The granddaddy of movie theme parks, Universal Studios Hollywood opened in 1964. It evolved from a quaint backstage tram tour that allowed guests to ogle Lana Turner's dressing room to a high-tech playground. Unlike Universal Studios Florida, the Hollywood park is an actual working movie studio, and the tram tour is still a vital part -- if not the highlight -- of the experience. (USF included a "studio" tour when it first opened but quickly abandoned it.)
Some of the featured attractions are Florida clones, including Shrek 4-D and Jurassic Park...The Ride, and some are unique such as the WaterWorld show. Other highlights include Revenge of the Mummy, Transformers: The Ride 3D, and The Simpsons Ride.
The park is in the middle of an ambitious, multi-year building and development program that will radically transform it and bring all kinds of fun, new things to see and do. The highlight of the overhaul will be the introduction of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which is scheduled to open in 2016. Other new attractions, including Fast & Furious are on their way as well. You can learn more about the Potter land and other attractions that are on the way in my overview of the Universal Studios Hollywood Expansion.
Universal Studios Hollywood is first and foremost a theme park, but its Hollywood pedigree lends it some credibility. You almost expect to run into Russell Crowe at one of the food stands.
LocationIt isn't in Hollywood exactly. It's in Universal City, Los Angeles, California.
TicketsDiscounts for children under 48"; free for under 3 years old; annual passes are available. The park also offers front-of-line passes for priority access to attractions and shows as well as guided tours.
Save money and time. Get discounted Universal Studios Hollywood tickets in advance of your visit. Buy direct from Kijubi.
Get the lowdown on other deals, discounts, and ways to purchase passes at About.com's Universal Studios Hollywood tickets overview.
When to GoThe general rule is to zag when everyone else is zigging. If possible, try to plan your visit away from weekends, holidays, and the early summer. For more info, go to Making the Most of your California Theme Park Vacation.
Getting to the ParkThe physical address is 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA.
- Driving: US-101 to Exit 11, Universal Studios Boulevard
- Metro: Red Line station at Universal City. Take free shuttle to park.
Hotel InfoThe park has two onsite hotels: Universal Studios Hollywood-area hotels at TripAdvisor.
What's New at the Park
Despicable Me Minion Mayhem and Suer Silly Fun Land (new in 2014)- In place of the T2: 3D attraction, the park has opened a 3D motion base ride based on the popular films. Read a review of Universal's Despicable Me attraction.
Halloween Horror Nights
Overview of Universal's annual scare-fest.
Overview of Universal's annual Christmas-themed event.