Orlando Arts, Culture & History

People observing art exhibit at Orlando Museum of Art
Image courtesy of the Orlando Museum of Art

The arts come alive in Orlando! From the best of Broadway at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, to thought-provoking collections at the Orlando Museum of Art and Cornell Fine Arts Museum, we offer a mix of traditional and contemporary artistry for you to explore, including many options that are completely free.

Spotlighting performing arts venues, museums, galleries and more, here’s your guide to some of the most acclaimed cultural offerings you’ll want to experience in Orlando!

Live Theater & Performing Arts in Orlando

Two people dancing ballet with a choir in the background
Courtesy of United Arts of Central Florida

Named one of Travel + Leisure magazine’s “25 New Tourist Attractions Worth Adding to Your Bucket List” when it opened in 2014, downtown Orlando’s Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts produces more than 300 shows every year. The lineup includes Broadway productions, performances by Orlando Ballet, chart-topping musicians, marquee comedians, family entertainment and much more.

Also downtown, SAK Comedy Lab features live improv theater that’s heavy on audience participation. And in October, downtown’s streets come alive with an interactive, multimedia celebration called IMMERSE, attracting more than 1,000 visual artists and performers from all over the world to Orlando.

In nearby Loch Haven Park, just 10 minutes from downtown, the play’s the thing at Orlando Shakespeare Theater, which offers classic, contemporary and even children’s plays — and of course, productions based on the works of its titular Bard. More live theater can be enjoyed at The Winter Park Playhouse, which is located in its charming namesake city about 20 minutes from downtown Orlando.

You can also catch performing arts at many of our theme parks. For example, Walt Disney World Resort hosts an array of well-known musical acts and talented performance artists at Epcot’s seasonal festivals. SeaWorld Orlando does the same as part of its Seven Seas Food Festival. At Universal Orlando Resort, you can witness the world-famous Blue Man Group at Universal CityWalk, while Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando presents nightly operatic performances at no charge as part of its Musica della Notte (Music of the Night) series.

Museums & Galleries in Orlando

A room of portraits at The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art in Orlando.

Known for acclaimed dining, high-end shopping and cobblestoned, tree-lined streets, Winter Park is one of Central Florida’s most refined communities — and they have the museums to prove it.

At Rollins College’s Cornell Fine Arts Museum alone, you can view more than 5,500 works that range from an ancient sarcophagus to the latest in 21st century art, and admission is always free. What’s more, this museum’s collection is so extensive that a portion of it is displayed as part of The Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art at Winter Park’s The Alfond Inn.

Also in Winter Park, you can peruse the world’s largest collection of work by famed American designer Louis Comfort Tiffany at The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art, which offers free admission on Friday evenings from November through April. Nearby, the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens preserves the works of its namesake.

Loch Haven Park is no slouch in the museum department, either. Founded in 1924, the Orlando Museum of Art presents a rotating lineup of exhibitions featuring everything from local to international artists. Self-taught American artist Earl Cunningham takes center stage at The Mennello Museum of American Art, where the Marilyn L. Mennello Sculpture Garden is always free to the public.

Head downtown for one of our most unique artistic venues, CityArts Factory, which offers four different art galleries under one roof — and free admission. Downtown also has the Orange County Regional History Center and Heritage Square Park, a Smithsonian Institution affiliate that traces 12,000 years of Central Florida history.

There are even more museums and galleries to discover throughout the Orlando area, including Modernism Museum Mount Dora, Winter Garden Heritage Foundation’s Winter Garden Heritage Museum and Central Florida Railroad Museum, Maitland’s Art & History Museums, the Zora Neale Hurston Museum of Fine Arts in Eatonville and many others. Use the search tool below to learn more, and prepare for an artistic adventure in Orlando!

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Orlando Museum of Art

  • 2416 North Mills Avenue
  • Orlando, FL 32803
  • 407-896-4231
  • Visit Website
  • Location: Downtown Area
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Florida's Natural Growers Grove House Visitor Center

  • 20160 U.S. Highway 27 North
  • Lake Wales, FL 33853
  • 863-679-4110
  • Visit Website
  • Location: Polk County

Orlando Shakespeare Theater

  • 812 East Rollins Street
  • Orlando, FL 32803
  • 407-447-1700
  • Visit Website
  • Location: Downtown Area

Bronze Kingdom, African Art Gallery-Museum

  • 3201 East Colonial Drive, Suite M16
  • Orlando, FL 32803
  • (407) 203-8864
  • Visit Website
  • Location: Downtown Area

CityArts Factory

  • 29 South Orange Avenue
  • Orlando, FL 32801
  • (407) 648-7060
  • Visit Website
  • Location: Downtown Area
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