Blake Walsh

15 Free Things to Do in Hollywood, FL

  • Published 2022/12/19

Situated between Miami and Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood is the ultimate seaside Floridian city.

This city has various recreational options, from its pristine beaches to its coastal boardwalks.

Besides Hollywood’s waterfront charm, the city is also home to over 60 parks and an astounding art and cultural district.

To boot, its main beach attraction, Hollywood Beach, is hailed as one of the “Best Beaches for Families.”

But before all the hype, this city in Broward County was once home to the Seminole Indian settlers.

Founded in 1925, this city was also called Hollywood by the Sea during its early days.

Fast forward years later, Hollywood’s old-school atmosphere continues to charm many visitors and tourists with many budget-friendly attractions.

If you’re considering traveling to this city but are worried about the expenses, here are some of the free things to do in Hollywood, Florida, to help you out:

Have Fun under the Sun at Hollywood Beach Broadwalk

Bicycle ride along Hollywood Beach Broadwalk

Leonard Zhukovsky /

Dating back to the 1920s, Hollywood Beach Broadwalk is a promenade that overlooks the ocean.

Unlike most boardwalks, this one goes with the name “broadwalk” because of its broad pavement.

Stretching almost two and a half miles, this site features a brick-paved walkway and a famous jogging and running platform.

Along the broadwalk, you can find various shops, inns, restaurants, and other establishments dedicated to fanfare.

People touring around Hollywood Beach Broadwalk

Anurak Pankham /

Three oceanfront parks are also open to serve families and children.

If you’re lucky, you might just catch one of the broadwalk’s weekly live music series free of charge!

Hollywood Beach Broadwalk is on South Broadwalk, awaiting your arrival.

Food truck at Hollywood Beach Broadwalk

Philip Lange /

Watch the Sunset at the Pavilion in Charnow Park

Nestled in the Hollywood Beach Broadwalk, Charnow Park is a quaint beachfront park perfect for those who want to cool off from the summer heat without going to a beach.

This park features a shaded area, a pavilion, and a splash fountain.

Because of its secluded location, it’s a hidden gem in Hollywood that is not usually flocked by people.

Grab a quick picnic with your folks while at the pavilion and stay until dusk.

This way, you get a front-row seat to the mesmerizing Hollywood skyline as it turns orange and then dim.

Since 1930s, Charnow Park has been a simple hangout spot on Connecticut Street.

Listen to Live Music for the Holidays at Christmas Near The Beach

If you’re staying in Hollywood until the holidays, don’t miss out on Christmas Near The Beach.

This annual holiday fest, established in 2007, is a cornerstone of Hollywood holiday celebrations.

What was once called Christmas “on” the Beach became “near” as its regular venue became the City of Hollywood’s ArtsPark at Young Circle.

Every year, families come around to listen to live music, mostly Christmas carols, and watch the 40-foot Christmas tree brighten up the place.

In his bright red suit, Santa Claus also makes a special appearance.

Bring your little ones with you, so they can meet the big man and tell him their Christmas wishes.

Christmas Near The Beach is free to everyone who wishes to come and participate.

See the Mangroves and Aquarium at Anne Kolb Nature Center

Mangroves on the water of Anne Kolb Nature Center

jaimie tuchman /

Anne Kolb Nature Center takes you on a diverse and massive journey into nature with its wetland setting.

Opened in 1996, this site has served the public with its native wildlife and vegetation for over 1,500 acres.

Onsite, you’ll find multi-purpose amenities and facilities aiding you in your nature exploration and discovery.

Thick mangroves at Anne Kolb Nature Center

jaimie tuchman /

Among these facilities include an EcoRoom, an observation tower standing tall at 68 feet, and a 3,500-gallon aquarium for your deep dive into marine wildlife.

Bring your bike along the paved trails and prepare yourself for a deep excursion into the mangroves.

Anne Kolb Nature Center on Sheridan Street is free to the public on weekdays.

Boardwalk at Anne Kolb Nature Center

Sunshower Shots /

Celebrate Public Art by Viewing the Downtown Hollywood Mural Project

One of the best ways to truly immerse yourself in Hollywood culture is to acquaint yourself with its downtown murals, and Hollywood is full of them!

The Downtown Hollywood Mural Project is a neat showcase of raw talent from local artists.

Aiming at key points in downtown Hollywood, this project allows everyone of all ages to appreciate art without having to pay to get inside a gallery.

Every piece, from upscale buildings to street walls, tells a story of the city’s lifestyle and thriving art scene.

On Harrison Street, Diana Contreras’ piece is a striking mural of women.

The TM Sisters, on the other hand, offer a simplistic sunset gradient on the exterior of Radius Garage on North 19th Avenue.

There is a lot more you have to see from talented artists, so don’t miss the Downtown Hollywood Mural Project!

Join a Free Event at ArtsPark at Young Circle

Aerial view of ArtsPark at Young Circle

Felix Mizioznikov /

Craving to be part of the community in celebrating art and music?

The ArtsPark at Young Circle might be your best bet.

This 10-acre circle, established in 2007, has been the go-to venue for many programs and events because of its large amphitheater.

There’s a playground within the property, complete with a splash pad for your children’s delight.

Romero Britto’s Butterfly sculpture is also one of the public art displays you can freely admire.

Butterfly sculpture at ArtsPark at Young Circle

maria_t /

But perhaps the main reason many people come to the ArtsPark at Young Circle is its free public events.

This includes the ArtsPark Movie Nights every Friday on North Young Circle.

Bring a blanket or a comfortable chair as you settle down for a family-friendly movie with your loved ones.

Bandshell of ArtsPark at Young Circle

Tamanoeconomico, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

See Chalk Art Demonstration at Downtown Hollywood ArtWalk

One of the points of pride in Hollywood’s art culture is the Downtown Hollywood ArtWalk.

This monthly program is free for everyone and is a great platform to bring art to the streets.

On top of fine arts and paintings in usual galleries, this one-of-a-kind program also includes pop-up shows, artisan showcases, artist meet-ups, and live music.

Some special exhibits include a chalk art demonstration and a fun rock-hunting program.

Start freeing up your itinerary for a unique experience at the Downtown Hollywood ArtWalk event.

Dance to Salsa and All Its Forms at the Hollywood Salsa Fest

Every April, the streets of downtown Hollywood come to life with the swaying music of salsa.

The Hollywood Salsa Fest is a yearly celebration of this dance music genre, including its various forms like clave and rumba.

Watch orchestras, modern performances, and DJ sessions fill up the night.

Go with your loved ones, and enjoy the lively atmosphere as you dance along to the music.

The Hollywood Salsa Fest opens its festivities to everyone in ArtsPark on North Young Circle.

Learn about Sea Turtle Conservation at Marine Environmental Education Center

Signage at Marine Environmental Education Center

photravel_ru /

The Marine Environmental Education Center is your great sea turtle conservation knowledge source.

Located in the historical Carpenter House, this facility pays tribute to the home by keeping the furnishings and architecture intact.

Browse through educational displays while strolling across hardwood floors and original fixtures.

Learn more about coastal ecology and even meet live animals while exploring the site.

While you don’t have to pay for admission, your donations are a big help and very much appreciated.

The Marine Environmental Education Center is located on North Surf Road and is ideal for recreational and educational activities.

Bond with the Whole Family at the Free Arts! Family Day in Art and Culture Center

Celebrate family day by bringing your loved ones to Free Arts! Family Day.

Founded in 1975, Art and Culture Center was once one of the only visual arts facilities in Broward County.

If you’re looking for something free to do that’s related to creating art, go for The Free Arts! Family Day.

This monthly program offers free admission for every family and has different themes for all visitors.

You won’t want to miss the art lessons you’ll learn along the way, from art landscapes to handicrafts.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Already gone through each attraction in the list above?

Don’t worry; here are more free activities you can do near Hollywood:

View the Permanent and Temporary Exhibits at Plantation Historical Museum

Exterior of Plantation Historical Museum

Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

In the nearby city of Plantation, there’s more to see and learn.

If you’re a history buff, don’t forget to add Plantation Historical Museum to your itinerary.

Only 22 minutes away from Hollywood, this museum highlights Plantation’s interesting past through interactive exhibits.

Entrance door of Plantation Historical Museum

Ebyabe, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

It is also home to an Everglades diorama and the first fire engine of the city, as well as other memorabilia owned by the Fire Department.

You can also see a butterfly garden and a gift shop within the property.

Plantation Historical Museum is on North Fig Tree Lane.

Enjoy a Free Ride across the River at LauderGO! Water Trolley

Nothing beats the uniqueness of Broward County when it comes to outdoor recreation.

LauderGO! Water Trolley is only one of the many free things you can do while in Fort Lauderdale.

Gliding across New River, this trolley has eight stops along its routes.

Among these include Riverfront Plaza, Tarpon River, and Smoker Park.

Enjoy the cool breeze and the magnificent riverscape up close while riding the trolley.

If you start from Hollywood, it will only take 21 minutes to reach one of its docks, Riverwalk North.

Hike around Nature while Learning about the Seminole Lifestyle at Snake Warrior’s Island

Traveling to Broward County with the hope of learning history while in nature?

Then Snake Warrior’s Island in Miramar might be for you.

This nature preserve is a restored wetland property that must have been the oldest Florida area, once a Seminole village.

Its name is a tribute to the leader of the tribe who went by the label Snake Warrior.

Extending to 53 acres, this island provides walkways where you can learn the history of the site through detailed markers.

Admire the fowl and other creatures you may encounter along your hike.

Drive from Hollywood for only about 12 minutes to reach Southwest 62nd Avenue, where Snake Warrior’s Island stands.

Explore the Butterfly Pollinator Garden at Deerfield Island Park

Aerial view of Deerfield Island Park

Felix Mizioznikov /

Deerfield Island Park in Deerfield Beach is only a 28-minute drive from Hollywood.

This expansive island preserve offers seclusion that doesn’t compromise on recreation.

Extending to 53.3 acres, this site is only accessible through a water shuttle from Sullivan Park.

But you don’t have to worry, as the shuttle and entrance to the island are free!

Signage of Deerfield Island Park /

Within the property, expect nature trails and a marina for your ultimate nature exploration.

There’s also a picnic area and a boat dock onsite for your quick break.

Deerfield Island Park’s pollinator garden is also worth visiting to expand your butterfly knowledge and marvel at the colorful species up close.

Discover Aviation History at Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale Museum

Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale Museum is your go-to site for all things aviation-related in Broward County.

Serving as an air station back in 1942, this museum played a huge role in the national defense system of the city.

And to add to its long list of achievements, it’s the only Broward County military museum, too!

This museum in Fort Lauderdale also pays homage to the Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale and those who served in World War II.

Find flight simulators, artifacts, drawings, photographs, and more on display!

There are also vintage aircraft models and the popular naval aviation mural with President Bush’s signature.

Naval Air Station Fort Lauderdale Museum is on West Perimeter Road, at least a 15-minute drive from Hollywood.

Final Thoughts

Hollywood’s recreational range draws people to the historic city, but its thriving sense of community makes them stay.

With annual festivals and free-to-the-public tourist sites, Hollywood ensures that everyone, including first-timers to the city, has a blast while exploring.

This is more possible with the list of free things to do in Hollywood, Florida, above.

With all that said, are you ready to travel to this Florida city soon?

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