With Disneyworld, Sea World, Universal Studios, and LegoLand, Orlando is a great place for family fun—but it can also wreak havoc on you wallet. Believe it or not, there are lots of fun and free things to do in Orlando—so be sure to check out a few on your big Orlando vacation.
Orlando may be home to Mickey and Minnie, but it also boasts beautiful parks and fun free entertainment. While you’re in Orlando be sure to step outside the theme parks and learn about the city for free.
Parks and Public Spaces in Orlando
Lake Eola Park: This lake in downtown Orlando offers an easy 1-mile loop for a family-friendly stroll. Feed the swans, stop by the farmers market (open every Sunday), or enjoy activities like fireworks and free movies. For more information, visit cityoforlando.net/parks/lake-eola-park/.
Ocala National Forest: Take the kids on an easy hike through Ocala National Forest, the oldest national forest east of the Mississippi, with over 67 miles of trails through swamps and pine forests (wooden boardwalks protect your walking shoes). For more information, visit stateparks.com/ocala.html.
Big Tree Park: Sadly, the giant cypress tree that was the big draw here was vandalized in 2012, but another tree, Lady Liberty, still impresses. This small park also has picnic tables and a forest boardwalk trail. For information, visit floridahikes.com/bigtree.
Fort Christmas Historical Park: Stop by this historical park to hike, picnic or check out the replica of a fort constructed in 1837. For information, visit nbbd.com/godo/FortChristmas.
Free Museums and Historical Attractions in Orlando
Harry P. Leu Gardens: The 50-acre garden and historical Leu House museum are free the first Monday of every month. For more information visit leugardens.org
Town of Celebration: Visit this charming town, originally conceived by Walt Disney and developed by the Disney company, and enjoy its shopping, restaurants, community activities, and buildings by world-famous architects and designers.
Cornell Fine Arts Museum: Student ID gets you free admission to this museum on the campus of Rollins College. Here you’ll see works by Picasso, Matisse and more. For more information visit rollins.edu.
Free Family Activities in Orlando
Chip 'N Dale's Campfire Sing-A-Long: Head to the Fort Wilderness Resort and Campgrounds at 7 during the fall and winter and 8 in the spring and summer for a sing-a-long around the campfire. After the sing-a-long a Disney movie plays outside for free too. For more information visit disneyworld.com.
Lakeridge Winery and Vineyards: Stop by this 127-acre vineyard just west of Orlando for free complimentary wine tastings. They specialize in table wines and sparkling wines from muscadine and hybrid grapes. For more information visit lakeridgewinery.com.
Downtown Disney Marketplace & Boardwalk: You don’t need to pay admission to enter downtown Disney. Here you’ll find great restaurants, shopping and free festivals throughout the year. For more information visit disneyworld.com.
Little Darlin’s Street Party and Cruise-In: Head out to Kissimmee Old Town on Wednesdays at 6 for a free car show and sock hop. For more information visit myoldtownusa.com.
Spook Hill: If you’re in for a thrill head to Spook Hill in Lake Wales, where your car will roll uphill! Be sure to read up about the legend behind this “supernatural” event. For more information visit visitcentralflorida.org.
Orlando Brewing Company: Mondays through Saturdays at 6 pm, you can take a free tour of this organic brewery. For more information visit orlandobrewing.com.
Universal CityWalk: Like Downtown Disney, Universal Studio’s CityWalk is free to visit and enjoy, with great restaurants and sidewalk attractions. If you arrive early you can also score free parking. For more information visit universalorlando.com.
Walt Disney World Monorail and Epcot Monorail: Get a view of the Disney parks for free. The Walt Disney Monorail has 3 lines that travel around the resorts. The Epcot Monorail starts at the Ticket and Transportation Center and goes to Epcot. For more information visit disneyworld.com.
Universal Water Taxis: The water taxis at Universal will take you to the hotels for free. You can check out cool rock and roll memorabilia at the Hard Rock Hotel or stop by the Lowes’ Portofino Bay Hotel for opera music in the piazza at night.
Disney Fireworks: Even if you aren’t in the park, you can see the nightly fireworks by taking a free tram to the Transportation and Ticket Center at Disney.