Universal CityWalk Orlando: The Epicenter of Awesome
By Lauren Tjaden
Flamboyant, exhilarating and colorful, Universal CityWalk Orlando serves as the gateway to Universal Studios Florida, Universal’s Islands of Adventure and Universal’s Volcano Bay. Billed as the ‘epicenter of awesome,’ it delivers on the hype with complimentary admission, indulgent dining, vibrant entertainment, eclectic shopping and rich experiences.
It invites you to discover stores like the iconic Hart & Huntington Orlando Tattoo Shop, where you can take home an everlasting memento of your visit; feast at eateries that include the highly-acclaimed Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food, serving up pleasures such as made-tableside guacamole; and feel the rush of fame when you belt out songs -- accompanied by gifted backup singers and a live band – at CityWalk's Rising Star.
Read on to learn about what you can eat, experience and enjoy at Universal CityWalk Orlando.
Even if you’ve only got a pocket full of sunshine, you can enjoy Universal CityWalk.
Free Admission and Parking after 6 p.m.
This is just what it sounds like: CityWalk offers complimentary admission all day, every day. After 6 p.m., parking is free as well, except during Halloween Horror Nights. And you’ll never pay parking fees when you arrive on public transportation or stay at an official Universal Orlando Resort hotel.
For a scenic rendezvous, climb aboard the free water taxis that span the entertainment district and Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando, Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Orlando and Hard Rock Hotel® at Universal Orlando. Taxi services start about 30 minutes before Universal Orlando Resort’s theme parks open and continue till 2:30 a.m., all year long. You can kick back and enjoy the ride and tour the sumptuous hotels. Or if you’re looking for an excuse to go, head to one of the hotels’ restaurants, like The Palm Orlando in the Hard Rock Hotel, for an intimate meal.
Foodies will delight at the wide variety of restaurants. Check out these scrumptious options.
The beauty of authentic Italian cuisine is on vivid display in this popular restaurant, where traditional family recipes are served up in a sleek, modern setting. You’ll see pasta handmade right in front of you, as well as robust sauces, sizzling pizza, mozzarella and bread. Make sure to ask your server about special dishes that aren’t on the menu.
Intriguing and anything-but-ordinary, with an array of lofty smokestacks outside and an interior festooned with captivating gadgets, this restaurant, bar and confectionary promises fantastical fare. Choose from classics that include steak and seafood, or spoil yourself with all-day brunch of crepes and quiches, each with its own innovative twirl. Gourmet chocolates, utterly unusual desserts and artisanal milkshakes round out the offerings.
Surf and turf takes on a new and delicious meaning at this highly-rated restaurant. Chow down on a custom-made burger, savor some sushi, or dare to sample Burgushi, a trailblazing fusion of both. Drinks include premium sakes, beers, exotic martinis, and non-alcoholic specialties, as well as the sinful spiked milkshake, putting an adult twist on a childhood delight.
And there’s more!
Check out all of CityWalk eateries.
Universal Studios Store and Universal Legacy Store
Bring home a bit of movie stardust from the beyond-enormous, 8,300-square foot Universal Studios Store, brimming with more than 2,000 signature keepsakes, including classic memorabilia from Jurassic World and Illumination’s ‘Despicable Me.’
The Universal Legacy Store pays tribute to Universal’s classic rides and attractions, including MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack and Revenge of the Mummy, with retro-themed merchandise presented amid resort production art, vintage props, blueprint designs and construction photos.
And there’s more!
Check out more of CityWalk’s shops.
Unique experiences, nightlife and entertainment are the hallmarks of CityWalk. Check out these favorites.
Nicknamed the ‘Coliseum of Rock 'n' Roll,’ the edgy Hard Rock LIVE is the place to see legends deliver blockbuster live music and comedy. Soaring columns and grand archways make for a mind-blowing entrance to this premier concert venue; the inside is all about the performance, with seating for up to 3,000, state-of-the-art audio, lighting and video.
Step into the spotlight and sing at this trendy bar and karaoke club. Rocking backup singers, a live band, and a nightly host help you strike the perfect chord for an unforgettable experience.
With special effects and lighting that make it simple to play during the day, evening, and even late night, Hollywood Drive-In Golf blends sci-fi and horror flick props with two interactive, 18-hole mini-golf courses.
And there’s more!
Check out other things to do at CityWalk.
Where to Stay
Astonishing surroundings, striking themes, customer-dedicated service and exclusive theme park benefits make Universal Resort Orlando Hotels the perfect place to pull up the covers after a long-day of theme-park adventures. Here are some options.
Universal's Endless Summer Resort – Surfside Inn and Suites
With an easy, surfer-vibe and super-affordable rates, this resort boasts sunny, beach-inspired rooms and generous, two-bedroom suites that sleep six.
Loews Portofino Bay Hotel
For a glorious splurge and memorable escape, stay in this premier resort, a tribute to the seaside enclave of Portofino, Italy. Expect decadent rooms and suites, fabulous views, alluring pools and remarkable restaurants.
If you prefer to bring your accommodations with you, area RV parks abound.
Tropical Palms RV Park
For a Universal Orlando getaway, you can’t beat the location of this hidden gem, only 23 minutes from the resort. Set on 69 acres, it’s pet friendly and packed with amenities that include a pool, a café, shuffleboard, bocce ball, horseshoes, live entertainment, social events, and an on-site laundry. It also offers vacation cottages.
And there’s more!
Here are all of Universal Orlando Resort Hotels; here are RV parks close to Universal and other Orlando theme parks.
Plan your Visit to CityWalk
Besides giving you an idea of the layout of CityWalk and the Theme Parks, Universal Orlando’s interactive map has filters to help you find what you want. You can search various locations as well as things to do like dining, character encounters, rides and events, and narrow it down by interests, for instance, immersive experiences, fun for grownups and fun for kids.
If you prefer something you can print, here’s a PDF map of CityWalk.
Here’s where you can check out parking, directions, and addresses for Universal’s Theme Parks, Resort Hotels and Universal CityWalk.
For CityWalk’s guest services, or to make dining reservations, call 407-224-2690.
This is where you can buy tickets for Universal’s Theme Parks.
Here’s where you can get the Official Universal Orlando Resort App. It lets you buy and redeem select theme park tickets and Universal Express passes, see the latest wait times and access maps. Free WiFi throughout the parks and Universal CityWalk makes it simple to stay connected.
Check out more vacation tips from Universal.
For more Universal fun, check out 6 Reasons to Visit Universal Orlando Resort.