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Universal City: Hollywood’s Cinematic Playground
Experience hair-raising exhilaration as you take twists and turns on a rollercoaster. Witness the magic of Hollywood at work in a genuine, working film studio. Bump into your favourite characters as you explore a much-loved theme park. Enjoy delicious food, refreshing drinks and great entertainment. Visit Universal City in Los Angeles, California and you can enjoy the magic and mystery of Tinseltown up close and personal.
Welcome to Universal City
Nestled between Studio City and the Hollywood Hills, just off the Hollywood Freeway, Universal City is one of the more unique destinations you’re likely to come across on America’s left coast. Home to fully-fledged movie studios and backlots, the site also houses a wildly-popular theme park, Universal Studios Hollywood, and a bustling shopping and entertainment district, Universal CityWalk Hollywood. For many, it’s hard to imagine tourism and Tinseltown literally walking hand in hand, but that’s exactly what you have here. Universal City features two on-site hotels: the Hilton Los Angeles/Universal City and Sheraton Universal Hotel. Visitors wanting to be at the heart of the action are sure to want to stay in one of the two, while budget-savvy travellers and those hoping to be close to some of Los Angeles’s other famed attractions will find off-site accommodation options elsewhere in the city.
Getting to and from the park is fairly straightforward, even if you don’t have your own car. The park is served by the Universal City/Studio City station on the Metro Red Line, which offers direct connections to Hollywood and downtown Los Angeles. A shuttle bus links the station to the park. Local buses also serve the region.
Theme Park Thrills
Visitors to Universal Studios Hollywood can expect fun, entertainment and thrills. The theme park, which is made up of the Upper Lot and Lower Lot, offers nine individual rides based around Universal-produced movie/TV properties. Back to the Future, Transformers, The Simpsons, Despicable Me, Jurassic Park and others are all represented, and prove very popular with revellers passing through the theme park’s gates. The park also features a number of specialist shows. WaterWorld is an action-packed, aquatic performance based on the film of the same name. Meanwhile, guests can also enjoy a special effects show and a show featuring animal actors. A special trolley tour of the film studios located on-site is available for guests to enjoy, with V.I.P. guests getting the chance to see lots not ordinarily open to the public. A recent addition to the park, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has quickly emerged as a favourite with visitors. Here you can enjoy a pair of thrill rides and a number of special shows, one of which features a croaking frog choir!
Shop, Dine and Be Entertained
Adjacent to the theme park, Universal CityWalk Hollywood offers a range of shopping, dining and entertainment options. The retail district features shops selling an assortment of goods, including apparel, toys, collectibles, beauty products and more. Of course, a Universal Studios store is included. In terms of restaurants and eateries, visitors can expect casual fare from a number of big-name chains. From hot dogs and crepes to steaks and Chinese food, there’s a good selection of cuisine on offer, not to mention snacks and quick fixes. CityWalk features a state-of-the-art concert venue, 5 Towers, an IMAX movie theatre and a traditional movie theatre where visitors can check out films made right next door. Additionally, a number of night time entertainment options are available in the form of a piano bar and a dance club.
Out and About in Hollywood
Universal City’s position close to Hollywood puts many of L.A.’s most famous sights within touching distance. Simply hop in the car, board a bus or take the metro a couple of stops and you’ll be able to immerse yourself in the city’s rich history. The world-renowned Hollywood Sign is a must-see for any first-time visitor to the City of Angels. Nestled in the Hollywood Hills, this beacon of Tinseltown has a special aura to it. Meanwhile, the Griffith Observatory, found in Griffith Park on Mount Hollywood, offers some spectacular views to go alongside an interesting exhibit. The Hollywood Walk of Fame, which runs along parts of Hollywood Boulevard and Vine Street, is another must-see attraction. The famed walk is home to more than 2,500 stars celebrating Hollywood heroes and entertainment alumni. Take a stroll along the 18 block-walk and try and find your favourite performer.
Los Angeles at Large
Universal City is also conveniently placed for those travellers looking to explore Los Angeles at large. Downtown Los Angeles is about 20 minutes away using the Metro Red Line, putting the likes of the Staples Center, L.A. Live and Walt Disney Concert Hall within easy reach. Visitors looking to enjoy some of California’s famed beaches are also in luck. Santa Monica, with its beautiful white beaches and phenomenal pier, is just 14 miles away. Get the traffic right, a tricky conundrum in L.A., and you could be there in 20 minutes or less. Alternatively, travellers willing to hit the road will find Universal City a convenient base from which to explore the fabulously scenic Pacific Coast Highway.