50 things to do in Orlando for free? Is that possible? The theme parks bring in millions every year. But these can make your budget disappear really quick. The good news is that the parks are not the only source of a good time. The city has so much more to offer than theme parks. The best part is most of the fun stuff is free.
Fun can be free as you enjoy all of the wonderful things Orlando has to offer with 50 things to do in Orlando for free which include:
- Fun and Entertainment
- Day Trips and Tours
- Get Back To Nature
- Historical Treasures
- Museums and Galleries
- Relax At The Beach
- Music and Theater
- Something For The Taste Buds
Whatever your favorite things to do are, you can find them in Orlando. Even if you come for the Theme Parks, take a few days to give your wallet a vacation too.
This guide is designed to help you enjoy all that Orlando has to offer. The list below caters to everyone. Those on a family vacation, couples’ retreat, friend’s having fun, or a private getaway.
If theme parks are your only focus, you will miss out on a lot. Because as with life, the best things in Orlando are free!
Table of Contents
50 Things To Do In Orlando For Free
Fun and Entertainment
1. Street Musicians
Head to Disney’s Boardwalk to enjoy the free nightly entertainment. Live street musicians perform every night. Entertainers and dancers are known to share their talents here each night as well. The boardwalk is set up as a 1930’s Atlantic coastal village, with a desirable relaxing theme.
The promenade comes to life at night, with gorgeous lighting. An ideal place for a stroll with a loved one. There is also a wonderful selection of fine dining. Grab a hot chocolate and stroll around Crescent Lake. During the day, this is a great way to get to Epcot and saves you driving.
2. Disney Springs
The new Disney Springs complex offers numerous free ways to spend your day. There are live entertainers, live music, and specialty acts every day. The waterside of the promenade offers great dining and boutique shops. Sample a sweet treat at Goofy’s Candy Co and head to the Marketplace stage for kids dance parties.
Visit the splash pad for a fun way to cool off in the heat. Just make sure you have a change of clothes. And don’t forget to head over to the Lego Imagination Center. Kids (and adults) can build their very own Lego figures for free. Finish your day off with a free boat ride through and around the Disney World Resort.
For detailed information on the best places to park when you get to Disney Springs, check out my article: Where To Park At Disney Springs.
3. Famous Car Cruise
Head to Old Town Amusement Park in Kissimmee on Saturday nights for an all-American car cruise. The park offers retro-themes decor and ambiance with dining and entertainment to match. Each Saturday evening, classic cars take to the streets.
Parading for all to see, you can enjoy music and entertainment as you gaze in wonder at some of the finest cars ever built. You can enjoy live music and entertainment on the other nights of the week in Old Town too.
If you do have a little money to spend, connected to Old Town is Fun Spot Kissimmee. There are awesome rides and games. Check out my article: Which Is Better Fun Spot Orlando or Kissimmee to learn about all of the rides.
4. Universal’s City Walk
The theme park costs money but strolling through City Walk is free of charge. There are an assortment of restaurants, shops and entertainment venues for you to enjoy. During the evening, the place really comes alive and you can enjoy free music and entertainment.
The complex hosts several free festivities throughout the year. Check ahead to see what is on offer for the time you will be visiting. You can also take a free ride on the complimentary water taxis. Grab a ride to the Portofino Bay Hotel before sunset so you can enjoy the free nightly Musica Della Norte opera.
My Related Universal Articles:
- Best Places To Eat At Universal Studios Orlando
- Best Onsite Hotel Universal Studios Orlando
- Is The Universal Express Pass Worth It
5. I-Drive 360
This is one of the newest attractions to Orlando. A new entertainment destination that cost $250 million but is mostly free for you to enjoy. This complex is home to the Animals Unveiled Museum, Sea Life Aquarium, Madame Tussauds, and the 400-foot Orlando Eye.
The attractions require tickets but entry to the complex is free. There are plenty of dining options, shops, bars, and free entertainment. The I-Drive 360 is an entertaining place to spend the day, even without going to all the attractions.
6. Spook Hill
Spook hill is a must when visiting Orlando. It is considered fun and entertaining as visitors come here every year from all over the world. Spook Hill is a gravity hill. An optical illusion. Located at Lake Wells just south of Orlando for an experience like no other.
Unlike other venues that charge to trick your mind, Spook Hill is all natural. Park your car in neutral. You will be both scared and in awe as it appears to roll uphill without any momentum. Many believe it is haunted, hence the name. Others just appreciate the optical illusion. Be sure to visit and decide for yourself.
Day Trips and Tours
7. Library Games
The Orlando Public Library has more than books to offer. There are daily free events that are open to all. Readings, family movie nights, arts and crafts, board games, and musical entertainment. When you have a quiet afternoon, head to the library for some free fun. Check the schedule for hours and a list of current events.
8. City of Celebration
A Disney-made town known as Celebration is full of free fun. Marvel at the huge gardens, wonderful houses, and all the magic of Disney. There is an interactive fountain for the children to play in. Also, depending on when your visit is scheduled, there are artificial leaves and snow falling to play in as well.
Traditional shops and dining modeled after the original small American towns. You can visit boutiques, the town hall, and a number of shops and dining establishments through the day.
9. Secret Garden
The Kraft Azalea Garden is 5-acres of pure natural beauty. Spend the day in this “secret garden” which is open year-round. When you need a quiet day to relax in Orlando, this is the place to chill. The secluded lake is the perfect spot for a picnic or romantic getaway. The tall cypress trees all around only add to the magic of these gardens.
10. The Black Hammock
When you think of Florida, you think of alligators. It is hard not to associate the two. The Black Hammock on Lake Jessup is home to the largest concentration of alligators in the United States.
You can splurge for a boat ride through the waters, but you can still get a kick for free. Every Sunday, there are free gator feedings, and that may be about as close as you want to get anyway. Black Hammock is also home to hundreds of turtles and thousands of bird species, so your trip won’t be all about the gators.
11. Kelly Park, Rock Springs
A 248-acre park surrounded by gorgeous greenery and the best in nature, is a great way to spend a day in Orlando. So many types of flora and fauna for you to enjoy, there is no chance of you getting bored.
Take advantage of all the Park has to offer and try hiking, bike riding, camping and recreational activities like Frisbee and volleyball. At the end of your day, cool off in the amazing and infamous Rock springs.
12. Moonlight Walking Tour
Take a historical stroll through Orlando. Walk through two miles of the Greenwood Cemetery to visit the past and 100 graves of Orlando’s most notable residents.
Learn about the amazing people and their contribution to the history of Orlando and the surrounding area. Don’t be alarmed that the tour is of a cemetery. There is nothing creepy about it. It is one of the favored tours of the city, allowing you to learn more than you expected.
13. See Art Orlando
This is a unique tour of the city, focusing on nine public contemporary art sculptures. Each sculpture is based on a specific and crucial part of Orlando. The collection comes from nine distinct and renowned artists, with sculptures ranging from small to large.
To understand the diverse fabric of the city and appreciate it in a different light, this is the tour for you. This is a true recognition of the role art plays in the dynamics and personality of a city.
Get Back To Nature
14. Lake Eola Park
A beautiful and natural oasis in the middle of downtown Orlando. The 43-acre Lake Eola Park is a true delight. Come and enjoy the most spectacular views of Orlando’s iconic skyline. Feed the resident swans in the lake and enjoy a picnic on the lawn. There are acres to stroll through and a great way to spend the day in nature.
The Walt Disney Amphitheater is situated in the west side of the park. Many free concerts throughout the year are held here. You can find a Chinese pagoda and playground on the east side. Check ahead for special events like Fourth of July fireworks and amateur bike racing.
15. Take A Hike
A wonderful gem of the city is the Mead Botanical Garden. Entrance is free and you can hike through the manicured garden every day. There is an old amphitheater as well as a swamp boardwalk to explore. Numerous picnic spots can be found along the trails for you to stop and enjoy.
Within miles of the business district, it seems like you are in a different world. Hike through beautiful butterfly gardens, smell the citrus trees, and stroll around the Eola lake. If you stick around in the evening, the fountain changes colors in a vibrant light show.
16. Wildlife Haven
Just a small way from Disney World, is Tibet Butler Preserve. A wildlife haven full of well-maintained hiking trails for the family. The park offers educational programs for children and adults.
Check the website to see what programs are being offered during your visit. Even without a program scheduled, there is plenty of flora and fauna to see in person.
Learn about the local wildlife and explore it or real. The trails wind through several major habitats of the region. Explore longleaf pine forests, bayhead swamp, and the cypress-lined lake shores. Some areas may be tricky to maneuver so be sure to have hiking boots. Hike the full 20 miles of the Preserve and get a free t-shirt.
17. Little Big Econ State Forest
Wander through various trail heads to see the natural beauty of Florida. Children are completely free, and adults are asked to make small donations to support the maintenance of the lands.
You get the true feeling of Florida wilderness here. Go hiking or mountain biking and keep your eyes open for wildlife. Bird watching is a favorite activity for these parts. You may also see deer, river otters, bobcats, and raptors.
18. Wekiwa Springs State Park
Another natural beauty, Wekiwa Springs is the perfect place to relax in nature. Enjoy a picnic, a stroll, and even a swim in the cool springs. There are hiking trails, cycling, fishing, and camping as well as a museum to explore. Every September, this Park offers free entrance to anyone that brings their library card or a checked-out book.
19. Manatee Spotting
The dedicated manatee refuge of Blue Spring State Park is a must for nature lovers. During the winter months, is the best time to see manatees as they relocate to the refuge. This is a popular destination all times of the year as you can also go kayaking, swimming, fishing, hiking, and wildlife watching.
Take care when you swim. You are sure to see Florida gar and tons of turtles as you play in the water. There will be some alligators swimming through too, so keep your eyes open. Plan your trip for manatee season as it is truly an unforgettable sight. Hundreds seek shelter here from the cold and you don’t want to miss out.
20. See A Sinkhole
For a look at a unique side of nature, head to Ocala National Forest. This huge pine scrub area also offers pools and canoe runs. Explore hundreds of trails including one that goes right past a sinkhole.
80 feet deep and 450 feet wide, this is one natural sight you do not want to miss. The observation deck at the trailhead allows you to see the sheer magnitude of the forest. And you can keep an eye out for bears there too.
21. March Of The Ducks
Have you heard of Duck boat tours? Orlando has their own version and you don’t want to miss it. The Peabody Orlando has been home to the Peabody ducks since 1986. Every day at 11am, one drake and four hens descend from a designated elevator and parade around the lobby.
The “King Cotton March” plays in the background to accompany them. The ducks make their way to a fountain lined with orchids and plop in for the day. They stay here until 5 and then head back to the elevator. Completely free, cute, and entertaining.
22. Harry P. Leu Gardens
This magnificent 50-acre botanical garden is another must-see attraction in Orlando. The best that nature has to offer and free the first Monday of each month. Breathe in the sweet aroma as you gaze at ancient oak trees. Stroll through rose gardens and butterfly gardens as a relaxing place to spend a vacation day.
Take your time meandering through the many trails and exploring the camellia forests. These gardens are an ideal place for special events and weddings. Or just a great backdrop for any family photos. Stop into the Leu House Museum to learn about the families that lived here at the turn of the century.
23. Church Street
On Church Street you can see some of the oldest and prettiest neighborhoods in America. A bandstand at the nearby Wall Street Plaza hosts concerts all the time for your entertainment. Enjoy the seasonal drinks and specials served at the nearby bars and restaurants to feel the full ambiance and charm of the area.
24. Fort Christmas Historical Park
This fort was built by US army soldiers and volunteers of Alabama in Christmas. Today it displays a full-scale replica of the fort as it was during the Second Seminole War. It is located just south of its original location south of Christmas Creek.
A museum is also there as well as restored houses. These “Florida Cracker” houses are designed to give you a taste of rural life from the 1870s through to the 1930s. Free events such as pioneer demonstrations and musket firings are offered all year round.
25. Big Tree Park
“Big Tree Park” is home to one of the largest and oldest cypress trees. Known as the “Senator” this tree brought in visitors from across the globe. Sadly, the tree was burned by fire and a memorial is now in its place.
Developed around the massive stump, you can still appreciate the size and grace the tree once held. A clone tree of equal size has been planted nearby in honor of the once celebrated giant.
26. Bradlee-McIntyre House
This house was built in 1885 for the famous architect Nathaniel Jeremiah Bradlee of Boston. The beauty of this house is that it is the only one of true Queen Anne-style. There is no other cottage of the Orange and Seminole counties like it.
A 13-room winter haven with three floors hosts a unique octagonal tower. Most importantly, this house features the flamboyant “ginger-bread” trim famous of the houses from that time period.
Museums and Galleries
27. Cornell Fine Arts Museum
As the name suggests, you get nothing but fine art here. This is known as Florida’s greatest collection of fine art. Entrance is free and a tour only lasts 30 minutes. Learn about and admire works from Picasso, Henri Matisse, and Thomas Moran to name but a few.
28. Grand Bohemian Gallery
For contemporary art and jewelry, this is the gallery to visit. Known around Florida as the most visually stimulating gallery and eclectic assortment of art, you cannot go wrong. You can also enjoy several 19th-century European paintings not on display anywhere else in the world.
29. Hurston Museum
One of the finest museums to honor an iconic African American author. Travel through the life and times of Zora Neale through a diverse collection of artwork and exhibits.
Gain a new perspective on African and African American culture through different showcases. From 19th-century furniture crafted by slaves to paintings by urban children, there is much to learn and appreciate here.
30. Holocaust Museum
Not one of the most pleasant times in history, but definitely memorable. This museum is dedicated to this horrific time, sharing the stories and trials of the Holocaust. See artifacts from survivors and German soldiers.
Step foot in an authentic 15-ton freight car dating back to World War I. The museum and educational center is a great place to learn the truths behind this tragedy, and to gain a real appreciation and understanding of what people went through.
31. City Arts Factory
More funky than contemporary, visit here to go hopping from gallery to gallery. If you are in Orlando, this is a must-see featuring a collection of the greatest galleries in the downtown area.
See both international and local works of art that are rotated each month. Entrance is free Tuesdays through Saturdays. A guaranteed way to soak in as much art as you possibly can.
32. Museum Of Seminole County History
Get a peak at the history of Seminole County at this delightful museum. Enjoy exhibits, photographs, documents, maps, and mementos from earlier times. Learn the stories and follow the lives and legends of Seminole County.
Admire the strong lineages and achievements of the inhabitants that were there long before you. A real historical treasure for locals and tourists alike.
33. Art Of Animation Resort
Located on Walt Disney World property, you can learn to draw Mickey at the Art of Animation. Free 30-minute drawing lessons are provided to all ages.
Mostly geared to entertain children, the adults are welcome to grab a pencil and join in too. Learn how to draw like the animators do. Check with your hotels for the schedules as the classes are offered at different times each day.
Relax At The Beach
34. Cocoa Beach
Cocoa beach is always one of the best free things to do around Orlando. It is the ultimate place to enjoy a picnic at the beach. Adorned with large picnic pavilions, tables and winding walkways to explore, this beach has all you need for a day of fun. A bathhouse with showers and restrooms is also on site so you can clean up after your swim.
35. Daytona Beach
Daytona beach is another delight of the area. Different from other beaches in that you can drive on to the sand. There is also a wonderful boardwalk and pier to hang out, offering attractions for the family.
Waterpark and entertainment center included. For a change of scenery, you can find the Daytona International Speedway just a few miles away.
36. Gulf Coast
Clearwater is a little further away but worth the drive. Exploring the Gulf Coast is like being on a different planet. The beaches are miles and miles of powdery sand and there are attractions galore for families.
Clearwater may be an older town, but the lively entertainment brings it to life. Spend the day here enjoying the beaches, affordable restaurants, and fun beach shops.
Music and Theater
37. Fred Stone Theater
All performances here are open to the public and free of charge. Home to the student produced Second Stage Series, you will be delighted by an assortment of performances.
A new dance and theater complex are currently under construction, so stay tuned for more exciting things to come from the Fred Stone.
38. Howl At The Moon
One of the most lively and entertaining spots in Orlando. A must for all visitors. You can sing, dance, and howl to family songs in this bar-concert venue. Reserve a table for your group or just show up and join in.
Live music and entertainment is going on all night long. Talented musicians share their beats with you and you can go where the music takes you. All you have to pay for is your drinks.
39. Popcorn Flicks
Enjoy the one-of-a-kind Popcorn Flicks at Winter Park. On the second Thursday of each month, this theater shares classic films that the entire family can enjoy. It even makes an ideal setting for date night.
Situated in the Central Park area, you get the best of entertainment and the outdoors. The movies are free and start around sunset depending on the weather. Check online for movie schedules.
Orlando’s Creative City Projects hosts the Immerse event once a year, and it is worth seeing. 1,000 local artists and performers bring the city to life. This annual performance gala shares pianists on wheeled contraptions, Cirque du Soleil artists dangling from atop City Hall, and pretty much anything else you can imagine. There are even appearances from the Orlando ballet and the famous Blue Man Group.
Another spot for those who love music. Tanqueray’s is a little gem of the downtown area. Live music can be heard every night and all you have to pay for is your drinks. Enjoy the sounds of local bands such as Christian Ryan, Ancient Sun, and Groove Orient.
42. The Grand Bohemian
Within the Grand Bohemian Hotel, there is a delightfully posh jazz lounge. Sip on a drink and relax to the smooth sounds of live jazz. Home to an Imperial Grand Bosendorfer piano, you are in the heart of the jazz world. After all, there are only a handful of these pianos in the world. A great place to relax in the evening or perfect for a romantic night out.
43. Orlando Fringe
The Orlando Fringe Festival is rated as one of the best free events to attend in the city. During this festival you can experience art of all kinds. Theater, dancing, art productions, music, and live entertainment.
Depending on the tickets you get, you will pay nothing or as much as $12. For a truly artistic experience, this is the festival to be a part of.
For The Taste Buds
44. Winter Park Farmers Market
Every week the Farmers Market is up and running, full of anything you may need or want. Held at a vintage train depot, this is known as the top spot for perusing and buying goods.
Get fresh fruits and vegetables, artisanal foods, plants, and mouth-watering baked goods. Every Saturday, from 7am to 1pm, all year round, this is the spot to be.
45. Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards
Lakeridge Winery is the premier winery in Florida. Over 160,000 people visit every year. Situated on the rolling hills and beautiful countryside, you get some of the most spectacular vineyard views.
There are free tours every day that include wine tastings. Each lasting about 20 minutes. You get to enjoy a film on the history of winery before the tour begins. On occasion there are festivals and special events going on too.
46. Run For Beer
Running can be for pleasure. You can run for beer. Running for Brews is one of the areas most famous beer-centered events. This club meets at Graffiti Junction every Wednesday at 7pm.
They run a 5-kilometer predetermined route through the neighborhood. At the end, free beer awaits. Join in the fun and the run. And get rewarded with beer and a great time.
47. Orlando Brewing Company
Take a tour of the Orlando Brewing Company. Learn how organic beer is brewed and gaze in wonder upon the giant fermenting vats. This is Orlando’s only organic brewery. Free tours are offered every weekend.
At the end of each tour you can enjoy a cold beer as you listen to free entertainment on their outdoor stage.
48. Chamberlain’s Market
For the health and wellness gurus out there, this is the market to stop by. Like a farmer’s market but geared towards health. Sample free gourmet organic snacks and foods and listen to guest speakers.
There are also free wellness workshops for those who attend. These health markets are located all across Orlando, so check the website for locations and stop by.
If you are out and about and hungry for lunch, check out my article on the Top 10 Best Lunch Places In Orlando.
49. Florida Mall
The Florida Mall is one of the top tourist attractions in Orlando. Over 20 million come here a year. Browse through over 250 stores and restaurants. Take the kids to the free play area.
The array of shops and variety of shops is amazing, and you can window shop all day. The mall boasts a unique and wonderful interior design that you can admire as you stroll through.
50. The Mall At Millenia
The architecture of this mall is as great as the shops. Full of designer stores, you cannot help but window shop. One of the newest and more modern malls, Millenia is home to exquisite brands, wonderful art, and breath-taking fountain displays. When you take a break from looking at the shops, look up and admire the beautiful and decorative glass ceilings.
If you want to window shop at an outlet mall instead, check out Which Is The Best Outlet Mall In Orlando.
Helpful Tips For Things To Do In Orlando For Free
A money-saving vacation is easier to achieve than you may think. Now that you have the locations, there are a few additional tips that can make your visit easy.
- Visit off-season. Even free venues can get busy
- Plan which venues you want to visit ahead of time
- Check schedules and open hours
- Avoid rental cars if possible and use Uber or Lyft to avoid parking which can be expensive.
If you want more things to do in Orlando, check out my article 25 Things To Do In Orlando At Night With Family.
There is no shortage of fun places to hangout in Orlando. No matter what kind of trip you are planning, don’t forget to check out these affordable spots. Orlando isn’t only about pricey attractions. There is something for every budget. Something for every person.
And we want to make sure you enjoy all that the city has to offer. With this guide for things to do in Orlando for free, you’ll see that theme parks are only part of the fun.