Ocala and the surrounding area is home to an eclectic group of residents who enjoy a variety of lifestyles and interests. Luckily, there are plenty of options to choose from when it comes to local events and entertaining options to keep everyone busy. Whether your interest lies in musical performances, local arts exhibitions, or simply catching a movie with friends, this area hub has ample options to choose from. Take a peek at the recurring options and venues in our list below!
Looking for equestrian-oriented options? Click here to find annual horse shows to keep an eye out for!
Ocala Events & Entertainment
Historic Marion Theatre
The Ocala Drive-In
Ocala Civic Theatre
Ocala Civic Theatre, located in the Appleton Cultural Center on East Silver Springs Boulevard, presents professional-quality, live productions at an affordable price. Ocala Civic Theatre produces more than twelve fully-staged productions each season, in addition to hosting touring companies.
The Reilly Arts Center
Ocala Symphony Orchestra
The Ocala Symphony Orchestra’s mission is to “create cultural experiences and opportunities for our community through music.” They are dedicated to providing great concert experiences and serving our community though educational outreach programs, such Symphony for Schools, Veterans Helping Veterans, and special collaborations.
Pi on Broadway Live Music Nights
The live music that is part of the equation at PI on Broadway is not to be missed. They regularly book acoustic acts, DJs, and full bands. Their rooftop terrace is the perfect place to listen to happy hour jams as the sun goes down, or jam out to the full moon at their monthly full moon parties. Pi specializes in gourmet pizza, tapas, sandwiches and salads. Bring your friends, and pass around some of everything! Or, sit at the bar and enjoy one of a variety of craft beers.
The Keep Downtown | Live Music
The Keep Downtown, formerly Ocala Wine experience, is a fine wine shop with a wine bar & bistro. They have live entertainment Friday and Saturday nights to accompany great food, imported beers, and fine wines from around the world. Make sure to check out their events calendar for more information.
Circle Square Cultural Center
Circle Square Cultural Center at Circle Square Commons brings top name musical entertainment to the Ocala area. The 830-seat theatre provides an amazing concert experience. In addition to concerts the beautiful auditorium also hosts theatrical productions, dances, conventions, and more.
Marion Cultural Alliance | Brick City Center for the Arts
Founded in 2001, Marion Cultural Alliance’s mission is to be the catalyst and advocate of increased cultural impact in the community. MCA supports activities relating to the arts, history, and science; and education through grants, advocacy, fundraising, and partnerships.
Silver River Museum
The Silver River Museum & Environmental Education Center in Ocala is one of the most unique and noteworthy educational projects of any school system in America. Located in Silver River area of Silver Springs State Park, the museum opened to the public in 1991 and is a joint project of the Marion County School System and the Florida Park Service. It gives both students and visitors a place to learn more about Florida’s cultural and natural history.
Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing
The Don Garlits Museum of Drag Racing is located at 13700 SW 16th Ave, Ocala, Florida, just off Interstate 75. Opened in 1984, it chronicles the history of the sport of drag racing. Some 90 racing cars can be seen in the Drag Race building, while a further 50 vehicles are in the Antique Car building. Many of the Garlits “Swamp Rat” cars are here, as well as an accumulation of cars and memorabilia from other top names in the sport.
Marion County Museum of History and Archaeology
The Marion County Museum of History and Archaeology offers many exhibits featuring historical and cultural artifacts unearthed during the development of the city of Ocala and surrounding parts of Marion County. Located just off Fort King Street in Ocala, the museum opened in 2011 and additionally holds a historic lecture series.
The Discovery Center provides hands-on, interactive learning opportunities for our growing community. Founded in 1997, the center relocated to the old Armory in Tuscawilla Park in 2009. The Discovery Center offers four different traveling exhibits per year, a collection of weekly science classes for ages 2 to 12, summer camps, Saturday programming, Date Nights, and so much more!
Appleton Museum of the Arts
The Appleton Museum’s permanent collection of approximately 16,000 objects include European, American, Asian, African, Contemporary, and pre-Columbian art and artifacts. A series of temporary traveling exhibitions are presented throughout the year. The museum is also building a collection of works by Florida artists which relates directly to the history and cultural heritage of our Central Florida community.
Free Public Tours
Downtown Ocala Historic Walking Tour
Immerse yourself in more than 100 years of history at your own pace while experiencing the Downtown Ocala Historic Walking Tour. Tour stops are marked with a QR code that can be scanned with a smart phone. The code takes the user to a history of each location including vintage photos.
Ocala Public Art Tour
The City of Ocala Cultural Arts Department invites you to explore their extensive collection of Public Art with their virtual Ocala Public Art Tour . There are several tours available which the view may walk or drive between tour stops. The exhibits have been market with QR codes linking to information about the exhibit and artist. Many of the exhibits are on loan and only in Ocala for a limited time.
First Friday Art Walks
Held the first Friday of each month from 6 PM to 9 PM from September through May. The First Friday Art Walk sprawls over Ocala’s historic downtown square with an eclectic variety of vendors and displays by local visual and performing artists.
Feel Downtown LIVE Concerts
This is a local concert series downtown featuring national artists. Listen and enjoy in the tranquil atmosphere of the historic square! For more information check out Ocala Main Street.
Fine Arts for Ocala, Inc. (FAFO) formed in 1972 with the mission to promote appreciation of the fine arts and to enhance art education in our community. Forty years later the vision continues as the Ocala Arts Festival brings professional artists from across the country each October. Over the years, FAFO purchase awards have allowed the permanent collection to grow into a wonderful collection of outstanding art. The collection is shared with the community in the FAFO gallery and in public spaces as is the Children’s work purchased from the student exhibit area at the Ocala Arts Festival.
Light Up Ocala
Live entertainment, crafts, food, children’s activities, a parade, and a visit by Santa are all part of the annual Light Up Ocala. Watch the square come alive with dazzling lights, and don’t miss the lighting of the 42-foot tall Christmas tree!
The Spring Art Park Series
Each Spring, the Tuscawilla Art Park hosts the Spring Art Park Series. This event features a music concert surrounded by the park’s collection of public art. The Tuscawilla Art Park, built in 2016, is located at 513 NE 5th Street, next to the historic Ocala Union Station.
During the month of March, First Friday Art Walk voayages back in time with Retro Sounds. Retro Sounds celebrates musical decades of the past with performances by professional tribute artists and bands.
Ocala Outdoor Sculpture Competition
Occurring biennially, the Ocala Outdoor Sculpture Competition features sculptural artists from across North America. A jury of local community stake holders, art organization representatives, and arts select 10 sculptures for a 22-month exhibit that stretches across the downtown Ocala and Tuscawilla Park areas.
Cattle Drive and Cowboy Round Up
Ocala’s annual Cattle Drive and Cowboy Round-Up in February allows visitors to watch real cowboys drive Florida Cracker cattle through downtown Ocala to Tuscawilla park! Festivities include cowboy demonstrations, live music, food trucks, live farm animals, Marion Duck Derby and more!
An event that the whole family will appreciate, Earthfest is a celebration of Arbor Day in Tuscawilla Park. The event features live musical entertainment along with tree giveaways, a youth fishing derby, live butterfly feedings, and so much more!
A Fight For Freedom | Attack on Fort King
Attack on Fort King is a two-day event that focuses on the re-enactment of Osceola’s attack on Fort King and the death of the Indian Agent Wiley Thompson—an action that led to the beginning of the Second Seminole War. The event offers the opportunity to visit a replica of a Seminole village and soldiers’ camp that demonstrates what life was like in the 1830’s. Experience games such as tomahawk throwing, traditional skills workshops and time-period vendors as well!
Fort King Haunted Trail
The annual Fort King Haunted Trail is spooktacular night full of frightful ghosts and ghouls! The event is free, costumes are welcome, and candy is provided for children. The haunted trail gets spookier as night falls so bring the little ones early! Close-toed shoes are recommended.
Mother's Day Symphony Under the Stars
The Symphony Under the Stars is an annual event hosted by FAFO on the evening of Mother’s Day. Bring chairs, blankets, and a picnic dinner or enjoy the convenience of the Food Truck Rally and chair rental also available. Enjoy activities for the entire family and then the sweet music of the symphony as darkness falls, followed by fireworks. The event is located at the Ocala Golf Club on Silver Springs Boulevard.