Ave, Orlando, FL 32803, map
If you’re in the Mills 50 district, you’ll notice the abundance of bright murals lining the streets, all of which embody Orlando’s colorful character. Click here for locations to go on a self guided tour.
Local Tip: Use #OrlandoMurals on Instagram to find even more murals around town.
1300 N Fort Christmas Rd, Christmas, FL 32709, map
We love visiting the life-size replica of the original Fort Christmas. It was originally built during the Second Seminole Indian War. There are also several restored pioneer homes and exhibits you can roam through. Check out the old artifacts, architectural designs, military displays, and more.
Local Tip: If you love American history like we do, definitely shovel out at least two hours for this place.
24. Disney Boardwalk
2101 Epcot Resorts Blvd Kissimmee, FL 34747, map
Disney Boardwalk is a walkable promenade for live entertainment, shopping, dining, and more. During non-peak times, you can park on the property for free for up to 3 hours and watch performers like jugglers, mimes, and magicians. If you’re stick around well into the evening, you can catch a decent view of the Magic Kingdom fireworks.
25. Plant Street Market
426 W Plant St, Winter Garden, FL 34787, map
A great market to people watch, enjoy the nice Florida weather, and listen to free, live music. Plant Street Market also features local, organic, artisan specialties, and other natural goods. Some shops will offer you free samples if you ask politely. There is limited seating indoors, so grab a seat outside. We loved the chill atmosphere.
More Free Orlando Attractions
- Harry P. Leu Gardens (1920 N Forest Ave, 32803, map) – Admission is free on the first Monday of every month beginning February 2019. See rose gardens, a butterfly garden, ancient oak trees, and more.
- Grand Bohemian Gallery at the Grand Bohemian Hotel (325 S Orange Ave, 32801, map) – An artsy hotel showcasing painting, sculptures & other work by local and global artists.
- Ocala National Forest (Ocala National Forest, 32179, map) – The largest national forest east of the Mississippi.
- Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts (227 E Kennedy Blvd, 32751, map)- cultural and historical African American artifacts that celebrate Zora Neale.
- Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center of Central Florida (851 N Maitland Ave, 32751, map)- Excellent Holocaust-related visual art and more.
- Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens (633 Osceola Ave, 32789, map) – Features work of one of America’s most prominent sculptures. Admission to the sculpture gardens is always free.
- Spook Hill (Lake Wales, 33853, map)- An optical illusion road. Your car may seem to roll back up the hill.
- Knightly Spirits (various locations, map)- Free tastings of over 700 different beers.
- Winters Park Farmers Market (200 W New England Ave, 32789, map) – Popular farmer’s market located outside a vintage train depot.
Don't Forget to Pack These Items
During our visit, we stayed at Sonesta ES Suites Orlando on International Drive. We loved it so much, it truly felt like home away from home.
Upon check in, we were greeted by the most helpful staff. The suite was incredibly spacious! Our well decorated, two-bedroom suite could sleep up to 8 guests and includes a full size kitchen and a nice living space. Our favorite part was the heated swimming pool and the arcade / game room.
On top of that, it’s conveniently located across from the Orlando Eye and near Walt Disney World and Universal Studios. They also offer a free shuttle service to both theme parks and the hotel is just a short drive from SeaWorld and the Orlando Premium Outlets.
To find the best deals on other hotels, click here.
Have you done any of these free things to do in Orlando? Which ones were worth your time and which ones weren’t?