Free & Cheap Things To Do in a Tourist Town

By Yasmene Warren

Living the city life doesn’t always have to mean living the expensive life, and that goes for a tourism hotspot like Orlando as well! We may be known for our thrilling theme parks, and that may be why you’re here, but what are some things you can do here that won’t break the bank? Let’s find out!

Disney Springs

Let’s start with something Orlando is known for: Disney.

Disney Springs is one of the many Walt Disney World parks Orlando has to offer, and the best part about its existence is that it’s free! Disney Springs offers free admission and free parking.

Image by Disney Springs

At Disney Springs, there are a multitude of dining options; whether you’re trying to dine in, eat out at a food truck, sit down at a bar or are just in the mood for something sweet.

Like every Disney park, there are also attractions at Disney Springs. Catch a free boat ride to and from Disney resorts like Saratoga Springs Resort or Old Key West Resort.

Ever ridden in a hot air balloon before? Well here, you can, and it doesn’t cost a fortune to do so either! Ride Disney Springs’ Aerophile for only $25 for those aged 10 and older and $20 for children aged 3 to 9.

Disney Springs is also home to legendary music hall House of Blues, so maybe you can catch a concert while grabbing a bite to eat at its restaurant. If not, the park also has a smaller, open-air venue where people can sit and watch live music be performed.

The best part about Disney Springs is being able to buy Disney stuff to make everyone back home think you went to Disney, even if you didn’t! Be sure to check it out while you’re here!

Lake Nona

Lake Nona is one of Orlando’s many artsy communities just minutes from the Orlando International Airport.

Image by Lake Nona

This area is filled with an abundance of beautiful art installations, and there are plenty of weekly events to take part in. Every Saturday, you can find the Lake Nona Farmers Market held at Lake Nona Town Center from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Here, you can buy fresh produce, listen to live music, and eat great food!

Lake Nona is where you can also find Tom Fruin’s Instagrammable “Glass House” art installation, part of his ongoing ICON series. This piece is made up of stained glass made from reclaimed materials and makes for a picture-perfect spot!

If more art is what you’re looking for, then take a stroll through the Lake Nona Sculpture Garden, also located in the town center! You’ll find 50,000 square feet of outdoor space where you can discover a wide selection of sculptures made by distinguished artists from all around the world.

Lake Nona’s Boxi Park is Central Florida’s first outdoor entertainment venue built from repurposed shipping containers. In it, you’ll find restaurants, bars, beach volleyball courts, and an outdoor live entertainment stage.

Andretti Indoor Karting

If you’re looking for a thrill outside of Orlando’s most renowned theme parks, then Andretti Thrill Park might be the end to your search.

Image by Andretti Indoor Karting & Games - Orlando

Andretti is an entertainment center perfect for people of all ages. Here, you get to decide how much is “too much” to spend on fun. There are more than 100 arcade games at Andretti, and all you have to do is buy a ThrillCard and add your desired amount of money to it, and you can swipe it on any game.

The card also stores the tickets you win so you can redeem them for prizes! The best part about it is that the balance never expires, so if you don’t redeem all your tickets in one sitting, you can come back another time with the same card without having to start from scratch. You can get 250 game credits for as low as $10!

In addition to arcade games, Andretti also has attractions to ride. Show off your driving skills with Andretti’s indoor go-kart racing. A single adult race is only $27.95, a single junior race is $16.95, and the Mini Mario race is $11.95, so those of all ages can race!

You can also become immersed in virtual reality for only $14.95. For the same price, you can also show off your shooting skills with laser tag!

Walk over to Andretti’s tasty grill and bar if you’re feeling tuckered out from all the fun! At Andretti, it’s a one stop shop for all things entertainment!

Universal CityWalk

Yet another popular Orlando theme park is Universal Studios. But before you can even get there, you have to go through CityWalk!

Image by Universal Orlando

Universal CityWalk is completely free and has free parking after 6 p.m.! Here, you can explore restaurants, nightclubs, and do a little shopping too. There are live DJ sets you can dance to, a splash pad for kids, and water taxis that take you to and from Universal resorts. Don’t forget to stop and get a picture in front of the legendary Universal globe while you’re there!

Ripley’s Mirror Maze

Have you ever seen those freaky mirror mazes that people get stuck in in movies? Well you can experience one for yourself at Ripley’s!

Image by Ripley's Believe it or Not!

Ripley’s Mirror Maze is a cool, illuminated mirror maze where your sense of direction is really put to the test. For just $16.99, those aged 12 and older can take a shot at finding their way through the mirror maze. Kids aged 3-11 can participate for $12.99, and it’s free for children under 2.These can all be purchased online, and are valid for a whole year from the date of purchase!

Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour

Although this one isn’t free, it’s certainly cost effective. The city of Winter Park offers scenic boat tours, showcasing the beauty of the area.

The boat holds 18 passengers and leaves every hour during hours of operation, which is any day from  10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Adults can ride for $16 and children aged 2-11 can ride for $8. Kids under 2 get to ride for free! This is the perfect opportunity to get an up-close look at the nature that lies within “the city beautiful!”


Vacationing in Orlando doesn’t always have to be an expensive experience, and this list proves that! You could come to this city with just $50 to your name and still find ways to have a blast. These free and cheap attractions bring much more to Orlando than what it’s known for, so why not check them out?


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