Orlando isn’t just the most visited tourism destination in the United States. Thanks to a wealth of unique experiences that don’t cost a penny, we’re also one of the most value-packed! Here’s your guide to free activities throughout the area for kids and adults alike. Looking for accommodation in Orlando? The check out AirRentalz.
Below are some ideas for sites and locations that are free.
Disney Strip Featuring free admission and free, covered parking, this dining, shopping and entertainment district at Walt Disney World Resort invites you to enjoy remarkable architecture, natural beauty and free family fun that includes live performances and other entertaining interludes. For instance, kids can build as many LEGO figures as they want at The LEGO Store, and the whole gang can hop on the free ferries that travel to the Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios — even if you don’t have passes to those theme parks!
Disney’s Boardwalk Located within walking distance of Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and featuring free admission, this area will transport you to charming, turn-of-the-20th-century Atlantic City. As you stroll along a Coney Island-style boardwalk, take in free evening entertainment that includes jugglers, comedians and even fire-eaters. Like Disney Springs, it’s connected to Disney’s complimentary ferry system.
Universal CityWalk Parking is free after 6 p.m. at Universal Orlando Resort’s 30-acre entertainment complex, which features restaurants, nightclubs, shopping and more. Free activities here include dance parties set to live DJ sets, cooling splash areas for kids, and water taxis that travel between CityWalk and Universal’s theme parks, including Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Universal’s Volcano Bay.
Old Town Get a feel for Florida communities of yesteryear, complete with authentic architecture and distinctive storefronts, at this free attraction in Kissimmee, just minutes from Walt Disney World. In addition to paid attractions, dining and shopping, it has a robust schedule of free events featuring classic car shows and live entertainment. Magic Kingdom Park
United States Tennis Association (USTA) National Campus The USTA National Campus in Lake Nona, about 20 minutes from Orlando International Airport, offers an exciting way to enjoy tennis with top-notch facilities, a wide range of events that are free to attend, and 100 fully lit tennis courts. What’s more, the 60- and 30-foot courts at the Nemours Family Zone are free for all ages to play, but pre-registration is required.
West Orange Trail This 20.8-mile paved trail runs from Winter Garden near Walt Disney World to Apopka, approximately 30 minutes north of downtown Orlando. Hiking and biking is free, and the trail also features playground equipment and other amenities. If you didn’t bring bicycles with you, you can rent them from West Orange Trail Bikes & Blades Co., which offers delivery to area hotels.
Tours & Tastings at Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards Every day, Orlando’s largest premium winery offers free tours with tastings. Lasting about 45 minutes, including a 15-minute video presentation, the tours take you through the production area and provide a view of the 80 acres of vineyards. Lakeridge Winery also hosts free summer and winter music series, as well as a free open house during the holidays. They’re in Clermont, about 35 minutes west of downtown Orlando.
Wekiva Island About 25 minutes north of downtown Orlando in Longwood, this amenity-loaded park is free to enter on weekdays, and just $1 on weekends and holidays. The centerpiece is the Wekiva River, which is perfect for swimming with water that’s a constant 72 degrees throughout the year. Volleyball courts are free to play, and there’s an option to rent canoes, kayaks and paddleboards.
Parks, Gardens & Forests The Orlando area is home to numerous parks, state forests and gorgeous gardens with free entry. In downtown Orlando, for instance, the 43-acre Lake Eola Park offers relaxation, concerts and events, and even outdoor yoga on Sunday mornings.
Close to SeaWorld Orlando and Universal Orlando, Dr. P. Phillips Community Park features a splash pad and a nature trail. And 20 minutes east of downtown Orlando, Blanchard Park has an 8.1-mile paved road for bicycling, running, rollerblading and walking, as well as fishing spots and playground equipment.
About an hour and a half north of downtown Orlando, Ocala National Forest is home to the world’s largest contiguous sand pine scrub forest. You can enjoy activities such as swimming, picnicking, fishing and even hunting, although you’ll need a permit for the latter. And 25 minutes east of downtown, the 80-acre University of Central Florida Arboretum offers biking and self-guided tours through more than 600 plant species.
In Winter Park, about 25 minutes from downtown Orlando, Mead Botanical Garden features scheduled hikes and educational activities. Nearby, Kraft Azalea Garden is great for picnicking, hiking, and fishing. Last but not least, Harry P. Leu Gardens near downtown has free admission on the first Monday in June, July, August and September.
Farmers Markets If you want to sample some local flavor, look into out free farmers markets. Held in the aforementioned Lake Eola Park, the Orlando Farmers Market is held on Sundays. On Saturdays, you can take in the Winter Garden Farmers Market close to Disney, as well as the Winter Park Farmers’ Market.
Movie Nights Orlando has two ways to see free nighttime movies under the stars. At downtown Orlando’s Lake Eola Park, Movieola takes place on the last Friday of the month from April through August. Showcasing family-friendly films, the event begins at 6 p.m., with the movie starting around 8:15, and you’re welcome to bring blankets, snacks and leashed pets.
Tours at Orlando Brewing You can tour Orlando’s original craft brewery for free starting at 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis, and parking is free. The brewery is next to downtown Orlando’s Amtrak train station.
Cornell Fine Arts Museum Located on the campus of Rollins College in Winter Park, this museum features one of the oldest and most distinguished collections in Florida, with more than 5,000 artistic objects ranging from the ancient to modern periods.
City Arts Factory This downtown Orlando venue is home to four separate and unique art galleries. Admission is free Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Music at the Casa Casa Feliz, a restored Spanish home and museum in Winter Park, hosts live music performances on Sunday afternoons from noon to 3 p.m. The event is free to the public, and children are welcome.
Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts This museum is in the community of Eatonville — the oldest incorporated African-American municipality in the U.S., and the hometown of its titular historic author. It provides a place where the public can view the works of artists from African descent while celebrating the life and works of the famous novelist. It also sponsors the annual Zora! Festival. Eatonville is approximately 25 minutes north of downtown Orlando.
Winter Park History Museum Located in the city’s historic Farmers’ Market building, this venue houses a photo timeline of Winter Park’s history, as well as a revolving lineup of themed exhibits. A walking tour of the city that showcases 20 sites is also available, including a free audio-tour CD, a CD player and a map that can be checked out for the day.
One of the many reasons people come to Orlando is to visit Disney land. Here are the 4 main parks to visit.
Magic Kingdom The first park built, the Magic Kingdom covers 107 acres and provides guests with the opportunity to explore six themed areas that focus on the classic Disney experience: Main Street, Adventureland, Frontierland, Liberty Square, Fantasyland and Tomorrowland. Spend time exploring popular attractions at the park, such as It’s a Small World, Space Mountain, Thunder Mountain, The Haunted Mansion, Pirates of the Caribbean and the Jungle Cruise. Dine with Cinderella and her friends inside her castle, located in the middle of the park. Plan to spend time watching the daily parades or nightly fireworks in the park.
Epcot The Epcot theme park has two separate sections: Future World and World Showcase. Future World is home to attractions such as Soarin’, Mission: SPACE, Test Track and the iconic Spaceship Earth, the massive sphere just inside the park entrance. World Showcase is home to 11 country-themed pavilions, including Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Italy, Japan, Morocco, the United States, France, England and Canada. Each offers dining and shopping experiences, and most showcase a ride or movie experience as well. Participate in the Kidcot program with your children to receive a unique puppet and a stamp at each country you visit.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios Designed to focus on the magic of Hollywood, Disney’s Hollywood Studios gives visitors the opportunity to travel back in time to Hollywood’s heyday of the 1930s and ’40s. The park is home to attractions such as the Great Movie Ride, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster and the Toy Story Mania ride and the American Idol Experience. Visitors can enjoy performances such as the “Lights, Motor, Action!” stunt show or the “Voyage of the Little Mermaid” stage show. Learn about the history of Disney animation, and get a chance to draw your own Disney character at the park’s Animation Courtyard, or let your children experience life from a bug’s point of view in the “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids” Movie Set Adventure playground.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park, home to more than 250 species of animals, gives park guests the opportunity to explore seven distinct park sections: Africa, Asia, Discovery Island, Dinoland U.S.A., the Oasis, Camp Minnie-Mickey and Rafiki’s Planet Watch area. Visit the park’s animals by exploring the walking trails scattered throughout the park, such as the Discovery Island trails and the Maharajah Jungle Trek, or by riding the Kilimanjaro Safari ride. Hop on the Expedition Everest or Kali River Rapids journey for an adventure or spend time at the park’s Affection Section petting zoo for a quieter experience.