Plan your Perfect ‘Universal Studios Hollywood’ Visit

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From the best rides and restaurants to seasonal events and more, here’s everything you need to know about visiting Universal Studios Hollywood.

Did you know that you can drink Butterbeer in the heart of Los Angeles, face terrifying dinosaurs, and embark on an epic journey with adorable Minions? No prior acting experience is required.

Universal Studios Hollywood is a one-of-a-kind theme park connected to a working film and television production lot that has been in operation since the early twentieth century. The film studio first ventured into attractions with a tram tour in 1964, but it has since evolved into a full-fledged theme park complete with thrilling rides, live entertainment, immersive lands, and thematically pleasing (and delicious) foods.

The theme park is small in comparison to its East Coast counterpart, but it makes up for it with high-quality attractions. Unlike other parks, it provides visitors with a welcome level of flexibility that requires minimal pre-planning, making it appealing to both solo travelers and families. For those with limited time but interested in experiencing Tinseltown’s only theme park, the park can be completed in a single day.

Ticket Types and Prices

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The ultimate Hollywood experience is surprisingly less expensive than you might think. One-day general admission costs $109, and two-day general admission costs $149. The cost of your visit is determined by a dynamic ticket pricing system, with weekends and holidays being more expensive. Front-gate purchases will be significantly more expensive, and advanced online purchases are advised.

With ticket packages starting at $189, Universal Express provides expedited access to almost every attraction and show. Guided VIP experiences start at $349 and include small group expedited ride access and complimentary refreshments.

Fortunately, if you fall in love with the park, you won’t have to pay a mortgage to return. Universal Studios Hollywood offers one of the most affordable annual pass programs in the country, with the value of your park ticket applied to the upgrade. The pass program begins at $159 for California residents and $199 for general guests, with benefits such as free parking and discounts on food and merchandise.

Universal Studios Hollywood Layout

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Universal Studios Hollywood, which is divided into two levels, the upper lot and the lower lot, is one of the easiest parks for first-time visitors to navigate. Guests enter on the upper lot, and the Starway, a series of escalators, travels a quarter mile down to the lower lot.

The upper lot is the largest, with the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Springfield U.S.A. inspired by The Simpsons, the World-Famous Studio Tour, live shows, and more. Revenge of the Mummy — The Ride, TRANSFORMERS: The Ride 3-D, Jurassic World — The Ride, and several eateries and shops are located on the lower lot.


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Universal Studios Hollywood has attractions featuring your favorite characters, movies, and television series, so there’s something for everyone, from thrill seekers to young children.

Over the last decade, the park has expanded significantly, including the addition of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. While the land is smaller than its Florida counterpart, it brings its biggest hits, including the e-ticket attraction Harry Potter & The Forbidden Journey and the popular wand-choosing experience Ollivanders.

Secret Life of Pets: Off The Leash! (exclusive to the Hollywood park) opened in 2021 and is a marvel of a dark ride that seamlessly blends industry-leading screen-based technology with animatronics. The colorful area, located on the upper lot’s Manhattan-inspired streets, immerses guests in the beloved film franchise through playful character interactions.

Jurassic World — The Ride, located on the lower lot, is a water-based attraction that has shined as one of the biggest thrills offered with pioneering feats in audio-animatronics since its refurbishment in 2021.

The World-Famous Studio Tour is a one-of-a-kind 60-minute tram ride that includes behind-the-scenes access to working sets as well as themed attraction experiences. No two rides on this iconic attraction are ever the same due to ever-changing production schedules. The trams are being upgraded as part of the theme park’s commitment to becoming more environmentally friendly, and will soon be all electric vehicles.

A family-friendly Minions attraction, a Harry Potter-themed coaster for all ages, and interactive playscapes are among the other attractions.

The first Super Nintendo World in the United States will open in 2023, bringing with it new attractions.

Where to Eat


Universal Studios Hollywood’s dining options are quick-service, but don’t let that fool you: there are a plethora of globally inspired bites served in highly themed locations.

Three Broomsticks, a popular restaurant, transports guests to the fantastical world of Harry Potter inside a dining hall straight out of the blockbuster franchise. The menu focuses on British delicacies, including traditional dishes like fish and chips and a standout English breakfast. No meal is complete without Butterbeer ice cream, a fan favorite.

The whimsically themed Super Silly Fun Land features a Minions-themed cafe with approachable fare such as grilled cheese and tomato soup. The Simpsons’ favorite restaurants, such as Krusty Burger and Lard Lad, come to life in Springfield (serving up giant pink donuts). Jurassic Café, located on the lower lot, serves unique bites such as slow-roasted mojo pork and is just steps away from Isla Nu-Bar, a tiki outpost serving tropical cocktails.

There’s no shortage of highly themed bars for those looking to imbibe during their park visit, including Moe’s Tavern, Hog’s Head in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, and Mulligan’s Irish Pub.

Those looking for a caffeine fix should avoid Starbucks and instead visit the French Street Bistro, a charming hidden gem that serves coffee drinks, breakfast, and snacks all day.

Universal CityWalk Hollywood

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CityWalk, the property’s dining and entertainment district, is adjacent to the theme park, where table-service dining options are available. NBC Sports Bar & Grill is the place to go for sporting events and surprisingly good pub food, while Antojitos Cocina Mexicano has a lovely patio and a sprawling bar serving Mexican fare and handcrafted cocktails. Casual options include the recently opened Chick Chick Chicken, which serves authentic Nashville-style hot chicken, and Pink’s Hot Dogs, which has an easily accessible outpost.

CityWalk does not require a park ticket.

When Should You Go?

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Visitors can enjoy pleasant weather almost all year due to its location in sunny Southern California. Weekdays in between holiday seasons are ideal for shorter lines at attractions and restaurants.

The theme park’s two annual events, Halloween Horror Nights and Grinchmas, are the busiest times to visit. Halloween Horror Nights, a separate ticketed event, is the country’s leading haunt event, transforming Universal’s soundstages into terrifying walk-through experiences themed to the biggest horror franchises. Grinchmas, which is included with general theme park admission, has been given a festive holiday makeover. During these times, Universal Express is invaluable.

Accommodation Nearby and How to Get There

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Universal Studios Hollywood is in the heart of Los Angeles, about 20 minutes from Hollywood Burbank Airport and 40 minutes from Los Angeles International Airport.

Theme park visitors can park for $30 per day if they arrive before 5 p.m. Valet parking is available for up to 2.5 hours at CityWalk for $10 for those visiting a full-service restaurant.

Unlike in Orlando, they do not have on-site Universal-operated hotels, but rather hotel partners. The Hilton Universal City and Sheraton Universal Hotel are both within walking distance of the park and offer guests perks such as complimentary shuttles and discounted ticket packages.

Fun at the Theme Park

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It comes as no surprise that entertainment is a key component of the theme park, with some of the most impressive displays of free-roaming characters that interact with guests, such as Beetlejuice, Dracula, and Lucille Ball.

The live shows at the theme park, such as “Waterworld: A Live Sea War Spectacular,” are also impressive. The stunt show, inspired by the cult-favorite film, has been running for over 25 years and features actual pieces from the film’s sets, large-scale pyrotechnics, and captivating live actors. Other shows on the schedule include the hilarious Universal’s Animal Actors, which features real-life, Hollywood-trained pets.

Although their nighttime offerings are more limited than those of other parks, the Harry Potter-themed evening spectacular is worth staying for. “Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle” combines music, lights, and projections against the breathtaking backdrop of the wizarding school.

Planning Suggestions for Universal Studios Hollywood

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Download the official app to get the most up-to-date wait times, showtimes, maps, and other information.

Many visitors enter and begin their day at the attractions on the upper lot. Instead, start at the lower lot and work your way up to possibly reduce wait times.

The World-Famous Studio Tour usually begins its final ride of the day more than an hour before the park closes, so it is best to plan ahead for this experience.

Plan a trip and book a hotel room here

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