People usually visit Orlando ready and willing to drop hundreds of dollars at one of many theme park options. However, if you are looking to do something a bit more budget-friendly in addition or in lieu of a day at one of the parks, there are plenty of free things to do here.
Orlando is situated perfectly in Central Florida, where the heart of the state has excursions that appeal to outdoor fanatics as well as kid-friendly and indoor entertainments. You don't have to worry about breaking the bank at these places. Even if you decide to indulge in a bottle of wine at one of the free wine tastings or pick up a souvenir at one of the parks, it won't be detrimental to your spending habits. Take a look at these ten free things to do in Orlando!
10 10. Winter Garden Farmer's Market
The Winter Garden Farmer's Market takes place every Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. during the summer season. This friendly neighborhood marketplace isn't a far drive from Disney and you'll have fun searching the booths for local eatery and hand-made gifts. If you get thirsty, you should stop into the famous Crooked Can Brewery, which is inside the indoor sector of the market. Here, you'll also find tasty homemade mac and cheese, pizza, and a deli that will leave your mouth watering.
There is also the Saturday Farmer's Market in Lake Eola Park. The free event is in a beautiful setting, with Lake Eola as the backdrop. You can rent the swan boats or simply enjoy all the puppies wandering around!
9 9. Free Samples
Free samples are always welcome, but where can you find them in bulk? The Florida Mall near Univeral actually has a pretty decent selection of stores that offer free samples. There is, of course, the food court where you can get a fix of anything from Chinese food, Philly steak samples, and or even a bite from Fat Joes, owned by NSYNC's own Joey Fatone.
There is a store that sells only beef jerky in as many as twenty different flavors, all of which are available for free samplings and dippings. The Winey Wench in the mall offers free wine samples at their bar if you're looking to buy a unique blend. They also offer wine and crafting sessions if you're looking to paint with a twist!
8 8. Disney Springs
If you're looking to get a view of Disney without actually paying to get inside the parks, Disney Springs is a free alternative. It still holds all the magic of Disney parks, with themed restaurants and activities that are fun for both adults and kids.
Kids can play with as many LEGOS as they want at the LEGO store, and you can ride the ferries without a pass to the parks. These will bring you right up to the entrances of Walt Disney World, EPCOT, and Hollywood Studios!
7 7. Old Town
Old Town is a beautiful architectural sector right next door to Orlando in Kissimmee. Enjoy the streets of yesteryear as you walk around the authentic frameworks of this historic district. This area has paid attractions like restaurants, shopping, and the Happy Days arcade, but they're known for their free events.
The most popular of those is their Saturday classic car showcase, which brings in show-quality vehicles from 1983 or earlier. This event is usually tied together with even more food options and a free concert to really set the scene for this unique experience.
6 6. Visit The Museums
The Orlando Museum of Art is just one of the many free museums you can visit in Orlando. This particular museum has been around the downtown district since 1924, honing in the city's unique creativity, art, and new ideas.
Music at the Casa in Winter Park is another museum that has free concerts every Sunday. The gorgeous restored Spanish home offers free tours for guests to learn about the house's history. If those don't strike your enthusiasm, there is always the free entry to the CityArts Factory or the Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center of Florida.
5 5. Lakeridge Winery
Another win for wine connoisseurs comes from Lakeridge Winery, located just west of downtown Orlando. They offer free tours and wine tastings every day, including a video presentation.
The tour takes about 45 minutes, in which time you will get to see Central Florida's largest winery with 80 acres of premium vineyards. During the summer and winter months, they even host a music series so you can enjoy live music while you sip of a sampling of their popular Southern White wine.
4 4. Universal CityWalk
If you arrive at Univeral's Citywalk after 6 p.m., the parking is free! This bountiful shopping plaza gives guests an adequate perception of the Universal park's atmosphere, but with more restaurant and bar options.
If you're visiting during the summer months, you'll probably be able to catch one of their free concerts or DJs that set up their stage by the water just across from the Hard Rock Cafe. If not, you can always enjoy free live music at places like Pat O'Brien's, which has all-night dueling piano sessions, or Bob Marley's, where you can enjoy authentic reggae music.
3 3. Tour Orlando Brewing
Orlando Brewing gives free tours Monday through Saturday after 6 p.m. The free tour is given at a first come, first serve basis and the parking is free as well.
Before you grab a pint of one of their unique concoctions, you can learn all about the beer brewing process. You can see for yourself the hard work and dedication that goes into cooking a hearty batch of your favorite IPA.
2 2. Blanchard Park
This stunning nature park is known for its sports and recreational activities, but the views are nothing short of breathtaking. Visitors can roller-blade on the sidewalk under the massive canopy trees or bring a fishing rod and relax on the shaded bridge.
It's also a popular spot to bring kayaks or canoes where you will get the most authentic feel for Orlando's daily lifestyle.
1 1. The Springs
There are a number of hidden springs scattered around Orlando that are the pinnacle of this city's excursions. Blue Springs Park just north of Orlando is an oasis that is home to Florida manatees. You'll see them more during the cooler months, and it's not unusual for these creatures to swim alongside visitors in the spring.
Wekiwa Springs attracts a younger crowd who enjoy a nice day in the water with a cooler of adult beverages in tow. It's a fun place to bring a raft and just leisurely float around to enjoy the nice Orlando sun and breeze.