skip to Main Content

Free Things to Do in Orlando: A Guide to the Best Places to Visit

Free Things To Do In Orlando: A Guide To The Best Places To Visit

Embrace the free activities Orlando has to offer and enjoy your visit without spending money. This guide provides a list of fun and engaging things to do in Orlando that won’t cost you a penny. From peaceful parks to lively entertainment spots, discover our top picks for an enjoyable and budget-friendly experience.

free things to do in orlando

Explore Downtown Orlando

Orlando isn’t just about theme parks. The city’s heart, downtown Orlando, pulsates with a vibrant arts scene and offers a variety of free activities. Wandering through downtown, you’ll stumble upon a vibrant mural walk and an engaging street art tour. The tour showcases local and international artwork that adds a splash of color and creativity to the cityscape.

For the music lovers, Tanqueray’s, a popular bar in downtown Orlando, provides the perfect backdrop to the city’s pulsating nightlife, offering free live music entertainment every night. Art lovers can set off on the self-guided See Art Orlando Public Sculpture Community Project tour, immersing themselves in unique public art installations scattered around downtown.

free things to do in orlando

Lake Eola Park

Nestled in downtown Orlando, Lake Eola Park is a haven for those seeking to enjoy picturesque views and a range of recreational activities without spending a dime. Featuring swan-shaped paddleboats, the park offers a leisurely experience on the water, allowing you to soak in the beauty of the surroundings.

However, the park offers even more. Year-round, Lake Eola Park is a venue for numerous free events, fostering a strong community spirit and welcoming all visitors. From art festivals to farmers markets, there’s always something happening at Lake Eola Park – a perfect spot to relax and unwind, all for free!

Church Street Station

When it comes to free activities, Church Street Station doesn’t disappoint. This historic hotspot in Orlando is alive with a variety of free events and activities, making it a must-visit for anyone exploring the city.

The lively atmosphere of downtown Orlando is further amplified by free live music and street performances that guests can enjoy. But that’s not all. Take a stroll down Church Street Station, and you’ll find yourself in a window shopper’s paradise.

With a variety of shops offering everything from fashion to home decor, you can enjoy the thrill of browsing without the pressure of spending.

free things to do in orlando

Disney Springs: A World of Free Fun

If you thought Orlando was all about Walt Disney World and theme parks, think again! Disney Springs, located in the heart of Orlando, is a hub of unique boutiques, one-of-a-kind eateries, and jaw-dropping entertainment – and the best part? It offers free parking for all guests.

Guests can enjoy the following activities at Disney Springs:

  • Revel in the dynamic atmosphere, accompanied by live music
  • Watch the spectacle of hot air balloons floating overhead
  • Enjoy a drink at the Coca-Cola Store and try unique flavors from around the world

Looking for a unique mode of transport? The free water taxis at Disney Springs provide an enjoyable and no-cost way to experience free tours of the area.

Live Entertainment

Live entertainment enthusiasts will find a paradise in Disney Springs. It hosts a range of live performances, including musical acts like Haze Over Hollywood and the duo Free Daps. These performances are staged at various venues within Disney Springs, such as the Orange Stage and Waterview Park, ensuring there’s always something to catch your attention.

Keep in mind that although live entertainment at Disney Springs is a sensory delight, outdoor performances may be cancelled due to poor weather conditions. So, make sure to check the weather forecast before planning your day!

free things to do in orlando

Outdoor Adventures in Orlando’s Parks and Trails

Orlando offers a plethora of outdoor activities for adventure seekers. The city boasts an array of hiking and biking trails such as the 22-mile West Orange Trail, Cady Way Trail, and the scenic offerings at various local parks.

Further outdoor exploration can be enjoyed through various activities, including:

  • Walking or biking along trails at places like Kelly Park, Rock Springs Run, and the Ocala National Forest, which also includes unique historical sites
  • Kayaking and tubing at Kelly Park and Rock Springs Run
  • Taking a peaceful canoe ride through Hontoon Island State Park

Orlando’s parks and trails, including the Central Florida Arboretum, cater to both thrill-seekers and nature aficionados.

West Orange Trail

Outdoor enthusiasts often favour the West Orange Trail. This 22-mile rail-trail offers modern amenities, including bike rentals, restrooms, and water at the trailhead at Killarney Station.

As you hike or cycle the trail, you’ll pass through the wooded community of Oakland to downtown Winter Garden, with views of equestrian areas and orange groves along the way. The trail also offers an extended adventure as it transitions into the South Lake and Lake Minneola Scenic Trail at its western endpoint.

With attractions such as picnic spots, butterfly gardens, and basketball courts along the way, the West Orange Trail promises an unforgettable outdoor experience.

Mead Botanical Garden

Mead Botanical Garden is a must-see for lovers of flora and fauna. The garden provides an array of experiences, including hiking trails, boardwalks, a butterfly garden, and biking paths. Don’t miss the chance to also visit the nearby Kraft Azalea Garden for a complete experience.

Visitors can explore various natural habitats and encounter the native flora and fauna, as well as enjoy the following attractions at Mead Botanical Garden:

  • Legacy Garden
  • Greenhouse
  • Butterfly Gardens
  • Native Plant Demonstration Gardens

Ongoing projects at Mead Botanical Garden include enhancing areas like The Grove, the wetlands, the boardwalk, and the pollinator garden, as part of the comprehensive MBG Vision plan.

It’s a place where nature and education come together, offering an immersive outdoor experience.

free things to do in orlando

Art and Culture on a Budget

Art and culture enthusiasts can enjoy Orlando without worrying about the cost. The city offers a range of experiences such as free admission to museums, galleries, and unique art projects. You can visit The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art on Friday evenings from 4-8pm, November-April for free admission.

Orlando’s Local Wanderer program provides free admission to different cultural venues around the city, letting you soak in the city’s vibrant arts scene without breaking the bank. The Orlando Museum of Art showcases a wide range of American, African, and ancient American art, while the Grand Bohemian Gallery, located in downtown Orlando, offers a free viewing experience for art enthusiasts. It’s culture, creativity, and cost-saving all in one city!

Cornell Fine Arts Museum

Orlando’s cultural crown is adorned with the gem that is the Cornell Fine Arts Museum. The museum, where admission is always free, houses a remarkable collection, with thousands of art pieces ranging from classical antiquity to modern art movements. Included in the collection are works by renowned artists like Matisse and Picasso, providing an enriching experience for art lovers.

Currently, the museum is hosting exhibits such as:

  • ‘The Voice of the People’
  • ‘What’s New?’
  • ‘American Visions’
  • ‘Beyond the Medici’
  • ‘Together Again’

These exhibits are scheduled between June 1, 2023, and January 7, 2024. The Cornell Fine Arts Museum is not just a museum; it is a journey through the ages of art.

CityArts Factory

As the largest arts center in downtown Orlando, CityArts Factory presents a vast collection of local and international art, all available for public viewing at no cost. Visitors can explore a range of art galleries showcasing quirky artwork by local artists, with exhibits including a section for youth and collections that are refreshed frequently.

The CityArts Factory offers free admission to its galleries from Tuesday through Saturday, between the hours of 11am and 6pm. It’s a space where creativity knows no bounds, and the best part? You can experience free things like these amazing art exhibits all for free!

free things to do in orlando

Wildlife Encounters and Nature Experiences

Nature and wildlife enthusiasts will find numerous opportunities in Orlando. The city is home to Tibet Butler Preserve and Blue Spring State Park, where you can encounter native species in their natural habitats.

Blue Spring State Park, in particular, is a prime destination for wildlife enthusiasts, offering a chance to see manatees in their natural habitat during winter. Over the years, the sanctuary has seen the manatee population grow from about 36 to over 700, and has established a Manatee Observer Volunteer program to aid in their protection. Here’s your chance to get a close-up view of nature’s gentle creatures!

Tibet Butler Preserve

Located near Disney’s Magic Kingdom, Tibet Butler Preserve serves as a sanctuary for those who adore nature. The preserve offers a network of over 3.6 miles of trails and boardwalks that navigate through diverse ecosystems.

Visitors can encounter an array of wildlife such as:

  • bobcats
  • foxes
  • bald eagles
  • gopher tortoises
  • a variety of songbirds

inhabiting the preserve. The Vera Carter Environmental Center provides interactive and educational wildlife exhibits, enhancing the visitor’s experience and understanding of the local ecosystem.

The Osprey Overlook Trail leads to a pavilion that is an excellent spot for bird watching and appreciating views of the cypress forest and the Tibet-Butler Chain of Lakes.

Blue Spring State Park

Blue Spring State Park serves as a crucial refuge for manatees, particularly during winter when they gather in the warm spring waters to evade cold stress syndrome. Visitors can view manatees from a boardwalk that extends a third of a mile from the St. Johns River to the headspring, offering a chance to see these gentle creatures in their natural habitat.

Over the years, Blue Spring State Park has seen an increasing manatee population and is also utilized as a site for the release of rehabilitated manatees back into the wild. Beyond wildlife observation, the park offers year-round recreational activities like kayaking and tubing on the St. Johns River. It’s a haven for wildlife enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike!

free things to do in orlando

Free Events and Festivals

Orlando is renowned for its knack for hosting parties. With numerous free events and festivals happening throughout the year, the city’s calendar is always packed with lively community experiences and entertainment.

From cultural performances and exhibitions at the Orlando Japan Festival in Lake Eola Park, to the annual MLK Gospel Concert organized by the Orlando Mayor in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the city always has an array of fun, free events. And who can forget the annual Orlando Fringe Festival that showcases a myriad of free performances? It’s a city that loves to celebrate, and you’re invited to join the party!

Winter Park Farmers Market

Every Saturday morning, the community gathers at the popular weekly event, the Winter Park Farmers Market. The market is a vibrant place where you can explore a range of:

  • local produce
  • artisanal crafts
  • food
  • beverages

from various vendors.

The festive ambiance of the Winter Park Farmers Market is enhanced by live music performances and other forms of live entertainment. So, whether you’re a foodie, a music lover, or just a fan of good vibes, the Winter Park Farmers Market is the place to be!

Orlando Fringe Festival

Known for its open, inclusive, and easily accessible events, the Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival holds the title of the oldest Fringe festival in the United States. Visitors can experience a variety of performances for free at the Outdoor Stage in Loch Haven Park, while families can enjoy the Kids Fringe, which provides family-friendly activities and shows at no cost.

The festival is also committed to supporting artists by giving them 100% of the ticket sales revenue. Additionally, it offers coaching, mentorship, and scholarships to help artists grow. It’s a festival that champions creative expression and offers free entertainment for everyone to enjoy!

free things to do in orlando

Final Thoughts

Orlando has something for everyone, and you don’t need to spend a lot of money to have a good time. You can explore shops at Church Street Station, watch manatees swim at Blue Spring State Park, or soak up the vibrant scene at Disney Springs. There’s no shortage of free fun in Orlando.


What is the cheapest way around Orlando?

The cheapest way around Orlando is to use the LYNX bus system, which has about 80 routes and costs $2 per adult for a one-way trip. It’s an excellent option for exploring Orlando on a budget.

Does Orlando have beaches?

No, Orlando does not have beaches, but there are many beautiful beaches nearby that can be reached with a one to two-hour drive. This makes it convenient to access either the Atlantic or Gulf Coast for a beach day.

How can I spend a few hours in Orlando?

You can spend a few hours in Orlando by exploring free attractions, taking a brewery tour, visiting a museum, going for a winery tour and tasting, or enjoying a concert at the amphitheater at Lake Eola. Enjoy your time in Orlando!

Can I see live music for free in Orlando?

Yes, you can enjoy free live music at venues like Tanqueray’s and Disney Springs in downtown Orlando.

Holly Smith

I'm Holly a Mum of 4 with a love for everything Disney & Orlando!

Back To Top