Universal City

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Neon signs light up the night at City Walk.

Universal City is in Los Angeles County, California and is the home to Universal Studios Hollywood theme park, City Walk, and the world's largest motion picture studio.

The community's official marketing headline is nicknamed "Entertainment Capital of LA".


Universal Studios was established at this location in 1915 by Carl Laemmle. Following an acquisition by MCA (Music Corporation of America), staff accountants suggested that a studio bus tour of the massive backlot and a stop at the commissary would boost profits. The famous backlot tram ride at the park today is a direct descendant.

In 1964, the humble tour was expanded to include staged events that are similar to the Wild West stunt show which closed in 2000. In the 1980s a large scale, motion picture themed amusement park evolved to accompany the tour.

In the 1990s, the extremely innovative City Walk was unveiled, an entertainment/shopping center that redefined the concept of an urban mall.

Get in[edit]

By air[edit]

Universal City is just four miles south of Burbank's Bob Hope Airport and about 45 minutes to Los Angeles International Airport.

By car[edit]

Universal City has its own exit from the 101 Freeway traveling northbound from downtown Los Angeles. The 134 freeway can also take you to the Universal City area by exiting Cahuenga or Lankershim Blvd and turning southbound.

By train[edit]

Take Metro Rail Red Line to the Universal City station. Universal Studios Hollywood provides a complimentary shuttle between the station and the theme park, or you may walk.

Get around[edit]

Getting around Universal City is not a serious matter. Universal Studios Hollywood theme park is the primary tourist attraction in the city. Citywalk Hollywood next to it offers over 65 venues of shopping, restaurants and entertainment. Each of the two nearby hotels (Hilton Universal City and Sheraton Universal) have additional bars and restaurants available to experience.


Universal Studios Hollywood
  • Universal Studios Hollywood. The tram tour of the backlot is still the heart and soul of the park. See the sets from Jurassic Park, Back to the Future, Austin Powers, and many more. The theme park is also first rate. You can enter Universal Studios for free and skip the ticket lines with the Southern California City Pass or the Go Los Angeles Card.
  • City Walklocated outside the gates to the theme park. Feel immersed in a comic strip - over-the-top colorful architecture, talented street performers, dozens of restaurants (all price points), novelty shopping, an IMAX theater, and a NASCAR simulator. The outdoor "mall" is usually packed on weekends and summer nights, which adds to the energy and atmosphere. Gibson Amphitheatre at Universal CityWalk hosts concerts from time to time. Free, other than parking.


Transformers: The Ride 3D at Universal Studios Hollywood
  • Ride the movies at the many film-based attractions (complete list here) at Universal Studios. The ones that absolutely shouldn't be missed are:
    • Studio Tram Tour
    • Transformers: The Ride 3D
    • King Kong 360 3-D
    • Revenge of the Mummy
    • Jurassic Park: The Ride
    • The Simpsons Ride
    • Shrek 4-D
  • CityWalk has a wide range of entertainment options.
    • CityWalk Cinemas. Stadium seating, surround sound, and digital projection.
    • iFly Floor Skydiving. Experience the thrill of falling from the sky - without even leaving the ground!
    • Jillian's. Play all the arcade games you want or sharpen your bowling skills.
    • NASCAR Motor Speedway. Virtual reality car racing will really blow you away.


City Walk (see complete list of vendors here) has many fine retailers, a perfect place to find your ultimate Southern California souvenir.


City Walk has about 20 restaurants, ranging from fast food to fine dining, spanning all types of cuisine. (See the complete list here.)

  • Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.
  • Johnny Rockets
  • Hard Rock Cafe
  • In 'N Out Burger (not located on CityWalk, but on Cahuenga Blvd.)
  • Tony Roma's
  • Wolfgang Puck Cafe



Go next[edit]

  • Hollywood Right next door by way of the train or the highway.
  • Orange County Take the Red Line to Union Station and transfer to Amtrak or Metrolink.
Routes through Universal City
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ENDNorth Hollywood  N LAMetroLogo.svgnoframe S  HollywoodDowntown L.A.

See also[edit]

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