Top 10 Fun Things to Do When Visiting Orlando

By Susan Guillory · July 24, 2023 · 7 minute read

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Top 10 Fun Things to Do When Visiting Orlando

While Orlando may be known as Mickey Mouse’s home, it’s got a lot more to offer. For foodies, there are hip and delicious restaurants. For nature lovers, there are more than 100 lakes in Orlando. And for kids, there are museums and hands-on activities. When it comes to things to do in Orlando, there’s something for everyone.

But because Orlando is so popular, it’s worthwhile to take some time and plan your trip to get the most out of it. There may be thousands and thousands of people there when you are, all looking for the best attractions in Orlando.

Here’s some help: a list of 10 fun things to do when at this magical Florida destination (some obvious, some off-the-beaten path), plus planning tips to help you have a great vacation.

Best Times to Go to Orlando

Weatherwise, Orlando is fairly mild year-round. Winters rarely dip below the 70s, and summers top out in the low 90s (though humidity can be an issue), making almost any time a great time to visit Orlando.

If you decide to travel off-season (September through April, when most kids are in school), you may be able to find travel deals, since there are fewer people traveling, and hotels and attractions may offer discounts.

If you’re looking to plan your Orlando trip around an event, there are plenty to choose from, including the following:

•  February to April: Universal’s Mardi Gras: International Flavors of Carnaval

•  March: Central Florida Fair

•  March to July: EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival

•  September: The International Food and Drink Festival

•  October: Halloween Horror Nights at Universal

•  December: ICE! at Gaylord Palms

Bad Times to Go to Orlando

Are there any times you shouldn’t plan your Orlando trip? If you plan to enjoy many outdoor activities, you might avoid visiting in the summer, since it can get pretty humid.

Also know that the usual school holidays and breaks will likely bring crowds to the area, making it take longer to see the sights and perhaps dealing with lack of availability of lodging, tickets, and so forth.

Recommended: How to Save Money for a Trip

Average Cost of a Vacation to Orlando

You’ll want to plan ahead for your Orlando trip, so knowing the costs can be helpful.

For a couple who wants to spend a week in Orlando, the average cost is $4,082. For a single visitor, the costs are about $2,273. Of course, the exact figure will depend on what attractions you see, where you stay, and how much you spend on dining and food.

Orlando hotels range from $60 to $305 a night, averaging $104. However, by doing your research, using points, and other smart moves, you may be able to save money on hotels.

In addition, you will need to get to Orlando. Many people come from all over the country (even the world) by plane to visit the city. If you are among them, research some travel hacks to get cheap flights to this travel hub.

10 Fun Must-Dos in Orlando

Whether you are traveling solo, with a partner, or with your family, you’ve got many options for activities and events. Here are some of the best things to do in Orlando, based on residents’ advice, tips from frequent visitors, and the best-rated attractions on online review sites.

1. Get Giddy at a Theme Park

One of the top things to do in Orlando is visit one of its many theme parks. You may have heard of Walt Disney World (, but did you realize it consists of four parks? You could spend days at Animal Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, and Magic Kingdom.

Not to be outdone by Disney, there is also Universal Orlando Resort (, which contains The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, as well as Universal’s Islands of Adventure. Orlando also has a SeaWorld theme park (, for those aquatic animal lovers.

Going to the parks can be pricey: One day at Disney World will cost anywhere from $109 to $189 for ages 10 and up; tickets to Universal also start at $109 per day; and SeaWorld tickets can be found for $57.99 to $134.99 a day, depending on promotions at the time you visit.

Yes, admission is pricey, but if you swipe or tap your plastic, you could earn credit card rewards when paying for them.

2. Pitstop Along International Drive

Near both Disney and Universal theme parks, you’ll find International Drive, an area full of things to do, places to shop, and restaurants to dine in. You can also drop into family-friendly museums like Madame Tussauds, WonderWorks, and Ripley’s Believe it or Not!

3. Shop the Outlet Stores

On International Drive, you’ll find the Orlando International Premium Outlets, which attract visitors from all around the world. Shop brands like Adidas, Armani, Coach, Lacoste, and more, all at steep discounts.

4. Stroll Through Lake Eola Park

If you want to experience the quieter side of Orlando, head downtown to the picturesque Lake Eola Park. In the center of the lake is a fountain, surrounded by swan-shaped paddle boats you can rent.

In the park, you can attend a musical event, theatrical performance, or movie at the Walt Disney Amphitheater, let the kids play on the playground, or enjoy the flora and fauna. Open from 6 am to 11:59 pm daily, Lake Eola Park is a fun free thing to do in Orlando, and it can be a way that families can afford to travel.

Also, if you’re traveling with a pet, it can be a top destination. Leashed dogs are welcome.

5. Spend Time at Thornton Park District

Among the fun things to do in Orlando for couples: spending a few hours in Thornton Park District. Dubbed “downtown for grownups,” this neighborhood just steps away from Lake Eola offers fine dining, boutique shopping, and events like Washington Street Night Market.

6. Be Amazed by Science

For science lovers of all ages, Orlando Science Center offers a wealth of exhibits and events over four floors, with giant-screen and 3D movies available too. Kids will love the Spark STEM Fest, while adults may prefer events like the Science of Wine. Admission is $24 for adults; $18 for kids ages 2 to 11. The museum is typically open Thursday through Tuesday, 10 am to 5 pm.

7. Go to Gatorland

Just a short drive north from downtown Orlando, let out your inner beast at Gatorland. This animal park features 2,000 American alligators (making it “The Alligator Capital of the World!”) as well as other animals like capybaras, wildcats, birds, snakes, and more.

Admission is typically $22.99 for kids ages 3 to 12, and $32.99 for guests 32.99 and up. Gatorland is usually open daily from 10 am to 6 pm.

8. Soak up Some Fine Art

For art lovers, the Orlando Museum of Art is a must-see. The museum hosts a well-rounded collection of American art, African art, art from the ancient Americas, contemporary art (including works by Robert Rauschenberg, Kerry James Marshall, Jennifer Bartlett, and Nick Cave), and more.

Admission is $20 for adults; $8 for kids ages 6 to 17. The museum is typically open Tuesday through Friday, 10 am to 4 pm, and from 12 pm to 4 pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

9. Stroll Through Gorgeous Gardens

Nothing is nicer on a beautiful Florida day than a stroll through Harry P. Leu Gardens. This 50-acre botanical oasis boasts azaleas, bamboo, bromeliads, magnolias, tropical plants, and more, plus a beautiful rose garden, perfect for snapping selfies.

You’ll also find art in the gardens: the Garden House Welcome Center displays both permanent and rotating exhibitions of local and international artists. Open daily from 9 am to 5 pm (last admission at 4 pm), the garden charges $15 admission for adults, and $10 for kids ages 4 to 17.

10. Marvel at the Manatees

Winter is the ideal time to see these gentle giants that enjoy the 72-degree weather of Blue Spring State Park. Recent records report more than 700 manatees passing through the park.

Make a day of it and take a hike, take a guided river boat cruise, or kayak through the park. Florida’s parks are typically open from 8 am to sunset, and, because visiting a park is typically free, this can be a great idea for frugal travelers.

The Takeaway

As you can see, there are so many things to do in Orlando, whether you’re visiting with kids, friends, or a partner.

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What theme parks are in Orlando?

Under the Disney brand, you’ll find Animal Kingdom, EPCOT, Hollywood Studios, and Magic Kingdom. There is also Universal Orlando Resort, Universal’s Islands of Adventure, and SeaWorld.

What are free things to do in Orlando?

Enjoy a walk around Eola Park downtown, visit CityWalk at Universal, or head to nearby beaches, all of which are free activities in or near Orlando, Florida.

How many days should I spend in Orlando?

If you plan to only visit theme parks, three days may be enough for an Orlando vacation. If you’d also like to explore the city, aim for five days.

Photo credit: iStock/VisionsbyAtlee

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