When you hear Orlando, the first things that come to mind are probably Disney and Universal; after all, they are what Orlando is famous for. While we love theme parks, a day out at these places come with a pretty hefty price tag. If you're needing to stick to a tight budget right now, Orlando does have some great free and cheap things to do nearby- you just have to do a little digging.
We've done some looking for you so you can get out and enjoy Orlando on the cheap. While you won't find a theme park on this list, you will find entertainment, alcohol, art, and gardens - all for FREE. Get your friends ready for a little affordable day date with your boo or BFF with these 8 free things to do near Orlando.
Location: Spook Hill, Lake Wales, FL 33853; about an hour south of Orlando
Hours: 24 hours
Why you need to go: A fun little day trip destination out to witness a weird optical illusion - your car rolling uphill. Legend says that an Indian Chief battled a gator here and was buried at the foot of the hill: Is the chief protecting his land or is the gator out for revenge?
Cornell Fine Arts Museum
Location: 1000 Holt Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789
Hours: Tuesday-Friday 10am-4pm
Closed Mondays - holiday hours may vary
Why you need to go: This fine art museum at Rollin's College features one of the oldest & most distinguished Florida art collections; more than 5,000 different displays of art ranging from the ancient to the modern.
Grand Bohemian Art Gallery
Location: 325 South Orange Avenue
Orlando, FL 32801
Hours: Sunday 10am-3pm
Why you need to go: Even if you aren't staying at the hotel, visiting the gallery is free; a great place to go if you heart art, a diverse collection of colorful and mesmerizing exhibits to admire, some even make reference to pop culture - parking may be a little tricky, but the City Commons Garage is only $2.
Lake Eola Park
Location: 512 E Washington St, Orlando, FL 32801
Hours: 6am-12am, 7 days a week; Hours may differ on holidays.
Why you need to go: Free to enter with cool artistic sculptures scattered all throughout the park for you to find. You get stunning water views of The Bay - especially at sunset or at night when the fountains are all lit up. If you have a little extra cash to spend, you can ride a swan boat here for only $15.
Kraft Azalea Garden
Location: 1365 Alabama Dr, Winter Park, FL 32789
Hours: 8am-7pm, 7 days a week; Hours may vary on holidays.
Why you need to go: 5.2 acres of beautiful winding pathways covered by the shade of Cyprus canopies and Spanish moss; Beautiful water views of Lake Maitland, and a monument right near the water's edge offers a gorgeous place to sit or snap a few photos.
Popcorn Flick in the Park - Winter Park Central
Location: 251 Park Ave S, Winter Park, Florida 32789
Hours: Showing times will vary, but are generally scheduled for 7 or 8pm. Be sure to check their website for the next upcoming popcorn flick date and time.
Why you need to go: Free movie and popcorn in the park once a month. They're known to play popular films - especially Disney classics. This would make a super cute little date on the cheap. The next upcoming flick is The Little Mermaid on July 11th at 8pm. Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire will be playing in August!
Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards
Location: 19239 U.S. 27 North, Clermont, Florida 34715
Hours: Monday-Saturday 10am–5pm
Complimentary tours start as early as 10am and run every 35-45 minutes, with the last tours starting at 3:45pm.
Why you need to go: Complimentary wine tasting tour that lets you try award-winning wines from dry, sweet, to sparkling. Tours last approximately 45 minutes, you can enjoy the sweeping Florida landscape during your tour too - double win.
Admission: While this one isn't completely free, it's SUPER cheap. Admission is only $2/person and gives you access to the river and a lot of amenities within the park for free - the boat/canoe/large inflatable floatie launch is only $10 for an all-day excursion.
Location: 1014 Miami Springs Dr, Longwood, FL 32779
Hours: Sunday-Thursday 8am-9pm
Why you need to go: Enjoy the river for free, float downstream on your tube for cheap or chill out dockside for free; If you have a little extra cash to spend, hit up the Tooting' Otter for a cold brew. They also have an art gallery in the works and have live music from local artists on Fridays & Saturdays.
What are you waiting for? Get out there and enjoy the best of Orlando on the cheap with your BFFs - your friends (and your wallet) will thank you later. For more fun things to do near Orlando, check out these 8 unique hideaways, 8 adventurous day trips, or these 12 super cute date ideas.