Orlando is one of the most popular vacation spots across the world. After all, there are so many fun things to do in Florida, including theme parks, like Walt Disney World, Sea World, and Legoland. In fact, here are some of the best things to do in Orlando.
Unfortunately, most things that have made central Florida famous are also expensive. However, the good news is while many fun parks require money, there are also plenty of free adventures. While it may take a little searching to find what fits your schedule, there are plenty of free family experiences in Orlando and Kissimmee. Read on for our insight on some places and activities that the locals love!
Free Things To Do in Orlando
Orlando can be crazy expensive between Hollywood studios, universal studios, and Disney parks like Epcot! Fortunately, those parks are not the only things to do within a fifty-mile radius, and the nearby Winter Park, Sanford, and Kissimmee areas are jam-packed full of free family fun; here are some of the best free things to do in and around Orlando.
- Disney Springs
Disney is one of the big names immediately connected to Orlando, but this small strip is not a theme park attraction. Admission and parking are free, but the boardwalk is a collection of shops and restaurants.
- Disney’s Boardwalk
Connected to several Disney resorts, Disney Boardwalk is a collection of attractions, stores, arcades, and restaurants. There are plenty of stores for window shopping, and the buildings resemble early 1900s architecture. A dance hall and various time-themed activities are arranged along the water on a boardwalk.
- Universal Citywalk
Universal Citywalk is similar to the Disney Boardwalk in that it is a strip of stores, dining places, and the occasional fun experience. They all cost money, but it is free to get into the CityWalk and explore. One such adventure is riding a water taxi along the walk.
- Old Town
For live music, car shows, and a variety of free events visit Old Town. It is also modeled after an older version of Florida and has tons of things to do, like a haunted house and Ferris wheel! The old town has shops, restaurants, and constant events to entertain anyone and is only a few minutes from the Disney parks.
- Harry P. Leu Gardens
On the first Monday of every month, these gorgeous gardens are free of charge to the public. The gardens feature a butterfly garden in the fifty-acre lot. The garden was donated by Harry P. Leu and his wife in the sixties and features mostly local flora.
- Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards
A free wine tasting and tour, lasting about forty-five minutes, are a fun side adventure in Clermont, right next to Orlando. There are various seasonal events, including tastings. They produce over a million bottles a year and are one of the largest wineries in all of Florida.
- Popcorn Flicks in the Park by the Enzian Theater
While the theater showing tickets do cost money, they have Popcorn Flicks for free in local places. These movies are shown for families, and thus are age-appropriate. Popcorn Flicks usually occur once a month on the second Thursday at the Winter Park Events Center. Their website explains the location and the showings.
- Orlando Brewing
Orlando Brewing offers a short tour of thirty minutes that is completely free. They host live entertainment along with other special events. It is relatively new, established in 2001, but has grown exponentially.
- Visit the Local Events
Orlando may be a popular destination because of the parks like Epcot and Magic Kingdom, but there is much more for tourists to explore, a lot of which does not cost anything to get in. There are always local things in the community, from free concerts to the farmer’s market to art galleries.
Companies that buy houses in Tampa, Orlando and other cities in Florida usually have extensive knowledge on the best part of each city, so that’s a place to start your research if you want to discover secret local gems. Winter Park farmers market, for instance, is a great place to check out.
- Cocoa Beach
This fun skate park is free and perfect for letting kids skate out their energy, especially before a long trip. There are occasional contests here, and it includes a bowl and some ramps to grind. The park is very child-friendly and has more than just a skate park, though that is the main attraction.
- Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive
The Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive is a great way to see the local animals but takes about three hours to go through the whole thing and see all the animals. There are also a few trails that can be hiked around the park.
Free Excursions in Orlando
Orlando has plenty to do within city limits, but there are way more fun adventures to take just outside and around the city. A few quick trips can leave lasting memories, and this area has anything for anyone.
- Celebration Town Center
In Celebration, Florida, there is a nice small town center that can be fun to explore. The open-air center even has a local farmers market every Sunday.
A local gallery only a short way from Disney World, Cityarts features work from local artists with an unusual style. It is part of the Downtown Arts District and features about nine exhibits.
- City Unseen
City Unseen is a public AR experience, an AR(t) experience. All it requires is an app, and then viewers can go all over, experiencing the gallery of interactive murals through their phones.
- Louis Comfort Tiffany Museum in the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art
Unlike the Cornell Fine Arts Museum, Louis Comfort Tiffany Museum is free to enter. It is named after the founder of Tiffany and Co. and is dedicated to his works of jewelry, pottery, glass, paintings, and windows.
- Rollins Museum of Art
Nestled in Rollins College, The Rollins Museum of Art is in Winter Park. It features six exhibitions currently and is the only teaching museum in this area. The pieces are a mix of paintings, sculptures, and other works.
Parks in Orlando
The first parks associated with Orlando are theme parks, but there are many actual parks and gardens in the Orlando area worth a visit. Here are just a few that have free admission. Whether you’re visiting or planning to move and wonder, “Where do I buy my house in Orlando?” our advice is that you take a look at these beautiful parks and the areas surrounding them.
- Kraft Azalea Gardens
In Winter Park, the Kraft Azalea Garden is located on Lake Maitland. It is a popular destination for the gorgeous Exedra Monument, a favored picture destination. It is a little over five acres and offers park benches for picnics.
- Lake Eola Park
Lake Eola is in downtown Orlando and features the Walt Disney Amphitheater and a Chinese pagoda. The playground in the park is easily accessible. There are many local events at the park throughout the year.
- Shady Park
In the historical Hannibal Square, Shady Park offers a little over three acres of serene park. It is perfect for a relaxing break as it is pretty secluded, though centrally located near the local Community Center.
- Central Park
One of the best parks in Winter Park, Central Park is an eleven-acre escape downtown. This park features gorgeous fountains and flowers as well as various community events.
- Mead Gardens
Mead Gardens is home to the Mead Botanical Gardens which include a stunning butterfly garden. There are tons of local events, like the duck derby or yoga in the garden.
Monuments in Orlando
Orlando is a city rich in history. There are many monuments to explore and visit.
- Pulse Interim Memorial
Pulse Interim Memorial is a remembrance of everyone lost on June 12, 2016. It is a sculptural collage of photos and memorials.
- Big Tree Park
Big Tree Park is the area around the oldest tree in Orlando. The big tree is over three hundred and fifty years old and is part of the cypress trees. The park is a nice quiet place to relax and enjoy nature.
- Icon Park
Icon Park is full of fun as it is an amusement park with a Ferris wheel and aquarium. There are many fun little things to do in the park, which is in Orlando.
- Fort Christmas Historical Park
This park doubles as a monument and historical landmark. Fort Christmas is from the Second Seminole Indian War in the 1800s. Around the fort are a few pavilions to picnic at and a few interactive historical buildings. This park also has a replica fort, a mini pioneer town, and a sugar cane mill.
- Fantasy Swan in Lake Eola
In Lake Eola, a small fountain with the sculpture, Fantasy Swan. The sculpture was donated in 2008 to celebrate the Lake becoming the Swans of the World Habitat.
Walks in Orlando
Florida is a beautiful state known for its consistently warm weather; this leads to beautiful days exploring the various hiking trails. The flora around downtown Orlando and the outreaching area feature bunches of walking tours and nature trails.
- Harbor Park
Harbor Park has trails right along the shore of Lake Baldwin. It has a pier, a few boardwalks, and sidewalks for people to hike.
- County Trails
Orlando has a few county parks like Lake Eola, Winter Park, and Central Park that feature unique trails, and some even have walking tours. These parks are predominantly open to the public free of charge.
- Mead Gardens
The botanical garden is more than just a small garden. Mead Gardens actually has a few trails bordered by beautiful local flora.
- Altamonte Springs Walking Paths
Altamonte Springs has a mix of trails throughout the city. Explorers can choose the difficulty, from about twenty minutes to four hours of hiking.
Orlando is much more than Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando. There are lots of free things to do around the city that can make your vacation more memorable. We buy homes in Florida, so we are well versed in all things local! Consider going to a few gardens and parks that we have recommended or seeing the various art museums around the city.