50+ Festive and Free Holiday Events in Orlando for 2021

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50+ Festive and Free Holiday Events in Orlando for 2021

It’s time again for our annual list of the best free holiday events in Orlando! This year marks the return of many free holiday events in Orlando and throughout Central Florida that took a break last year. This list of free holiday events in Orlando is sure to get you on the nice list with your honey.

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
Mid November through January 2, 2022
Multiple Walt Disney World Resorts
Each Walt Disney World Resort is decorated for the holidays. And, gingerbread displays are making a triumphant return! Check out our Top 5 of the Disney hotels with the best holiday decorations.
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, Disney's Polynesian Village Resort and Disney’s Contemporary Resort via the Walt Disney World Resort Monorail.

Christmas Tree Stroll at Disney Springs
Mid November through January 2, 2022
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.

Gingerbread Fantasy Holiday Light Display
November 19, 2021 – January 9, 2022, nightly
Rose Villa Southern Table & Bar
This holiday season, Rose Villa Southern Table and Bar will transform into a Gingerbread Fantasy decorative light display. Everyone is encouraged to enjoy Gingerbread Fantasy for an outdoor photo opportunity, entry inside the restaurant is for diners only with reservations.

Holiday Fountain Show
November 25, 2021 – January 2, 2021
Shows run nightly at 6, 7, 8 and 9pm
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.

Holiday Light Displays at Cranes Roost Park
November 25, 2021 – January 2, 2021
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 2, 2021. The lights are turned on each night at dusk. Be sure to check the City of Altamonte's calendar as some nights have appearances of Santa Claus, snow fairies, and more.

Free holiday events - Holiday lights in Cranes Roost Park
Image credit: City of Altamonte

Snow Falling Nightly in Celebration
November 27, 2021 – December 31, 2021
Nightly snowfall hourly from 6- 9pm
Celebration Town Center
Celebration Town Center offers “Now Snowing-Celebration’s Winter Wonderland”, a family-friendly holiday experience with some of the best “snow” you can find in Central Florida. Festive music, decorations, and adorable shops make this a great holiday tradition.

Chanukah on the Park
November 28, 2021, 5-7pm
Central Park in Winter Park
Featuring an amazing Art Acrobat Show, Menorah Parade, our Famous Chasidic Dancers, Strolling Magic, the freshest Sufganiyot Donuts in town, and of course the Grand Menorah Lighting!

I-Drive District Holiday Tree Lighting
December 1, 2021, 6pm
ICON Park on International Drive
Kick of the Holiday Season with the I-Drive District at ICON Park! Check out how I-Drive Dazzles with a glittering lighting ceremony of the 50-ft Holiday Tree. Special performances by the I-Ride Trolley Chords, Dr. Phillips High School Dance In Motion Company & Orlando Ballet. Make a reservation at The Santa Workshop Experience to meet and take holiday photos with Santa and the Jolly old elf! Children participating in The Santa Workshop Experience will receive a FREE ticket to ride the the Wheel at ICON Park. The Holiday Tree will be present for viewing at ICON Park through New Year’s Day.


A FROZEN Tree Lighting Experience
December 2, 2021, 5-9pm
Oviedo Amphitheatre & Cultral Center
A FROZEN themed Tree Lighting Experience at Center Lake Park in Oviedo, including a special FROZEN themed show after the tree lighting. FROZEN costumes are encouraged. Free photos with Santa, live reindeer, carolers, food trucks and more!

Light Up Winter Garden
December 3, 2021. 6:15pm
Winter Garden City Hall
The lighting will take place at 6:15 pm at City Hall followed by various activities for all to enjoy.

Citrus Tower Holiday Light Show
Light Up Ceremony on December 3, 2021, 7pm
Nightly light show December 3 – 23, 2021 6-9pm (except Sundays)
Citrus Tower, Clermont

City of Orlando Tree Lighting Celebration
December 3, 2021, 5-9pm
Ring in the holiday season with Mayor Buddy Dyer at the City of Orlando’s Tree Lighting Celebration. The event will include holiday performances at the Walt Disney Amphitheater, food trucks and a holiday market, and an opportunity to meet Santa until 9pm at the Eola House.

Annual City of Orlando Tree Lighting Celebration
Image credit: City of Orlando

Light Up Clermont 2021 – Gnome for the Holidays
December 3, 2021, 5:30-9pm
Downtown Clermont
Schools, organizations, businesses, and families will be showing their creativity by individually decorating over 40 trees. Drop letters to Santa in Santa’s Mailbox which will be delivered to the North Pole and enjoy holiday photo ops.

Light Up DeLand
December 3, 2021
Downtown DeLand
Santa will ride in on a fire engine to light the beautiful DeLand City Hall (120 S Florida Ave., DeLand) Christmas tree at 5:30. He will continue on to Pioneer Park (corner of E. Rich Ave. & N. Woodland Blvd.) at 6pm to light the Downtown wreath.

Casselberry Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony
December 4, 2021
Lights and decorations through December 26, 2021 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.

Oviedo Historical Society Annual Holiday Tree Lighting
December 4, 2021, 5:30pm – 8:30pm
200 W Broadway St, Oviedo
Enjoy hotdogs, drinks, and cookies as you delight in holiday songs from local youth and talented singers and carolers. Stay for the arrival of Santa as he lights the Christmas trees.

Avalon Aglow
December 4, 2021, parade at 3pm Fireworks at 9pm
Avalon Park Town Center
Gather together to enjoy loads of holiday fun in Avalon Park. Activities include a bounce park, food truck, special performance, a parade, and fireworks.

Ocoee Tree Lighting
December 4, 2021, 4-8pm
Ocoee
Countdown to Tree Lighting, photos with Santa, Santa’s Village, Kid Zone with rides and games, and more. Food trucks will be onsite.


Looking for more free holiday events? Check out our guide to Where to Find Orlando’s Best Holiday Lights


Winter Wonderland – Parade and Tree Lighting
December 4, 2021, 4-8pm
Winter Springs Town Center
Enjoy an annual Christmas parade starting at Keeth Elementary. Then enjoy entertainment by local youth groups and Winter Springs Dancers with Class, and the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony. Shuttle buses will begin running at 3 p.m. at Winter Springs Elementary. The last shuttle will depart from the Winter Springs Town Center at 8:30pm.

Light Up the Holidays
December 4, 2021, 5-9pm – fireworks at 6:30pm
Cranes Roost Park
Watch as the park comes alive with spectacular holiday displays featuring 200,000 lights and a 60-foot tree decorated with thousands of ornaments and over a mile of garland. Plus, fireworks, ice skating, and Mr. and Mrs. Claus.

A Merry Winter Garden Light Show at City Hall
December 4, 10, 11, 12, 17, 18, 19, 23 2021, 6-9pm
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.

Lake Mary Museum's Christmas Open House
December 5, 2021
Lake Mary Museum
This building was built in 1926 and is on the National Registry of Historical Places. The Christmas open house is a great way to explore this historic building as it is decorated for the holidays.


FREE HOLIDAY PARADES

Annual Light Up Viera Holiday Parade
November 27, 2021
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.

DeLand Rotary Christmas Parade
December 4, 2021, 6:00 p.m.
DeLand High School
Enjoy a time-honored tradition at the annual DeLand Christmas parade presented by the Rotary Clubs of DeLand.

69th Annual Winter Park “Ye Olde Hometown” Christmas Parade
December 4, 2021, starts at 9am
Central Park Park Avenue, Winter Park
The Winter Park Chamber of Commerce is proud to host the 69th 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.

2nd Annual Light Up Clermont Holiday Parade
December 4, 2021, beginning at 10am
Historic Downtown Clermont
Parade runs through historic downtown Clermont, starting at Waterfront Park.

Annual Christmas Parade
December 4, 2021, Starts at 10am
Downtown Mount Dora
Enjoy this annual parade through the streets of downtown Mount Dora. Pets are not allowed.

Longwood Christmas Parade
December 4, 2021, 3-5pm
Ronald Reagan Boulevard, Longwood
The City of Longwood will host the 7th annual Christmas Parade through Longwood by way of Ronald Reagan Blvd., north of SR 434. The parade will kick off at 3:00 pm on Saturday, December 4th, and will feature stunning cars, seasonal characters, bands, and much more.

31st Annual Lighted Christmas Boat Parade
December 4, 2021, Starts at 7pm
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.

Sanford Parade of Lights
December 11, 2021, 6-7:30pm
A favorite annual tradition in historic downtown Sanford returns! This parade is special since it is held at night and most parade floats are illuminated. Grab an early dinner at one of the many wonderful restaurants or head to one of the breweries for a cup of Christmas cheer after the parade.

Winter Park Boat Parade
December 11, 2021, 5:30-8:30pm
Dinky Dock Park
Organized by the Winter Park Notary Club, head to Dinky Dock Park to see the impressive boat and dock holiday decorations created by residents and local business sponsors. Parking is extremely limited, we recommend using a ride share service.

Holiday Golf Cart Parade
December 12, 2021, starting at 5:30pm
Winter Garden
Starts at Dr. Bradford Memorial Park and continues through Downtown.

Holiday golf cart parade in Winter Garden, FL
Image credit: Holiday Golf Cart Parade

FREE HOLIDAY CELEBRATIONS

Mistletoe March
November 22 – December 20, 2021
Downtown DeLand shops
Find toy soldiers hiding in shops around Downtown DeLand and enter to win prizes. Pick up a Passport at participating locations.

Oh, What Fun! Holiday Festival
November 26, 2021 – January 2, 2022
Lake Nona Town Center
Enjoy this winter wonderland featuring 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 3, 2021, 5-9pm
Central Park on Park Avenue, Winter Park
An annual tree-lighting, strolling carolers, and jazz on Park Avenue, the announcement of holiday art contest winners and Santa Claus.

29th Annual Christmas Walk
December 3, 2021, 6-9pm
Downtown Mount Dora
Enjoy this family-friendly street party in downtown Mount Dora featuring music, food vendors, toy vendors, shopping (shops open until 9pm), Free pictures in Sunset Park with Santa! Entertainment includes Mount Dora High School jazz band, carolers, bungee jump, rock climbing, stilt walkers, jugglers, and more!

Wekiva Island's Winter Wonderland 
December 3 – December 25, 2021
Wekiva Island
Nightly snow flurries plus extra entertainment and activities are offered on select days and evenings, including outdoor movies and visits from Santa Claus. New for 2021 is a 20 feet tall Christmas tree that has been added to the Christmas Tree Forest. Be sure to check out Wekiva Island’s website for more details.
*Note: a $2 admission fee applies

Winter Wonderland at Wekiva Island
Image credit: Wekiva Island

10th Annual Christmas Light Ride
December 4, 2021, 7pm
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!

43rd Annual Cracker Christmas
December 4 & 5, 2021, 10am-4pm
Fort Christmas Historical Park
Experience early period 1800's-1900's Florida Christmas in the Country at Cracker Christmas. Stroll through the five-acre complex and experience seasonal ddcor, music and traditions in 10 original buildings. You can purchase holiday keepsakes from craft vendors and community clubs.

Light Up SoDo!
December 5, 2021, 2-6pm
SODO Shopping Center
This event is Family-Friendly and Pet-friendly so grab the kids and your furry friends and head on down to the SoDo Shopping Center for a night full of Holiday Fun!

Cookies & Cocoa Walk
December 10, 2021, 6-9pm
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 Gnome for the Holidays.

Holiday on the Drive
December 11, 2021
College Park – Edgewater Drive between Smith & Clayton Streets
Edgewater Drive is alive and full of holiday spirit at this much-loved annual family event. Adults and children alike fill Edgewater Drive, enjoying complimentary activities, photos with Santa, arts & crafts and so much more. Shops and restaurants, artisans, and food trucks join in the fun.

Nehrling Gardens Holiday Amaryllis Festival
December 11, 2021, 9am-3pm
Nehrling Gardens, Gotha
Nature themed vendors, live music, food, and Santa & Mrs. Claus on the porch.

Celebrate the Season
December 11, 2021, 6:00pm – 9:00pm
Reiter Park, Longwood
This holiday street party will feature an array of activities including the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony presenting the City’s holiday tree in Reiter Park, live music, dance performances, and a laser light show at the end of the night. Ice skating for $1 per person, pony rides for $7 per person, food, and shopping are also available.

The Skydiving Santas of Cocoa Beach
December 12, 2021, 10am-3pm
Cocoa Beach Pier
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 accurate 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.

It’s Lit, Sanford! Holiday Lighted Bike Ride
December 17, 2021, 6:15pm
Ride begins at Pedal Driven Co.


HOLIDAY MARKETS

Discover Downtown: Holiday Pop Up Shop
November 12 – December 17, 2021, 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. (not open November 26, 2021)
Discover Downtown, 201 S Orange Ave, Suite 102, Orlando 32801
Check out merchandise from local retailers not previously sold in the Discover Downtown retail store, from cozy blankets and pillows to handmade soaps and bath bombs. Score a free gift bag with any purchase.

Holiday Market at Rosen JCC
November 21, 2021, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
In its first year, this market will feature a variety of artisans and vendors, plus live music, and food for purchase.

Kaleidoscope Artisan Market at Celery City Craft Sanford
Select Sundays – November 21, December 5, December 12, 2021
Celery City Craft, Sanford
Shop 10 unique vendors of handmade items and art in downtown Sanford, with great food and drink from Celery City available to purchase.

Evening Exchange at East End Market
November 26, 2021, 6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
East End Market

Enjoy an evening filled with local makers, retailers, curators, thought leaders and risk takers. As a community, this event is a chance to show off the amazing talent we have right here in Central Florida and to celebrate the vibrant place we call home. Live music and food vendors are also part of this event. Please note parking is limited so consider using a ride-share service.

Sanford Avenue Block Party
November 27, 2021, 5:00 p.m.
Sanford Avenue, Downtown Sanford
Vendors, shopping, craft beer, cocktails, food and live music make this a fun block party. Free to attend, food, drink, and gifts for sale.

Sanford Holiday Mini Indie Market
November 28 and December 19, 2021
Tuffy’s Bottleshop and Lounge, Sanford
The Sanford Mini Indie Series will have 20 specialized vendors and live music.

Celery City Monthly Craft and Vendor Market
November 28, 2021 and December 19, 2021, noon-5pm
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 Market at Winter Garden Farmers Market
December 4, 11, 18, 2021, 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

DeLand Indie Market Holiday Edition
December 5, 2021, 11am-5pm
DeLand Indie Market at Artisan Alley
Stroll and browse over 70 Vendors with live music, food vendors, and more.


FREE HOLIDAY EVENTS: HOLIDAY MOVIES

Holiday Movie at the Pavilion
Downtown Winter Garden
November 27, 2021: The Polar Express (2004, G), 6:30 pm pre-movie activities, 7:10 pm movie
December 5, 2021: The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992, G) Interactive Movie, Preshow 6:30pm, Movie 7pm

Family Movie Night at Old Town Kissimmee
Old Town Kissimmee
Select Sundays at 7pm
November 28, 2021 – The Grinch (live action)
December 5, 2021 – Christmas Vacation
December 12, 2021 – ELF
December 19, 2021 – A Christmas Story
December 26, 2021 – The Polar Express

Popcorn Flicks in the Park
December 3, 2021, 7pm
The Santa Clause (starring Tim Allen)
Central Park, Winter Park
Bring a blanket or some chairs to enjoy this outdoor holiday movie. This film is preceded by Frosty’s Winter Wonderland: An all-star cast lends its talents to this Christmas special shot in “animagic” (stop-motion animated puppetry).

Holiday Movie at Lake Eola Park – Elf
December 04, 2021, 7:00 p.m.
Lake Eola, Downtown Orlando
Join the Downtown Development Board as they present Elf at Lake Eola Park. Don't forget your blankets, chairs, and snacks for the whole family to enjoy.

Holiday Movie Nights at Cranes Roost Park
December 9 & 16, 2021, 7:00 p.m.
Bring your chair and blankets to enjoy holiday movies in the Cranes Roost Park Plaza. Admission is free. Food and beverages are available for purchase.
December 9 – How the Grinch Stole Christmas
December 16 – Elf

Wekiva Island Winter Wonderland Movies
Select Sunday evenings in December, 7pm
Wekiva Island
Enjoy an outdoor movie in the winter wonderland of Wekiva Island.
December 5 – The Polar Express
December 12 – The Santa Claus
December 19 – The Grinch (live action)

Free holiday movies at Wekiva Island
Image credit: Wekiva Island

FREE CONCERTS, PLAYS, AND SHOWS

Winter Choral Concert
November 16, 2021, 7:30 p.m.
The Contemporary Ensemble will be performing duets, trios, quartets, and ensemble selections from the musical theatre repertoire, including Opening Number from Tootsie, Time Warp from Rocky Horror Picture Show, What About Love from The Color Purple, Just Another Day from Next to Normal, Say My Name from Beetlejuice, Learning To Be Silent from Footloose, and every theater goer’s new favorite, This Is Me from The Greatest Showman. Nobody Cares About Santa, from Elf, and Hard Candy Christmas will add some holiday spirit.

Holiday Friday Nights at Morse Museum
Most Friday Nights November 26 – December 31, 2021, 5-8pm
Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art
Receive free admission every Friday night, November through April, and special holiday performances during the holiday season. Live music enhances the gallery experience.

Christmas in the Park
December 2, 2021, 6:15-8:30pm
Central Park, Winter Park
The City of Winter Park and The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art continue this beloved holiday tradition. Stroll through the park and enjoy the sounds of the Bach Festival Choir.

Holiday Concerts at Cranes Roost Park
December 3, 10 & 17, 7:00 p.m. – 9:00p.m.
Find your groove with live holiday tunes from talented local artists. Admission is free. Food and beverages are available for purchase.
December 3 – NOLA Brass Holiday Ensemble
December 10 – Townsky’s Holiday Revue
December 17 – Robert Harris Holiday Jazz

Jingle Jam Community Holiday Party
December 4, 2021, 4pm – 10pm
Multiple venues, downtown Sanford

Jingle Jam in Sanford has become one of the largest family events in downtown and draws thousands from all over Central Florida! Featuring four stages of live music, food trucks, carnival games, holiday artisanal vendors, a kids zone and more! Check the Facebook event for the full music lineup and performance schedule.

Music Holiday Gala
December 7, 2021, 7pm
Seminole State College of Heathrow
Enjoy an evening of holiday classics in the Atrium at the Heathrow campus with all the Seminole State Ensembles; conductors Dianna Campbell and Jim Smisek.

Fridays on the Plaza Holiday Music
December 10 and 17, 2021, 7-9pm
Downtown Winter Garden
Enjoy the classic sounds of holidays of old as live music serenades shoppers at the plaza of downtown Winter Garden.

Violectric Holiday Show
December 11, 2021, 7pm
Walt Disney Amphitheatre at Lake Eola Park
Rock in the holidays with the popular strings super-group Violectric. 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.

The Nutcracker by the Russian Ballet of Orlando
December 18, 2021, 7:30-9pm
Lake Eola Park
The Russian Academy of Ballet presents a gift to the Orlando Community with a free performance of “The Nutcracker”.

 

Feature image credit: Mount Dora Chamber of Commerce