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Our Hip, Hoppin' Guide to Universal CityWalk Hollywood

by Mommy Frog on July 7, 2020 Los Angeles

Universal CityWalk Hollywood - PinterestA note from Mommy Frog: Universal CityWalk Hollywood has reopened! The theme park is still closed at this time. One perk to visiting CityWalk before Universal Studios Hollywood reopens is the free self parking! During this initial reopening, valet parking is not available. Select venues are open 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. daily (hours may vary). Bring your face covering, because it's required. All guests will undergo a temperature check. Expect physical distancing guidelines to be in place, wash hands often and use hand sanitizer where required.

Open restaurants (subject to change) include Antojitos (opens at 12 p.m.), Ben and Jerry's (Friday through Sunday), Blaze Pizza, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Buca di Beppo, Cinnabon (Friday through Sunday), The Crepe Cafe,  Jamba Juice (Friday through Sunday), Johnny Rockets, Menchie's Frozen Yogurt (Friday through Sunday), Mini Monster (Wednesday through Sunday), Pink's Hot Dogs (opens at 12 p.m.), Pizza Hut/KFC, Sparky's Mini Donuts and Chocolates, Taco Bell, VIVO Italian Kitchen (Friday 2-8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 12-8 p.m.), Voodoo Doughnut (opens at 12 p.m.) and Wetzel's Pretzels (Saturday through Sunday).

Open stores include Abercrombie & Fitch, Billabong (Wednesday through Sunday), Dodgers Clubhouse, Fossil, Francesca's, Guess, Havaianas (new!), Hot Topic, IT'SUGAR, LA Sock Market (Friday through Sunday), LIDS, Locker Room by LIDS, Nectar Bath Treats (Friday through Sunday), Production Central (now on CityWalk Friday through Sunday), Sephora, Shoe Palace, Skechers, The Raider Image, Things From Another World, Tillys and Universal Studios Store.

Chances are if you are visiting Universal Studios Hollywood, you’ll start and end your day passing through Universal CityWalk Hollywood. This three-block promenade for shopping, dining and entertainment is a great place to eat, drink and do some souvenir shopping before heading back home or to your hotel. If you’ve visited Universal CityWalk Orlando, you’ll find that the Hollywood version has less of a tropical resort feel and more of an LA vibe with a blend of modern and classic Hollywood architecture.

Universal CityWalk Hollywood Location and Parking

Universal CityWalk is located at the entrance to Universal Studios theme park at 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608. Parking for City Walk is the same place as the theme park parking.

If you are headed to Universal Cinema, be sure to bring your parking receipt to get money back. If you need to charge an electric vehicle, each lot has some ports, but only on certain floors of the garages so ask an attendant to direct you. The rate is $0.35/kWh. If all those parking structures are killing your vibe, you can use valet parking … for a cost.

Universal CityWalk is within walking distance of a couple of nearby hotels: the Hilton Los Angeles Universal City Hotel and Sheraton Universal Hotel. This makes CityWalk a great spot to get dinner or visit when staying near Universal!

Universal CityWalk Hollywood Restaurants

Our Hip, Hoppin' Guide to Universal CityWalk Hollywood-person in mask

After you leave the theme park, you may as well have dinner at CityWalk. You’ll find many types of cuisine, from sit-down restaurants to quick bites. A few hail from other California locations, allowing you to get a taste of California, from San Diego to San Francisco, without leaving LA.

Table-Service Restaurants

Whether you want a sit-down meal or a fun drink, here’s a look at your CityWalk table-service choices:

Our Hopping Guide to Universal CityWalk Hollywood - Drinks on the bar at Bubba GumpAntojitos Mexican Restaurant — Because when you are in SoCal, you have to get some authentic Mexican street fare!

Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. — “Run, Forrest, run!” to this home of Southern favorites just like Mama makes ‘em. Bubba Gump features a versatile seafood menu, as well as other down-home favorites — including gluten-free and kids menus. If seafood isn’t your thing, be sure to grab the award-winning BBQ ribs.

Bucca di Beppo — Are you a fan of half-pound meatballs almost the size of your face and Italian food? Then you'll want to hop into Bucca di Beppo!

Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville — Feel free to waste away with a frozen beverage and cheeseburger.

Dongpo Kitchen — Meizhou Dongpo has been serving Sichuanese cuisine to millions of customers across China since 1996. Now, you can feast on traditional Chinese fare based on Meizhou Dongpo's first casual dining concept in the U.S. at Dongpo Kitchen.

Johnny Rockets — Hop back to the 1950s with kid-friendly burgers, shakes, fries and fun!

Karl Strauss Brewing Company — Enjoy a cold one at this San Diego-based brewery. Make it a meal and add some wings, pretzel bites, burgers or other entrees to your beer.

Samba Brazilian Steakhouse & Lounge — This is not your grandparents' steakhouse for sure. You’ll be fired up by the array of skewered meats roasting over an open flame and carved at your table. But if meat is not your thing, the extensive buffet will be. On Sunday Funday, bottomless mimosas and champagne are part of a fabulous brunch. The music and costumed dancers will give you another taste of Brazil.

Vivo Italian Kitchen — For Italian cuisine, stop by for dinner at VIVO Italian Kitchen. Hearth-baked pizza, pasta, bread and of course, vino (wine) are sure to satisfy your palate.

Wasabi at CityWalk — Follow the red and white lanterns to sushi, sashimi, rolls and hot house specialties.

Coming Soon: Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen — We are hopping with excitement for the new Toothsome to open in the old Hard Rock Café location. We've visited the Orlando CityWalk Toothsome location, and the pictures on the fence on Hollywood have us drooling already. Yum!

Quick ‘N’ Easy Bites at Universal CityWalk

Our Hopping Guide to Universal CityWalk Hollywood - Box of four colorful VooDoo Doughnuts

If you are looking for a quick meal or snack, these unique snack shops and restaurants are worth hopping by. Some of these options will give you a taste of California or are options not widely available elsewhere.

The Crepe Café — Straight from the Pier 39 location at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco is this CityWalk location, serving up tasty sweet and savory crepes.

LudoBird — French Restauranteur and Food Network guest Ludo Lefebvre brings fried chicken to the streets of Los Angeles with sandwiches, strips, bites and sides.

Mini Monster — It’s the spot for flavorful teas, boba and dessert drinks (we see you Rainbow Cloud, with cotton candy and Fruity Pebbles, and we are chasing that rainbow on our next visit!).

Pink’s Famous Hot Dogs — No need to head into Hollywood to the original 1939 location when you can pick up a Pink’s Famous Hot Dog at CityWalk!

Poke Bar — Customize your Hawaiian bowl for a fresh alternative.

Popcornopolis — Hop in to sample flavors such as cinnamon bun, rocky road and strawberry and take home a flavorful souvenir.

Sparky’s Mini Donuts and Chocolates — Watch them make your Mini Donuts right in front of your eyes.

VooDoo Doughnut — Good things come in pink boxes. This quirky bakery serves over 50 unique, fresh pastries daily. We feel pretty hoppy that Voodoo Doughnut made its way to Universal CityWalk Hollywood from Portland, Oregon. Indulge in a triple chocolate doughnut topped with Cocoa Puffs, or opt for the vegan version of classic doughnut flavors. The vegan lemonade is our favorite and not one we have been able to locate at the other VooDoo Doughnut locations we’ve hopped to.

If you like to know what you can expect when it comes to food, these locations may be familiar to you:

  • Ben & Jerry’s
  • Blaze Pizza
  • Cinnabon
  • Jamba
  • KFC Express/Pizza Hut Express
  • Menchies
  • Panda Express
  • Starbucks
  • Subway
  • Taco Bell
  • Wetzel’s Pretzels

Family Entertainment at CityWalk

Our Hopping Guide to Universal CityWalk Hollywood - Kids and adults splashing in brightly-lit fountains at night

In terms of entertainment, get a jump on the fun with these options.

Universal Cinema

Chances are if you’re visiting Universal Studios, you’re a movie fan. See a movie in comfort with reserved power-reclining seats, laser projection and Dolby Atmos multidimensional sound. There’s $5 movie parking. Bring your parking ticket and get reimbursed when you purchase a movie ticket. We may be guilty of escaping the heat on a summer day at Universal Studios Hollywood by hopping out of the park and into the movie theatre.


Our Hopping Guide to Universal CityWalk Hollywood - Person and instructor inside wind tunnel

Here’s your chance to experience skydiving without the risk. Put on a flight suit and step into the wind chamber. Lift your feet off the ground and float on air. If you get nervous, just put your feel back on the ground.

Splash in the Fountains 

Save some green and just let the tadpoles splash in the colorful fountains for good, free fun. Don't froget to keep your shoes on. Note that during the pandemic, the fountains are closed to play.

5 Towers Stage

If you are lucky, you just might catch a free concert!

Zen Zone

Theme parks can be hard on the body. But here's how to help your tired body get its groove back so you can have more fun. Take a 20-minute breather at the oxygen bar, get a foot or chair massage, or lie in the aqua massage beds. Ahhh. That's better!

Shopping at Universal CityWalk Hollywood

Our Hopping Guide to Universal CityWalk Hollywood - Tons of candy bins at IT'SUGAR

You can pick up some souvenirs, do some shopping and look through comic books at some of the retail locations at CityWalk. Some you may recognize as national chain stores. We’ll fill you in on the rest if it's not obvious what they sell.

  • Abercrombie & Fitch
  • Dodger’s Clubhouse Store – This place is a home run for finding LA Dodgers fan gear
  • Fossil
  • Francesca’s - Women's boutique
  • Guess
  • Havaianas (get exclusive Harry Potter flip flops!)
  • Hot Topic
  • IT’SUGAR – Satisfy your sweet tooth at this giant candy store
  • Lids
  • Locker room by Lids
  • Nectar Bath Treats
  • Sephora
  • Shoe Palace
  • Skechers
  • The Los Angeles Sock Market – Stock up for crazy sock day. Or every day!
  • The Raider Image – Tackle gifts for all your Raider fans
  • Things from Another World - Discover comics, toys and collectibles
  • Tilly’s
  • Universal Studios Hollywood Store – Here’s your first and last chance to get those Universal souvenirs, including Wizarding World gear and wands

Top Universal CityWalk Hollywood Tips

Los Angeles has a low-key, casual vibe, so you do not need to do much advance planning to have fun at CityWalk. Here are a few tips for a hopping good time:

  • During the pandemic, bring a face covering and follow the physical distancing signs.
  • Many Universal Studios restaurants close early, and before the park closes, so plan on eating dinner at CityWalk.
  • Ask if your pass offers any discounts.
  • Many restaurants offer discounts for guests with Halloween Horror Nights Hollywood tickets. Arrive early and eat before you enter on HHN nights.
  • Get a reservation if you have a large group or will be pressed for time.
  • During Christmas time at Universal, look for the giant tree and meet Santa near the theaters.

Hopfully, you are getting excited for your visit at Universal CityWalk Hollywood. If you'll be visiting Universal Studios Hollywood that day, you can save up to $37 a ticket with discount Universal Studios Hollywood Resort tickets!

Related: Frogtastically Fun Things to Do in Los Angeles with Kids

Related: Universal Studios Hollywood Tips to Maximize Your Time

Hoppy planning!

Keep hopping, Mommy Frog!
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