When it comes to perfect vacation destinations, Orlando, Florida is tough to beat. There’s sun, sand, art, music, and plenty of Mickey Mouse. Of course, a visit to Florida’s crown jewel of a city can sometimes rack up the dollars, but the good news is that there are a ton of free things to do in Orlando!
From family-friendly strolls to adventures in wine country, here’s a list of our favorite completely free activities in Orlando!
Everyone knows that Disney rules the entertainment scene in Orlando. At Disney’s Boardwalk, you can get your fill of waterfront views, food, and entertainment — without buying tickets to Disney World.
The Boardwalk will remind you of turn-of-the-century icons like Coney Island, with its strings of golden lights and retro architecture. You can find inexpensive mid-way games, the occasional street musician, and magnificent sunsets along the way.
LAKE EOLA PARK
In the middle of downtown Orlando awaits a picturesque park. Lake Eola Park offers an inexpensive respite from the city’s busy streets, with plenty of walking trails, open space, and playgrounds to keep the whole family entertained.
Lake Eola is particularly popular for its swan-shaped paddleboats that frequent the lake. (You can rent one for a fee.) Additionally, the park hosts several community events throughout the year, including the Orlando Farmer’s Market, where you can peruse seasonal produce and locally made products. A visit here is one of the best free things to do in Orlando.
HARRY P LEU GARDENS
The city of Orlando has some of the best gardens in the U.S., but perhaps the best known are the Harry P Leu Gardens. The gardens sprawl over 50 acres, a paradise of tropical trees, neon flowers, and birdsong.
While the Harry P Leu Gardens do typically charge admission, you can access them for free on the First Monday of most months. Otherwise, tickets are under $20 for guests. Your visit to the gardens includes access to the park’s 12 gardens and the Harry P Leu Museum.
Each garden follows a specific theme, from the sweet-smelling Rose Garden to the colorful Butterfly Garden.
LAKERIDGE WINERY & VINEYARDS
For a free taste of Florida’s best adult beverages, check out Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards. Lakeridge is the largest winery in Florida, with over 127+ acres of fertile land on the estate. The winery’s vintages have won over 600 awards – it’s no wonder why it’s a popular destination for wine enthusiasts!
Lakeridge offers free tours with tastings of their locally produced vintages. Tours at Lakeridge typically last about 30 minutes, but you can always lengthen your visit with a turn at the gift shop. Or, you can plan to visit during Weekends at the Winery, where live music, food, and beautiful scenery complement the wine tasting experience.
WEST ORANGE TRAIL
If you want to get a unique look at the small towns and nature surrounding Orlando, check out the West Orange Trail. The trail goes for 22 miles through neighboring cities, including the charming town of Winter Park.
Visitors to West Orange Trail should plan their route before starting their trip. The trail has several amenities and points of interest located along the way, including picnic spots, butterfly gardens, and basketball courts.
The West Orange Trail is also a popular bicycling and skating location, so grab your gear and get rolling!
Disney fans will love to soar over EPCOT and Hollywood Studios for free on the Disney Skyliner! The relatively new attraction runs primarily to serve guests to Disney World, but anyone can ride the Skyliner.
So why hop on the Skyliner if you aren’t hitting up the park? Well, the views are spectacular. Each Disney-themed Skyliner provides an aerial view of Disney World that you can’t get elsewhere.
HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL RESOURCE & EDUCATION CENTER OF FLORIDA
The Holocaust Memorial Resource & Education Center of Florida works to preserve and teach the critical lessons learned from the Holocaust to build a compassionate, unbiased community. In addition, the acclaimed center teaches every visitor to ask how they can make a difference in the world to prevent future incidents of antisemitism and cruelty.
The center provides educational resources and self-guided tours to the public at no charge. During your visit, you’ll learn about the events that led to the Holocaust and hear the harrowing stories of survivors. The experience will leave you driven to help others and inspired by the stories of perseverance and hope found in the exhibits.
WINTER GARDEN FARMERS MARKET
About 20 minutes outside Orlando, you’ll find a free experience full of friendly smiles and local products, surrounded by the homey atmosphere of Winter Garden’s Main Street. The Winter Garden Farmer’s Market sets up shop every Saturday, and it’s the perfect way to start a morning visit to the town!
At the market, local vendors sell everything from herbs to fresh eggs. You can even find fresh flowers and artisan crafts at many stalls. After strolling through the market, you can continue your walk down Winter Garden’s historic downtown and enjoy the charm of old Floridian architecture.
CHARLES HOSMER MORSE MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART
Art lovers will instantly find themselves drawn to the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art in Orlando. Here, the most extensive collection of Tiffany’s stained-glass resides. (Yes, the little blue boxes and Audrey Hepburn Tiffany’s.) The museum also houses paintings, porcelain, and other artwork varieties for you to explore.
Note that the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art offers free admission on Fridays from 4-8 p.m. Otherwise, the museum charges admission for individuals over the age of 12.
Disney Springs is another free, popular spot for House of Mouse fans to explore. The springs resemble a waterside town square, with tinkling fountains, palm trees, and quaint Americana buildings.
At Disney Springs, you can watch hot air balloons rise in the sky or watch live music at Raglan Road. I recommend swinging by Waterview Park to get a gorgeous view of shimmering waves!
SUNSET CINEMA AT CRANES ROOST PARK
Outdoor movie experiences are alive and well at the Sunset Cinema at Cranes Roost Park. The park turns into a movie theater in the evenings, complete with concessions!
Cranes Roost Park is a short 15-minute drive from Orlando. The films shown at the park vary, but all are family-friendly features. Make sure to check out their website to see what’s playing before you head over!
CADY WAY BIKE TRAIL
Enjoy a scenic bike ride through Orlando on the Cady Way Bike Trail! Cady Way runs through residential and natural areas, providing an excellent variety of scenery for anyone looking to experience a unique side of the city.
Cady Way is a short, 7-mile stretch of trail. For a longer bike ride, continue from Cady Trail to Cross Seminole Trail. The trail is family-friendly and easy enough for beginner bikers to enjoy.
BIG TREE PARK
Big Tree Park earned its name thanks to a massive cypress tree that stood in the park until a fire in 2012. The tree, known by locals as “The Senator,” has a commemorative statue in the park. It has since been replaced by a clone named “The Phoenix.”
Big Tree Park offers a look at a natural hammock swamp, one of the many biomes in Florida. In addition, Big Tree Park has walking trails, a tree-inspired playground, and plenty of space for a picnic!
GRAND BOHEMIAN GALLERY
It’s not often you find an art gallery in a hotel, but the Grand Bohemian Hotel in Orlando happens to have an extensive art gallery on the property. And, you don’t have to stay at the hotel to tour the gorgeous art on display.
The hotel itself is a bohemian-style paradise. A stroll through the art gallery and the hotel halls will dazzle your eyes!
MEAD BOTANICAL GARDEN
In the lovely town of Winter Park, a vibrant paradise beckons visitors. The Mead Botanical Garden of Winter Park is just a short drive from Orlando and well worth the trip.
The Mead Gardens have 47 acres of lush grass, tranquil bonds, and water-colored flowers for visitors to explore. Your free admission to the gardens include access to the greenhouse, native plant demonstrations, and the scenic Bartram Trail walking paths.
Many rivers wind their way through the state of Florida. The Wekiva River passes through Orlando, a silvery trail dotted by water birds, wetlands, and city walking paths.
A visit to the riverside is a great, free way to pass the time in Orlando! You can try your hand at birding, enjoy a light run, or read a book to the sound of leaves rustling and the river rushing, all while enjoying the river views.
TELESCOPE THURSDAYS AT SEMINOLE STATE PLANETARIUM
At the Seminole State Planetarium, you can glimpse galaxies, planets, and stars for free during their Telescope Thursdays program. Seminole State College runs the program as an outreach to inspire scientific interest in the community.
Note that Telescope Thursdays is a traveling exhibit of sorts. You’ll want to check the planetarium’s website to ensure they’ll have a show in Orlando during your visit.
ORLANDO URBAN TRAIL
The Orlando Urban Trail provides the perfect space to travel around the city on foot, scooter, or bike. The trail passes near downtown and offers a great launching point for a city excursion.
Your trip down the Urban Trail will take you past several lakes, bridges, and mature trees. You’ll also glimpse Orlando’s beloved neighborhoods, like Lake Formosa and Highland.
OLD TOWN IN KISSIMMEE
Take a short drive south of Orlando and experience classic Florida at its best! Florida’s Old Town district offers ample chances to window shop, free events, and free family fun!
During your visit to Old Town Kissimmee, you may find a tribute to the Beatles serenading you or live jazz playing on the Old Town stage. Classic car shows, karaoke, and festivals also occur in Old Town. Check out Old Town’s website to see what’s happening during your visit!
DR. P. PHILLIPS COMMUNITY PARK
Enjoy a day of fun in Florida’s sun at the Dr. P. Phillips Community Park. Located on the calm shores of Big Sand Lake, the park offers a ton of free amenities for visitors to enjoy.
The park has a free community splash pad, perfect for cooling off after a trip on the .6-mile long hiking trail. Also, because the park is an active nature habitat, you may find tortoises, ducks, and the occasional raccoon saying hello during your visit. How cool is that?
ORLANDO BREWING FACILITY TOUR
If you enjoy a refreshing pint after a day in the sun, look no further than Orlando Brewing for a free taste of local brews. Their organic beers have become something of a classic in Florida!
You should plan on at least an hour to enjoy your free Orlando Brewing Facility Tour. Afterward, swing by the taproom for a large glass of beer and a snack – you’ll deserve it after a busy day exploring the city!
KRAFT AZALEA GARDEN
Located in nearby Winter Park, the Kraft Azalea Garden offers a beautiful place to wind down and enjoy the sounds of nature. The lakefront park is open from 8 a.m. to dusk and is entirely free for the public to enjoy.
You’ll find a rookery of water birds at the park, and an enormous banyan tree, typically only found in India and Sri Lanka! There are also walking paths, picnic areas, and a great photo opportunity at the Greek-inspired Exedra columns.
UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL FLORIDA ARBORETUM
Enjoy an afternoon biking, jogging, or strolling beneath Florida’s native trees at the University of Central Florida’s Arboretum. The Arboretum exists to provide a space for the public to connect with and enjoy nature. Naturally, it’s free of charge.
You’ll want to check out the community garden and the landscaped garden beds on campus during your visit. You can also play a free game of geocaching around campus put on by the Arboretum!
Fans of Universal Studios have no doubt heard of the Universal CityWalk. The CityWalk resides on the shores of a lagoon, with shops, dining and entertainment options on the walk.
While shopping and dining on the CityWalk aren’t free, enjoying the lively atmosphere is. Take in the roller-coaster skyline or stroll the walk at night to enjoy the glittering lights of the park for free.
ROLLINS MUSEUM OF ART
For a free exploration of fine art in Orlando, check out the Rollins Museum of Art, formerly known as the Cornell Fine Arts Museum. The museum, located in Winter Park, has over 5,000 pieces in its collection.
Plan on spending at least two hours at the museum to enjoy the best its exhibits have to offer. Pieces by Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso, and Francis Bacon are just a few famous artists whose work you’ll see on display.
You can also take a free, self-guided walking tour of the sculptures located around the area.
At Orlando’s CityArts Factory, you’ll get your fill of quirky artwork brought to you by local artists. CityArts resides in Downtown Orlando and is a popular stop during the city’s 3rd Thursday Gallery Hop event.
You’ll find multiple exhibits during your visit to CityArts, including a youth section. The exhibits change often, so don’t be afraid to visit more than once to see what has changed!
The city of Orlando is a living, breathing art gallery. You’ll find amazing murals throughout the city that add to Orlando’s unique vibe – one great and free activity in the city is to take a walking tour to the many murals hidden throughout it!
If you need a starting point for finding murals, just walk through Downtown. Murals in Japanese-style art to traditional graffiti line the walls of several buildings downtown, and more pop up every day!
OCALA NATIONAL FOREST
Ocala National Forest is a hidden oasis just minutes from Orlando. The national forest features over 600 turquoise-colored lakes and rippling rivers that enchant every visitor. It’s a popular destination for swimming, fishing, hiking, and camping.
Ocala National Forest has several playgrounds, camping areas, and other amenities to make your visit comfortable. Visiting Ocala National Forest is free, however, camping and a few other activities require reservations and may charge fees.
ICON Park is Orlando’s very own city theme park! A giant observation wheel towers over the city at 40 feet high. Restaurants, shops, and attractions abound in this 20-acre venue.
Taking in the sights and window shopping at ICON Park is 100% free to the public. Remember that attractions do charge, so if you want to hop on the observation wheel, come with your wallet handy.
KELLY PARK, ROCK SPRINGS
If you love to enjoy nature from the cool escape of the water, check out Kelly Park and Rock Springs. The park is popular with locals for its tubing and swimming offerings!
If swimming isn’t your style, Kelly Park has plenty of other attractions for you to enjoy. The park has miles of walking trails, camping, and picnic spots available to the public.
ZORA NEALE HURSTON NATIONAL MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS
In nearby Eatonville, FL, the Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts, or The Hurston, offers a free exploration into Eatonville’s history and the artwork of Zora Neale Hurston.
The artifacts on display at The Hurston focus on African American culture and history. Every year, the museum also puts on the Zora Festival to celebrate the history and culture of Eatonville commemorated by the museum.
WEKIWA SPRINGS STATE PARK
Wekiwa Springs is perhaps one of Florida’s most popular state parks. It is home to crystalline springs, tropical forests, and vibrant wildlife…all within a few minutes from Downtown Orlando!
If you swing by Wekiwa Springs, plan on spending several hours there (and bring your sunblock!). Canoeing, paddling, swimming, hiking, and fishing are popular pastimes in the park, so pack accordingly.
ENZIAN THEATER POPCORN FLICKS
On the second Thursday of every month, classic movies come to Orlando! The Enzian Theater puts on these classic events free of charge to the public at the Winter Park Events Center.
The Popcorn Flicks are an outdoor experience, so a picnic blanket and warm jacket are a must. Classic showings range from comedies, like Legally Blonde, to James Bond flicks. Check the theater’s website to find out what’s playing when you visit.
LAKE APOPKA WILDLIFE DRIVE
The wetlands of Florida are one of nature’s greatest achievements. On the Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive, you can explore the beauty of these natural wonders from the comfort of your car.
The St. Johns River Water Management Division has a great audio tour tool for visitors to use when touring the drive – you can find it on the Wildlife Drive’s website. The tour will accompany you through the wetlands, pointing out fun facts, animal information, and other details during the drive.
HONTOON ISLAND STATE PARK
Over 1,650-acres make up Hontoon Island State Park. You can only get to Hontoon by private boat or public ferry, making this park fun to visit and get to!
This gem in Florida’s state park crown was once inhabited by Native Americans, whose stories are told in the state park’s museum. Like the ancient Native American park inhabitants, you can experience canoeing, camping, hiking, and fishing on Hontoon Island.
Playgrounds, grills, and bicycling paths are also available for your enjoyment.
MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR TRIP TO FLORIDA
- FLORIDA’S WEST COAST: 23+ Memorable Stops On The Florida West Coast
- SARASOTA: 40+ Memorable Things To Do In Sarasota For A Weekend Of Fun
- ORLANDO WITH KIDS: 42 Things To Do In Orlando With Kids (Besides the Theme Parks!)
- GAINESVILLE: 19 Amazing Things To Do In Gainesville, Florida
- ST. PETE: 23 Outstanding Things To Do In St. Petersburg, FL
WHERE TO STAY IN ORLANDO
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