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15 Fun Things to Do in Downtown Orlando on a Budget

February 11, 2024 7 min read

Downtown Orlando may not be the first place that comes to mind when visiting Orlando, but if you ever want to break away from the theme parks, this is a place to check out. With beautiful scenic walks around Lake Eola and a variety of cultural attractions, Downtown Orlando offers affordable fun for all ages. Whether you’re seeking adventure on a budget or escaping the tourist scene, Downtown Orlando makes for an ideal day trip or getaway. There are plenty of things to do in Downtown Orlando on a budget, but here are 15 to get you started.

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Cultural & Entertainment Attractions

Hidden behind the tall buildings of Downtown Orlando are the beautiful cultural attractions that show another side of this beautiful city. From museums to Broadway shows, there are plenty of things to do in Downtown Orlando without going broke.

1. CityArts Orlando

If you’re looking for art in Downtown Orlando, then head to CityArts. This fabulous space is full of art, and they usually host many events. While they are open during the day, the best time to go is the 3rd Thursday of every month from 6-9 PM. It is completely free to go during this time and you can also head over to the Orange County Regional History Center for free.

2. Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts

While we have many places that offer performances, Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts is one of a kind in downtown Orlando. This beautiful Performing Arts Center has been named “50 Best Places in the South Now” and has been featured in many articles commending the gorgeous architecture. Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts has all sorts of shows and performances as well as Broadway shows. While many of the shows can be pricey, you can still get tickets for about $29 depending on the show and seat selected.

Things to do in Downtown Orlando

3. Orange County Regional History Center

If you’re into history, then you cannot miss the Orange County Regional History Center. This museum has a great collection to look at and the exhibits are quite wonderful. Not only will you find some fascinating exhibits, but this was also an old courthouse, so you will see the courtroom inside.

There is quite a lot of history in the museum and for $8 admission for adults and $6 admission for children, it is a really good deal! On top of that, on the third Thursday of every month from 5 PM – 8 PM, you can get free admission.

4. SAK Comedy Lab

Get ready to laugh at the SAK Comedy Lab. If you like shows like “who’s line is it anyway?” then you will like this place. SAK is all about improv, making it up as they go. Most of the shows are $20, which isn’t bad for a fun night out. And if you’re brave enough, they do have a free improv class you can take.

5. The Library

You’re probably thinking, the library, really? But the library in Downtown Orlando is quite wonderful to visit. Not just because the architecture itself is quite impressive, but because this is such a massive library with many places to wander around. The library also hosts many events and if you happen to live in Orlando – Orange County, you’ll get access to several awesome classes for free with your library card.

Outdoor Activities

While Downtown Orlando may not seem to have a lot of outdoor activities, the below will fill up your day.

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6. Lake Eola Park

This is such a popular spot to visit. While it is great throughout all the seasons, it’s even more magical during the holidays when they put up their decor! But if you’re not in Orlando during the holidays, don’t worry there is still plenty of things to do in Downtown Orlando. While strolling around the park is the popular option as this is free and there are several things to see around the park, it isn’t the only option. You can also attend the farmers’ market on Sundays, which usually has local handcrafts and yummy treats or you can also rent a swan boat.

The swan boat rental is $15 for 30 minutes and you will be able to get up close to the fountain. Sometimes there’s also live music and performances in the amphitheater as well.

Things to do in Downtown Orlando

7. Mural Tour

I haven’t seen anyone give a mural tour yet, but you can do this one on your own. There are several murals around Downtown Orlando. Some are close together and for the other ones you will need to walk a bit to see them.

Murals:

  • Thornton Park Central Garage: 120 N Eola Dr, Orlando, FL 32801
  • Swan mural: 819 E Washington St, Orlando, FL 32801
  • Greetings from Orlando: 703 N Orange Ave, Orlando, FL 32801

These are just a few of the ones around downtown, but there are more out there to explore.

8. Architectural Walking Tour

If there is one thing you should add to your things to do in Downtown Orlando list is this walking tour. From October to May, there are guided tours of the Downtown Historic District. These tours feature the architectural and historic parts of downtown. This lasts 1.5 hours and it is absolutely free! The tour does begin at 9:30 AM and you must RSVP.

Cool Restaurants in Downtown Orlando

Downtown Orlando Restaurants have gotten quite a makeover lately and it’s mostly due to newcomers joining the downtown scene. While there have been quite a few good ones since I started living in Orlando, there are now plenty of cool restaurants to check out and it also gives you more things to do in Downtown Orlando.

9. Graffiti Junktion

Located in Thornton Park, Graffiti Junktion is such a fun, laidback restaurant with graffiti art around the establishment. They also have some of the best burgers such as the sin city, which is angus patty stuffed with Jalapeños and Brie cheese with its toppings.

10. The Bao Spot

Open since December 2023, The Bao Spot is one of the newest spots in downtown Orlando. It is also a cool restaurant to visit if you are into Star Trek, Star Wars, and anything galaxy-related. This galaxy-inspired restaurant not only has an alien coming out of its walls, but the place also feels like something out of Star Wars with its cantina look. The menu is quite impressive with some mouth-watering baos, burgers, and desserts. You will find baos for around $6-$8, space burgers for about $10, and more.

11. Harp & Celt Irish Pub & Restaurant

I am all about Irish pub, so of course this had to be on this list. Not only that though, this is quite a nice Irish pub that really feels like you’ve been transported to Ireland. This is a family-owned restaurant with a full bar. The prices aren’t the cheapest, but it’s affordable and can easily be within your budget depending on your selection.

12. Taco Kat

This is such a cool place. At first glance, you might think this is a bit of a small place, but don’t forget to go through the vending machine! The vending machine opens up a door to another room, which is the speakeasy. The tacos are also affordable with each one costing $3-$4.

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Events in Downtown Orlando

13. Weekend Block Parties

During one of my leap year birthdays, I partied at the Wall Street Plaza. It wasn’t one of their weekend parties, but this plaza is quite popular for celebrating and partying. The weekend block parties at Wall Street Plaza occur on Fridays and Saturdays from 9 PM-2 AM. The block parties have no cover most nights unless something special is happening. So if you’re looking for things to do in Downtown Orlando and to enjoy the nightlife, then check this place out. You do have to be 21+.

14. Parade and Festivals

There are plenty of parades and Festivals that occur in downtown Orlando. Not all of them are budget-friendly, but for the most part, there have been many below $25. Many of the parades and festivals are seasonal, and some like the 2024 Puerto Rican Day Parade and Festival are just to promote the Puerto Rican heritage and community. This event will be occurring in April and it is free to attend.

15. Watch a game

Whether you are into hockey or basketball, you can watch either one of these games at the Kia Center. This is one of the preferred things to do in Downtown Orlando for many families. While tickets vary in cost depending on the package or seat you get, you can get a hockey ticket to see the Orlando Solar Bears for as low as $18.

Things to do in Downtown Orlando: Things to Know

  • Downtown Orlando is dangerous at night. If going anywhere downtown, please be aware of your surroundings and if possible, go with another person.
  • There are several homeless in the downtown area, you will see most of them hanging in Lake Eola. While most of the homeless are friendly and stay out of your way, there will always be one that has no decency. It’s mostly safe for women to walk alone in the area, but always be aware of your surroundings.
  • Downtown Orlando parking is now free at on-street metered and non-metered spaces via the ParkMobile app. Whenever I’ve parked at the metered spaces, I didn’t have to download the app as the meter will tell you it is free parking. However, if you do not see this or you’re in a non-metered space, download the app and enter code: ParkDTO. Thanks to the ParkDTO program, valet parking is free at some businesses.
  • If you prefer to park in a garage there are plenty of those around and some are about $3-4 for the first hour.

With so much to do, there are plenty of things to do in Downtown Orlando that will meet your budget. Whether you are looking for something under $50 or something under $200, you’ll find it in this beautiful city.

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About Me

Hola!

Hola! I'm Hanny and I have been traveling since the age of three. Although, I grew up traveling, it wasn't until 2013, when I decided to start a blog. Read More

xoxo Hanny

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