The Vacation Home Capital of the World, Kissimmee, lives up to this name with its major attractions and tourist spots.
But before its glamorizing buildings and world-class attractions, Kissimmee was once a cowboy town.
Incorporated in 1883, it had the name "Kowtown" and was one of the first cities within the whole country to accommodate horseback ranchers.
This city overlooking Lake Toho in Osceola County now offers unique recreational opportunities.
Though it's often overlooked because of the nearby major city of Orlando, it has something special for every tourist waiting to spend their getaway in this charming town.
From amusement parks to historic and nature preserves, Florida's Kissimmee is an ideal travel destination for everyone of all ages.
If you're wondering if Kissimmee is worth the trip, read on.
Here are the top free things to do in Kissimmee, Florida, for those traveling with a tight budget:
Watch Classic Car Shows and Other Festivities at Old Town
As a tribute to its name, Old Town is an entertainment district that features historical stores and magnificent architecture.
Highlighting the wonders of classic America, it offers various attractions and shopping opportunities.
Walking down bricked walkways, you'll come face-to-face with unique bars, rides, and other public sites.
However, Old Town is most popular for its car shows, where you'll be amazed at the vintage cars and street rods.
These shows take place every Saturday.
Admission to Old Town and its Saturday Car and Cruise Show is free, but you might want to check every attraction you want to experience because those may come with a fee.
Drive down West Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway to join the fanfare and festivities in Old Town.
See the Monument at Bataan-Corregidor Memorial
Learn a piece of history by visiting Bataan-Corregidor Memorial on the corner of Monument Avenue and Lakeshore Boulevard.
With the fall of Bataan and Corregidor Island in 1942, the Japanese gathered Filipino and American soldiers for a deathly march to Camp O’Donnell.
This was the start of the Bataan Death March.
After the 50th anniversary of this brutal historical moment, Richard Herring and Menandro M. de Mesa established this memorial to commemorate the past.
Bataan-Corregidor Memorial is a well-known tourist spot, especially among veterans who wish to pay their respects to their fallen comrades.
The memorial features three people: a Filipino woman serving a Filipino and an American soldier on their journey along the deathly march.
This monument stands in Lakefront Park.
Go on a Spiritual Journey as You Visit Wat Florida Dhammaram
On Old Vineland Road, Wat Florida Dhammaram welcomes you to its serene surroundings and place of worship.
This Buddhist monastery offers tourists traveling to Florida a glimpse of Thai culture.
With its intricate architectural detailing and majestic outdoor landscaping and sculptures, a tour around this place is both solemn and aesthetically pleasing.
Stroll along the vicinity and see the 22-foot-tall Buddha in the garden of Wat Florida Dhammaram.
The Mahabodhi Temple, also within the tourist site, is an Indian temple replica that features detailed illustrations of the Buddhism culture.
View the Cattle Exhibits at Osceola County Welcome Center and History Museum
Osceola County Welcome Center and History Museum gets you closer to the unique wilderness of Osceola County without venturing into the outdoors.
This museum features a wide array of real-life dioramas that depict the county's diverse ecosystem.
The exhibits provide interactive displays, as well as scavenger hunts, for that ultimate educational experience.
Explore swamps, lakefronts, and oak hammocks, and learn more about the wildlife who consider these habitats home.
Step back in time as you read through the cattle and citrus industry-focused exhibitions.
Visit Osceola County Welcome Center and History Museum on West Vine Street within the Shingle Creek Trail.
Browse through the Art Exhibits at Osceola Arts
Discover the performing arts scene of Kissimmee with a quick tour of Osceola Arts.
This facility, which once went by Footlight Theatre Guild, started serving the public in 1961.
It underwent various name changes and renovations over the years.
By 2014, the center became Osceola Arts, a multi-faceted arts clearinghouse for the public.
The theater requires a fee for local shows, but the arts district is free and open to the public.
The visual arts exhibits have a monthly rotation and showcase solo and group artists and their creative works.
Osceola Arts is on East Irlo Bronson Memorial Highway.
Take a Picture of the Monument of States
One of Florida's world-renowned monuments is the Monument of States, which is in the urban community of Kissimmee.
Built circa 1942, this monument brings to light the American union post-war, specifically after the Pearl Harbor attack.
Standing 50 feet tall, this tower-like monument showcases all 48 U.S. states in historical rocks.
Several years later, the monument added rocks from Alaska and Hawaii to complete the 50 states and those from 21 other countries.
The American flag proudly waves at the top, adding a unified touch.
Be sure to bring your camera as you check out the Monument of States on East Monument Avenue.
See the Native Plants at Twin Oaks Conservation Area
Prepare for a nature-centered adventure at Twin Oaks Conservation Area on Macy Island Road.
Purchased in 2010, this area highlights the importance of improved wildlife habitats and proper flood storage.
More than a preserve, the site also serves the community as a sod production center and cattle ranch.
Go down the hiking trails and admire the diversity among the plants and shrubbery at Twin Oaks Conservation Area.
Among the plants you will encounter at this 370-acre preserve are wildflowers, longleaf pines, cypress, and more.
Picnicking is also recommended, so don't forget to bring some snacks for a hearty break in nature.
Enjoy Live Music at Promenade Plaza Thursdays
Are you free every Thursday?
One of the best ways to experience Kissimmee is by joining Promenade Plaza Thursdays on Sunset Walk.
This free outdoor event invites vendors and artists from Central Florida to showcase their art pieces.
Browse through the world-class shopping complex's decors, paintings, and other art forms.
Promenade Plaza Thursdays also offer live music for your ultimate art and cultural experience.
Head to Margaritaville Boulevard every Thursday to join in the fun!
Go Bird Watching at Shingle Creek Regional Park
One of the public spaces included in "America's Great Outdoors," Shingle Creek Regional Park, is a pleasant breath of fresh air.
Beginning in Orlando, this park's river, Shingle Creek River, extends to Lake Tohopekaliga in Kissimmee.
This park has a multi-use trail you can traverse on foot or on non-motorized bikes.
The trail spans 32 miles and is a natural paradise filled with birds and other wildlife.
Other things you can do at the site are paddling and fishing.
Shingle Creek Regional Park is on Yates Road and has no admission fee.
Explore the Streets of Historic Downtown Kissimmee
Downtown Kissimmee offers a unique gateway to fun through its varied shops, restaurants, and other establishments.
Its charming galleries and antique shops are wonderful sights to behold, too.
After a Renaissance renovation, this district’s streetscapes projects have reflected the city’s all-American-classic atmosphere.
At night, Downtown Kissimmee glows with its shining night bars and lounges.
Head over to Main, Emmett, and Broadway streets to experience the festive atmosphere of Kissimmee right in the heart of the city.
Other Things to Do Nearby
If you've toured around Kissimmee already and still want more adventures, below are some of the activities you can do for free at nearby cities:
Go on a Serene Hike at Disney Wilderness Preserve
Spanning a majestic 11,500 acres, the Disney Wilderness Preserve offers free admission.
One of four preserves within the TNC Florida's Center for Conservation Initiatives, this place has an astounding expanse of restored wetlands extending to over 3,500 acres.
The Walt Disney Company gifted Central Florida several years ago by helping build this preserve.
It is a genuine effort to showcase Disney's eco-friendly efforts and Florida's booming nature spots.
You'll see wildlife, fresh plants, and habitats in this preserve.
Disney Wilderness Preserve is only 22 minutes away from Kissimmee on Scrub Jay Trail in Poinciana.
Enjoy Scenic Sights at Disney's Boardwalk
Enjoy a magical day out by visiting Disney's Boardwalk.
This free-for-all district features an enchanting promenade and a collection of shops and buildings for shopping, dining, and entertainment.
Its colorful 1920s atmosphere never dies down, even at night, because of the thousand shining fairy lights.
Feel the sea's breeze as you stroll by the water's edge.
Watch the skyline turn dark and the district come alive with festivities and plenty of fun activities.
There are evening street performers, too, ready to make your night even better.
Admission to this boardwalk is free, so what are you waiting for?
You only need to drive for approximately 23 minutes from Kissimmee to reach Disney's Boardwalk on the EPCOT Resort Area in Bay Lake.
Check Out the Art Displayed at CityArts Factory
CityArts Factory is a boutique gallery showcasing art from local and regional artists.
Only a 28-minute drive from Kissimmee, this gallery came to be in 1916.
It is one of the city's branches of the Downtown Arts District.
Find yourself surrounded by various works of art, including sculptures, paintings, prints, and more!
Exhibitions rotate regularly, so you'll always find something new to admire on your next visit.
CityArts Factory in Orlando is an open-to-the-public center on South Orange Avenue.
Admire the Sculptures at Lake Nona Sculpture Garden
Lake Nona Sculpture Garden combines art and nature and is only a 21-minute drive from Kissimmee.
This garden spans over 50,000 acres and offers many sculptures within lush landscapes.
Situated on Lake Nona Town Center in Orlando, you'll find works from acclaimed artists like Philip Jackson and Enzo Plazzott, among others.
There are alcoves along the way, adding to the charm of this outdoor exhibition.
The garden shines with multiple colors from artificial lights and night-illuminating blooms come nighttime.
An unforgettable art escapade awaits you at Lake Nona Sculpture Garden.
Soak up Nature's Beauty while Hiking around Tibet-Butler Preserve
Ready to hike around miles and miles of charming nature habitats?
Tibet-Butler Preserve is the best place for you.
This free preserve on Vineland Road has a trail that stretches up to 3.6 miles with interpretative walks and signages.
At the site, expect a butterfly garden and a picnic area for your ultimate escape from the busy city of Orlando.
Tibet-Butler Preserve is in Orlando, which doesn't take more than half an hour's drive from Kissimmee.
If Kissimmee's impressive lineup of tourist spots doesn't convince you to give this city a chance, then maybe the fact that some of them are free might.
Yes, Kissimmee offers various adventures at every turn, but it's not all there is to this wondrous city.
It also offers attractions that are accessible, family-friendly, and, most of all, free.
Keep this list of the free things to do in Kissimmee, Florida, for future reference.