Universal Studios Hollywood One-day Itinerary

Universal Studios Hollywood is one of the most iconic theme parks in the world, bringing movie magic to life. 

With dozens of rides, shows, attractions, dining, and shopping, planning what to do in just one day can be overwhelming. 

Here is a well-curated one-day itinerary for Universal Studios Hollywood that will help you make the most of your time in the park. 

Purchase Tickets in Advance

You’ll need to purchase date-specific tickets or an Annual Pass online beforehand. 

There are a variety of 1-day ticket options such as general admission, express passes and VIP experience. 

Book the best suitable ticket online before you arrive at the park. 

Getting There

Universal Studios Hollywood is located in Universal City, just off US Highway 101. 

If driving, there are 14,000 parking spaces across multiple garages and lots, with preferred parking closest to the entrance gates. 

Parking costs $30 to $50, depending on proximity. 

Alternatively, you can take a Metro Bus or opt for a ride-sharing service.

Arrive Early

Be sure to arrive 30 to 60 minutes before the park opens to allow time for parking, security check, and ticketing if you haven’t already purchased online.

If you have already booked your entry tickets online, enjoy uninterrupted park access. 

Once inside the park, head to the most popular rides, like The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, before lines get long. 

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Your first stop upon entry should be The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. 

Even if you aren’t a mega Harry Potter fan, the level of magical immersion and recreation of the Hogwarts world is unrivaled. 

This groundbreaking ride combines motion simulation, elaborate sets and physical effects to make you feel like you’re flying alongside Harry over Hogwarts.

After the ride, take some time to explore Hogsmeade Village, which has shops like Ollivanders Wand Shop and magical treats and butterbeer carts around every corner. 

Chat with conductors aboard the Hogwarts Express train and pose by the Knight Bus for iconic photo ops. 

Don’t miss live wand combat demonstrations and the Frog Choir singing classic wizarding tunes. 

The Lower Lot

After thoroughly exploring the Harry Potter world, take the long outdoor escalator plunging down to the Lower Lot. 

This area houses many of the park’s most thrilling rides. 

Begin with Jurassic World – The Ride for a riveting river raft journey through the Jurassic World estate, encountering lifelike dinosaurs, including the formidable Indominus Rex. 

Afterward, explore the prehistoric flora and educational exhibits at the Jurassic World Discovery Center. 

Next, brave Revenge of the Mummy, a high-speed indoor rollercoaster engulfed in darkness. 

Confront motion-simulated beetles, fireballs, warrior mummies, and eerie spectral illusions amidst Egyptian tombs and catacombs. 

Finish your Lower Lot experience with Transformers 3-D Battle.

This is a dynamic ride pitting you against the Deceptions in a 3-D glasses-enhanced urban and desert combat adventure.

The Upper Lot

After working up an appetite, take the escalator and climb back up to the Upper Lot. 

Grab lunch at one of the best Universal Studios Hollywood dining establishments. 

Popular picks are Krusty Burger for Simpsons fare, Smashburger for classic American grub, and Transformers Energon Café for inventive Asian fusion bites. 

While dining, review your on-ride photos and plan your next adventure amidst the vibrant, bustling atmosphere.

The Simpson’s Springfield U.S.A. should be your next stop. 

Wander through Evergreen Terrace, visit the Simpson’s house, and discover iconic locations from the series. 

Hop on The Simpsons Ride, a wild simulated rollercoaster through Springfield with plenty of humor and hijinks as you join the family on an awry outing. 

Grab an iconic Lard Lad donut, Duff beer and Krusty burger for more medleys of movie magic mingling with real life.

Proceed past the golden arches of Mel’s Diner from American Graffiti to the renowned Studio Tour.

Board a tram for a narrated journey through active soundstages, behind-the-scenes production areas and iconic film sets.

On this tour, you will go through legendary landmarks like the Psycho House and Bates Motel from Alfred Hitchcock’s thriller.

Next, queue up for the acclaimed WaterWorld stunt show for rip-roaring, death-defying entertainment. 

Hold onto your seats over the arena floor as jet ski chases, explosions, high dives and other daring movie-style feats are performed live just feet away from you.

Shopping & CityWalk

Wrap up your day by browsing Universal Studios’ myriad specialty shops, offering an array of themed merchandise, toys, collectibles, and apparel.

Finally, step outside the park gates into Universal CityWalk, a lively entertainment hub featuring themed restaurants, shops, clubs, and a cinema. 

Dine at Panda Express, Voodoo Donuts, or Shake Shack, or enjoy full-service dining at Antojitos Mexican cuisine, Vivo Italian Kitchen, or NBC Sports Grill Brewery. 

CityWalk also hosts entertainment venues like mini-golf, bowling, The Walking Dead attraction, and live music at the House of Blues.

Extend your Universal adventure by staying at one of the onsite hotels, offering early park admission perks and convenient access to all the action.

If you are visiting Universal Studios Hollywood, also read about: 
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About the author

The thrill of stepping into new lands and meeting new people drives Renuka for her. Traveling is her "Seoul" mate.