Top 10 Free Things To Do In Orlando For Locals

Posted by Unlock Orlando April 23, 2012

Whether or not you’re new to the Orlando area, there are a lot of activities to do that not only don’t involve tourists, but don’t cost anything. If you go online and search for things to do in the Orlando area you’ll find all sorts of crazy suggestions, many of them involving large theme parks, hotels, and dinner shows. Many of these activities are terrific, but they can also be expensive and they are normally geared toward those who live out of town. Well, what about the people who actually live and work in Orlando? What do they do when they want things to do in Orlando? Where do they go? And where do they bring their out of town friends and relatives who have already been to the theme parks and want to do something different? Well below is a list of FREE things to do in the Orlando area. Now there are other lists out there where the writers claim that the activities are FREE, but they are really not FREE. That’s because those lists are put together by amateurs, possibly by people who don’t even live in the Orlando area. At, our suggestions are put together by Orlando natives and long-time Orlando residents. The activity squad knows where you want to go for FREE entertainment.

Park Avenue
Park Avenue is located in the Winter Park area, and the street is filled with tons of boutique shops, restaurants and bars, and a city park to go along with it. There is also a ton of scenery to check out while you are venturing in and out of storefronts and when you’re done walking along the avenue, take a rest on one of the benches in the Central Park, which also runs along Park Avenue. Venturing down Park Avenue has been a long-time favorite of local Orlando residents for decades. Any resident of the Central Florida area should check it out. Most importantly, parking is FREE and venturing along Park Avenue and Central Park is completely FREE.
From Interstate 4, Park Avenue can be found by taking the Fairbanks Avenue Exit, and traveling East for two miles and then taking a left at Park Avenue.

Farmer’s Markets in the Orlando
Farmer’s Markets in the Orlando are one of the best ways to get out, walk around and enjoy some people watching. It also allows you to check out local areas and purchase goods from local business owners. Nowadays you can find Farmer’s Markets all over the Orlando and Central Florida area at all different times of the week. So just about anyone with any schedule can find a way to make to at least one Farmer’s Market a week. Among the most popular Farmer’s Markets over the weekend include the Orlando Farmer’s Market on Sundays and the Winter Park Farmer’s Market on Saturdays. During the week you can check out markets like the College Park Farmer’s Market on every Thursday night.

Mead Botanical Gardens
Mead Botanical Gardens, known to many locals as Mead Gardens, is a 50-acre garden located in the heart of Winter Park, and is fewer than 2 miles North of the tip of Orlando. The gardens are filled with a few miles of trails where you can see streams, plants, wetlands and animals. It’s terrific area to walk around, have events, or go for a picnic. While there are other terrific protected gardens and parks that you can go to in the Orlando area, Mead Botanical Gardens is completely FREE. No parking charges and no entry charges. Invite the whole family. Invite the whole the neighborhood if you want because it won’t cost you a penny. Ideally you’ll want to come on one of Orlando’s good weather days.
Mead Botanical Gardens
1300 South Denning Drive Winter Park, FL 32789
Family Outting at Mead Gardens Winter Park

Uptown Altamonte and Cranes Roost Park
Uptown Altamonte and Cranes Roost Park in the Altamonte Springs area of Orlando offers a lot to do. All of it is FREE. Walk or jog around Cranes Roost, or go to Cranes Roost to watch one of their FREE concerts on selected Friday and Saturday nights. Look for listings of Friday Night Live at Uptown Altamonte. You can also enjoy the fountain and light show at Uptown Altamonte. Shows last around 20 minutes and the fountain and lighting is choreographed to music. Shows start at 7pm, 8pm, and 9pm. After that you can venture out for a stroll along Altamonte’s beautiful Cranes Roost Park and walk around the lake.
Uptown Altamonte and Cranes Roost Park
274 Cranes Roost Blvd
Altamonte Springs, FL 32701

Orlando Public Library System
Activities for both kids and adults are provided by many of the Public Libraries around Central Florida and Orlando. The Orlando Public Library for example, has weekly storytelling for kids and other activities on a weekly basis. The sessions typically last around 25 minutes and include entertaining story tellers along with short videos. Reservations are required, but are also completely FREE if you’re a library card holder. If you’re an adult, you can also sign up for different educational classes on everything from culture to computers plus you can sign up for book clubs, lectures, and even cooking and handicraft classes at some libraries. Most of the time to reserve a spot, you just need a library card and if you’re a resident in that county……………it’s FREE!

Festivals in Orlando

Orlando area festivals are activities that are also completely FREE! Because Orlando is warm year round, we’ve got a ton of festivals that Orlando area locals can enjoy. The Winter Park, Maitland, and Lake Eola art Festivals just to name a few. Lake Eola itself will be host to dozens of large weekend festivals every year celebrating everything from art and culture to music and special causes. If you look hard enough, you can typically find a festival or some kind of outdoor event just about every week of the year. For most of them you simply park on the street and they don’t even require an admission fee. Hang out and enjoy!

Popcorn Flicks in the Park
Popcorn Flicks in the Park is a program sponsored by the city of Winter Park and the Enzian Theater. The movies are shown on Central Park stage located right off of Park Avenue. Only films that consist of classic, pop culture movies that have a universal appeal to most audiences are shown. Audiences are encouraged to bring blankets, chairs, food and snacks. Families and friends welcome……….bring them along. Showings are generally scheduled for around 7pm, but may not start until sunset.

The Art Walk on Third Thursdays
The Art Walk on Third Thursdays is a popular event in downtown Orlando that takes place off of Orange Avenue in the City Arts Gallery and through a few other gallery venues downtown and in Thornton Park. Every third Thursday of month you’ll find a brand new showing of art featuring different themes, different artists, and their different artworks displayed. These events typically have lots of music, food, fun, and entertainment. It’s a great night out for everyone and more importantly……….it’s completely FREE!
CityArts Factory
29 South Orange Avenue
Orlando, FL 32801

Downtown Winter Garden
If you ever want to get the feel of small town, main street America without traveling too far out of town and without dealing with a bunch of tourists, visit downtown Winter Garden. This oasis of relaxation and charm is right on the doorstep of Orlando not more than 5 minutes from the city limits. What’s more amazing is that most locals don’t even of its existence. Downtown Winter Garden features a section of Plant Street where one can find local restaurants, bars, museums, and parks. The city of Winter Garden also hosts a ton of special events that are FREE for the public to enjoy including a weekly farmer’s market on Saturdays from 9am-2pm, a car show known as the Cruz-N-Car show every 3rd Saturday from 6pm-9pm, and FREE concerts on Fridays from 7pm – 9pm at the Centennial Gazebo on West Plant Street. For more information and details, check out their website at
City of Winter Garden
300 West Plant Street
Winter Garden, FL 34787

Lake Eola Park
Lake Eola Park is located right in the heart of Downtown Orlando. It’s an ideal place to walk around, hang out and people watch. Many locals use it as a venue to walk around, take a jog around the lake, or to simply enjoy the view of nature right next door to urban sprawl. Make sure not to miss the large iconic fountain at the center of Lake Eola surrounded by large shiny buildings in the background. There are nightly fountain shows every night where the fountain turns different colors and music is played to the fountain. Locals can also enjoy the weekly Orlando Farmer’s Market every Sunday from 9am-4pm. There is food, entertainment and even alcohol is served. Lake Eola is also host to some of Orlando’s top festivals, celebrations, concerts, gatherings, and even 5k’s. There’s even a large playground for the kids. Most importantly, to enjoy Lake Eola, you need no park entrance fees……………you can simply show up.
195 N. Rosalind Avenue, Orlando, FL

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