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30 Free Things to do In Orlando (And Central Florida) You Must Do!

30 Free Things to do In Orlando (And Central Florida) You Must Do!

Looking for Free Things to do In Orlando?

Orlando has been referred to as the vacation capital of the world for many years and while it has a reputation due to all the theme parks as being a bit expensive, it doesn’t have to be! Believe it or not, you have have a great cheap vacation to Orlando.

Whether you are traveling solo, as a couple, or with a family, Orlando has a wide array of inexpensive activities. There is truly something to suit everyone. The best part is many of them are free and won’t break the bank!

So with no further adieu, here is the best free activities in Orlando or nearby in Central Florida.

30 Free Things to do In Orlando (And Nearby) You Must Do!

1. Disney Springs

Disney Springs is a beautiful location to visit within Orlando. Admission to the park is free, along with free self-parking. Disney Springs has numerous activities to do as you enjoy the warm Florida weather.

Window shop, explore the area, or take a seat in front of the stage for live music, shows, and other live performances.

Take a ride on one of the ferries that travel to the various theme parks (it is not required to have theme park pass tickets to enjoy the ferry ride) and explore your creative side at the LEGO Store, where children can build LEGO figurines for free within the store.

Disney Springs Free Things to do In Orlando

Disney Springs/ Flickr

2. Universal City Walk

Universal City Walk is a great place to enjoy an evening in Orlando. After 6 p.m. the entrance and parking are free to the public.

Stroll through the entertainment complex of over 30 acres and discover the abundance of free activities, such as dance parties with live DJs, water taxis that travel between the City Walk and the various theme parks, and let the family cool off in the splash area for kids on the warm evenings in Orlando.

Universal City Walk is one of the best places to visit for free that gives you a glimpse of all that the theme park offers. One of the best things to do in Orlando for free.

Universal City Walk

Universal City Walk/ Flickr

3. CityArts Orlando

Orlando’s CityArts is home to multiple art galleries with stunning and unique art forms in each gallery. Admission is free Tuesday through Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

However, the best has yet to come. Every third Thursday from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., the city celebrates the art, culture, and history in downtown Orlando. Activities include a makers market, live performances, food trucks, a gallery hop activity, and numerous options to experience the excitement of downtown Orlando.

Partnerships with major organizations in Orlando, such as the Orange County Regional History Center and the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, have helped make this celebration bigger and better.

CityArts Orlando

CityArts Orlando/ Flickr

4. Harry P. Leu Gardens

The Harry P. Leu Gardens is a stunning location to visit in Orlando. The gardens typically have an entrance fee. However, if you go on March 12th and 13th, they have their weekend plant sale, which includes free admission. Additionally, April 4th, May 2nd, June 6th, and July 4th offer free admission to the public.

The gardens are filled with bountiful flowers and vegetation of all types. It is a stunning place to visit, and with a map from the visitor’s center, you can take a self-guided tour to experience all that the gardens offer. This experience is truly astonishing.

One of the best free things to do in Orlando for couples as it is so romantic.

Harry P. Leu Gardens

Harry P. Leu Gardens/ Flickr

5. OBT Flea Market

Visit the OBT Flea Market on Saturday and/or Sunday from 7:00 a. m. to 5:00 p. m. for a real Floridian experience.

Enjoy the different vendors that carry everything from food, to clothing, furniture, jewelry, and more. Enjoy local authentic cultural foods and spend your time chatting with the locals about their products, many of which are homemade or home-grown.

Admission is always free, and purchase is not required. However, with some of their special prices, you may be tempted to purchase a souvenir from your trip. Simply show up, park free, and enjoy your day at the OBT Flea Market.

OBT Flea Market

OBT Flea Market/ Flickr

6. Orlando Brewery Tour & Downtown Orlando Brewery

Orlando Brewing is a staggering place for adults to visit in Orlando, whether you are a tourist/visitor or a local. The South Downtown Orlando brewing facility offers free tours, and coming to the brewery to scope it out is fun as is.

Gather with friends and family and catch up as you explore Orlando’s only certified organic brewery and its local brewing facility. The brewery is known to use four simple ingredients, including water, yeast, hops, and malted barley.

The brewery has many varieties of beer that are distributed to over 500 locations within Florida, and the facility tour will inform you of many more facts associated with the brews you love.

Orlando Brewery Tour & Downtown Orlando Brewery

Brewery Tour & Downtown Orlando Brewery/ Flickr

7. March of the Ducks

The March of the Ducks is a unique tradition that began at Peabody Orlando when it opened and has continued to remain a tradition.

At 11:00 a.m., five North American Mallard Ducks, four hens, and one drake ride down from a special elevator and wander around the lobby with John Philip Sousa.

These proud Peabody Ducks strut around this location every day and finish their march with a dip into the orchid-crowned fountain, where they stay until 5:00 p.m. when they return to the elevator. This oddly charming activity is open and is free to the public. Enjoy the most unique experience you could expect to see in the City of Orlando.

March of the Ducks

March of the Ducks/ Flickr

8. Grand Bohemian Hotel

Tourists and locals alike should not miss the astonishing artwork at the Grand Bohemian Hotel in downtown Orlando.

Whether or not you are an artist, you will see stunning pieces of artwork by famous artists, both nationally and internationally, in addition to the local favorites. Artwork varieties that are displayed include paintings, sculptures, drawings, craftwork, and much more.

Special free events are also a lot of fun to attend as they show unique art like the work of jewelry designers. Pay nothing and gain everything. This can be either a family activity, a fun couples date, a great place for solo adventurers, or a place for artists and art lovers.

Grand Bohemian Hotel

Grand Bohemian Hotel/ Facebook

9. Orlando Southeast Trail

Another treasure found in Orlando is the Orlando Southeast Trail. It is located slightly east of the Orlando International Airport.

The trail is roughly thirteen miles long and is an astounding twelve feet wide, making it accessible to both bicyclists and pedestrians on foot.

A significant portion of the trail is off the street, and it is made from asphalt and concrete, which makes it easy to travel over.

The trail brings visitors around southeast Orlando and offers a unique view of the environmental diversity in the area. Take a bicycle or a lovely stroll down one of Orlando’s best trails. Another perk is no admission or entry fees.

Orlando Southeast Trail

Orlando Southeast Trail/ Facebook

10. East Colonial Flea Market

East Colonial Flea Market is another hidden gem amongst Orlando’s popular attractions. The flea market is located on West Colonial Drive in Orlando and is known to be one of the liveliest flea markets in the area.

With a selection of many unique stands, people sell and barter over home-grown foods, homemade work, antiques, and much more.

Visit the East Colonial Flea Market on Saturday from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and on Sunday from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. There is nothing like a flea market to make you feel at home in the Sunshine State. Enjoy collecting some of your own treasures at this unique place.

11. The Cady Way Trail

The Cady Way Trail is located four miles northeast of Downtown Orlando and is one section of a larger regional trail. Are you up for a little more physical activity?

Try visiting the Cady Way Trail which travels northeast through Orange County. There are multiple other offshoots on the trail, such as the two-and-a-half-mile loop around Lake Baldwin and the one-and-a-half-mile trail around the west side of Lake Susannah.

The trail has many long shaded portions that make it a nice trip even when it is sunny. It is most commonly used in the evening and on weekends. However, if you are up for some heat, pack a lot of water and begin your adventure. Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity.

One of the best free things to do in Orlando for families.

The Cady Way Trail

The Cady Way Trail/ Flickr

12. The Mall at Millenia

Every Florida visitor and local should scope out the Mall at Millenia. It is an indoor shopping mall in Orlando, Florida.

The mall is not only an enjoyable outdoor location to walk and enjoy the sunshine, but it is a great place to score a good deal.

If flea markets are not your thing, try the Millenia Mall for deals of a lifetime. Products that people pay so much for in Northeastern states will often be more than five times cheaper in this mall.

They have outlet stores of some of the most popular brands that make obtaining what you want much more affordable. The mall is always free to visit.

The Mall at Millenia

The Mall at Millenia/ Flickr

13. The Magic Mall

If you prefer an even better deal visit the Magic Mall on Colonial Drive in Orlando. The indoor flea market-style mall is home to many booths that sell everything from clothes and shoes to electronics.

Don’t miss out on great deals you will not find anywhere else while you enjoy cooling off from the Florida heat. Most people find themselves intrigued by the peculiar mall and end up spending hours either window shopping or buying things.

Come with family, friends, or as a fun couples date and enjoy the creativity put into each booth and its products. Do not miss this free opportunity.

The Magic Mall

The Magic Mall/ Facebook

14. Downtown Orlando

Orlando is a fun place, and during the afternoon and evening, it offers many fun opportunities. Guide yourself through downtown Orlando and observe the creative architectural styles.

Visit the coffee shops, restaurants, boutiques, and other small and large businesses within the area. Orlando has so much to offer that simply taking a walk through the city can be enjoyable for both groups and individuals.

Even locals enjoy walking around the city and discovering the newly founded businesses as the city grows. Most people expect that a visit to Orlando means they have to spend a lot of money, but activities as simple as exploring have been found to be some of the best things to do.

Downtown Orlando

Downtown Orlando/ Flickr

15. Orlando Architecture

Orlando has a total of six locations that are considered to be Historic Preservations. One of which is Lake Cherokee.

Lake Cherokee is a beautiful and historic place to visit. Explore the park from sunrise to sunset for free and enjoy the paved walking path, as well as the natural beauty of the location.

Imagine yourself in 1981, and think of all of the traditions and historic sights than have been preserved in Orlando since then. Make sure to include time for these important historical destinations while visiting the Sunshine State and learn more about it than you ever could have dreamed.

Orlando Architecture

Orlando Architecture/ Flickr

16. Old Town Car Shows & Entertainment

Old Town is an entertainment district that includes restaurants, amusement rides, and shopping. However, the most distinctive entertainment in Old Town occurs each Friday and Saturday night. One of the best things to do in Orlando at night.

Friday features a Muscle Car show, and Saturday features Classic Cars. The car shows have been a weekly tradition at Old Town for over 30 years.

This tradition allows people to drive their cars down Main Street in Old Town and become a part of the parade. Anyone can participate if their car meets the qualifications, and it is free to watch. In addition, on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday nights, live music is featured on stage, beginning at 7:00 p.m. and ending at 11:00 p.m. Do not miss out on this unique tradition!

Old Town Car Shows & Entertainment

Old Town Car Shows & Entertainment/ Flickr

17. Celebration Town Center

If you are looking for something to celebrate or simply a fun time, visit Celebration Town Center. This unique location is a little town nearby Disney. The center of the village is filled with restaurants and other eateries, shops, small businesses, and more.

Take a casual stroll around the local lake or gear up to play in the interactive fountain. This quaint town provides everything you need for a lovely visit with a little less hustle and bustle than the theme parks and other more popular locations.

This town also offers events such as farmer’s markets, exotic car shows (as previously discussed), and the occasional Walk & Wine Art Show. It is truly a hidden gem.

Celebration Town Center

Celebration Town Center/ Flickr

18. Lake Ridge Winery Tours

For those of us who love wine, the Lake Ridge Winery is the place to be. They offer daily winery tours and tastings for free.

Let’s be honest, what beats free wine? The guided wine tasting tours begin at 10:00 a.m. on a typical day and times vary for some days as the winery is open seven days a week. Each tour is approximately 30 to 40 minutes long and begins with a short video about the process of wine production, including the history of Florida wine.

You will be led to the winemaking area with an incredible view of the vineyards. These top-of-the-line tours offer an array of wines from dry to sweet and even sparkling. Do not forget to visit the Wine Shop before you go!

Lake Ridge Winery Tours

Lake Ridge Winery Tours/ Flickr

19. Kraft Azalea Gardens

Enjoy a laid-back day at the Kraft Azalea Gardens. The public gardens are over five acres long and extend alongside Lake Maitland in Winter Park.

It is open year-round from 8:00 a.m. until dusk. The gardens behold a breathtaking view of the secluded lakefront. Kraft Azalea is considered a secret garden due to its location.

Visitors and locals can explore the gardens, spot gigantic cypress trees, explore the dock and the Exedra Monument, and sit on the benches within the gardens to enjoy the peace and beauty of the glorious gardens. Enjoy a cup of tea or a meal while you immerse yourself in this natural and secluded location.

Kraft Azalea Gardens

Kraft Azalea Gardens/ Flickr

20. University of Central Florida Arboretum

The University of Central Florida Arboretum covers the whole college campus. The arboretum is home to an organic and edible garden with miles of nature trails for your walking pleasure.

The arboretum is an amazing location for the entire family, couples, and solo travelers. This location is open from sunrise to sunset, and free tours are offered from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Learn about the University of Central Florida Arboretum during the guided tour and discover the long history of the arboretum. It was created in 1983 and has been a peaceful study area for students throughout the years.

More Free or Inexpensive Activities in Orlando

21. Dr. P. Philips Community Park

Dr. P. Philips Community Park gives visitors a chance to escape the busy theme parks and enjoy what nature has to offer.

The park is open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. and is free of charge. The splash pad gives the kids a chance to cool off while the lakeside nature trail presents beautiful scenery and is a wonderful mini-excursion from the busy city life in Orlando.

Enjoy an afternoon walk and a picnic, play in the sports fields, or bring your dogs, who are welcome in the park. This location is ideal for both visitors and local residents.

Dr. P. Philips Community Park

Dr. P. Philips Community Park/ Facebook

22. Big Tree Park

Florida is home to another historical site, Big Tree Park. It is open from sunrise to 8:00 p.m. Arrive early and take a stroll across the boardwalk through the natural hydric hammock swamp to discover the former site of a 3500-year-old National Champion Bald Cypress Tree.

It was tragically destroyed in a fire in 2012. However, the park is a memorial with a renovated boardwalk and signage with details of the tree’s history, a playground, and a clone of the ancient tree. The clone was planted in the park to grow nearby the playground.

The park is also home to other ancient trees. It is uniquely historic and the perfect destination for families and nature lovers.

Big Tree Park

Big Tree Park/ Flickr

23. The Winter Park History Tour

Florida’s historical walks are always popular and busy, so having options is great. The Winter Park History Tour is yet another walking tour option. The tour is self-guided allows you to travel at your own pace.

You can expect to see some of the most common historic buildings along your journey, including the Central Business District, Central Park, Winter Park Railway Station, Ergood’s Store, Parkwood Building, the Lincoln Apartment building, Knowles Cottage, Osceola Lodge, the First Methodist Church, All Saints Episcopal Church, Winter Park Library, and many more. There are even additional sites for those who are feeling extra adventurous. Get to know the history of Winter Park your way!

The Winter Park History Tour

The Winter Park History Tour/ Flickr

24. Tasty Tuesdays

Liven up your trip with a visit to the Tasty Tuesday’s food truck event, held each Tuesday from 6:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. People are welcome to come along, with their dog(s), or with their friends and family. Roam around the district and check out the food truck menus, which often change.

Indulge in some delectable food, including vegetarian options, and bring a lawn chair so you can crack a cold one and enjoy the friendly crowd that typically exceeds 1000 people every week. Come no matter what the weather and expect to be accompanied by many other foodies as you enjoy the local small businesses that make up Tasty Tuesdays.

Tasty Tuesdays

Tasty Tuesdays/ Facebook

25. Apopka Wildlife Drive

Are you looking to get involved in nature without being a seasoned hiker? Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive is one of the best ways to see the stunning wildlife along the 11-mile drive. The drive will take approximately one hour and is completely free.

Take as much time as you would like as you take in the natural beauty of this breathtaking location. If you decide you are feeling more adventurous, visit Lake Apopka North Shore for some time.

The 20-acre land was once underwater and is now considered wetlands. The historical significance of this area is incredible, not to mention the numerous trails that you can hike, bike, or ride on horseback. This destination is a must-see!

Apopka Wildlife Drive

Apopka Wildlife Drive/ Flickr

26. Sanford Art & Jazz Night

Spice up your vacation with a unique night that you will never forget. Every third Saturday, Sanford holds an Art & Jazz Night from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Sanford Art & Jazz Night brings locals and tourists from around the world the evening reveals downtown Sanford’s historic side with live music and an array of local art galleries and businesses.

The art galleries are unlike anything you have ever seen, and the live Jazz music tops off the night. Don’t miss out on this exciting evening, and check online for special events before planning your trip. You never know what they may do next!

Sanford Art & Jazz Night

Sanford Art & Jazz Night/ Facebook

27. Diverse Word Open Mic Night

Explore the diverse culture in Orlando at Diverse Word’s open mic night. It is known to be the longest-running open mic event in Florida.

Join in by coming to Diverse Word’s open mic night which takes place Tuesday night from 7:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. in Downtown Credo to see what it is all about.

You will truly see, hear, and experience one-of-a-kind performances, and if you are feeling brave, you can join in and share your own form of art. Enjoy the diversity and poetry from the surrounding areas and experience the peace and love shared within the community.

Diverse Word Open Mic Night

Diverse Word Open Mic Night/ Facebook

28. Mills 50 District Art Projects

Raise your glass and admire the class of the hidden artwork in and around Orlando. Begin your self-guided tour in the Mills 50 District and stop at Lineage Coffee for something special to sip on your adventure. Within walking distance from Colonial Drive, wall murals are painted on neighborhood buildings around the corner from Lineage Coffee.

After enjoying the colorful murals, wander up the street to a local dumpster turned wild. The spirit put into this work of art is incredible. The surrounding areas are filled with artwork, from the dumpster art projects and murals to the art boxes and art drains.

Who knew such simple and sometimes appalling things could turn into such treasures? The answer to that is found in the artwork itself.

Mills 50 District Art Projects

Mills 50 District Art Projects/ Facebook

29. Seminole State Planetarium Event – Telescope Thursday

For a completely different view of Orlando, check out the Seminole State Planetarium Event, held on select Thursday evenings on a seasonal basis, meaning tourists, this is your time! Staff generally set up telescopes at a local park or nearby business in Central Florida.

Come from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. at no cost and catch a glimpse of the night sky through the eye of the telescope, with staff nearby to inform you of the beauty you see above.

In addition, look to the planetarium’s website for sporadic stargazing opportunities when people are invited to the planetarium to observe the sky, watch dome shows, listen to presentations, and learn about the mysteries in the sky above us.

Seminole State Planetarium Event – Telescope Thursday

Seminole State Planetarium Event – Telescope Thursday/ Facebook

30. Picnic Date to Rejuvenate

Some of the most simplistic things are the best, and who would not be hungry after the fun yet exhausting adventures you’ve seen in Florida?

Luckily, the beautiful parks in central Florida are some of the best places to relax and reenergize. Central Park is a great place to stop by and relax, as well as numerous others, depending on the atmosphere you like. Winter Park is stunning, Lake Lily Park is very unique, and Kissimmee Lakefront Park has wonderful lakefront views.

Each of these parks has a certain charm, so take a look at your map and select one of these lovely parks for an easy-going picnic.


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