15 Free Things to Do in Alafaya, FL

Alafaya, FL
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If ever you drop by Orange County in Florida, don't forget to head to Alafaya, a small yet bustling place for destinations off the beaten path.

Besides numerous residential areas and business establishments, you can find many outdoor spots in this neighborhood.

While it does not have many popular places one would usually find in standard travel guides, you will be surprised at how rich it is with options.

From spacious parks, scenic walking spots, and historic routes, you will enjoy Alafaya without spending a dime.

Here are the free things to do in Alafaya, Florida:

Stroll around Waterford Lakes Town Center

Waterford Lakes Town Center is a premier outdoor mall in the city frequented by locals, students, and tourists built in 1999.

Located at North Alafaya Trail and 408 East-West Expressway, the lifestyle hub houses more than 100 retail shops and offers a myriad of free activities that you can enjoy.

Tourists love seeing two beautiful waterfront lakes, lush greenery dotting the mall's vicinity, and lovely fountain views.

You need not break the bank to enjoy the Waterford Lakes Town Center.

The pet-friendly mall lets you roam the outdoor area with your furry friend on a leash.

Besides, you can drop by its "selfie spot" with mural art installations as your backdrop.

When you're lucky, you may also join their free events, such as a live music performance.

Spend the Day with Your Pet at One Dog Park

As a perfect oasis for your dogs, One Dog Park is a large play park that offers a refreshing experience for you and your beloved pet.

Located at Auburn Cove Lane inside Tanja King Park in the beautiful community of Avalon Park, this expansive dog park offers different amenities for your pet to have fun and enjoy.

As you enter the three-acre, double-gate, fully-fenced rectangular park, you can rest under tall trees while your pet runs around off-leash.

One Dog Park also has a water tower, dog washing, and waste stations to give you all the convenience you need for a nice day trip.

Other Free Things to Do Nearby

When you are done exploring the charming Alafaya neighborhood, it's time to go beyond and visit nearby destinations.

Tour the University of Central Florida

A pond at University of Central Florida
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Alafaya is only five minutes from the University of Central Florida, the second-largest university in the United States, founded in 1963.

The main campus is in Orlando, Florida.

It encompasses 1,415 acres, while over 800 acres are covered with wetlands, lush forests, and many open student spaces.

When you visit UCF, you can do a self-guided tour of the campus and explore its offers.

The tour takes you to ten spots around UCF, from bustling common areas to academic sites and a wellness place.

The grounds of University of Central Florida
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Start your trip at the Reflecting Pond at Millican Hall, a famous campus landmark.

Then, proceed to the Student Union, where you'll see a variety of commercial spaces, such as a barber shop, a pizza parlor, and a bookstore.

Your next stops will take you outdoors: the grassy Memory Hall, in-house apartments, a recreation and wellness center with sports facilities, and a 41-foot rock-climbing tower.

Indeed, the University of Central Florida welcomes not only welcomes students and visitors who would like to discover its beauty.

Arena of University of Central Florida
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Catch the Sunset at Lake Claire Recreation Area

Located in Orlando, Lake Claire Recreation Area has become a perfect place to unwind amid nature since 1972.

This place is eight minutes from Alafaya.

Its scenic lakeside views and many open spaces allow visitors to relax and enjoy the diverse flora and fauna surrounding the 22-acre park.

Although the University of Central Florida students frequent the place, non-students can also enjoy the stunning view of Lake Claire.

You do not need to pay an admission fee to enter this place.

As a visitor, you can lounge by the lakeside, set up your picnic mat, and wait for the sun to set.

Lake Claire Recreation Area is a great way to cap off your tiring day and treat yourself to a relaxing afternoon.

Walk the Trail at Blanchard Park

Check out this 120-acre park and a favorite hangout spot for locals and tourists to commune with nature.

Blanchard Park, located at Union Park, Florida, is a known hiking trail near the Alafaya and Lokanotosa Trail.

With its long 3.1-mile cemented walking trail, you will find yourself amidst towering trees and well-maintained lush greenery.

Walking the picturesque trail of Blanchard Park takes around 7 000 steps, with views of wetlands that make the route even more calming and serene.

This park is six minutes from Alafaya.

Ride a Bike along the Econ River Wilderness Area

If you are up for biking, spending the day at Econ River Wilderness Area is a great choice.

It is only 11 minutes from Alafaya.

Located in Oviedo, Florida, this 240-acre property features 8.65 miles of easy trail perfect for mountain biking with 94 feet maximum elevation.

While biking through the scenic route, you'll be amazed by the striking beauty of the natural area covered with pine, cypress trees, and palmetto.

Aside from offering several wooded and forestry trails, the charming Econ River Wilderness Area also features different activities, such as canoeing and kayaking.

Other Free Things to Do Nearby

Admire the Rogers Building

Exterior of the Rogers Building
Visitor7, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In downtown Orlando, the historical Rogers Building stands as one of the best architectural sights in the city.

Also known as the English Club, the 132-year-old Victorian structure is a beholding view on the corner of Magnolia and Pine Street.

You can stand in front and take pictures of the emerald building boasting a Queen Anne style of architecture.

You will not miss the Rogers Building, which stands out with its cypress wood material and is covered with pressed zinc plates.

The fantastic structure now serves as one of the historical places in the country and is the hub for Orlando's art district, where it holds displays, exhibits, and events.

The building is 15 minutes from Alafaya.

Run around Lake Eola Park

Swans at Lake Eola Park
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Another downtown Orlando attraction is the 23-acre Lake Eola Park at Washington Street.

While it sits under the skyscrapers of Orlando, Lake Eola Park is a calming spot in the city's heart that lets you enjoy a bit of nature inside the bustling metropolis.

If you want to burn calories, you can run around its 0.9-mile length, giving you that much-needed cardio exercise.

Paved trail at Lake Eola Park
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It's an easy trail that lets you admire the beauty of the calm lake, with numerous swans that swim and fly around the wetland.

As you run through this free public park, you'll also see the Walt Disney amphitheater, restaurants and pop-up stores lining the lake, and free activities you can try, like walking tours.

Lake Eola Park is 16 minutes from Alafaya.

Japanese pagoda at Lake Eola Park
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Follow the Orlando Urban Trail

Another way to see the beauty of Orlando is to follow the Orlando Urban Trail, a three-mile path leading to different spots in the city and its suburban areas.

Start from the cultural district of Ivanhoe Village at North Orange Avenue, then pass to Lake Highland through Loch Haven Park and Mills 50.

The winding trail will lead you to the amazing Mead Garden in Winter Park, where you can cap off your journey with a relaxing afternoon.

Choose what mode you like.

Ride a bike, walk, or skate along the Orlando Urban Trail; they are all safe ways to explore the city, thanks to its concrete pathways.

Take a Selfie behind ‘The Wheel’ at the ICON Park

Daytime view of ‘The Wheel’ at the ICON Park
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If you want to see the spectacular nightlife in Orlando, head to ICON Park and get a glimpse of "The Wheel" at the International Drive Entertainment District.

Just a 26-minute drive from Alafaya, you will see ICON Park's gigantic The Wheel, a 400-foot-tall observation wheel that towers over numerous trendy restaurants and shops.

Signage of ‘The Wheel’ at the ICON Park
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Take a selfie behind the massive attraction as soon as it's lit at night, which gives you an incredible backdrop.

Aside from taking tons of photos, take your time as you enjoy a night of fun and exploration around the hit and free-for-all entertainment center.

Close view of ‘The Wheel’ at the ICON Park
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Visit the Orlando City Hall

Exterior of Orlando City Hall
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Orlando City Hall, 15 minutes from Alafaya, offers a magnificent experience without shelling out a buck.

Besides housing the Orlando City Government offices, this postmodern structure built in 1991 is also home to two public galleries you can visit for free.

Check out the Terrace Gallery, a museum dedicated to national and international visual artists that houses an expansive 2,000-square-foot space with free-standing walls.

Meanwhile, the Mayor's Gallery is devoted solely to artists from Central Florida.

The circular space accommodates artists' work for three months.

Steps leading to Orlando City Hall's entrance
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Explore the Audubon Park Garden District

Audubon Park Garden District is a bohemian neighborhood in Orlando, 17 minutes from Alafaya.

Developed in the 1950s, the stylish community at East End Market is lined with exciting cafes, bars, and shops with unique finds.

It is a thriving district for businesses and a haven for shopping for organic products.

While one may be tempted to spend a few dollars here, you do not need to cash out to enjoy the vibe.

You can explore Audubon Park Garden District by touring its residential streets as they take you down memory lane.

Homes in this area are still well-maintained despite being built in the 1920s.

Some houses even date back to the mid-century, giving you an enjoyable free tour.

Enjoy a Picnic at Kraft Azalea Garden

Lake at Kraft Azalea Garden
Lewis Directed Films / Shutterstock.com

Kraft Azalea Garden is a lovely spot in Winter Park, Florida, about 22 minutes from Alafaya.

Located in Winter Park near the shore of Lake Maitland, this 5.22-acre public garden is a favorite local spot for a day of the laidback outing.

Covered with massive cypress trees, Kraft Azalea Garden is a fabulous hangout spot by the lakefront where you can enjoy a simple picnic with your family or friends.

Hiking through its well-maintained trails will also give you a nature retreat and an opportunity to see wildlife that considers the vast open space their habitat.

Aerial view of Kraft Azalea Garden
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Tour the Historic District of Winter Park

Trail at the Historic District of Winter Park
Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A 26-minute northeast drive from Alafaya takes you to the historic city of Winter Park.

Go on a self-guided walking tour of the Historic District of Winter Park and see about 20 structures in the city's history.

The first stop starts at Winter Park Historical Museum W. New England Avenue and then proceeds to Central Business District Central Park and the Winter Park Railway Station.

When you get a Historic District of Winter Park brochure, you can explore old churches, stores, libraries, state buildings, and campuses with a Mediterranean revival style.

A building at the Historic District of Winter Park
(Ebyabe), CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Take a Self-Guided Mural Tour in Mills 50 District

Mills 50 District, a gay community established in 1978, is an eclectic area just a 20-minute drive from Alafaya.

The urban hub along N. Mills and E. Colonial Avenues features small businesses, art spaces, and murals installed in public and private establishments.

Take a self-guided tour around the area and find over 50 murals showcasing subjects such as nature, animals, famous personalities, and various LGBTQ+ themes.

Walking through the vibrant Mills 50 District will not keep you bored as the colorful paintings breathe life into the neighborhood, making it a hotspot for community happenings.

Moreover, following the mural trail lets you appreciate the creativity of Orlando's local artists, whose talent ranks up there with the best in the world.

Final Thoughts

Alafaya may be a small, suburban neighborhood on the outskirts of Orlando, but it offers many experiences.

You'll have a blast in the area, from picturesque hiking trails and picnic spots to historical tours and slow walks with your friends, kids, or pets.

Discover the free things to do in Alafaya, Florida!

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