Visiting any major city can be a real budget buster if you’re not careful! Especially in Orlando, where there are so many theme parks and expensive activities to take part of. Heading to Orlando, Florida doesn’t mean having to visit the theme parks, in fact there are tons of activities here that are fun and both budget friendly! Enjoy this list of Free Things To Do In Orlando that even us locals love to do!
Free admission Tuesday through Saturday from 11AM til 6PM. CityArts is downtown Orlando’s largest collective of art galleries. An eclectic showcase of local and international artists, varied monthly, it’s a fun trip for the whole family!
Free admission on Mondays. Rated #28 out of nearly 300 things to do in Orlando, this 50 acre botanical oasis is beautiful enough to visit year round. Though there are certain seasons where the blooms are fuller, there’s always something to see at the garden. The gardens are well kept, and there’s so much to see that you’ll most likely need to make a few trips! You’ll see many non-traditional plants, beautiful oak trees, and even cacti!
Still not convinced you need to take a visit? I think these pictures might help! Oh and these are not all free, but during the summer, Leu Gardens also has movie “date” nights, plant clinics, story time, and children’s classes!
Holocaust Memorial Center of Florida
While donations are appreciated, there is no admission fee. The Holocaust Memorial Center offers an annual series of exhibits, films, community events, and educational programs. They house a substantial library, which makes this the perfect educational field trip for the entire family. Call ahead for hours of operation: 407-628-0555
Free admission 4PM-8PM Fridays (November through April), and children under 12 are always free. Also available, free summer family tours and films.
This museum houses the largest collection of Tiffany Glass in the world! You can spend hours looking at all of the exhibits, and though the Docent Tour is interesting for all ages, it’d be better for elementary and up instead of toddlers, in my opinion. There’s only so much excitement when it comes to Tiffany Glass.
Ocala National Forest
Boasting six different hikes with various terrains, Ocala National Forest is the perfect spot to sneak away from the hustle and bustle of the city. All of the trails are pretty well marked, and there’s plenty to do if you want to make several visits out of it. Camping, kayaking, and just taking in the scenery were our favorite things to do.
Ocala is a national park consisting of 383,220 acres of various landscapes, including highlands, coastal lowlands, swamps, springs, and lakes. Entrance to the forest is completely free, but you do need a pass to access certain areas, so be sure to check out free admission days for all National Parks.
It does take a little under an hour to get here from downtown Orlando, so keep that in mind when planning your day trip.
So this one isn’t free – admission is $1 and up, but it’s worth the visit and it’s super inexpensive so I wanted to include it on the list! Pack a lunch and make a day of it. You might want to bring water shoes, too, because of the rocks and such in the spring. Bonus: the water is cool (72 degrees) because it’s a natural spring! You can bring your own tubes, or rent them for a few bucks ($3-$5).
Tip: Get there early! It fills up fast – especially during the summer on the weekends. It’s a favorite among tourists and locals.
If you visit and you realize the park is packed, one recent visitor said “We didn’t get into the park which I would totally give like 1 star to, BUT…. we were able to drive down this little bitty road to the left and found an awesome canoe rental place. We dished out a measly $20 to rent a canoe for the day and found a tropical oasis hidden on that canoe path! LOVED IT!” — Definitely worth checking out!
Lake-Eola Park, Downtown Orlando and Farmers Market
Lake-Eola is known for it’s beautiful view and the swans who come to visit. My daughters love running around and letting out some energy. It’s the perfect place for a picnic and to enjoy what the locals love. Don’t want to bring a picnic? No worries! There are tons of restaurants around for you to enjoy! For a small fee you can also rent a Swan Boat to ride around the lake.
If you’re around on a Sunday, make sure to visit the Farmer’s Market from 10am to 4pm.
Popcorn Flicks in the Park
Visiting Orlando and feel like watching a movie? Then make sure to check out the schedule for Popcorn Flicks for free movies shown to the public in Central Park. Films are usually shown on the second Thursday of the month, scheduled between 7 and 8pm. Make sure to bring charis, blankets, and snacks for this fun experience! Just remember, it’s Florida and the weather can change at anytime.
If you’re looking to experience some of Florida’s nature, then experiencing one of Orlando’s trails is the best way to do this. Enjoying the great outdoors is one of Floridians greatest pleasure. Yes, we might compain about the heat, but we enjoy every second of it!
For grown-ups only
The only certified organic brewery in Florida, Orlando Brewing Company offers free tours at 6PM Monday through Saturday. They also have free entertainment on the weekends.
Lakeridge opened their winery on their beautiful 127 acre estate in Clermont (25 miles west of downtown Orlando) in 1989. Florida’s largest premium winery, Lakeridge offers complimentary winery tours and wine tastings.
Visiting Orlando soon and need more ideas? Order a free vacation planning kit from Visit Florida to plan your next visit!
*Updated: July 11th, 2017*
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Is there anything in the Orlando area that you would add to this list? Share with us below!