Free and Frugal Fun in Orlando

Be sure to enjoy a few of the sights and sounds of Orlando, “The City Beautiful.”  

When you have some time between sessions, or if you arrive before NTI or stay longer, Orlando has an astounding number of free and affordable attractions.

Near downtown Orlando, Lake Eola Park offers stunning views, a mile-long sidewalk and even swans. If you’re here on Sunday, visit the Farmers’ Market, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Between the park and I-4, CityArts Factory, 39 S. Magnolia Ave., houses downtown’s largest collection of art galleries. It’s open Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., and admission is free.

Frugal finds very near the convention center:

  • Andretti Indoor Karting & Games, with arcade games, bowling and happy hour, 9299 Universal Blvd., 0.6 mile away
  • The Improv comedy club includes some affordable nighttime shows, 9101 International Drive, 0.5 mile
  • Or just relax for a few hours, and watch a movie at Regal Cinemas & Imax, 9101 International Drive

Be sure to visit the Winter Park Farmers’ Market, 200 W. New England Ave., next to the old train depot, Saturdays from 7 a.m.-1 p.m. Then stop by the Winter Park History Museum (in the Farmers’ Market building) for a brochure describing free walking tours.

Have a picnic at Kraft Azalea, a 5-acre garden on the shores of Lake Maitland in Winter Park. It’s open year-round from 8 a.m.-dusk. Rollins College, also in Winter Park, includes the Cornell Fine Arts Museum, 1000 Holt Ave., with hundreds of paintings to marvel at, and free weekend tours. It’s closed Mondays and holidays.

Disney’s BoardWalk presents a quarter-mile of fun sights, including street performers, as you walk along the water’s edge. Watch fireworks from here too.

Another fun find is the 28th annual Orlando Fringe art festival, May 14-27, 812 E. Rollins St., May 14-27. Kids Fringe, on Saturdays and Sundays, is completely free.

Fun and frugal dining choices abound:

After lunch, visit the eclectic shops, and enjoy live music at East End Market, 3201 Corinne Drive. Then, as your day ends, head to Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, the Grand Floridian Resort or one of many other locations to enjoy free fireworks displays.

If you’re staying a bit longer, Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards, situated on a 127-acre estate in Clermont, 9239 U.S. 27 North (35-minute drive), serves award-winning wines. Open daily, the tour and tasting are free.

We hope you find many fun things to do during your free time, and be sure to let us know what you liked best; we might just include your tips the next time NTI convenes in Orlando.