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Imagine a place with a wealth of memorable experiences that don’t cost a penny to enjoy — including playing tennis on some of the world’s most advanced courts, free wine tastings and vineyard tours, imaginative, open-air districts with hours of no-cost entertainment, and so much more. Guess what? You’re imagining Orlando.
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Between free things to do and other ways to save, no wonder that we’re ranked among the 18 Cheapest Places to Travel in 2023 according to Kayak. For even more value, including special offers, free planning resources and trusted trip-planning advice, contact our Vacation Planning Services team via phone, email or live chat — you can even request a one-on-one appointment. But first, check out our guide to the best free things to do in Orlando.
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When you visit Orlando, you can look forward to a variety of unique, family-friendly, no-cost experiences where you’re guaranteed a magical time.
Celebration is a master-planned community less than 10 minutes from Walt Disney World® Resort. Perfect for relaxation and strolling, Celebration Town Center is their central shopping, dining and entertainment hub. It also features free, family-focused events all year long, such as exotic car shows, fall’s Oktoberfest, and Now Snowing, a holiday celebration with faux snow.
Featuring free admission and free, covered parking, the open-air Disney Springs® 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 free ferries that travel to and from several different Walt Disney World resort properties — even if you’re not staying at them.
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Located within walking distance of EPCOT® and Disney’s Hollywood Studios®, and featuring free admission, Disney’s BoardWalk 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, Disney’s BoardWalk is connected to Disney’s complimentary ferry system via the adjacent Disney’s BoardWalk Villas.
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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, Old Town has a robust schedule of free events featuring classic car shows and live entertainment.
Adjacent to Margaritaville Resort Orlando in Kissimmee close to Walt Disney World, Promenade at Sunset Walk is home to dining venues, nightlife, retailers and more. They also host a regular lineup of free entertainment and events, including numerous holiday celebrations.
Parking is free after 6 p.m. (excluding special event nights) and admission is always free at this 30-acre entertainment complex, which features restaurants, nightclubs, shopping and more at Universal Orlando Resort. Free activities at Universal CityWalk include dance parties set to live DJ sets, cooling splash areas for kids, and water taxis that travel to and from several Universal Orlando official hotel properties, no stay required.
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Orlando offers ample opportunities to spend a sunny afternoon enjoying the great outdoors — including many entertaining options that are completely free.
If you want to sample some local flavor, look into our free farmers markets. Held at Lake Eola Park in downtown Orlando, the Orlando Farmers Market is held on Sundays. On Saturdays, you can take in the Winter Garden Farmers Market close to Walt Disney World, the Winter Park Farmers' Market north of downtown Orlando, and the Lake Nona Farmers Market in its forward-facing namesake community close to Orlando International Airport. (Please note that farmers markets are subject to cancelation or rescheduling.)
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In addition to serving as a terminus for the West Orange Trail (more on it in a bit), the Winter Garden area has numerous nature preserves. Of particular note is the Tibet-Butler Preserve, which features 438 acres of pristine wilderness that encompasses many bodies of water in the Butler Chain of Lakes, officially recognized by the state as Outstanding Florida Waters.
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About 35 minutes east of our tourism districts, Split Oak Forest Wildlife and Environmental Area is another local nature preserve worth visiting. Named for a spectacular, 200-year-old live oak tree that survived after being split down the middle, Split Oak features a mixture of trails and unpaved roads through diverse wildlife habitats, including the 5.3-mile North/South Trail.
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About an hour and a half north of our tourism districts, 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.
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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.
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Near downtown in the Audubon Park Garden District, Harry P. Leu Gardens has free admission on the first Monday of select months. What’s more, Audubon Park is connected to the Cady Way Trail, which in turn is part of the larger Orlando Urban Trail, which meanders around six lakes with two bridges that provide access to picturesque vistas and shade from live oak trees.
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In Winter Park, about 25 minutes from downtown Orlando, Mead Botanical Garden features scheduled hikes and educational activities, plus live entertainment. Nearby, Kraft Azalea Garden is great for picnicking, hiking and fishing.
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Close to SeaWorld® Orlando and Universal Orlando Resort, 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.
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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-acre vineyards. Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards 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 our tourism districts.
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The USTA National Campus 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. They even have pickleball. 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. The facility is in our Lake Nona community.
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This 20.8-mile paved trail runs from Winter Garden near Walt Disney World to Apopka, west of Orlando’s main tourism districts. Hiking and biking are 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.
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Orlando’s nightlife isn’t just unique and vibrant. It’s also packed with value thanks to many completely free ways to explore a different side of the destination.
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Part of the International Drive Entertainment District, the ICON Park entertainment, dining and shopping hub is home to The Wheel: our famous, 400-foot-tall observation wheel. It’s one of Orlando’s best spots for selfies, and entry to the complex is always free. Hang out on the central green to watch The Wheel’s nightly lighting, or just kick back, relax and enjoy some people-watching after exploring International Drive.
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Orlando has two ways to see free nighttime movies under the stars. At downtown Orlando’s Lake Eola Park, Movieola usually 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. You’re welcome to bring blankets, snacks and leashed pets.
On the second Thursday of each month, the city of Winter Park partners with Maitland’s Enzian Theater to host Popcorn Flicks in the Park. Usually held in the charming community’s Central Park, the movies are suitable for all ages and begin at sunset. Feel free to bring snacks, non-alcoholic beverages and blankets. (Please note that movie nights are subject to cancelation or rescheduling.)
Every evening, the posh Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando hosts Musica della Notte, which translates to Music of the Night. Starting at sunset, the free event features traditional opera, upbeat melodies and singular blend of pop music and opera appropriately called popera. Loews Portofino Bay Hotel is also one of the stops at Universal Orlando Resort’s free water taxi service, which you can catch from Universal CityWalk.
Between acclaimed galleries and museums, compelling live performances, and nationally recognized cultural events, Orlando has a galaxy of memorable experiences for art aficionados. What’s more, you’ll discover numerous opportunities to enjoy our arts, culture and history for free.
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Located in Winter Park, The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art hosts the world’s most comprehensive collection of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany, including lamps, glasswork, pottery, jewelry and more — they even have a Morse-designed chapel. The museum is open to the public at no charge on select dates.
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CityArts is home to several separate and unique art galleries. Housed in the historic Rogers Kiene building in downtown Orlando, the venue showcases local and regional artists.
Available in the downtown area, CITY unseen is an augmented-reality (AR) public art project from Snap! Orlando. By blending the work of internationally renowned artists with cutting-edge augmented reality (AR) technology, CITY Unseen creates “[AR]t” experiences that include a 360-degree visit to an artist’s studio, murals that come to life, projection-mapping, and more. You can experience it via a free mobile app for Apple and Android devices. Also free is Snap! Orlando’s gallery space, which hosts rotating exhibits of local artistry.
At the Hannibal Square Heritage Center in Winter Park, discover photography, artwork and oral histories that reveal the surrounding Hannibal Square district’s origins as one of Florida’s original African American communities.
Located in Maitland, just north of Winter Park, the Holocaust Memorial Resource & Education Center of Florida presents a historical overview of the Holocaust and serves as a memorial to the victims. The display consists of 12 sections, each focusing on a major theme from the Holocaust with photographs, text, artifacts, art, short films and local survivor testimonies.
New to Orlando’s Lake Nona community, the Lake Nona Sculpture Garden is a 50,000-square-foot outdoor space where you can explore a distinguished selection of sculptures from one of the world’s largest private art collections, The Lewis Collection. Standouts include pieces by acclaimed artists such as Fernando Botero, Philip Jackson, Henry Moore, and Enzo Plazzotta. If you want to make sure you have time to explore it all, consider booking a stay at the adjacent Lake Nona Wave Hotel.
Part of downtown Orlando’s SoDo District, the Pulse Interim Memorial honors the 49 lives lost on June 12, 2016, while serving as a beacon of hope for a future where every human being can live their truth in an understanding world full of unity, acceptance and love. It’s open from 7:30 a.m. – 9 p.m. daily, with extended hours during Pulse Remembrance Week and select holidays.
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Located on the campus of Rollins College in Winter Park, the Rollins Museum of Art features one of the oldest and most distinguished collections in Florida, with more than 5,600 artistic objects ranging from the ancient to modern periods. You can see more of its collection in public spaces at The Alfond Inn, which is also operated by Rollins.
Part of downtown Orlando’s Parramore District, the Wells’Built Museum of African American History and Culture was originally built in 1921 as accommodations for African American travelers who were barred from Florida’s then-segregated hotels — including legends such as Count Basie, Ray Charles, Duke Ellington and others. Listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, the venue now offers programming dedicated to Orlando’s African American community, as well as exhibits about the Civil Rights movement, African art and artifacts, and other items of interest.
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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.
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 Season. Eatonville is approximately 25 minutes north of downtown Orlando.
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Endless adventures await in Orlando — and Visit Orlando powered by BestofOrlando.com can help you save on admission to top theme parks, attractions and experiences. Take advantage of our free planning tools to discover more ways to save money in the Theme Park Capital of the World.
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