It wasn't that long ago that I could say everything I needed to about Universal Studios Hollywood on just one page. Since 2010, Universal has been expanding at a rapid rate, producing some of the most exciting new theme park experiences in California. They've got a lot more in store during the next few years, but don't wait until they're done to start enjoying the place. There's plenty to do there right now.
Is Universal Studios Hollywood Right for You?
I love this theme park, with its innovative, thrilling rides, but it's not for everyone. If you enjoy (and can tolerate) fast-paced thrill rides and don't mind if they're the motion simulator type, you'll probably like it as much as I do.
If you have any physical issues that might make such rides impossible or likely to hurt you - or if you prefer your rides slow and steady, you may not find enough to do to justify the cost of a ticket. Read more in the resources below to see what you think.
It might also help if you know more about what the park is like. Check out the slideshow to take the "World Famous Studio Tour" of Universal Studios California backlot - and the rest of the park - without leaving your chair.
Universal Studios Hollywood Planner
These resources are everything you need to get started planning your Universal Studios experience. Allow a full day, and you can enjoy everything they have to offer.
- Universal Studios Complete Ride Guide: Detailed descriptions and tips for every ride and attraction, height and size restrictions - and a fun photo
- How to Get Universal Studios Tickets: The box office is the worst way to go. Find out how to get them ahead of time, how to get a discount - and learn about a ticketing loophole that could save you money
- What's New - and What's Coming - at Universal Studios Hollywood: This is the fun part. It includes not only what's next, but what's been done in the past few years
- Tips for a Perfect Day at Universal: You'll have more fun, less stress and amaze your companions with how much you know if you follow even half of these tips.
- Hotels Near Universal Studios: You can do Universal in a day, but you might be too tired to drive home afterward - or you may want to visit other attractions in the area. This guide highlights some of the nicest places to stay nearby.
When to Go to Universal Studios Hollywood
Any time is fun, but these are a few things to think about when deciding when you want to go.
- It's more crowded during summer and long school holidays like spring and winter break
- The crowds at Universal get pretty crazy around Christmas when we have seen the longest lines of the year
- In summer, it gets really hot at midday, but the hours are longer
- You'll have few worries about getting rained out during California's rainy winter season because most of the fun rides are indoors
Annual Events at Universal Studios Hollywood
- Halloween Horror Nights: Every October, Universal puts on a special event, featuring some of their scariest slasher villains. Even the "chain saw guys" who go around frightening people have to try out for their jobs. You'll have to buy a separate ticket or an all-day package to enjoy the park and this bloody scare-fest in the same day.
- Grinchmas: The Grinch stole Christmas, but then he brought it back - and Universal would like to celebrate. You don't need a separate ticket for this one.
Universal CityWalk, just outside the park entrance is a lively shopping and dining complex open to the public. It's a good place to eat dinner or to do a little shopping, or even go to a movie after a day at Universal Studios Hollywood.
If the Universal studio tour got you interested in how movies are made, Warner Bros Studios is just up the street, and they have a great public tour.
Universal Studios Hollywood Review
We rate Universal Studios Hollywood 4 stars out of 5. I know what to expect when I visit Universal Studios Hollywood: a studio tour and movie-themed shows and rides. I know it will be fun, but by the time I leave, I always find I've enjoyed it more than I expected.
Universal Studios Hollywood
100 Universal City Plaza
Universal City, CA 91608
The Metro Red Line also stops near the park, and you can catch a shuttle bus from there to the entrance. The Metro system covers much of the LA area.
Universal offers a shuttle from lots of Los Angeles hotels with a one-day admission ticket. Get details on their website.
Some tour companies offer admission and transportation packages from San Diego. They can cost as much as $40 per person over full ticket price with no chance for discounts, and they limit your time at the park. Consider this option only if have no others.
As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with complimentary admission for the purpose of reviewing Universal Studios Hollywood. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.