So many tours hustle you past the points of interest on a bus, forcing you to look quickly back and forth to your left and to your right, hoping you don't miss anything cool. Walking tours are a great alternative if you're not covering too much ground, allowing you to stroll casually from sight to sight, leisurely taking it all in and getting a closer look.
For both tourists and locals wanting to get a deeper understanding of their home, a number of walking tours in the Orlando area offer opportunities to visit key sites and get to know the locales. And as an added bonus, the ones included here are all free of charge.
The Downtown Historic Walking Tour
This free self-guided walking tour takes you past 28 buildings of historic importance throughout two adjacent downtown neighborhoods—the Central Business District and Parramore. The buildings were erected between the 1880s and 1940s. Conveniently, the tour also takes you around many of the most lively areas of the western side of downtown, so it's a good chance to also see the Orlando of today.
The SEE ART Orlando program initially installed eight large-scale works of public art around the Central Business District and Lake Eola Park. The city provides a map for your self-guided free walking tour, a must-do for art lovers living in or visiting downtown Orlando. Additional sculptures are planned, and the tour will undoubtedly evolve to encompass them as well.
Two Additional Paid Walking Tours in Downtown Orlando
As a side note, there are two additional professionally guided walking tours in downtown Orlando, though neither are free. The Gallery Tour takes you through some of the leading art galleries in the Central Business District for $20 per person every Saturday from 10:00 am to 12:30 pm; The Downtown Orlando Food Tour costs $35 per person, runs every Saturday from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm, and takes you to five or six popular eateries in the area, where you sample some of their offerings.
Take a free self-guided walking tour past 20 sites of interest in the commercial district of Winter Park (or, if you're feeling extra motivated, see four additional sites at the north end of Park Avenue). It begins at the Winter Park Historical Museum and site of the Winter Park Farmer's Market, continuing around the upscale downtown central business district. If you still have energy to burn, stroll around the nearby Rollins College campus afterwards; in 2015, the Princeton Review named it the most beautiful college campus in the U.S.
About 25 miles north of Orlando, Sanford offers information for a number of free self-guided walking tours that showcase the city's rich history. Tours are planned out to highlight the historic commercial district, the historic residential district, the waterfront development around Lake Monroe, historic parks, points of interest for those curious about military or transportation history, the historic area around Georgetown and Sanford Avenues, and the historic Goldsboro area.