40+ Festive and Free Holiday Events in Orlando

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Free Holiday Events in Orlando 2019

It’s time again for our annual list of the best free holiday events in Orlando! This year we could all use a little extra holiday cheer. Thankfully, despite some changes, there are still lots of free holiday events in Orlando and throughout Central Florida. But, you've got to run like Rudolph and make reservations quickly for some of these free holiday events, because many have moved to limited capacity and reservations only to maintain social distancing.

Note: All events are subject to change. We recommend checking event pages to confirm dates in case of any cancellations or changes. 

FREE HOLIDAY LIGHTS AND DISPLAYS

Walt Disney World Resort Hotel Decorations
Through January 1, 2021
Multiple Walt Disney World Resorts
Each Walt Disney World Resort is decorated for the holidays. However, this year there are no gingerbread displays. 
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 Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and Disney’s Contemporary Resort via the Walt Disney World Resort Monorail.

Christmas Tree Stroll at Disney Springs
Through January 2, 2021
Disney Springs
This year the Christmas Tree Trail is now a Stroll, with each tree at its own individual location to make social distancing possible. Maps for the Stroll can be obtained at House of Blues, 12 Days of Christmas Store, The Marketplace Co-Op, and The Welcome Center. Each tree is inspired by a Disney character or theme. 

Festival of Trees – Lake Mary
Through December 5, 2020, 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Lake Mary Museum
Enjoy festive holiday decorations and decorated trees donated by the community at this free holiday event in Orlando! There will also be a special treasure box for children coming to visit. All trees and table décor will be available for purchase during the exhibit with all proceeds benefiting the Lake Mary Museum.

Casselberry Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony
Now through December 26, 2020 beginning at dusk
Lake Concord Park, Casselberry
Stroll through Lake Concord Park to enjoy charming vignettes of holiday displays and brilliant lights. This small community park is perfect for a simple evening of enjoying light displays and a lakeside park.

Holiday Fountain Show
November 26, 2020 – January 3, 2020
Cranes Roost Park, Altamonte Springs
A crowd favorite, the Plaza fountain features special shows with dancing water and dazzling lights choreographed to classic holiday tunes. Shows run nightly at 6, 7, 8 and 9 p.m.

Holiday Light Displays at Cranes Roost Park
November 26, 2020 – January 3, 2020
Cranes Roost Park, Altamonte Springs
Enjoy over 200,000 lights on more than 100 holiday displays powered by Duke Energy. Displays can be viewed nightly until January 3, 2021.The lights are turned on each night at dusk.

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

Snow Falling Nightly in Celebration
November 28, 2020 – December 31, 2021
Nightly snowfall hourly from 6- 9pm
Celebration Town Center
Celebration Town Center introduces “Now Snowing-Celebration’s Winter Wonderland”, a family-friendly holiday experience featuring many of the holiday elements you’ve come to expect with enhanced safety and sanitation protocols.

Winter Wonderland of Lights
December 4, 5, 11, and 12, 2020, 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Central Winds Park, Winter Springs
Drive through Central Winds Park and view holiday lights by the City and local businesses and organizations. In the middle of the route, wave to Santa at his workshop.

A Merry Winter Garden Light Show at City Hall
December 4, 5, 11, 12, 13, 18, and 19, 2020, 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Winter Garden City Hall
Enjoy a very merry light show at Winter Garden’s City Hall. Plus, there will be a Winter Wonderland area for children at City Hall on the nights of the light show. The entire downtown Winter Garden area will be festive and decorated.

Image credit: City of Winter Garden

CHECK OUT OUR GUIDE TO WHERE TO FIND ORLANDO’S BEST HOLIDAY LIGHTS!

2020 Virtual City of Orlando Tree Lighting Celebration
December 5, 2020, 08:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.
*Virtual event*
Ring in the holiday season with Mayor Buddy Dyer at the City of Orlando’s Tree Lighting Celebration.
To comply with COVID-19 safety precautions, this event will now be hosted virtually. Stream live at clickorlando.com at 8 p.m. on Saturday, December 5, or catch an encore presentation during the 11 o'clock news on News 6 WKMG.

Light Up Clermont 2020 – Holiday Enchanted Forest
December 5, 2020 – January 3, 2020, dusk to 10:00 p.m.
Victory Pointe, Clermont
Schools, organizations, businesses, and families will be showing their creativity by individually decorating over 40 trees. Stroll through the Holiday Enchanted Forest at Victory Pointe nightly accompanied by holiday music. Drop letters to Santa in Santa’s Mailbox which will be delivered to the North Pole and enjoy holiday photo opps.

Eola Wonderland Christmas Tree Show
December 6, 2020 – January 1, 2021
Nightly at 5:45, 6:45, 7:45, 8:45, and 9:45pm
Lake Eola Park
Catch the synchronized light and music Christmas Tree Show each night at Lake Eola Park starting at 5:45 p.m. The show runs each hour until 9:45 p.m.

Light Up Sanford 2020 Holiday Tour of Homes 
December 11 -20, 2020
Downtown Sanford Neighborhoods
Residents of Sanford will decorate the exterior of their homes for a chance to win a $500 prize! The city will be glowing with extravagant and spectacular holiday displays for all to enjoy. Hop in your car, jump on a bike, grab the golf cart or stroll the neighborhoods for this self-guided tour.

The TwELF Days of Christmas
December 11-13 and 18-20, 2020, 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
St. Luke’s United Methodist Church
4851 S. Apopka-Vineland Road, Orlando
The TwELF Days of Christmas is a contactless, socially distanced event, allowing visitors to stay in their vehicle as they drive alongside North Pole Elves on a journey to create the greatest gift for Orlando. While this event is free, tickets are required to help manage capacity. Reserve tickets per car and print or show your confirmation email once you arrive on site.

HOLIDAY PARADES AND CELEBRATIONS

HOLIDAY PARADES

8th Annual Light Up Viera Holiday Parade
November 28, 2020
Downtown Viera
This wonderful annual community event begins with a fireworks display at 6 p.m. The parade begins immediately following the fireworks. Additional information will be posted on the city of Viera’s website and on the Viera Community Institute Facebook page as the event gets closer.

68th Annual Winter Park “Ye Olde Hometown” Christmas Parade
December 5, 2020, starts at 9:00 a.m.
*Virtual event*
Central Park Park Avenue, Winter Park
The Winter Park Chamber of Commerce is proud to host the 68th annual Winter Park Ye Olde Hometown Christmas Parade. The event has been held each December for more than 60 years, making it the oldest continuous holiday parade in Central Florida. Reserved spaces for the live event are full, but the parade will be streamed live via Facebook.

60th Annual Christmas Parade
December 5, 2020, Starts at 10:00 a.m.
Downtown Mount Dora
Enjoy this annual parade through the streets of downtown Mount Dora. Pets are not allowed.

30th Annual Lighted Christmas Boat Parade
December 5, 2020, Starts at 7:30pm
Lake Dora, Mount Dora 
Come enjoy the lighted Christmas Boat Parade on Lake Dora beginning at the Lighthouse across from Gilbert Park on Tremain Street and Liberty Street. 

FREE HOLIDAY CELEBRATIONS

Sanford Avenue Block Party
November 28, 2020, 4:00 p.m. — 10:00 p.m.
Sanford Avenue between 4th and 5th Streets, Sanford
Join this outdoor Block Party in downtown Sanford. Bring your own chair and enjoy live music, holiday shopping, a special appearance by Phantasmagoria at 5:00 p.m and more.

Wekiva Island Winter Wonderland
December 1, 2020 – January 1, 2021
Wekiva Island
Nightly snow flurries plus 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.
*Note: a $2 admission fee applies

Snow at Wekiva Island
Image credit: Wekiva Island

Oh, What Fun! Holiday Festival
Select nights through December 27, 2020
Thursdays & Sundays 5-9pm, Fridays & Saturdays 5-10pm, Special Hours from December 21-24 from 12-8pm
Lake Nona Town Center
This year's winter wonderland features outdoor skating, snow, twinkling lights and dazzling decorations, festive treats, and one-of-a-kind performances that are guaranteed to spread some much-needed holiday cheer. Snow fall happens hourly. Some activities, like ice skating, are available to enjoy for a fee.

Winter on the Avenue
December 5, 2020, 5:00 p.m. -10 p.m.
Central Park on Park Avenue, Winter Park
An annual tree-lighting, strolling carolers, and jazz on Park Avenue, announcement of holiday art contest winners and, of course, Santa Claus. Masks and social distancing are among the safety measures to be in place.

9th Annual Christmas Light Ride!
December 5, 2020, 7:00 p.m.
Retro City Bikes, Orlando
Ride through Ivanhoe Village and College Park to take in the great light displays. Ride starts/finishes at Retro City Cycles and will be about 6 miles at a casual pace, all bikes welcome! Don't forget to decorate your bike!

Free Holiday Events in Orlando
Image credit: Retro City Cycles

Cookies & Cocoa Walk
December 11, 2020, 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Downtown Clermont
Take an evening stroll to sample a variety of holiday cookies along with some yummy cocoa while visiting participating businesses in Downtown Clermont. Make sure to visit shops in downtown Clermont throughout the season who will be competing for a trophy for the closest themed decorations for Light Up Clermont Holiday Enchanted Forest.

The Skydiving Santas of Cocoa Beach
December 12, 2020, 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Cocoa Beach Pier
*Note: this event is on hold; refer to the Facebook event page for the latest information
100+ Santa skydivers from the Air Sports Parachute Team will jump from the famous WWII aircraft “Tico Belle” C47. These talented divers will thrill you as they demonstrate accuracy landings, high speed landings, wing suit jumpers and more. A large inflatable Santa chair will be placed on the beach and the Skydiving Santas will perform a skilled landing called a “paraski,” where they land directly onto the inflatable from the plane! Kids are then welcome to climb onto the chair to discuss their holiday wishes with Santa.

Nehrling Gardens Holiday Amaryllis Festival
December 12, 2020, 9:00 a.m.- 3:00 p.m.
Nehrling Gardens, Gotha
Nature themed vendors, live music, food, and Santa & Mrs. Claus on the porch.

Chanukah Menorah Lighting
December 13, 2020, 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Lake Eola, Orlando
Live music, food, and Menorah Parade. The Message of Chanukah expresses the idea that by adding a little light into the world we dispel much darkness. 

FREE HOLIDAY MARKETS

Sanford Artisan Boutique
November 28, 2020, 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Celery City Craft, Sanford
Meet local artists while shopping for unique, original gifts and artwork. Enjoy charming downtown Sanford and the wonderful food and drinks available at Celery City Craft located at 114 South Palmetto. 

Holiday Saturdays at College Park
November 28 and December 5, 12, and 19, 2020, 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Albert Park, College Park
On Saturdays from Thanksgiving to Christmas, Albert Park will be abuzz with live music in the gazebo, artisan vendors, and safe kids' activities from 12:00 – 5:00pm. Also, enjoy shopping and dining along Edgewater Drive.

Sanford Indie Market
November 29, December 6, 13, and 20, 2020
Tuffy’s Bottleshop and Lounge, Sanford
The Sanford Mini Indie Series will have 25 rotating Vendors each Sunday starting 11/29-12/20. Face masks are required.

28th Annual Christmas Walk
December 4, 2020, 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Downtown Mount Dora
Enjoy this family friendly street party in downtown Mount Dora featuring music, food vendors, toy vendors, shopping (shops open until 9:00 PM),  Free pictures in Sunset Park with Santa!  Entertainment includes Mount Dora High School jazz band, carolers, bungy jump, rock climbing, stilt walkers, jugglers, and more!

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

Holiday Market at Winter Garden Farmers Market
December 5, 12, 19, 2020, 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Winter Garden Downtown Pavilion
Shop for holiday/gift-related hand-crafted ítems at special guest vendors.
Winter Garden Downtown Pavilion

FREE HOLIDAY EVENTS: HOLIDAY MOVIES

Popcorn Flicks in the Park
December 4, 2020, 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
“Frosty the Snowman” followed by “The Polar Express”
Central Park, Winter Park
Admission is FREE, however you must reserve a ticket via Eventbrite. Due to the limited number of pods available in the park tickets may sell out fast. Tickets will not be available at the door and must be reserved prior to the showing.

Wekiva Island Winter Wonderland Movies
Select Sunday evenings in December, enjoy an outdoor movie in the winter wonderland of Wekiva Island.
Movie begins at 7pm
Wekiva Island

  • December 6 – How The Grinch Stole Christmas (live action)
  • December 13 – Elf
  • December 20 -Rudolph and Mickey’s Christmas Carol

Holiday Movies at Lake Eola Park
December 11, 18, and 26, 2020
Movie begins at 7pm
Walt Disney Amphitheater at Lake Eola Park

  • December 11 – The Santa Clause
  • December 20 – ELf
  • December 26 – Love Actually

Holiday Movie Night at Cranes Roost Park
December 10, 2020, 7:00 p.m. – Double Feature: A Charlie Brown Christmas and I Want a Dog for Christmas Charlie Brown. Registration opens December 3. Details here.
December 17, 2020, 7:00 p.m. – Double Feature: Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town. Registration opens December 11. Details here.

  • Event capacity is limited.
  • Registration is required to participate.
  • Group size limited to five. 
  • Guests will be seated in an area suitable for group size.
  • Patrons ages two and above must wear a mask at all times except when seated and eating/drinking.
  • Social distancing guidelines must be followed. Patrons are required to remain 6 ft. apart from other groups.

FREE CONCERTS, PLAYS, AND SHOWS

What’s Up Downtown for the Holidays
December 3, 2020, 11:45 a.m. to 01:15 p.m.
Lake Eola Park Amphitheater
The Downtown Development Board invites you to the annual holiday edition of What's Up Downtown.  Pack up your lunch and head to the Amphitheater at Lake Eola Park for performances from various downtown performing arts organizations. 

A Classic Christmas ft Bach Festival Society
December 5, 2020, 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
Central Park, Winter Park
Enjoy this one-hour pre recorded performance by the 175-voice Bach Festival Choir and Orchestra led by Dr. John V. Sinclair. There are two showings. Reserve your 10×10 socially distance pod for up to 6 people on the Parks and Recreation Eventbrite page. For more information about this, please call 407.599.3463.

Dickens Carolers 
December 5, 2020, 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Wekiva Island
All your favorite holiday songs sung by Dickens Carolers. 

Holiday Pops Concert
December 6, 2020, 5:00 p.m.
Central Park, Winter Park
Enjoy the incredible sounds of the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra in beautiful Central Park. Reserve your 10×10 socially distance pod for up to 6 people on the Parks and Recreation Eventbrite page. For more information about this, please call 407.599.3463.

Dickens Carolers 
December 10 and 19, 2020, 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Downtown Winter Garden
Enjoy the classic sounds of holidays of old as Dickens style carolers serenade shoppers throughout the main street of downtown Winter Garden.

Free Holiday Events in Orlando - Dickens Carolers in Downtown Winter Garden
Image credit: City of Winter Garden

Rollins Christmas Vespers
December 12, 2020, 5:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Central Park, Winter Park
A rich tradition stretching back to 1933 is coming to Central Park this year. Grab dinner to-go from your favorite local restaurant! Reserve your 10×10 socially distance pod for up to 6 people on the Parks and Recreation Eventbrite page. For more information about this, please call 407.599.3463.

Violectric Holiday Show
December 12, 2020, 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Central Park, Winter Park
Rock in the holidays with the popular strings super-group “Violectric” at the annual Violectric Holiday Show presented by the City of Orlando Department of Families, Parks and Recreation.  Free and open to the public, the concert features traditional holiday songs mashed up with classic rock tunes and modern hits. Donations for the Pet Alliance will be accepted during the event. 

Honeypot Holidays at Celery City Craft
December 19, 2020, 8:30 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Celery City Craft, Sanford
An intimate concert with local jazz quartet, Honeypot. 

The Nutcracker by the Russian Ballet of Orlando
December 19, 2020, 7:30 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Lake Eola, Orlando
The Russian Academy of Ballet presents a gift to the Orlando Community with a free performance of “The Nutcracker”.

Holiday Celebration at Morse Museum
December 22 – 24, 2020
Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art
Receive free admission the week leading up to Christmas. Live music enhances the gallery experience from noon to 3 p.m. each day. Appointments are required and limited. Please visit admissions.morsemuseum.org/mainstore to make an appointment.

  • December 22: Beautiful Music Duo (flute and harp)
  • December 23: Beautiful Music Romance Jazz Duo
  • December 24: Beautiful Music Jazz Quartet (bass, flute, guitar, and trumpet)

Memories of Christmas in the Park
December 3, 2020, 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Central Park, Winter Park
The City of Winter Park and The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art continue a beloved holiday tradition with a modified twist. Memories of Christmas in the Park will be held on Thursday, December 3 from 5 to 8:30 p.m. in Central Park. Stroll through the park and enjoy pre-recorded sounds of the Bach Festival Choir while a 10-minute video loop of memories of past Christmas in the Park events plays on the main stage. For more information, please call 407-599-3463.

Live Holiday Music at Crane’s Roost Park
Select Fridays in December
December 4, December 11, and December 18, 2020
Crane’s Roost Park, Altamonte Springs

  • December 4: Townsky’s Holiday Revue. Registration opens December 1.
  • December 11: Robert Harris Holiday Jazz. Registration opens December 4.
  • December 18: NOLA Brass Holiday Ensemble. Registration opens December 12.

Feature image credit: Mount Dora Chamber of Commerce


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