CityWalk Hollywood - at Universal Studios Los Angeles

What You Need to Know About Universal CityWalk in Hollywood

Universal CityWalk at Night
••• Universal CityWalk at Night. Adapted from Boris Dzhingarov/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

CityWalk Hollywood is a shopping, dining and entertainment complex located next to Universal Studios Hollywood. It's home to more than a dozen restaurants, lots of retail shops and an 18-screen movie theater. It is outside the theme park's gates and accessible to everyone.

CityWalk looks like a narrow, pedestrians-only city street and a little bit like the street sets on Universal's back lot, vaguely familiar but not quite real.

Overhead are colorful, brightly-lighted signs. Or as one visitor described it: "Kind of a mini scale Vegas scene without all the booze."

Citywalk vibrates with neon energy in the evening and at night. During the day, it's quieter but with lots of people walking to and from the theme park gates.

You can't avoid going to Citywalk if you're going to Universal Studios Hollywood. It's the primary route between the parking garages and the theme park entrance. The question is whether it's worth your time to stop for a while - or whether you should make a trip just to see it.

Just in case you're also going to the theme park, everything you need to know about Universal Studios Hollywood is here.

What to Do at CityWalk Hollywood

What you will find at Universal CityWalk is a movie theatre (with an 8-story IMAX screen, stadium-style rocking seats and 360-degree digital surround sound), lots of national chain restaurants and some places to shop.

Besides the shopping and dining opportunities, you'll find an indoor skydiving center. Bands and other entertainers perform at the 5 Towers live performance stage.

Universal CityWalk hosts free outdoor concerts in summer, and you'll often find street performers there, too. In warm weather, kids love running through the water play area to cool off while the adults watch them and take photos.

Why You Might Like CityWalk Hollywood - Or Not

Online reviewers are divided in their opinions about CityWalk. Some say it's too expensive and nothing special. Others love the people-watching, street performers and overall energy. Locals who review CityWalk on Yelp tend to rate it lower than the visitors who rate it at Tripadvisor.

I don't know about you, but I'd rather spend my time at Universal inside the theme park than at CityWalk. That's what I tell my friends. If you want to take a break from the theme park and have a quiet meal in a sit-down restaurant, it is a good place to do that and in fact, that's the thing I like best about it.

For a relaxed evening out in a similar atmosphere, I'd go to Hollywood & Highland (which has cheaper parking and a lively street scene) or to the Los Angeles Farmers Market and The Grove.

I'd go somewhere else for my movie-watching, too - probably to the Arclight Cinerama Dome on Sunset Boulevard.

Universal CityWalk Hollywood Tips

You have to pay to park at Universal CityWalk - and it's not cheap. If you go to the movies while you're there, you can get a parking discount.

The best way to save money on parking is to use public transportation instead. You can get to CityWalk easily on the LA Metro Red Line, which runs from downtown through Hollywood to Universal City.

From the Metro station, you can take a free shuttle or walk to CityWalk. Uber rides can also be relatively inexpensive in LA and are another option for avoiding the parking hassle.

The Basics About Universal CityWalk Hollywood

1000 Universal Center Drive
Los Angeles, CA
Universal Citywalk Website

There's a Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) subway station at Universal City, on the Metro Red Line. Across the street from the subway station is a free shuttle bus to Universal CityWalk.

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