8 Things To Do At Universal Studios Hollywood Beside Rides

Universal Studios Hollywood may be labelled as a theme park, however, there’s so much more here than just rides. There are world-class performances, fantastic character meet and greets and incredible dining experiences, to name just a few.

As such, we still recommend visiting Universal Studios Hollywood even if you don’t like rides.

Sadly, there is currently no discount for not going on rides within the theme park. Therefore, you’ll still need to buy a standard park ticket for Universal Studios Hollywood.

If you’re based in the UK I recommend buying your Universal Studios Hollywood park tickets from AttractionTix. They have the most competitive prices and incredible customer service.

If you’re based in the US or Canada I recommend Klook for your Universal Studios Hollywood tickets. They have the most competitive prices and a range of different ticket options to suit all budgets and requirements.

1. The World-Famous Studio Tour

The World-Famous Studio Tour is in our opinion, the best thing to do at Universal Studios Hollywood. This hour-long experience takes you on a tram ride behind the scenes of a real film studio which has been the home to a number of movie and TV show sets including;

  • Desperate Housewives
  • The Good Place
  • Bel-Air TV series.

You’ll also see what it’s like to experience special effects such as a flash flood and see the plane crash wreckage which was featured in The War of the Worlds.

We make a point of going on this tour during every visit to Universal Studios Hollywood as each time it’s slightly different – yet sadly, we’ve still only seen one famous face in the form of Mario Lopez

In addition to the traditional Studio Tour, you’ll also experience two 4D cinema rides on a screen that spans the length of the tram; Fast & The Furious Supercharged and King Kong 360 3-D. Personally, I find these cinema ride additions to be disappointing, but they are non-optional once onboard and thankfully don’t take up too much time.

2. Shopping, Dining & Entertainment At CityWalk

The CityWalk entertainment district is located just outside of the Universal Studios Hollywood theme park and is the perfect place to relax and unwind after a long day at the park. Aside from the iFly indoor skydiving experience, there are no rides here. Instead, there are just fantastic stores such as;

  • Sephora
  • Billabong
  • Hot Topic

Alongside some incredible restaurants;

  • The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen
  • Voodoo Donuts
  • Bubba Gump Shrimp
  • Pink’s Hot Dogs

If you’re looking for even more entertainment after your day at Universal Studios Hollywood then be sure to check out the on-site cinema which shows all the latest blockbusters across 18 laser projection screens, all of which feature Dolby Atmos multidimensional sound and reserved power reclining seats.


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3. Meet Characters

Universal Studios Hollywood is home to a whole host of incredible characters that you can meet, interact with and take photos alongside. Some of our favourite characters include;

  • Spongebob Square Pants
  • Patrick
  • Minions
  • Gru
  • Hello Kitty
  • Marilyn Monroe
  • Curious George
  • Scooby-Do
  • Shaggy
  • Optimus Prime
  • Bumblebee
  • Megatron

We could easily spend the entire day at Universal Studios Hollywood taking pictures alongside our favourite film and TV show friends. However, what I love about Universal Studios Hollywood is that you often don’t have to, as the queues to meet and take photos with characters are often super short when compared to the nearby Disneyland.

4. Wizarding World of Harry Potter

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is an incredible immersive area within Universal Studios Hollywood which is designed to replicate Hogsmeade. While there are rides in this area, including;

There are also amazing live performances including; the Frog Choir and the Triwizard Spirit Rally. You can also choose an interactive wand of your very own inside Ollivanders and then use it around the park to cast magical spells.

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is also home to some incredible stores where you can purchase a range of Harry Potter themed merchandise including Universal Studios Hogwarts Robes and Chocolate Frogs as well as several food carts serving delicious Butterbeer.

5. WaterWorld Show

One of Universal Studios Hollywood’s best and most beloved shows is WaterWorld. This 20-minute show is a live scene from the 1995 hit film, WaterWorld and is packed full of action.

There are multiple showings throughout the day, so even if you miss one there’s still likely plenty of chances to catch it again throughout the day. However, this is one of the most popular attractions at the park, so be sure to arrive early to get a good seat.

Be warned that sitting in the ‘soak zone’ will literally mean you are drenched from head to toe. If you want to be close to the action but not get completely soaked, look at wearing a poncho.

6. Raptor Encounter

If you’re into dinosaurs, then be sure to head down to the Lower Lot of Universal Studios Hollywood and meet a real live Velociraptor – and some of his friends.

This fun guided interaction takes place multiple times a day and allows you to meet a dinosaur and take a photograph together. This experience is so unique that even if you’re not all that into dinosaurs, we’d still recommend checking it out.

7. Super Silly Fun Land

Located behind the Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem ride is Super Silly Fun Land. This immersive area is perfect for little ones who may be too small for rides inside the park (and was where we spent the majority of our day when visiting with our 14-month-old recently).

The area comes complete with a splash pad, a playground, fairground games and a ride that doesn’t have a height requirement (although children need to be able to sit independently). There’s also the Minion Café here which serves delicious American foods.

8. DreamWorks Theatre Featuring Kung Fu Panda

DreamWorks Theatre Featuring Kung Fu Panda is a ten-minute long indoor show with no height requirement situated on Main Way Universal just to the right as you walk through the park’s main entrance.

This is a 4D performance, and as such there are wind and water effects alongside some limited movement and motion of the seats. Given that there’s no height requirement, the movement / motion is very, very limited.

With a capacity of 240 per showing, and showings taking place on rotation throughout the day you’ll often also find that this ride has a wait time of 10 minutes or less.

Universal Hollywood Travel Planning Guide

🎟️ Where To Buy Tickets for Universal Hollywood?

If you’re based in the US or Canada, I recommend Klook for your Universal Hollywood tickets.

Klook consistently has the most competitive prices. There’s also a range of different ticket options to suit all budgets and requirements.

Meanwhile, if you’re based in the United Kingdom. Then I recommend buying your Universal Hollywood theme park tickets from AttractionTix.

I personally use AttractionTix when purchasing theme park tickets. That’s because AttractionTix consistently has the most competitive prices and incredible customer service.

🏥 Should I Buy Travel Insurance for a Visit to Universal Hollywood?

If you’re travelling to Universal Hollywood for vacation, then travel insurance is recommended. Basic travel insurance coverage with Safety Wing averages between $5 – $10 per day and offers peace of mind.

However, if a trip to Universal Hollywood isn’t part of a vacation. For example, you live locally. Then travel insurance isn’t likely to be necessary.

🚘 Do I Need to Rent a Car for a Visit to Universal Hollywood?

You don’t need to rent a car to visit Universal Hollywood, as the theme park has Uber / Lyft pick-up and drop-off points.

However, if a trip to Universal Hollywood only makes up a portion of your vacation, then you may want to rent a car. I personally use Discover Cars to find the best car rental for all of my trips to Los Angeles.

🏨 Where to Stay When Visiting Universal Hollywood?

When visiting Universal Hollywood, I recommend staying at Loews Hollywood. From this hotel, you can take an Uber or Lyft to Universal Hollywood in under 15 minutes.

When it comes to booking any hotels in Los Angeles, I use either Booking.com or Hotels.com. However, for large families and groups, VRBO is my number one choice.


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