While it is usually the case that ‘you get what you pay for,’ there are a handful of things which don’t cost you a penny in Orlando, and which may be worth building into your holiday plan as a little ‘extra’. These attractions are particularly great when you need a breather from the parks or you simply want to stop opening your wallet for a while. We highlight these on an annual basis in our Brit Guide to Orlando, and our current ‘Top 10’ free things to do are right here.
1. Osceola County History Museum
This lovely tribute to Florida’s history is located inside the Welcome Center on Highway 192 in Kissimmee, with fascinating habitats and interesting exhibits even children will enjoy. Open daily 9am-5pm.
Image Source: Matt HH Flickr
2. Lakeridge Winery and Vineyards
Try a free wine-tasting tour at Lakeridge Winery in nearby Clermont, from 10am-5pm Mon–Sat, or 11am-5pm Sun.
3. Disney’s Boardwalk Resort
Free nightly entertainment includes jugglers, comedy skits and live music. You can also see part of the 9pm IllumiNations fireworks from nearby Epcot.
4. Sanford Museum
Delve into the local history at the museum, then take the free walking tour that includes the pretty Riverwalk area.
In the heart of the International Drive tourist strip is this huge blue and yellow tower where people pay to go ‘skydiving’ (which is actually great fun). However, if you just want to watch (which can be VERY entertaining), there is no entry fee.
Image Source: Don Richards Flickr
6. Lake Eola Park
This lovely little area of Downtown Orlando is the perfect place for a stroll, with swan boats on the lake and live music at the Walt Disney Amphitheater in summer, plus a large Farmer’s Market every Sunday (10am-4pm).
Image Source: Joe Shlabotbik
7. Fort Christmas Historical Park
20 miles (32km) east of Orlando in the town of Christmas is this replica of an 1837 U.S. Army fort, with exhibits, video presentations and restored homes, and special events at some weekends. 8am-8pm in summer, 6pm in winter.
8. Leu Gardens
Just north of downtown Orlando, these lovely gardens with wildlife, nature trails and the 1880s’ Leu House Museum, are free on the first Monday of every month (9am-5pm).
9. Tibet Butler Preserve
Discover the natural side of Florida, just minutes from Walt Disney World. This small nature preserve offers free hiking trails and an interpretive center Wed-Sun, 8am-6pm.
10. Old Town, Kissimmee
Free live entertainment every night! Car buffs should definitely make note of the Friday Night All American Cruise, featuring custom, exotic, muscle and speciality cars on display beginning at 5pm, with a parade at 9pm, and the Saturday Night Cruise, the biggest weekly vintage car parade in the U.S., with classic cars on show beginning at 1pm and a parade at 8.30pm. Every Thursday is Bike Night, displaying an average of 700 motorcycles, and Wednesdays feature the Little Darlin’s Cruise-In, showcasing hot rods, street rods and vintage cars.
Image Source: Rian Castillo Flickr