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Look — Disney World is expensive! What are some free things to do in Orlando?
Whether you’re new to living in Orlando or you’re just visiting, you must know about these free Orlando activities.
Get ready to be busy morning, noon and night — all for no cost.
1. Disney Springs
You don’t need a ticket to Disney World in order to get a splash of Disney in your day.
It’s totally free to walk through and enjoy Disney Springs — a retail, dining and entertainment center. There’s a LEGO store that features play tables and life-size Disney LEGO models.
Plus, for just $3.00 you can ride the marketplace carousel.
2. B-52 Memorial Park
Located at the Orlando International Airport — but tucked away so very few people know about it — is the B-52 Memorial Park.
Open from 7 a.m. to sunset, it’s free to check out the retired B-52 airplane, which is kept in immaculate condition.
3. Winter Park Farmers Market
If you like to experience local culture, check out the Winter Park Farmers Market on Saturdays between 7 a.m. and 1 p.m.
It’s located at the Old Train Depot, a historical landmark which has been fully restored. The only day it’s closed is the third Saturday in March due to the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival.
If you go, you don’t want to miss the sugar cane lemonade!
4. Lakeridge Winery
Check out free wine tasting and tours at the Lakeridge Winery.
Plus, if you time it right, you could join the Summer Grape Stomp in June — it’s $10.00 per adult, but children 12 and under are free.
5. Orlando Fire Museum
Located in Orlando’s Loch Haven Cultural Park, the Orlando Fire Museum is a restored early 20th Century fire station on the outside. Inside, it’s a museum holding antiques like a 1920s fire truck.
It’s fairly hidden behind the Arts Center, but totally free to visit. It’s open on Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
6. Lake Eola Park
Feed swans, watch a live concert in the Walt Disney amphitheater, or just take a walk around the lake — it’s just shy of one full mile.
It’s free to enjoy Lake Eola Park, so pack a picnic lunch and make a day of it!
You can rent swan-shaped paddle boats, which are regularly $15 for 30 minutes, but I found a Groupon deal where you can get them for $11.50.
7. Greenwood Cemetery Moonlight Walking Tour
Visit the graves of around 100 notable Orlando citizens just as night begins.
This tour is about a two mile walk, and while it is free, RSVP as soon as registration opens for your dates because the number of participants is limited.
Spots run out fast! Also, this is more of a historical tour — it’s not a ghost tour.
8. Cornell Fine Arts Museum
Located on the campus of Rollins College, Cornell Fine Arts Museum has a collection of art by Old European Masters along with a sizable American art collection and more.
Exhibitions rotate seasonally, so call ahead if you want to know what’s currently on display.
Of course, admission is free, which is not something most art museums can say!
9. Celebration Town Center
Celebration Town Center was imagined and planned out by Disney to have an idyllic feel. In fact, some people feel like they’re in Norman Rockwell’s world when they visit.
So, if you’re looking to relax — perhaps sit dockside in a rocking chair by the lake — it’s free to walk around the town, shop, ride bikes or dine.
Be sure to check out the Farmers Market on Sundays from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
10. Tasty Tuesdays in the Milk District
Every Tuesday in the Milk District, at least a dozen food trucks converge to create a shared community experience over food and drinks.
It’s free to come and experience local culture! Food trucks rotate but there’s no schedule — you have to show up to see what’s available.
11. Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Campfire Sing-A-Long
If you’re looking for a free evening activity with the kids, this is it.
Bring your own s’mores fixings and sticks to Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort at 8 p.m. nightly for live performance music and songs.
Plus, Chip ‘n’ Dale do the Hokey Pokey with everyone. What could be better?
Even though this is technically located on-property at Disney, it’s free to anyone. When it gets dark, you’ll want camping chairs and blankets to enjoy the outdoor movie.
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12. Music at the Casa
Casa Feliz is a historic mansion that hosts events and weddings.
But every Sunday from noon-3 p.m., it’s open to the public for free admission, and to sweeten the deal, there’s live music.
Music selection varies between jazz, classical, pops and Latin, and be sure to get a tour of the house while you’re there!
13. Universal Citywalk
Universal Citywalk is a similar idea as Disney Springs.
There are tons of shops and restaurants — including the world famous Hart & Huntington Tattoo Shop — and sometimes even fireworks displays.
You can get a taste of Universal Studios without the price tag.
14. Harry P. Leu Gardens
Explore 50 acres of gardens and nature!
Depending on whether you want to see the whole garden, it should take no longer than two hours.
Typically adults pay $10 and children are $5 to get in, but every first Monday of the month, admission is free!
15. University of Central Florida Arboretum
Try your hand at geocaching, or just walk the trails and enjoy what UCF calls its “outdoor laboratory” of 12 acres of 147 different species of trees and plant life.
16. Alive After 5 in Downtown Sanford
On the second Thursday of every month starting at 5 p.m., downtown Sanford — which is about a half hour from Orlando — hosts a street party where you can find live music, food, craft beers and shopping.
The party takes place on 1st Street, and it’s family- and pet-friendly.
17. Disney’s Boardwalk
Oh yes — even more free Disney.
Situated between Epcot and Hollywood Studios is Disney’s Boardwalk, a quarter-of-a-mile walkway next to Crescent Lake. It’s themed to match Atlantic City around the turn of the century.
There are shops and restaurants, and the crowds tend to be less than what you might see inside a Disney park.
18. Free outdoor movies
All over Orlando there are free outdoor movies to see.
Here are just a couple to get you started:
- Winter Park’s Popcorn Flicks: Second Thursday in the month at 7 or 8 p.m.
- Old Town’s Family Movie Night: Every Sunday evening at 7 p.m.
- Brevard County’s Movies in the Park: Fourth Friday of the month from January-November.
19. Hit the beach
If all else fails and you’re willing to drive an hour, visit Cocoa Beach for the price of a parking pass ($7 per car).
It’s less than 20 miles from Kennedy Space Center so who knows? Maybe you’ll see a rocket launch while you’re there.