For many travelers, a trip to Central Florida means sunny days and time at the theme parks — but there’s so much more to see and do here! Of course, it can be hard to tell the worthwhile activities from the clutter of so-called “free” things that come up during a quick search online. Luckily, we’ve got the inside scoop on some of the best truly free things to do in Orlando:
1) Take your family to the Disney Springs™ Marketplace.
Although treats like gelato and adult beverages will cost you, there are plenty of free things to do in the Disney Springs™ Marketplace, too — like the hands-on play tables at The Lego® Store, samples at the Ghirardelli® Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop, and photos with shrubs that look like your favorite characters! If you are in the mood to splurge a little, the Disney Springs™ area is also home to the world’s largest tethered helium balloon and dozens of social-media-worthy restaurants and shops. (Self-park for free.)
2) Walk around Lake Eola.
The 0.9-mile sidewalk trail around Lake Eola offers picturesque views of the fountain, large-scale sculptures, a playground, bandshell and a number of benches for resting. Anytime you go, there’s bound to be plenty of locals jogging, walking dogs and chatting with friends — but there are also many special events taking place throughout the year, including farmer’s markets, outdoor movies, concerts and more.
3) Appreciate local talent at CityArts Factory.
Hidden in plain sight right in the heart of downtown, this museum features thoughtful mixed-media collections by local Orlando creatives, from students to full-time artists. Exhibits change the first Thursday of every month. Stop by for 30 to 60 minutes — then grab a meal at one of the many excellent restaurants just steps away!
4) Window shop high-end styles at Mall at Millenia.
It doesn’t cost anything to dream, right? Advertised as an upscale indoor mall, the Mall at Millenia provides two key perks: air conditioning and over 150 name-brand stores to browse for hours on end.
5) Spend an evening at Universal CityWalk™ Orlando.
Start by snapping a quick photo in front of the iconic Universal Orlando Resort™ globe and window shopping at the dozens of storefronts. Then, for those 21+ years of age, we recommend paying the nominal cover charge for either Rising Star Karaoke Bar or Red Coconut Club. Once inside, the live entertainment is all free all night! (Free self-parking available after 6 p.m.)
6) Browse the Winter Park Farmer’s Market.
Just minutes from Orlando proper, the Winter Park Farmer’s Market is a staple of our community. Set up in the town’s old train depot every Saturday, it features an excellent selection of handmade crafts, locally grown produce, fresh plants and artisan food items, like bread, candied apples, coffee and kettle corn.
7) Soak up the sun together at Encore’s AquaPark.
No visit to Florida is complete without time spent at the pool! When you stay with Encore Resort at Reunion, your whole group receives exclusive access to our private AquaPark. Whether you’re in the mood for thrills in the form of plunging water and drop slides, or you’re content to lounge poolside while the kids explore the Surfin’ Safari children’s splash area, all this fun is included at no extra cost!