60+ Festive and Free Holiday Events in Orlando

Holiday Events in Orlando

Our annual list of the best free holiday events in Orlando!

2018 has flown by and the holiday season has nearly arrived. You and your honey may be in a panic realizing that the year is wrapping up and the list of holiday chores is ramping up. The great news is there are a ton of free holiday events in Orlando to enjoy. From holiday lights to free movies and concerts, check out some of our favorites below!

HOLIDAY LIGHTS AND DISPLAYS

Christmas Tree Trail at Disney Springs
Through January 6, 2019
Disney Springs Marketplace near Once Upon a Toy store
Discover 27 holiday trees each inspired by a Disney character or theme. A short, but festively packed walking trail amid the hustle and bustle of Disney Springs at Christmas time.

Disney’s Grand Floridian Gingerbread House Display
November 15, 2018 – January 1, 2019
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort lobby
Additional resorts with gingerbread displays in their lobbies: Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Beach Club Resort and the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel.
Note: Parking at the Walt Disney World Resort hotels is for the exclusive use of guests with confirmed rooms, dining and recreation reservations. However, bus transportation is available from each of the four parks and Disney Springs. Guests may also park at the Ticket and Transportation Center and visit Epcot, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and Disney’s Contemporary Resort via the Walt Disney World Resort Monorail.

Image credit: Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

Holiday Light Show at Light Up UCF
November 16, 2018- December 31, 2018
Starts at 7pm and continues hourly until closing
CFE Arena

Cranes Roost Park Holiday Fountain Show
November 24, 2018 – December 31, 2018
Performances hourly from 6-9pm
Cranes Roost Park, Altamonte Springs

Snow Falling Nightly in Celebration
November 24, 2018 – December 31, 2018
Nightly “snowfall” at 6, 7, 8 and 9pm.
Celebration Town Center

Celebration becomes a winter wonderland with nightly snow falls. (©Whitney Bilodeau)

A Merry Winter Garden Light Show
December 1, 7, 8, 15 and 22
6-9pm
Winter Garden City Hall

Deck the Downtown
December 1 – 31, 2018
Downtown Orlando
Downtown Orlando businesses will be “decked-out” with festive lights and window decorations. A map will guide residents and guests as they walk the streets of Downtown, enjoying the creativity and holiday spirit of each of the participating business locations. Deck the DTO location maps can be found online or at the Downtown Information Center.

Check out our guide to Where to Find Orlando’s Best Holiday Lights!

Holiday Lights around Cranes Roost Park
December 1, 2018 – January 1, 2019
6-11 pm
Cranes Roost Park, Altamonte Springs

Eola Wonderland Christmas Tree Show
December 1, 2018 – January 5, 2018
Nightly at 5:45, 6:45, 7:45, 8:45, and 9:45pm
Lake Eola Park

orlando Holidays Lights
Lake Eola Christmas Tree | Image credit: Matthew Paulson Photography

HOLIDAY PARADES AND CELEBRATIONS

Jingle Eve 2018
November 17, 2018
5-10pm
Ivanhoe Village

Lake Helen Christmas Parade & Santa’s Village
November 24, 2018
4-9pm
Christmas Parade 4pm (parade viewing along New York Ave. & Lakeview Dr.). Santa’s Village following the parade at Lake Helen Equestrian Center

36th Annual Light Up Mount Dora
November 24, 2018
5-6:30pm
Donnelly Park and Downtown Mount Dora

Celebration Tree Lighting Ceremony
November 24, 2018
5:30-9pm
Celebration Town Center

Celebration | Image credit: Stephanie Patterson

Light Up Viera
November 24, 2018
Parade starts at 6:10pm
Route takes place near Viera High School

Food Trucks, Tree Lighting, and Santa
November 29, 2018
5-9pm
Center Lake Park – Oviedo

Baldwin Park First Friday Festival and Tree Lighting Event
November 30, 2018
5:30-9:30pm
Lighting of the tree at 7:30pm.
Baldwin Park First Friday Festival (New Broad Street)

Wekiva Island Winter Wonderland
November 30 – December 23
Nightly snow flurries from 6-9pm
Extra entertainment and activities offered on select days and evenings, including outdoor movies and visits from Santa Claus. Be sure to check out Wekiva Island’s website for more details.
Wekiva Island
$1 entrance fee on weekends

Image credit: Wekiva Island

2018 City of Orlando Tree Lighting Celebration
November 30, 2018
From 5-9pm
Lake Eola Park

Christmas in the Square
November 30, 2018
From 6-8pm
Magnolia Square, Downtown Sanford

31st Annual Light Up Winter Garden
November 30, 2018
From 6-9pm
Downtown Winter Garden – Plant Street

26th Annual Mount Dora Christmas Walk
November 30, 2018
From 6-9pm
Downtown Mount Dora

Fun and Free Holiday Events in Orlando 2018
Mount Dora Christmas Walk | Image credit: Mount Dora Chamber of Commerce

41st Annual Cracker Christmas
December 1-2, 2018
10am-4pm
Fort Christmas Historical Park

58th Annual Mount Dora Christmas Parade
December 1, 2018
10am
Streets of Mount Dora

Winter Garden Christmas Parade
December 1, 2018
10am
South Dillard Street & Plant Street

The Grove’s Winter Wonderland
December 1, 2018
11am – 3pm
The Grove Orlando

2018 Ocoee Christmas Parade
December 1, 2018
From 1-4pm
The Parade will start at the intersections of Maguire Road and Enterprise Street, and end at Municipal Lakefront Park at Ocoee City Hall.

Avalon Aglow
December 1, 2018
From 3-9pm, fireworks 9pm
Downtown Avalon Park

Winter Wonderland Winter Springs
December 1, 2018
4:30-9:00pm
Winter Springs Town Center

Light Up the Holidays – Altamonte Springs
December 1, 2018
From 5-9pm
Cranes Roost Park, Altamonte Springs

Cranes Roost Park during the holidays
Cranes Roost Park | Image credit: Altamonte Springs

Casselberry Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony
December 1, 2018
From 6-9pm
A showing of the movie “Prancer” follows the tree lighting. Tree lighting at 7pm and movie at 7:30pm.
Lake Concord Park

28th Annual Lighted Christmas Boat Parade
December 1, 2018
Starts at 7:30pm
Lake Dora; the parade begins at Lighthouse on Grantham Point

Daytona Beach Christmas Boat Parade
December 1, 2018
6-9pm
Halifax River Yacht Club; the parade cruises from Seabreeze Bridge to Charthouse with a stop at Halifax Harbor Marina for judging

Light Up SoDo! 2018
December 2, 2018
2-6pm
SODO Shopping Center

Christmas at the Casa
December 5, 2018
4-7pm
Casa Feliz
Free to attend, but a donation of $2-$5 is suggested

Annual Great Latke Cook-off
December 6, 2018
From 1-2pm
Rosen JCC

College Park Main Street Holiday on the Drive
December 6, 2018
5-9pm
Edgewater Drive

Winter on the Avenue
December 7, 2018
From 5-10pm
Central Park on Park Avenue, Winter Park

Winter on the Avenue Park Avenue Winter Park
Winter on the Avenue | Image credit: Winter Park Chamber of Commerce

Holiday in the Park Lake Mary
December 7, 2018
6-8pm
Central Park Lake Mary City Hall
Filled with thousands of colorful lights, a Holiday Tree lighting, dancing light show, and a visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus. Holiday lights will continue to be on display throughout the rest of the holiday season.

Celebrate the Season & Tree Lighting
December 7, 2018
6-9pm
Downtown Historic Longwood

Lake Nona Holiday Festival
December 8 – December 30, 2018
Thursdays – Sundays from 3-10pm
Holiday movies, occasional snowfall, live performances, visits with Santa and more.
Lake Nona Town Center

66th Annual Winter Park “Ye Olde Hometown” Christmas Parade
December 8, 2018
Starts at 9am
Central Park Park Avenue, Winter Park

Winter Park “Ye Olde Hometown” Christmas Parade

Nehrling Gardens Holiday Amaryllis Festival
December 8, 2018
9am-3pm
Santa arrives, in a red Corvette, at 10am.
Nehrling Gardens, Gotha

Rotary Club of Orlando Christmas Parade
December 8, 2018
Starts at 4pm
Parade starts at Orange and Robinson, ends at Robinson and Rosalind

Winter Spark Baldwin Park
December 8, 2018
4-8pm
Holiday festival from 4-8pm and lighted parade beginning at 7pm
New Broad Street, Baldwin Park

Sanford’s Annual Illuminated Christmas Parade
December 8, 2018
From 6-8pm
Downtown Sanford

City of Kissimmee Festival of Lights Parade
December 8, 2018
Starts at 7pm
Historic Downtown Kissimmee

Chanukah on the Park
December 9, 2018
Starts at 5:00pm
Central Park on Park Avenue, Winter Park

It’s Lit, Sanford! Holiday Lighted Bike Ride
December 14, 2018
6:30-9:30pm
Meet at the corner of 6th and Myrtle Avenue. For GPS reference use 301 West 7th Street, which is Venue 1902 Preservation Hall.

2nd Annual Sanford Jingle Jam
December 15, 2018
4-10pm
Downtown Sanford

11th Annual Holiday Lights Ride
December 15, 2018
From 6-9pm
Bikes, Beans & Bordeaux Cafe

Winter Garden Christmas Golf Cart Parade
December 16, 2018
4-7pm
Bradford Park

Winter Garden Golf Cart Parade

7th Annual Christmas Light Ride!
December 22, 2018
From 7-8pm
Retro City Cycles

HOLIDAY MARKETS

Orlando Flea Holiday Makers Market
November 18, 2018
12-4pm
Celine Orlando

Holiday Makers Market – Windermere
November 25, 2018
11am-5pm
Handcrafted goods, craft beer, and music
The Pines of Windermere on the Lake (3409 Maguire Rd)

Will’s A Faire Vintage & Indie Art Holiday Market
December 2, 2018
1-9pm
Will’s Pub

Light Up UCF Holiday Market Under the Stars
December 8 and 21, 2018
6-10pm
CFE Arena

Holiday Art and Music in the Park and Food Truck Bazaar
December 14, 2018
6-9pm
Lake Concord Park, Casselberry

Holiday Pop Swap Market
December 16, 2018
1pm
Dear Prudence Shop and The Lovely Boutique Market

FREE HOLIDAY MOVIES

Light Up UCF Holiday Film Festival

Select nights November 15 – December 29, 2018
Movies begin at 7pm and 9:30pm
CFE Arena

  • November 15 – Mickey’s Christmas Carol (Short Film)
  • November 16 – Elf
  • November 23 – It’s a Wonderful Life
  • 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
Image credit: Light Up UCF

Family Movie Night at Old Town

Sunday nights November 11 – December 30, 2018
Movie begins at 7pm
South Entertainment Area at Old Town, Kissimmee

  • 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

Wekiva Island Winter Wonderland Movies

Select Friday and Saturday evenings November 30 – December 21, 2018
Movie begins at 7pm
Wekiva Island

  • November 30 – The Polar Express
  • December 7 – How The Grinch Stole Christmas (live action)
  • December 14 – The Santa Clause
  • December 21 – A Christmas Carol (starring Jim Carey)

Popcorn Flicks in the Park in Winter Park

Select nights in December
Movies starts at 7pm
Central Park, Winter Park

  • December 1: Christmas with the Kranks
  • December 7: Miracle on 34th Street
outdoor movies in orlando
Photo credit: Enzian

Longwood Movies in the Park

How the Grinch Stole Christmas
December 1, 2018
6-8:30pm
Enjoy this free monthly movie held at Reiter Park in Longwood. Attendees are encouraged to bring a blanket or chair. Snack and beverages will be available for purchase.
Reiter Park, Longwood

Christmas Movie Mondays at À La Cart

December 3, 10, 17, 2018
Movies starts at 6pm
Each evening includes a double feature, a raffle with movie-themed prices, four food trucks, and alcoholic/non-alcoholic beverages available at the bar.
À La Cart Orlando

December 3: How the Grinch Stole Christmas & Home Alone
December 10: Year Without a Santa Claus & Christmas Vacation (Please keep in mind this one is PG-13)
December 17: Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer & Elf

Movie Night at Leu Gardens

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
December 7, 2018
Gardens open at 6pm and the movie starts at 7:30pm
Harry P. Leu Gardens
Free for Leu members ($6 for non-members)

Orlando Events for September 2018
Leu Gardens movie night | Image credit: Leu Gardens

Holiday Movies at Lake Eola Park

Select nights December 7 – 21, 2018
Movie begins at 7pm
Walt Disney Amphitheater at Lake Eola Park

  • December 7 – Polar Express
  • December 15 – The Santa Clause
  • December 21 – National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Holiday Movie Night at Cranes Roost Park

Thursday nights December 8 – 22, 2018
Movie begins at 7pm
Cranes Roost Park, Altamonte Springs

  • December 8 – Arthur Christmas
  • December 15 – How the Grinch Stole Christmas (live action)
  • December 22 – The Flight Before Christmas

Lake Nona

Select nights December 8 – 28, 2018
Movie activities begin at 5pm, movies start at 7pm
Lake Nona Town Center

  • December 8 – How the Grinch Stole Christmas
  • December 14: Home Alone
  • December 21: The Polar Express
  • December 28: Frozen

Winter Garden Holiday Movie Night

Polar Express
December 15, 2018
6-9pm (carolers before the movie)
Winter Garden Downtown Pavillion

Windermere Food Truck and Holiday Movie Night

December 28, 2018
Starts at 5pm
Movie: TBD

FREE CONCERTS, PLAYS AND SHOWS

Cirque Dreams Unwrapped
Gaylord Palms
November 16, 2018 – January 6, 2019 (various times)
Be dazzled by an array of seasonal characters brought to life in a dreamscape of imaginative costumes and creativity, while stunning feats of showmanship are performed on stage and in the air. The entire family can enjoy this uniquely inspired 25-minute Christmas dream presented with the Broadway style and inventive theatrics for which Cirque Dreams is renowned.
FREE (seats are first come, first served)

Cirque Dreams Unwrapped During Christmas at Gaylord Palms

Holiday Friday Nights at the Morse
Friday evenings November – April
4-8pm
November through April, admission is free every Friday from 4-8pm. Enjoy live music during the holidays beginning at 5pm. 
Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art

  • November 23 – Harpist Bizarre Quartet
  • November 30 – Victoria Lynn Schultz
  • December 7 – Beautiful Music Chamber Trio
  • December 14 – Beautiful Music Jazz Quartet
  • December 21 – Beautiful Music Three Flutes Only
  • December 28 – Beautiful Music Jazz Trio
Free things to do in Orlando this spring
Image credit: Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art

What’s Up Downtown for the Holidays
November 29, 2018
11:45am-1:15pm
Featuring performances from the Russian Ballet Orlando, Mad Cow Theatre, Dr. Phillips Center Premier Performance Ensemble Docs & Dellas, Howard Middle School Jazz Band and Howard Middle School Show Choir.
Walt Disney Amphitheater at Lake Eola Park

9th Annual Holiday Concert at Lake Eola
Presented by News 6 and featuring the Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra
December 1, 2018
Starts at 6pm
Walt Disney Amphitheater in Lake Eola Park

Sounds of the Season Winter Park Holiday Pops
December 2, 2018
4 – 6pm
Central Park

Valencia College Winter Jazz Concert
December 4, 2018
From 7:30-9:30pm
East Campus Performing Arts Center

40th Annual Christmas in the Park
December 6, 2018
From 6:15-8pm
Central Park, Winter Park

Image courtesy of the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art, Winter Park, Florida

Winter Garden Fridays on the Plaza – Holiday Music
Friday nights December 7 – 28, 2018
7-9pm
Downtown Winter Garden

  • December 7 – Nicole Equerme w/Sam Trawick
  • December 14 – Key Harmony
  • December 21 – Safia Hudson Trio
  • December 28 – Paint it Black Quartet

Marc With a C’s Annual Holiday Marathon Show!
December 8, 2018
Doors at 7pm, music approximately 8:00-11:59pm
The Geek Easy

6th Annual Violectric Holiday Show
December 14, 2018 from 7pm-9pm
LIVE concert featuring holiday songs mashed up with classic rock tunes and modern hits; pet-friendly! Anyone who brings a pet supply or makes a donation for Pet Alliance will receive a pet photo opportunity with Santa and Mrs. Claus making a special visit to the show. View Pet Alliance’s wish list here.
Walt Disney Amphitheatre at Lake Eola Park

Vioelectric Holiday Show

The Nutcracker Performance by the Russian Ballet of Orlando
December 22, 2018
7pm
The Russian Ballet of Orlando will present a gift to the Orlando community with a free performance of the traditional ballet, “The Nutcracker.”
Walt Disney Amphitheater at Lake Eola Park

Feature image credit: mount dora.com


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