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Best Time To Visit Universal Studios Hollywood

by Leap on January 25, 2017 11 Los Angeles

Leap's Note: The Walt Disney World Resort raised its ticket prices this weekend. We'll continue to hold our prices while our current inventory lasts, but we’re down to the final hours! View all of our discount Orlando tickets and purchase now for the lowest prices of the season. We've also got a special treat if you're heading to Disney World and Universal Orlando. You can get an additional $10 OFF each qualifying ticket combo when a select 2-Day, 3-Day, 4-Day or 5-Day Disney ticket is combined with a select 2-Day, 3-Day or 4-Day Universal ticket.

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!


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