You don’t have to spend a fortune to have fun and keep the kids entertained in Orlando. There are so many fun things to do all over Florida, and yes, sometimes they can be costly (ahem, theme parks). But many people are surprised to realize that there are a number of totally free things you can do all over Orlando and the nearby area.
Whether you live in Orlando or are visiting on vacation, sprinkling in some of these free activities will help you keep a little extra cash in your pocket that you can spend another day. Check out this list of the top 13 free activities to do in Orlando as a tourist or local who would like to have a fantastic time with family or friends while on a budget.
#1. Disney Springs
Many people don’t realize that access to Disney Springs is FREE! Even parking is totally free. The massive complex is home to several entertainment sources to keep visitors occupied. In fact, this is one of our favorite places to visit when we are in Orlando because it’s good, cheap fun. Plus, we love Disney!
At Disney Spring,s you really don’t have to spend anything! You can walk around and enjoy yourself soaking up all the atmosphere for free. Plus, window-shopping can be fun too!
During your visit to Disney Springs, you’ll have the opportunity to watch live performances on their outdoor stage for free. Or you may choose to buy a ticket for their amazing Cirque du Soleil show called “Drawn to Life” which was a custom production with Disney and a unique one-of-a-kind show. There is also Splitsville bowling alley, as well as a Fork and Screen where you can dine while you watch movies. And one of our favorite spots is the House of Blues where we’ve seen a number of great concerts (in fact, it’s one of our favorite live music venues in the area!).
But the main attraction here at Disney Springs is all the shops and restaurants. From a giant World of Disney Store, a Christmas store, and tons of other Disney-related merchandise stores. However, it’s not just Disney around here. There is a huge mall area with many popular stores including a Ron Jon Surf Shop, Tommy Bahama, Anthropologie, UNIQLO and more.
Then there are the restaurants — oh so many to choose from! We can’t even list them all, but trust us when we say you can find just about anything to eat here. One of our favorites is Raglan Road Irish Pub where you can also watch traditional Irish Dancers perform daily.
But again, just walking around to soak up the atmosphere here is a lot of fun. There are performers on various stages, especially in the evenings on the weekends. So you can easily just wander around and watch the shows, and let the kids run and play in the fountains – all totally free!
#2. Icon Park
Did you know you can visit ICON Park for free? Not only will admission cost you nothing, but parking is free, too! Of course, you can buy tickets to get on rides, but if you’d rather take a leisurely stroll around the park and enjoy the view, you can do that instead.
One of the most famous rides here at ICON Park is the giant wheel where you can get birds-eye views of Orlando. But our favorite thing about ICON Park are the restaurants and music venues. Places like Tin Roof and Sloppy Joes (the original is famous in Key West) are great spots to grab something to eat and then dance away to some great music.
It’s totally free to just wander around and soak up the atmosphere here at ICON Park. So you don’t have to spend anything to enjoy yourself and do a bit of people-watching.
#3. Celebration Town Center
If you’re looking for a way to spend the day without spending anything, then Celebration Town Center is worth visiting. Celebration is famous for being a “Disney Town” master-planned community. The town itself is worthy of a visit just to see all the architecture and perfectly manicured homes and streets. But the downtown Celebration area has plenty of fun things to do for free.
While there, you can take a stroll around the lake downtown, visit their weekly local farmers market, and even spend quality time with loved ones in the local park. Several walking trails in the area are perfect for getting exercise and enjoying fantastic views, such as the Lake Circle and Scenic Nature Walk trails. There are also playgrounds for the kids to enjoy and lots of shops to enjoy a bit of window shopping.
#4. Old Town (Kissimmee)
The Old Town Amusement Park in Kissimmee, Florida, is not far from Orlando and is actually right near Celebration Town. One of the things people love most about this park is that admission to it is free! So, even if you’re not a big fan of getting on rides, you can walk around and experience this local hot spot, watching others as they get on roller coasters and other thrilling rides. The amusement park is also most famous for hosting weekly car shows that are perfect for car enthusiasts!
#5. Lakeridge Winery (Clermont)
Have you always wanted to go on a wine tour? If so, now is your chance to do so. The Lakeridge Winery in Clermont offers complimentary tours of their winery, allowing guests to taste samples of their delicious selections. You might even find a bottle of wine you’d like to purchase and bring back home with you!
Clermont is just a short drive from Orlando and is a nice little getaway from all the busy touristy activities that you’ll find around Orlando.
#6. Lake Eola Park
Hang out at Lake Eola Park for a fun day in the sun. The clean, spacious park offers some of the most incredible views of downtown Orlando, making it an excellent spot to choose for an outdoor picnic. Besides having a picnic, you can bring games to play with the kids and take your furry friends along for the fun.
There is a great path that goes all around the lake that you can enjoy and plenty of green grass to relax. If you’re in the area during the holiday season, be sure to visit at night to see all the decorations and bright lights.
#7. West Orange Trail
The West Orange Trail is a fantastic paved trail perfect for walking, running, rollerblading or bike riding. The trail is 22 miles long and will take you through various towns near Orlando, including Apopka and Winter Garden. This is the perfect spot to visit if you’d like to experience nature at its finest while getting some exercise for the day. In fact, when I lived in Orlando years ago I really loved spending a nice afternoon enjoying the West Orange Trail with friends, whether we were biking or rollerblading.
#8. Visit Local Markets
There are many local markets that take place in and around Orlando every week. So if you are looking for something free to do, then check out one or more local farmers’ markets throughout the area, such as the Longwood Farmers Market or the Lake Mary Farmer’s Market. If you’re planning to visit these hot spots to see what they’re offering, pay attention to the time because some open and close earlier than others. For example, the Longwood Farmers Market is open until 3 PM on Saturday, while Lake Mary is open until 1 PM.
#9. Take a Brewery Tour
Have you ever wondered what goes into the beer brewing process? If so, you can find out during a tour at Orlando Brewing! Free tours are available Monday through Saturday at 6 PM. After watching the brewing process, you’ll get an opportunity to taste-test some of the freshly brewed beers.
*NOTE – the current Orlando Brewing is moving locations and is scheduled to reopen Fall 2022. Be sure to check their website and social pages for information about the new location and opening date.
However, there are many other breweries in Orlando too. And some of them offer free tours as well. If you haven’t been on a brewery tour or tasting, then it’s definitely something to check out and a nice inexpensive way to spend an afternoon.
#10. Leu Gardens (Free First Monday of the Month)
Leu Gardens is the spot to visit when you want to experience nature’s beauty at its finest. This spacious garden has an impressive selection of gorgeous flowers, plants, and shrubs. While there is typically a charge for entry to Leu Gardens, they offer free admission on the first Monday of each month! Visiting the gardens on a Monday is a really nice way to enjoy yourself without spending a dime!
#11. Movies in the Park
The Enzian Theater (which is a really fun place anyway) hosts something known as Popcorn Flicks in the Park. Guests are welcome to bring their favorite blankets and snacks before securing a spot in Winter Park to sit comfortably with loved ones while watching a family-friendly film!
The park provides the film for families on the second Thursday of every month, so mark it on your calendar because you don’t want to miss the fun and excitement.
#12. Cranes Roost Park
Not far from Orlando in Altamonte Springs, Florida, you have the wonderful Cranes Roost Park, a well-maintained, naturally beautiful park that hosts free, family-friendly events each month, including movie nights! It’s the perfect place to visit with the family. In addition to the special events, visitors of Cranes Roost Park can head off on a journey through the walking path and watch the plaza fountain show.
#13. Orlando Public Library
You can never go wrong with a trip to the Orlando Public Library. You can easily find several libraries throughout the city, many of which host special events and activities for children and adults. It’s a great spot to take the kids while encouraging them to select books they’d like to rent and read at home. Check out the Orange County Library System to get more details on any events they may have planned for the coming weeks.
Yes, It’s Possible to Have Some FREE Fun in Orlando!
Who says you have to spend a fortune to have fun in Orlando, Florida? While it’s true that visiting this area on vacation can get expensive if you plan to visit places like Disney or Universal Studios, but it’s also possible to save some money by throwing in some of these free things to do into your itinerary.
With these free activities available to residents and tourists throughout the city, you’ll never run out of fun and entertaining things to do and you don’t have to break the bank. From watching a movie in the park to going on a wine tour and participating in free outdoor activities, we hope you’ve discovered some new ideas for free things to do in Orlando.