Free Things to Do in Orlando


Orlando-Lake-Eola-Park-FountainYear-round sunshine makes Orlando a top destination for family vacations and business travel alike. In addition, Orlando offers many free and family friendly events and venues.

Free Orlando Museums
Orlando’s vibrant arts and cultural community offers plenty of free museum passes, art viewings and tours.

  • The Cornell Fine Arts Museum, which sits on the campus of Rollins College, boasts a collection that includes the works of Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso and Thomas Moran, among others. Free admission with any valid student ID.
  • The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art contains one of the world’s most impressive collections of famed artist Louis Comfort Tiffany. Free on Fridays from November through April, 4-8 p.m. 
  • The Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts takes visitors on a stroll through history starting with the author’s humble beginnings and displays creative works of other artists of African descent. Donations are accepted. 
  • The Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center of Florida presents an overview of the history of the Holocaust and serves as a memorial to victims. The center also hosts many educational events, films and seminars. Donations are accepted. 
  • The Winter Park Historical Museum houses a photo timeline of the history of Winter Park and features changing themed exhibits. 
  • CityArts Factory is an eclectic collection of art galleries in downtown Orlando showcasing local and international artists. Free admission Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. 
  • The Grand Bohemian Gallery in Orlando has two locations in downtown Orlando and Celebration. Both feature a variety of art, including jewelry, glass and sculpture.

orlando-Harry-P-Leu-GardensFree Parks and Nature in Orlando
Orlando’s natural beauty and landscape make it a great place for soaking up the sun and enjoying the outdoors. Many of Orlando’s parks and gardens offer free admission on certain days or every day.

  • Black Hammock Adventures on Lake Jessup offers free live alligator and bird exhibits. At the Lazy Gator Bar, guests can join the deck party every Friday and Saturday night and listen to free live music. 
  • Harry P. Leu Gardens offers free admission from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the first Monday of every month.
  • Called Central Florida’s “secret garden”, the 5.22 acre Kraft Azalea Gardens is located on Lake Maitland in Winter Park and open from 8 a.m. to dusk.
  • University of Central Florida’s Arboretum is home to more than 600 plant species on an 80-acre property. Visitors can walk through a self-guided tour to view an impressive number of native plant species.
  • The Winter Park Farmer’s Market is held from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday. Local vendors and farmers sell their homemade and homegrown specialties, including fruits, vegetables, organic produce, baked goods and more.
  • Lake Eola Park is a 43-acre recreational area in the heart of downtown Orlando. Visitors can picnic along the shore, enjoy one of the many free concerts at the ampitheater, feed the resident swans or stop by the farmer’s market on Sundays.
  • Fort Christmas Historical Park is a little slice of old Florida. Visit the fort, the historical homes on site and the gift shop.
  • Big Tree Park in Sanford features 11 acres of natural vegetation and wetlands. 
  • Camp out and roast marshmallows with Disney characters Chip n’ Dale at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort for free. The evening sing-a-long around the campfire includes a viewing of a Disney movie (starts at 7:30 p.m.).

For more ideas, visit the Orlando Tourism Bureau.

Teresa J. Shaw is editor of the Free in 50 States section and writes about traveling as a working mom for Traveling Mom. Visit her website at Working Traveling Mom and follow her on Twitter at @TeresaShaw.