Best Free Things to Do In Orlando
Orlando is a mecca of magic and attractions. And all of that fun can add up to an expensive stay. Discover the world of free things to do in Orlando, including parks, museums, nature activities, special events, and entertainment. Regardless of your age or taste, we're sure to have some great ideas of things to do in Orlando for free. Boat rides, nature walks, arts, culture, and more all await. Check out our affordable Orlando fun list.
A Touch of Magic
A visit to Orlando wouldn't be complete without a touch of the Disney magic. Get your free fix with a visit to Disney Springs. This shopping, dining, and entertainment district at Walt Disney World Resorts features Disney's signature architecture, natural beauty, and plenty of fun for the entire family, including live performances and entertainment. Stop by The LEGO store and let the kids build to their heart's content. Take the free ferry to the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, or Disney's Hollywood Studios, even if you are not planning on entering the parks. Both the admission and the covered parking are free.
Another great bet that is the complimentary ferry system is a visit to Disney's Boardwalk, which is just a stroll from Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios. You'll experience the magic of days gone by in this turn-of-the-century boardwalk. Free entertainment is offered in the evenings, and you may catch a juggler, comic, or even a fire-eater.
Universal Orlando Resort's Universal CityWalk is a 30-acre entertainment complex with restaurants, nightclubs, and shopping. Admission is free, and you may catch a dance party, check out the kids' splash area or take a ride on the water taxi.
For an authentic Disney experience, stop by Disney World's Art of Animation Resort for free daily drawing lessons. The session, lasting 30 minutes, are designed for kids, but the young at heart are welcome to join in. Check the website for times, but the classes are offered throughout the day.
The Best of the Great Florida Outdoors
A well-kept secret jewel of Orlando is Lake Eola. Stroll the .9 mile walkway around the lake, sit in the shade and have a picnic and feed the famous swans of Eola or take a swan boat ride out onto the lake. Lake Eola is a welcome respite from the crowds of the theme parks and other top attractions. They carry a full entertainment schedule in the amphitheater, including concerts, and plays and the gardens are spectacular.
The fourth-largest lake in Florida, Lake Apopka, lies just 15 miles out of Orlando. The 11-mile Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive around the lake offers fun and excitement for everyone. You'll see many species of wildlife, including alligators, birds, bobcats, and more, all in their natural habitat and enjoy right from the safety of your vehicle. The 2-hour drive has several rest stops where you can take a break and stretch. It is open Fridays through Sundays.
Culture, Museums, and Art
When your thinking of things to do in Orlando for free, don’t overlook the vibrant art scene.
The Henry P. Leu Gardens offers free admission on Mondays year-round. Bring a little romance with a stroll through the many gardens. A self-guided tour will take you through the Butterfly Garden, The Horseshoe Fountain, beautiful Lake Rowena Overlook, and lots of gorgeous gardens. This one is a must.
Orlando has a surprising art presence with some great museums in and around Orlando. Start building your itinerary of free things to do in Orlando with one of these museums. Stop by the Alfond Inn - In House Art Tours. They offer free guided tours on Sunday at 1 pm and a happy hour tour on the first Wednesday of each month. They have an exceptional contemporary art collection.
Tiffany fans and antique enthusiasts won't want to miss a visit to the Morse Museum in Winter Park. Admission is free from November through April from 4 - 8 pm. You'll enjoy the world's most comprehensive collection of Louis Comfort Tiffany's work as well as American painting, pottery, and other decorative art.
While you're in Winter Park, don't miss the Cornell Fine Arts Museum on Rollins Colleges campus. This museum offers over 5,500 worked including Renaissance, Baroque, modern and abstract pieces. Admission is always free, and free docent-led tours are offered on weekends.
For a funkier look at art, do some gallery hopping at City Arts Factory. It features an extensive collection of galleries and is located in downtown Orlando. You'll see a mix of local and international works that rotates every month. Entrance is free Tuesday through Saturday from 11 am to 6 pm.
Opera in Orlando? Yes! Universal Orlando Resort's Loews Portofino Bay Hotel hosts Musica Della Notte nightly at sunset from the balcony. You'll hear classically trained singers deliver opera standards and pop tunes. Free! Just access the hotel through the walking path or the free water taxi from Universal CityWalk.
Window shop 'til you drop
When you're ready to go full out "Pretty Woman," try some window shopping at the Mall at Millenia. This mall offers the very best of top brands all in one spot, from Ferragamo to Michael Kors, Armani, and Louis Vuitton. Take a walk on this catwalk and let your imagination run wild. You may want to leave the credit cards home.
For some trendy and more unusual shopping, visit East End Market in Orlando. They feature goods from local artisans ranging from freshly baked bread, soups, and fresh juices. Have a sit by the gardens and enjoy a snack and the people watching.
Winetasting and Beer Tours
For our wine-loving friends, take a trip over to Lakeridge Winery and Vineyards to experience one of their free vineyard tours and tastings. The tours are offered daily and run for around half an hour. You can then watch the production process from grape to bottle. Take a seat at the tasting table and enjoy!
Take a free and refreshing tour of Orlando Brewing. Orlando Brewing is the only certifies organic brewery in Orlando. They have a variety of beers and distribute them to 500 Florida locations. Their free tours of the brewing facility are on tap Monday through Saturday at 6 pm. If you plan to purchase a beer tasting, check online for Groupons and special offers.
The Offbeat and Unexpected
For a change of pace, take the 10 minute trip to Celebration. Celebration is a master-planned community that offers shopping, dining, entertainment, and lots of free family events year-round. Relax, refresh and take a stroll in this unique town.
A great way to spend a Saturday and shop for local products is a visit to the Winter Park Farmer's Market. You can browse Park Avenue, which is lined with restaurants, shops, museums, and theaters.
Splish splash! Let the kids chill out at one of several free splash pads. Check online for three free locations in Orlando parks. If Winter Garden is on your itinerary, spend the day with a visit to Plant Street Market, shop and eat at Winder Garden village, catch some free live music on Friday night or the Saturday Farmers Market. The Disney Springs splash pad is free, and so is the parking!
Free theme park fireworks! Skip the crowds and price of admission by watching the theme park fireworks from Disney's Boardwalk, The Contemporary on the Magic Kingdom side, or the marina's right side at Disney's Grand Floridian.
Orlando is full of marketplaces that offer amazing and eclectic options and unique environments. Take a ride to International Drive to ICON Park. Their signature attraction is The Wheel, their 400-foot observation wheel, which does charge admission, but you'll still enjoy it from the ground as the Wheel changes colors, and the Park offers a great mix of dining, attractions, and shopping. Relax while the little ones play out on the lawn, and the parking is accessible and free.
Whether you are trying to save a little on your travel budget or looking for something off the beaten path, there are plenty of free things to do in Orlando, Florida. Take a break from the theme parks and the crowds and get out and enjoy the gorgeous nature of Florida, savor the art and culture of Orlando with a visit or two to one of many museums. Take in some fantastic opera, or jump on Disney free ferry and get out on the water. Whatever your taste, you'll find plenty of things to do in Orlando Florida for free. Get out and explore the "rest and the best" of Orlando.
Vacationing at Walt Disney World in Orlando can be overwhelming and a little bit intimidating, even for the return visitor. There are so many attractions and thousands of things to see and do.
Orlando is much more than theme parks these days! Explore the Orlando outdoors, and you will find that it offers an abundance of natural beauty, outdoor activities that will chill you out, or get the adrenaline pumping, unusual wildlife, and lots of ways to explore.