It’s definitely the best time of the year in Orlando! The weather is perfect and every town comes to life with exciting holiday events to celebrate the season. Fortunately, you don’t have to shell out a theme park ticket price to have an amazing Christmas experience. In fact, the best holiday events and things to do are absolutely FREE. From snow sledding to festive parades, get in the spirit with these free holiday happenings near Orlando.
FREE HOLIDAY CELEBRATIONS & PARADES
Oviedo Tree Lighting Food Truck Thursday
Thursday, November 29, 5pm-9pm
Center Lake Park
Free event with food trucks, Santa and a tree lighting.
Baldwin Park Tree Lighting First Friday Festival
Friday, November 30, 5:30pm-9:30pm
Free event with food trucks, music, art, and Santa photos.
Friday, November 30 at 6pm
Oviedo on the Park
Bring lawn chairs and enjoy the free performance. Sales from concessions go to Britton Daniel’s fight against cancer.
Songs of the Season
Friday, November 30, 7pm-9pm
Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center
Free holiday concert on the lawn at Seneff Arts Plaza.
Christmas in the Square Annual Tree Lighting
Friday, November 30, 6pm-8pm
Downtown Sanford, Magnolia Square on First Street
Free event with live entertainment, tree lighting, face painters, balloons and more.
31st Annual Light Up Winter Garden
Friday, November 30, 6pm-9pm
Downtown Winter Garden, Plant Street
Free evening of lights, live entertainment, shopping and kids’ activities.
City of Orlando Annual Tree Lighting Celebration
Friday, November 30 at 5 p.m.
Lake Eola Park, Orlando
Free event with live entertainment, holiday performances and the city will turn on the lights for its 72-foot tree.
The Grove’s Winter Wonderland
Saturday, December 1, 11am-2pm
The Grove Drive, Windermere
Free event with stilt walkers, face painting, train rides and more.
Saturday, December 1, 4:30pm-9pm
Winter Springs Town Center
Free parade, tree lighting and live entertainment.
Longwood Christmas Parade
Saturday, December 1, 2:30pm-5pm
Ronald Reagan Blvd., Longwood
Light Up the Holidays
Saturday, December 1, 5pm-9pm
Cranes Roost Park, Altamonte Springs
Free event with holiday light displays, music, kid activities and more.
Winter Wonderland & Tree Lighting
Saturday, December 1, 4pm-8pm
Kit Land Nelson Park, Apopka
Free event with “Florida snow,” performances, and appearances by Santa.
Mount Dora 58th Annual Christmas Parade
Saturday, December 1 at 10am
Free Christmas parade along the streets of downtown Mount Dora.
Casselberry Tree Lighting Ceremony
Saturday, December 1, 6pm – 9pm
Lake Concord Park
Mount Dora’s Christmas Lighted Boat Parade
Saturday, December 1 at 7pm
Parade begins at Lighthouse on Grantham Point, Across from Gilbert Park on Tremain Street and Liberty Avenue, Downtown Mount Dora.
Daytona Beach Christmas Boat Parade
Saturday, Dec. 1, 6pm – 9pm
Free to find a spot along the Halifax River.
Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra “Holiday Pops” Concert
Sunday, December 2, 4pm-6pm
Central Park, Winter Park
Free concert in the park.
Light Up SoDo! 2018
Sunday, December 2, 2pm-6pm
SoDo District, Orlando
Free family event, but RSVP. Enjoy face painting, Santa, bounce houses, and more.
Winter Park 66th Annual Christmas Parade
Saturday, December 2 at 9am
Free parade along beautiful Park Avenue in downtown Winter Park.
40th Annual Christmas in the Park
Thursday, Dec. 6 at 6:15pm
The Morse Museum illuminates its Tiffany windows as the Bach Festival Choir performs in concert.
College Park – Holiday on the Drive
Thursday, December 6, 5pm – 9pm
Edgewater Drive, between Smith Street & Clayton Street
Free celebration in the street with Santa, snow and shopping.
Lake Mary Holiday in the Park
Friday, December 7, 6pm – 8pm
The free event features the lighting of a live 32-foot holiday tree, dancing light shows, a visit from Santa & Mrs. Clause, and much more. Visit City Hall throughout the month of December to enjoy thousands of colorful lights synchronized to music.
Winter on the Avenue
Friday, December 7, 5pm – 10pm
Free event in Central Park featuring the official tree lighting, a free movie, visit from Santa, live entertainment and free admission to Morse Museum.
Longwood Celebrate the Season
Friday, December 7, 6pm – 9pm
Free entry for annual tree lighting, games, a visit from Santa, $1 ice skating and 50 cent train rides.
City of Sanford Parade of Lights
Saturday, December 8 at 6pm
DeLand’s Mistletoe & Music
Saturday, December 8, 5pm – 8pm
Earl Brown Park amphitheater lawn
A true Florida Christmas celebration. Wear your best tropical attire to enjoy a free concert by a Jimmy Buffet tribute band.
Winter Spark Baldwin Park
Saturday December 8, 4pm – 8pm
Free festival on New Broad Street, parade and photos with Santa.
Kissimmee Festival of Lights Parade
Saturday, December 8, 7pm – 10pm
Free parade of illuminated floats through downtown Kissimmee.
Sanford Jingle Jam
Saturday, December 15, 3pm – 10pm
Free holiday street festival in downtown Sanford with live music and food trucks.
Children’s Christmas in the Park with Snow
Saturday, December 8, 5pm – 9pm
Free snow sledding for the kids in Donnelly Park.
Winter Park Christmas Boat Parade & Ski Show
Saturday, December 15, 3pm – 8pm
Dinky Dock overlooking Lake Virginia
Ski display and show followed by a parade of decorated boats from homeowners along local lakes.
New Smyrna Beach Christmas Boat Parade
Saturday, December 15, 7pm – 9pm
New Smyrna, Canal Street
HOLIDAY EVENTS & ACTIVITIES
Wekiva Island Winter Wonderland Events
Now through December 30
Wekiva Island in Longwood
Enjoy a snow slide, snow flurries, free movies, visits by Santa and Mrs. Claus, and more. Free during the week, $1 admission on weekends.
Disney Springs Christmas Tree Trail
Now through January 6
Catch the spirit of the season without a theme park admission. Follow the Christmas Tree trail to discover 27 trees decorated with a different Disney character or theme.
Snow in Celebration
Now through December 31
The town transforms with holiday experiences throughout the month including live performances, snow falling nightly every hour, horse drawn carriages, train rides, a synthetic ice rink, and a Santa meet and greet.
Light Up UCF
Now through January 1
Free fun for all ages including a holiday light show and FREE film festival on select Friday and Saturday nights featuring classics like “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Elf.” On select nights, Santa will make a special appearance. Ice skating $12 (discounts available for students and military).
Santa’s Winter Wonderland Village
Select days, Dec. 7 – Jan. 6
Waterford Lakes Town Center
Christmas lights, holiday displays, a Santa’s Workshop and unique European amusement rides.
Friday Nights at the Morse
The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art
Free admission to the museum with live music, tours, and art demonstrations.
Santa’s Wonderland at Bass Pro
Now through Dec. 24
FREE 4×6 studio-quality photo with Santa, games and fun activities.
Mall at Millenia Santa Experience
Now through Dec. 24
Meet Santa and take a photo using your own device with a $10 donation to Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital.
Meet Santa at the Eola House
Share your wishlist with Santa at the Eola House in downtown Orlando weekend evenings through December 23.
Lakeridge Winery Wine & Chocolate Festival
December 7 – 9
Adults $10, kids under 12 are free. Live music, delicious treats for sale, and free tours and wine tastings.
Saturday, Dec. 15, 2pm – 6pm
RDV Ice Den
$20 per person includes ice skating, snow slide, bounce houses, curling and more family fun.
WHERE TO SEE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS
Close to a million lights dance to music in the park every evening in downtown Lake Mary. Shows every half hour, 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Downtown Orlando for the Holidays
The Eola Wonderland 72–foot Christmas tree will come alive with a synchronized light and music show while the Lake Eola fountain displays red, green and gold lights to celebrate the holiday season.
Cranes Roost Lights
Dec. 1 – Jan. 1
Cranes Roost park comes alive with over 100 spectacular holiday displays featuring over 200,000 lights and a 60-foot tree decorated with 8,000 lights, 2,600 ornaments and over one mile of garland. Lights go on nightly at dusk. Holiday Fountain Show 6pm-9pm every hour.
The quaint downtown and Donnelly Park are perfectly decorated in 2 million sparkling lights for the season.
Jeater Bend Drive
Nightly now – Jan. 1, 6 p.m. – 10 p.m.
11 homes featured on the show, The Great Christmas Light Fight.
2nd Annual Holiday Train Lights
Select weekend evenings, Dec. 14 – Dec. 23
RC&G Railroad, Osceola. Parking is $10 per car.
FREE OUTDOOR HOLIDAY MOVIES
Snuggle up and bring your own snacks, chairs or blanket for a memorable night in Orlando. Note: please make sure to check each website before you go because events are always subject to change.
Holiday Movies at Lake Eola Park
Walt Disney Amphitheater at Lake Eola Park, 7 p.m.
Dec. 7: Polar Express
Dec. 15: The Santa Clause
Dec. 21: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
Holiday Movie Night at Cranes Roost
Cranes Roost, Plaza Tower, in Altamonte Springs, 7 p.m.
December 8: Arthur Christmas
December 15: How the Grinch Stole Christmas
December 22: The Flight Before Christmas
December 29: Frozen
Wekiva Island Winter Wonderland
Wekiva Island at 8 p.m.
November 30: The Grinch
December 7: How the Grinch Stole Christmas
December 14: The Santa Clause
December 21: A Christmas Carol
Lazy H Family Movie Night
Featuring: “Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron”
Friday, November 30, 5pm-8pm
The Lazy H Farm, Eustis
Free admission. $5 pony rides, play area, petting zoo, and snacks for purchase.
Family Movie Night Old Town
Old Town in Kissimmee
Every Sunday night beginning at dusk
November 18: A Christmas Story
November 25: The Muppet Christmas Carol
December 2: The Santa Clause
December 9: The Santa Clause 2
December 16: The Santa Clause 3
December 23: Christmas Vacation
December 30: The Polar Express
Light Up UCF Holiday Film Festival
Select Friday and Saturday nights
UCF transforms into a winter fun zone with free light shows, FREE outdoor holiday movies, rides and attractions including ice-skating, an ice slide and photos with Santa.
November 16: Elf
November 23: It’s a Wonderful Life
November 24: Miracle on 34th Street
November 30: The Santa Clause
December 1: White Christmas
December 7: Home Alone
December 8: Home Alone 2
December 14: A Christmas Story
December 15: The Polar Express
December 21: Disney’s A Christmas Carol
December 22: Elf
December 28: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
December 29: Frozen
Winter Park, Popcorn Flicks
Central Park in Downtown Winter Park, 7 p.m.
December 1: Christmas with the Kranks
December 7: Miracle on 34th Street
Celebration Movie Night
Great Lawn at 6 p.m.
December 1: The Santa Clause
Winter Garden Holiday Movie Night
Downtown Winter Garden, 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
December 15: The Polar Express
DeLand Movie in the Park
Earl Brown Park, 4:30pm – 8pm
December 15: Elf
Outdoor Movie Date Night at Leu Gardens
$6 for adults, $3 for kids
Harry P. Leu Gardens
December 7: National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
More cheap and free movies:
Maitland Holiday Movie Series
Maitland Public Library, 12 p.m.
November 30: Elf
Movie Classics at the Ritz Theatre
Wayne Densch Performing Arts Center at 7:26 p.m., $5 entry
December 6: Snow White
Saturday Matinee Classics
Enzian Theater, Maitland
December 8 at 12 p.m., $8
Featuring: It’s a Wonderful Life
Picture Show at Altamonte
Movies for $1 every Tuesday and $1.75 every day.