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Best Time To Visit Universal Studios Hollywood

by Leap on January 25, 2017 35 Los Angeles

As you know, Tad is the frog family videographer. While he enjoys making all of our videos, he has set his sights on bigger things. Now that we have an aspiring Hollywood director in our frog pond, movie terms make their way into everyday conversations. Homework concludes with "That's a wrap people." He will "give me notes" on my driving. We know that the Best Boy assists the Gaffer or Grip. Dinner is now "Craft Service." For our aspiring auteur, a visit to Universal Studios Hollywood is the best of both words. He gets to visit a theme park and a working Hollywood studio in one trip. It's a thrill for him to be on location where "Back to the Future," "War of the Worlds" and "Psycho" were filmed. So we're always looking for the best times to visit Universal Studios Hollywood.

Best Time To Visit Universal Studios Hollywood - Main Entrance

Universal Studios Hollywood and Disneyland are only 35 miles apart geographically—yet it can take almost two hours to drive between the two depending on when you hit the highway. With the two parks being so close together, many tourists will spend time visiting both destinations during their Southern California vacation. This can lead to some overlapping of crowds. We've given you a full post on the best and worst times to visit Disneyland.

Today, we’re outlining the best times to visit Universal Studios Hollywood in 2017 along with the worst times. We've also added in the best times to visit in 2018 for those of you interested in getting a jump on next year's vacation planning! If you're planning a visit (known as "pre-production" around our house) and don't see your particular dates listed here, jump down to the comments below and ask. We frogs—and our Southern California locals —will be hoppy to answer. Also, our NEW Los Angeles Crowd Calendar is a helpful tool to help you get a month-by-month idea of the expected crowds. If only we could predict travel times on those Southern California highways. Speaking of, if you're interested in hopping down the 5—or the 101 to the 134 to the 210 to the 57—we've got a full post on the best and worst times to visit Disneyland.

Best Time To Visit Universal Studios Hollywood - Studio Tour Entrance

Universal Studios Hollywood began as a behind-the-scenes tour of the working Universal Studios lot. While the narrated Studio Tour is still giving fans peeks at film production, it's the high-tech thrills, shows and experiences that bring the crowds. Transformers: The Ride 3-D, Jurassic Park - The Ride and Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem give guests unforgettable thrills and fun. Live shows such as Waterworld and the Special Effects Show are can't-miss crowd pleasers. The arrival of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter brought a new level of immersion—as well as Butterbeer-seeking crowds. Nearby at Universal CityWalk, you'll find shops, movies, entertainment and themed dining favorites such as Hard Rock Cafe and Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville. Sounds like a lot right? Don't worry. Even if you visit during the busy times, we have tips and park plans you can follow to reduce waits and make sure everyone—even the tadpoles—can have a blast.

With that in mind, let's look at the best time to visit Universal Studios Hollywood in 2017 & 2018!

Best Time To Visit Universal Studios Hollywood - Waterworld

If you’re used to visiting Universal Orlando Resort rather than the Hollywood original know that there are some differences. The best time to visit Universal Studios Hollywood in 2017 and 2018 isn't necessarily the same as at Universal Orlando. The biggest difference is the locals. Universal Orlando has a good amount of locals, but not nearly as many as those in the Los Angeles regional area. Many of those locals are annual passholders, who think of Universal Studios Hollywood as a place to hang out after work. What better way to end the week than at their usual spot at The Three Broomsticks while sipping on Butterbeer?

Dropping in for a pint of Duff at Moe's in Springfield USA sounds cool, but it's not always possible for local passholders. Depending on the passport, a passholder might find himself or herself blocked out of the park on certain days or weeks, particularly those times that are especially popular with tourists—namely summer, spring break and holidays. Looking at Universal's Universal Black-Out Calendar—this one is for California locals— gives you a fairly good idea of the very busiest dates of the year because these are the times when most of the passholders are not allowed to enter the parks. During the summer, for all of July through early August, the California Neighbor Pass holders are blocked from entering the park entirely, a sure sign that there will be tourists!

Best Time To Visit Universal Studios Hollywood - Hogsmeade

Let's hop back to The Boy Who Lived for a moment. Harry Potter has unsurprisingly created a spike in interest and attendance at Universal Studios Hollywood. It has also fueled the popularity of one of our most popular posts on when to use the Front of Line pass. His arrival on the West Coast has drawn Potter fans that can't make the trip to Orlando as well as muggles that are now a short drive away from Honeydukes. Vacationers are extending their trips to visit the Wizarding World, and locals are renewing their passes. We're expecting this surge (or... lighting bolt?)  of interest in Universal Studios Hollywood to continue and climb over the next few years, especially if Wizarding additions appear. Aparecium!

Worst Time to Visit Universal Studios Hollywood in 2017 & 2018

  • MLK Jr. Day - Jan 13-16, 2017
  • President's Day - Feb. 17-20, 2017
  • Spring Break - March 11-April 23, 2017
  • Memorial Day Weekend - May 27-29
  • June 9-Aug. 21, 2017
  • Veteran's Day - Nov. 11, 2017
  • Thanksgiving week - Nov. 18-25, 2017
  • Around Christmas through the second week of the New Year - Dec. 21, 2017-Jan. 7, 2018
  • MLK Jr. Day - Jan. 13-15, 2018
  • President's Day - Feb. 16-19, 2018
  • Spring Break and Easter - March 4-April 6, 2018
  • Memorial Day Weekend - May 26-28
  • June 9-Aug. 11, 2018
  • Thanksgiving week - Nov. 17-25, 2018
  • Christmas week through the second week of the New Year - Dec. 21, 2018-Jan. 6, 2019

Other Dates That Might See Higher Crowds

Best Time To Visit Universal Studios Hollywood - Jurrasic Park Gates

We've pulled together other days that see higher crowds, but not as high as the absolute worst days. Some of the dates listed are isolated, with the days around them generally fine, but they do bring in more locals. Anyone out there in La-La-Land aware of other dates that are popular with locals? Share in comments below!

  • March 5-11, 2017
  • Labor Day - Sept. 4, 2017; Sept. 3, 2018
  • Columbus Day (elevated crowds that week) - Oct. 9, 2017; Oct. 8, 2018

Best Time to Visit Universal Studios Hollywood in 2017 & 2018:

  • Weekdays in January (minus the week of New Year's Day and the days around MLK Day )
  • Weekdays in February (minus the days around President's Day)
  • The first few days in March (until March 5, 2017, and March 4, 2018)
  •  April 24-28, 2017, and weekdays the second half of April 2018
  • Weekdays in May
  • Mondays through Thursdays the last two weeks of August
  • The first half of September (except Labor Day weekend, Sept. 2-3, 2017); Mondays through Thursdays for the remainder of September and October (except nights with Halloween Horror Nights)
  • Mondays through Thursdays in November (minus the week of Thanksgiving)
  • Mondays through Thursdays during the first half of December

Holiday Crowds At Universal Studios Hollywood in 2017 & 2018

Best Time To Visit Universal Studios Hollywood - Frog Choir

Holidays bring the biggest boost of people to theme parks. Universal Studios Hollywood has holiday events for ones that enjoy merriment as well as scares. Halloween Horror Nights scares up large crowds during Halloween. Christmas is Grichmas, with the green one taking up residence during the season, If you're thinking of visiting during these times, be sure to check out our survival guides and tips for Halloween Horror Nights and Christmas.

Aaaand, cut! Great job everyone. We hope you've enjoyed our ideas on the best time to visit Universal Studios Hollywood in 2017 and 2018. Don't forget that a solid park plan can be almost as good as traveling on a low crowd day. 

Related: Tips to Maximize Your Time at Universal Studios Hollywood

Related: Tips for Maximizing the Universal Studios Hollywood Front of Line Pass

Keep hopping!

Keep hopping, Leap!
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Crispin Mapula Feb 5, 2017 at 10:38 p.m.

Hi! My family of four plan to tour Universal Studios Hollywood on Feb.27, 2017 during our Anaheim-Disneyland stay. We'll probably depart early morning from Anaheim and spend more or less 8 hours in the Studio and head back. Kindly give us a ticket cost estimate. Thanks

Please disregard the previous email, date was Feb. 2 instead of Feb. 27, 2017. Thanks again

FrogBlog Feb 6, 2017 at 8 a.m.

Hi Crispin,

All of our ticket options are available here. You would purchase the NON-PEAK General Admission ticket, or upgrade to Front of the Line if you want to "hop" the lines.

Keep Hopping!


Stephanie Feb 12, 2017 at 4:04 a.m.


Our only two options are Sunday 4/9 or Monday 4/10. Sunday look slightly better on the crowd calendar even though it's a weekend day. I'm assuming we'd need peek tickets, but I couldn't find an explanation of peek vs non-peek. Harry Potter is our #1 priority and then the Studio Tour. I'm considering splurging on the VIP tickets. Given the crowd size and only having 1 day, do you think it would be worth the money? Thanks so much!

FrogBlog Feb 12, 2017 at 7:20 a.m.

Hi Stephanie,

Your visits would both fall on NON-Peak ( peek :) ) days. If you can afford the extra expense, we recommend the Front of the Line passes, but know they are not valid for any Wizarding World of Harry Potter experiences. We're expecting Spring Break crowds during that time, so be prepared!

Keep Hopping!


Stephanie Feb 13, 2017 at 2:23 a.m.

Thank you so much! I didn't know they weren't good for Harry Potter.

Jennifer Feb 15, 2017 at 4:31 p.m.

Hello and thanks so much for your wonderfully informative resources! My family (2 adults, 2 boys 7, 10) will be visiting Disneyland in early Sept and my 10 year old is dying to visit Universal Hollywood for Harry Potter and the Minions. We'll spend 2-3 days at DL and 1 day at Universal. Given traffic/travel times would you recommend changing hotels for the visit to Universal? Thank you!

FrogBlog Feb 15, 2017 at 10:45 a.m.

Hi Jennifer,

Yes, it's always a good idea to stay off the Southern California freeways! There are convenient hotels around the Universal Studios area. It's well worth the stay in the area then try the 2+ morning rush hour from Anaheim to LA.

Keep Hopping!


Mark Feb 17, 2017 at 3:03 p.m.

Your best days include only weekdays. If I can only visit during a weekend, which would be the best weekends to attend?

FrogBlog Feb 17, 2017 at 9:11 a.m.

Hi Mark,

The best weekends usually fall near the best days, but weekends are generally better than weekends. Check out our Crowd Calendar to see the weekend crowd forecasts for the days you're considering visiting.

Keep Hopping!


Jen Feb 20, 2017 at 8:56 a.m.

we're visiting on april 17,2017 - will it be crowded? is there a shuttle from la brea station / sunset blvd to universal?

FrogBlog Feb 20, 2017 at 5:59 p.m.

Hi Jen,

We're forecasting heavy crowds on April 17th at Universal Studios.

You can take LA Metrorail to Universal Studios. Here's an article to help you plan.

Keep Hopping!


Cindy Mar 8, 2017 at 4:49 a.m.

Hi, my family and I are planning to visit this Friday, March 10, 2017. Do u think we will see big crowds? We will definitely not be buying the front of line pass. Wonder if its worth even going if the crowds are huge. Thanks

FrogBlog Mar 8, 2017 at 8:17 a.m.

Hi Cindy,

We're forecasting for average crowds this Friday at Universal.The crowds may be higher if families are starting their vacations early. Use our Universal Studios Park Plan to help with getting the most out of the day.

Keep Hopping!


Candace Mar 8, 2017 at 8:53 p.m.

Thanks for this post! We visited last September towards the end of the month on a Tuesday and it was fantastic. SUPER low crowds. We are now planning another trip this coming September and will be there on September 11. In looking for hotels, it looms like the Hilton is completely booked already from September 8-11. Do you think this is cause for concern? I can't find any events specifically that would already have an entire hotel booked and I'd hate to accidentally plan a trip for a terribly busy day!

FrogBlog Mar 9, 2017 at 8:29 a.m.

Hi Candace,

It's possible there is a convention/meeting or other event taking place at the Hilton, or we don't have an allotment of rooms available. Crowd-wise we're forecasting low to average crowds. There are plenty of other great hotels in the Universal area!

Keep Hopping!


RavenclawMama Mar 13, 2017 at 10:38 p.m.

My oldest turns 11 on Oct 14 and we want to surprise her with a Hogwarts letter. :) I see that her actual birthday falls on a Saturday, so we'll avoid that. We plan to go two days, but see on your crowd calendar that the 12th has high crowds. We'd like to go on a Wed and Thurs - why is that Thurs so high? Should we be ok if we go the 11th and 13th, or would it be better to wait until the following week on the 18th and 19th instead? And do you know when they'll post the dates for Halloween Horror Hollywood, because we absolutely want to avoid that.

FrogBlog Mar 13, 2017 at 6:58 p.m.


Last year, Halloween Horror Nights ran Thurs-Sun. That would make Mon-Wed your best bet to avoid HHN. We're expecting to know the dates before the end of April, so you might want to wait until then to get the trip booked.

Keep Hopping!


Etav Mar 15, 2017 at midnight


I am planning to visit universal studios hollywood on Mar 18 2017. Should I expect high crowds on this day?

FrogBlog Mar 15, 2017 at 7:14 a.m.

Hi Etav,

We're forecasting high crowds at Universal Studios Hollywood on Mar 18 due to Spring Break.

Keep Hopping!


marc Mar 15, 2017 at 7:45 p.m.

We are coming April 21st, should we expect large crowds? Front of line pass doesnt work on harry potter? So we should do that first? How many shows are there?

FrogBlog Mar 15, 2017 at 2:53 p.m.

Hi Marc,

April 21st will be crowded, so consider riding Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey first. There are great shows like Waterworld, Universal's Animal Actors and the Special Effects show. Don't forget about the Studio Tour!

Keep Hopping!


Birgit Mar 19, 2017 at 12:46 p.m.

Hi, Does the Front of line tickets also include admission 1 hour prior to opening hours?

Plan to visit April 10th or 11th and I assume we should get the "non-peak front of the line" ticket? We do not need a date specific ticket?

Thank you in advance for reply :)

FrogBlog Mar 20, 2017 at 8:16 a.m.

Hi Birgit,

Our Front of Line tickets do not include the early admission. The Non-Peak FOL is valid during those days, and you don't need a date-specific ticket.

Keep Hopping!


Jade Mar 21, 2017 at 9:59 p.m.

Hello, we are planning to go to universal studios Hollywood Thursday, 10/5/17 and being that it's the week leading up to Columbus Day would you recommend us getting front of the line passes instead of the regular admission tickets? In our group we have 4 adults and 4 children ages 15, 8, 6 and 1. Appreciate your help!

FrogBlog Mar 22, 2017 at 8:26 a.m.

Hi Jade,

We're forecasting Oct 5th to see Average crowds at Universal Studios Hollywood, so you should be fine without FOL. If you get there and it's busy, you can purchase FOL at the park!

Keep Hopping!


Dharti Patel Mar 24, 2017 at 12:10 p.m.


we are planning to visit either Friday 12th may or Saturday 13th may. Please recommend which is better?

and which areas to cover first? IS front line needed for Friday?

FrogBlog Mar 24, 2017 at 8:09 a.m.

Hi Dharti,

We're forecasting average crowds on May 12, and heavy crowds on the 13th. If you can afford the expense, we recommend Front of Line. Consider visiting the Lower Lot or Wizarding World of Harry Potter first.

Keep Hopping!


Desiree Mar 28, 2017 at 12:07 p.m.

We were thinking of visiting April 5 or April 6. We will purchase it online for one of those days. Which day do you predict being better as far as crowds?

FrogBlog Mar 28, 2017 at 8:24 a.m.

Hi Desiree,

On our Crowd Calendar, we're forecasting Heavy crowds on both days. Pick the day that's convenient for you!

Keep Hopping!


Anjie Apr 6, 2017 at 10:09 p.m.

Hi, we're planning on going to Universal Studios Hollywood on Sunday, June 11th. Front of the Line tickets are probably necessary for this day. I just want to make sure that I get the Off Peak tickets (instead of the Peak ones). The price difference between buying them from the Universal website and your site is quite substantial, and I want to make sure I don't end up with the wrong tickets (since they're non-refundable). Please advise.

FrogBlog Apr 6, 2017 at 7:42 p.m.

Hi Anjie,

Give Customer Service a call at 1-800-846-1302. They can walk you through purchasing the right tickets for your visit.

Keep Hopping!


Novi Apr 7, 2017 at 2:06 a.m.

Hi, my family and I are planning to visit universal studio on either June 29th or June 30th. Which date would have less crowd? Do I really need to buy front line tickets? How bad would the queue?

I am also planning to go to Disneyland Theme Park and Disneyland California Adventure, I have empty schedules between July 5th - 8th, Which dates do you recommend? Thanks in advance

FrogBlog Apr 7, 2017 at 8:08 a.m.

Hi Novi,

On our June Crowd Calendar, we are forecasting Heavy Crowds on both of your Universal Studios days. It's hard to forecast wait times, but purchasing the FOL would significantly reduce your wait times.

There will be High Crowds on your Disneyland Resort days as well. Pick the days at work for you.

Keep Hopping!


Mousa Apr 17, 2017 at 5:36 a.m.

Hello, we are planning to go to universal studios Hollywood Wednesday , 23/08/17 . would you recommend us getting front of the line passes instead of the regular admission tickets? In our group we have 2 adults and 2 children ages 8 and 11. Appreciate your help!

FrogBlog Apr 17, 2017 at 7:52 a.m.

Hi Mousa,

We're forecasting average crowds at Universal Studios Hollywood on August 23, so you should be fine without FOL.

Keep Hopping!


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