Universal Studios Hollywood – tickets, prices, free entry, Express Pass

Image: Theme Park Worldwide

Universal Studios Hollywood is a film studio and a movie-based theme park that attracts almost 10 million visitors annually.

Both adults and kids enjoy thrilling rides, live-action effects, shows, musical performances, etc., at this Los Angeles attraction. 

In this article, we share everything you must know before purchasing your Universal Studios Hollywood tickets. 

Directions to Universal Studios Hollywood

Universal Studios Hollywood is located just off the 101 Freeway in Universal City, North of Hollywood. 

It is approximately ten minutes north of Downtown Los Angeles. 

Address: 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608. Get Directions

To the Studios by Metro

Universal City/Studio City is the closest Subway station to Universal Studios in Los Angeles. 

From Downtown LA or Hollywood, you can take the Metro Red Line train to get to Universal City station.

Universal Studios’ entrance is 800 meters (half a mile) from the station, but it is an uphill walk. 

That’s why we recommend the Universal Studios shuttle, which is parked just across from the station and provides complimentary service.

The shuttle leaves the station every 10 to 15 minutes and drops visitors at Universal Studios Hollywood’s front gate. 

Shuttles start at 7 am and continue to run for two hours after the park closes for the day.

Bus tours to Universal Studios

Several companies offer two-way transport to the Universal studios and entry tickets as a package.  

These Universal Studios Hollywood tickets with transport cost around $180 per person. Hotel pickups are available from Los Angeles and Anaheim.

Some of these Universal Studios Hollywood tours with transport also include an extensive tour of Hollywood

Note: Some of these tours may not be available now due to the pandemic.

Driving to Universal Studios

Los Angeles has lots of cars, and traffic can be messy, so we don’t recommend driving to Universal Studios. 

However, if you must, the easiest way to get there is by using Google Maps

After exiting either Universal Studios Boulevard or Lankershim Blvd, you can follow the signs to get to the attraction’s entrance. 

Universal Studios Hollywood parking

The Universal Studios park is built into a hillside and situated on two levels with four flights of escalators connecting the Lower Lot to the Upper Lot. 

The main parking space is near the main entrance on the Upper Lot. 

Self Parking is complimentary, but valet parking is available at a price.

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Opening hours

The Universal Studios Hollywood opens at 9 am every day of the year. 

However, its closing time varies seasonally, from 6 pm in winters to 11 pm during peak summer. 

The park remains open on Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve as well.

Note: This LA attraction gets the maximum crowd on days when it is open for longer.

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Best time to visit Universal Studios Hollywood

The best time to visit Universal Studios Hollywood is 15 minutes before they open for the day so that you are ahead in the line and can get a good spot for the most popular rides. 

If you are driving to the park, arrive at least half an hour early to park your car and reach the attraction’s entrance. 

If you want to avoid the crowd, it is best to visit Universal Studios during weekdays, school days, and off-season (mostly winter).

Since the rides run all through the day, but the shows do not, it’s best to schedule your day around the show timings. 

Official show schedules and wait times are displayed around the park and on the park’s mobile app (Android / iOS). 

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How long does Universal Studios Hollywood take?

Visitors who don’t want to miss anything start early and end up spending the whole day at Universal Studios.

Visitors who pace themselves well can even spend up to eight hours exploring Universal Studios.

If you don’t have a lot of time on your hands, it is better to purchase the Universal Express ticket, which helps you get through the attraction faster. 

Universal Studios has two parts. The larger section is called Upper Lot and has attractions such as Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Springfield Hollywood, etc., and the smaller Lower Lot consists of adventurous rides. 

To save time, avoid moving between these two sections – finish everything in one before moving to the next. 

It is better to visit the Lower Lot first because the lines are shortest there in the morning. The crowd at the Lower Lot peaks by afternoon.

Tip: The Studio Tour is a 60-minute ride in a tram to see actual filming of serials and movies. Board the tram during non-peak times (late morning, afternoon or early evening) because the ride’s waiting time varies by day and season.

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Universal Studios Hollywood prices

Universal Studios Hollywood’s one-day admission ticket costs between $109 and $129 per adult or $103 and $123 per child when purchased in advance.

All visitors ten years and above must purchase the adult ticket. 

Weekends, holidays, most days of July and early August have high prices, while weekdays and off-season have lower ticket prices. 

The two-day Universal Studios Hollywood ticket for an adult costs $149, all through the year. For a child (age 3-9), the same ticket is priced at $143.

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Universal Studios Hollywood discount tickets

The best way to get a discount on Universal Studios Hollywood tickets is by booking them online, in advance. 

The one-day admission ticket costs $139 (age 10+) and $133 (age 3-9) at the entrance, but when purchased online, you pay between $109 and $129 per adult or $103 and $123 per child, depending on the visit date. 

When you purchase the two-day admission ticket online, you get a $20 discount per person. 

At the gate, a two-day entry ticket for an adult (age 10+) costs $169, while its online price is $149. 

For a child (age 3-9), the same ticket is priced at $163 at the gate, while the reduced online price is $143.

For a two-day Universal Studios Hollywood ticket, visitors must pick a specific date for the first visit, but the second visit can take place on any day within seven days after the first visit.

Kids under three years get the best discount at Universal Studios – they can enter for free throughout the year. 

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Universal Studios Hollywood for free

If you are in Los Angeles for more than a week, Go Los Angeles All-Inclusive Pass is a great way to save money.

With this pass, you get free entry to more than 40 top attractions in the city. 

It is available for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 7 days and when you opt for a 3, 5, or 7-day pass, you get a free ticket to Universal Studios Hollywood, valid for any day.

Find Out More

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Universal Studios Hollywood tickets

It is better to purchase your Universal Studios Hollywood tickets in advance since they are much more expensive at the attraction’s entrance. 

Depending on when you are visiting, online tickets can be more than $30 cheaper than the ticket counter’s price. 

Online Universal Studios also help you save a lot of waiting time at the ticket counters, especially during the summer months, which is the peak tourist season. 

In this section, we explain the four types of Universal Studios Hollywood tickets.

General Admission Ticket

Universal Studios Hollywood’s General Admission ticket is the cheapest way to get inside the theme park. 

That’s why it is also the most popular.

Besides access to all the rides, shows, and attractions at the park, this ticket also includes the behind-the-scenes Studios Tour. 

Visitors can book this entry ticket either for one day or two days, and the price varies accordingly. 

The second visit must be within seven days of the first visit. 

Price for 1-day ticket

Adult ticket (10+ years): US$ 110
Child ticket (3 to 9 years): US$ 104

Price for 2-day ticket

Adult ticket (10+ years): US$ 149
Child ticket (3 to 9 years): US$ 143

Express ticket

The all-access Universal Studios Hollywood express ticket gets you celebrity treatment at the park.

It includes all-day admission to the park, one-time express access to all rides, shows, and attractions. 

Sometimes this ticket also gets referred to as Universal Studios Hollywood Fast Pass.

It is a great way to make the most of your day and maximize your fun in the park.

You must select ‘Express ticket’ on the booking page

Ticket price: US$ 189

VIP tickets

Universal Studios Hollywood VIP ticket gives express access to each ride and attraction and priority seating at select shows. 

A live guide is with you all through your tour, and you also get exclusive access to VIP areas.

This ticket also gets you complimentary valet parking at the park entrance, a full breakfast buffet, and a gourmet lunch in a private dining lounge open only to VIPs.

Update: Because of the pandemic, the VIP ticket is not available right now.

Ticket price: US$ 409

Universal Studios tickets with transport

Visitors who don’t want to figure out how to travel to the Universal studios opt for packages that include both the entry tickets and two-way transport.

You get picked up from your hotel at 9.30 am, and a coach transports you to Universal Studios Hollywood. 

You get to explore the LA attraction for as long as you please, and after eight hours, you sit back in the coach and head back to your hotel. 

Pickups are offered from hotels/locations in both Los Angeles and Anaheim.

If you are in Orange County for long, check out this two-day Hollywood and Universal Studios package

Tourists holidaying in San Diego, opt for this small group tour to Universal Studios in LA.

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Universal Studios Hollywood map

Universal Studios Hollywood has two parts connected by a series of escalators called the Starway – the Upper lot and Lower lot. 

The Upper Lot tends to have family-based attractions such as Minion Way, Springfield, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, behind-the-scenes Studio Tour, etc.  

The Lower Lot is smaller of the two and is known for the three most adrenalin-pumping rides within the attraction – Jurassic World Ride, Revenge of the Mummy Ride, and Transformers 3D Ride.

To better understand Universal Studios Hollywood’s layout, download the map (pdf, 2.5 Mb).

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What to see at Universal Studios Hollywood

Here is a list of the 11 most popular things to see and do at Universal Studios Hollywood.

World Famous Studio Tour

This is a 60-minute tram tour where you explore behind the scenes of a real working movie studio.

You will visit 13 city blocks of the studio lot, built with creative consultation from Steven Spielberg.

Some of the highlights of the studio tour are:

  • Wreckage of the Boeing 747 from Steven Spielberg’s War of the Worlds
  • King Kong 360 3-D, the world’s largest and most intense 3-D experience
  • Legendary Bates Motel from Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho
  • Fast & Furious – Supercharged, an immersive experience where you ride in superfast cars
  • Jaws, Amity Island’s most famous resident
  • An Earthquake simulation that feels real

Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Universal Studios Hollywood’s Harry Potter section is where one experiences dark villains, daring heroes, magical spells, and creatures.

This section in the Upper Lot has two pulse-pounding rides – Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and Flight of the Hippogriff.

Visitors can also cast spells at wand magic locations scattered throughout The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Interested in carrying home a magic wand? Stop by at Ollivanders.

The Jurrasic World Ride

This ride is an adrenalin pumping experience and a must-do at Universal Studios in Las Angeles. 

You sit in a boat, and by water, enter an immersive land where dinosaurs roam around freely. 

All is well until Indominus Rex starts stalking you. The highlight of this thrill ride is when you get caught in the middle of a fight between Indominus Rex and her archrival, the Tyrannosaurus Rex.

DreamWorks Theatre Featuring Kung Fu Panda

The DreamWorks Kung Fu Panda exhibit at Universal Studios Hollywood is a multi-sensory attraction using state-of-the-art visual effects.

Its first-ever interior projection mapping, 360 surround sound audio, and sweeping physical effects make it a thrilling journey of awesomeness.

King Kong 360 3D

The award-winning King Kong 360-3D created by Peter Jackson is the world’s most enormous 3-D experience.

You would hate to be caught in the middle of a terrifying struggle between a 35-foot T-Rex and King Kong. But then, you would love it too. 


This 20-minute show is Universal Studios #1 rated show and involves jet-skiers, perilous plunges, firefights, massive explosions, and a plane crash you need to see to believe.

Besides World champion jet skiers performing stunts for the audience, this show also has giant fireballs rising 50 feet in the air.

Transformer 3D Ride

The Transformers 3D ride at Universal Studios Hollywood is an immersive experience that fuses 3D HD media and flight simulation technology to bring out a never-before experience.

The thrill ride is based on the popular Transformers movie and features Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, and Megatron, and 13 other Autobots and Decepticons.

During this ride, you get thrust in the middle of a war zone and fight alongside Optimus Prime to save the world. 

Revenge of the Mummy ride

The Revenge of the Mummy has been one of the longest-serving thrill rides in Universal Studios. 

This high-speed roller coaster ride is designed around the 1999 action-adventure film The Mummy.

During this ride, be ready to handle warrior mummies, a deadly scarab beetle attack, and gut-churning twists and turns. 

The Simpsons Ride

This ride is a virtual reality roller coaster, but the action is so real that most riders let out a gasp or two.

Krustyland, Krusty the Clown’s low-budget theme park is being sabotaged, and you smash and blast through the park with Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie in this thrilling ride. 

The Secret Life of Pets ride

The Secret Life of Pets is an immersive ride based on the movie by the same name. 

The immersive experience starts even before you board the ride – everyone must walk through nine rooms plus hallways before arriving at the front of the ride queue. 

The premise of this latest ride at Universal Studios Hollywood is simple – all animals think you are a lost pet, and with Snowball (Kevin Hart) in the lead, they try to find you a home.

During the ride, all visitors see themselves in the mirrors on the side as puppies. 

Despicable Me Minion Mayhem

In this motion simulation ride, you join Gru, his daughters, and the mischievous Minions on a thrilling ride.

The story starts in Gru’s home, who wants to make the riders an actual Minion and initiates their ‘Minion training.’

As one can expect, things don’t go as planned, and the visitors get launched into an unforgettable trip through Gru’s super-villain laboratory.

Popular attractions in Los Angeles

# Warner Bros Studios Hollywood
# Hollywood Sign
# Madame Tussauds
# Los Angeles Zoo
# Petersen Automotive Museum

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Uplabdhi Kamboj: She believes that the world is full of must-see places and must-do adventures, and has a never-ending list of places she wants to visit. Driven by a passion for the outdoors, she connects better with nature, and wildlife more than Museums and monuments. Favorite Cities: Cape Town, Kathmandu, Hanoi, Reykjavik, Vienna

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