In-Depth Guide to CityWalk at Universal Studios Florida

June 29, 2022

The beating pulse of the sunshine state is a sprawling complex of entertainment, dining and reverie set amidst a tropical lagoon, rollercoasters, and two of Orlando, Florida's most popular tourist attractions.

Read on to uncover our in-depth guide to Universal CityWalk.

We have the tips, the tricks, and the inside scoop on this high-energy destination that features a variety of over 20 restaurants, shops, and two interactive, miniature golf courses. It's not called the "Epicenter of Awesome" for nothing. 

After a hard day of theme park hopping, you might be looking for a reprieve from the repeated wave of Transformer, Hulk, VelociCoaster, and Harry Potter escapades. Universal Orlando Resort has the perfect antidote in CityWalk, ideally located between Universal's Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida

Tag along as we uncover the best haunts and can't miss sites of this incredible village of fun. Guests can hop between parks and, along the way, enjoy a respite with heavenly treats at Voodoo Doughnut or the spirited dueling pianos at Pat O'Brien's®. In addition, CityWalk has an array of eateries like Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food, VIVO Italian Kitchen, and Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.

CityWalk Restaurants at universal studio Orlando Florida, USA

Guide to Universal CityWalk Dining Venues

With so many choices and so little time, you'll want to know where to stop and refuel. Especially when you have a big group, you could be wandering around, debating where to eat, squandering precious moments.

Related Post: Food and Restaurants at Universal Studios Florida

Save the day with our list of top-rated places. We've got you covered whether you're searching for a quick lunch or celebratory meal. 

Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food

Hold off on your Mexican cravings until you get here. With vibrant décor and made from scratch fajitas and guacamole, it's a top-notch crowd pleaser! Antojitos serves the best margaritas and has a live mariachi band on hand to liven the mood. 

Hard Rock Café® Orlando

Rock and rollers will appreciate this fine establishment's live performances, music memorabilia, and appetizing entrees. Check out Buddy Holly's black glasses, Elvis' white sequined suit, and mementos from the Ramones, Pearl Jam, and U2. The patio even has a section of the Berlin Wall. 

Exterior View of Hard Rock Café Orlando at Universal Orlando's CityWalk - Orlando, Florida, USA

photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville

Known for its carefree vibe, tropical drinks, and stacked burgers, this is the perfect cap to your day with great food and live entertainers. CityWalkers can also stop by the Margaritas To-Go Surf Shack window for a "Marg-on-the-fly."

Exterior View of Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville at Universal Orlando's CityWalk - Orlando, Florida, USANBC Sports Grill & Brew™

Sports addicts can catch up on scores and watch the latest games on high-definition screens while enjoying great appetizers like the Inside Out Jalapeno Peppers or the Loaded Nachos. NBC has a wide selection, from burgers and salads to seafood and pasta. Even picky eaters should be able to find something they like here!

The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar

Don't be deterred by the name. This quintessential Asian American eatery offers terrific food with a twist. Try a sushi burger combo, which brings together gourmet burgers and sushi plus beer and spirits in a lively, colorful space. 

Red Coconut Club

This boho-chic nightclub has live music and dancing on one floor and scrumptious entrees on the second. The Club hosts outdoor patio seating with a stunning view of CityWalk's glittering lane.

Related Post: 15 Fun & Free Things to Do in Orlando at Night

CityWalk also has delectable fast-food options and take-out windows for guests on the move, like the Burger King Whopper Bar, Hot Dog Hall of Fame, Moe's Southwest Grill, and the Red Oven Pizza Bakery, where the pizzas are cooked in 90 seconds or less. 

photo credit: Root Photography via Facebook

Guide to Universal CityWalk Entertainment

In addition to the best bars, clubs, and dining, Universal City Walk's family venues will not disappoint. For the perfect low-key activity after hitting the parks, peruse our recreation guide for thrills, chills, and great laughs. 

Hollywood Drive-In Golf

This is not your average miniature golf scene but an interactive foray into 1950s sci-fi and horror movie theme worlds. With special effects throughout, the synergistic putt-putt course is full of excellent sites that will keep you on your toes!

photo credit: Hollywood Drive-In Golf via Facebook

Bob Marley- A Tribute to Freedom

More than a restaurant, this museum-like dining hall pays homage to rock legend Bob Marley. Modeled after Marley's hometown in Kingston, Jamaica, diners see artifacts and photos and can experience video clips of the reggae icon. Also, after 10:00 pm, the place turns into an adults-only hot spot with a live reggae band or D.J. every night.

Exterior of Bob Marley A Tribute to Freedom at Universal Studio's Orlando - Orlando, Florida, USAUniversal Cinemark

If cruising through The Wizarding World of Harry Potter has you feeling nostalgic for the silver screen, have no fear. You can slip into an air-conditioned cinema to catch all the latest blockbusters without leaving the park. 

Universal CityWalk also provides free parking for matinee movie showings from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm with the purchase of two Universal Cinemark matinee tickets. (The Cinemas reimburse guests upon presentation of parking receipt.)

Related Post: Upcoming Events and Festivals in Orlando

Hard Rock Live Orlando

Feel like grooving out to a live band or comedy show? Universal guests can experience top musical performances in this 3,000-seat auditorium with state-of-the-art audio, a full bar, and a concession stand. Check the events page for special Hard Rock Live venues.   

Rising Star

Connect with your friends, cut loose and let your star shine during a night of karaoke as you belt out hits with the world's top artists. The more serious entertainers can sing with a live band and backup singers! They also have delicious food and specialty cocktails for the fans. 

photo credit: Universal Orlando Resort via Facebook

Guide to Universal CityWalk Shopping

With all the putt-putting, karaoke, and reggae nights, don't forget you'll need the perfect souvenirs and gifts to commemorate your trip. Don't worry; CityWalk is an exclusive retail experience, and we have your perfect Orlando shopping strategy right here. 

Universal Studios Store

Here you'll find countless gift ideas and Harry Potter collectibles with the largest Wizarding World of Harry Potter-themed area, not to mention other film souvenirs, books, and memorabilia with Spider-Man, Cat in the Hat, and Jurassic World merch. With over 8,300 square feet, this is the place to pick up vintage t-shirts, jewelry, keychains, and coffee mugs. 

Related Post: The 6 Best Orlando Theme Parks for Adults

Universal Legacy Store

Not to be outdone, this shop has the Universal goods, with 90s-inspired classics like Jaws and E.T. You can also find current movie hits, props, and iconic classic goods on all of Universal's finest films. 

Pro Tip: Save your shopping until the very end, so you don't have to carry your bags all day. 

exterior of Universal Legacy Store Universal CityWalk with gargoyle statues at sides of entrance in Orlando, Florida, USA

photo credit: Storego via Facebook

The Smugglers Hold at Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville

Parrot Heads will enjoy this haven of Buffet t-shirts, shot glasses, home décor, and flip-flops to take home and revisit your experience time and time again. 

Related Post: 6 Irresistible Things to Do in Orlando During Summer

Candy Smith at Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen

For tasty chocolate, truffles, and cookies, this shop has the perfect something souvenir for virtually anyone with a sweet tooth. But be warned, if you take a sample, your gifts may not arrive at their destination. Better buy a backup gift from the array of trinkets, knickknacks, and jewelry in the emporium's gift store.

exterior of The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium and Savory Feast Kitchen at night with people walking along entrance in Orlando, Florida, USA

photo credit: Mark Walter via Facebook

Rock Shop at Hard Rock Café Orlando

Screenagers and rockers can find the perfect keepsakes amongst rock stars past, present, and future. The Rock Shop has band t-shirts, hats, glasses, and mugs. 

Universal City Walk Hours

Universal Orlando's hours of operation vary by attraction and park. Check the website for current Park Hours. CityWalk is open from 8:00 am to 12:00 am, with some clubs and bars staying open a tad longer.

CityWalk Shuttle Hours

If you're staying at one of Universal's parks and don't have to worry about a car, you might wonder how late the shuttle buses run back and forth. The answer is: as long as the parks are open. Which is typically from 7:00 am until 2:00 am.

The drop-off destination is near the Universal parking garages. This convenient service runs every few minutes, with guests rarely having to wait for a bus.

exterior of Bigfire Restaurant Universal CityWalk with blue sky and clouds during day in Orlando, Florida, USA

photo credit: Theme Park Groupie via Facebook

Guide to Universal CityWalk Parking

Universal Orlando has two main parking garages for guests. Other options include standard, valet, and Universal Prime Parking. Universal also has accessible parking, electric car stations, and R.V. parking. 

  • General Parking: $27 before 6:00 p.m.
  • Prime Parking: $60 before 6:00 p.m. (With Prime Upgrade: $23.)
  • Valet Parking: $27 for less than two hours or $75 for more than two hours. 
  • R.V./Bus Parking: $32 per day. 

Related Post: How to Make the Most of 3 Days in Orlando

Pro Tip: Parking is FREE after 6:00 pm.

CityWalk is the park's central hub with easy access to Universal Studios Florida, Islands of Adventure, and Volcano Bay. Once parked, you don't need to drive between Universal destinations. And your parking validation is good all day if you leave and return. 

band performing infront of diners at Pat O'Brien's Universal Citywalk at Orlando, Florida, USA

photo credit: Marc Alan Cantlin via Facebook

For visitors staying on-site, the options are even easier. Guests can walk to CityWalk from the Universal Orlando Resort, take a shuttle from Universal's Endless Summer Resort or Universal's Cabana Bay Beach Resort Hotel, or water taxi their way from Universal's Hard Rock Hotel. Parking fees never apply if you arrive via public transportation or stay at an official Universal Orlando Resort hotel

Remember Tripster has the best guaranteed online rates for Orlando condos, hotels, and luxury resorts. So secure your lodgings now with us, and you'll be saving bookoo cash. 

Universal Studios' two wings are split into three main sections with multiple parking levels. 

  • Wing One – includes Jurassic Park, King Kong, and Jaws
  • Wing Two – includes Spider-Man, Cat in the Hat, and E.T.

Pro Tip: Take a photo of your parking section, row number, and parking garage. The two garages don't connect, so you want to ensure you're headed back to the right one. Your tired feet will thank you!

A crowd of people dancing at Universal CityWalk at night on New Years Eve in Orlando, Florida, USA

photo credit: Universal Orlando Resort via Facebook

Plan Your Universal Orlando Vacation  

With endless amusement and night-life options, CityWalk is an experience of exciting activities that include funky bars, nightclubs, and eateries, not to mention galleries, movie theaters, and bowling. 

Related Post: Orlando on a Budget: How to Save BIG With a Go City Pass

Get ahead of the pack and start planning your dream vacation now! Tripster has easy solutions and discounted ticket options when ordering Universal Orlando Tickets. Plus, if you want to save some real currency, we have the best Orlando Vacation Package deals with other parks, hotels, and attractions. 

Tripster is teeming full of facts about everything you might want to know about Universal Orlando. For a deeper dive into the park, check out our Insider's Guide to Universal Orlando Resort and our Ultimate Guide to Universal Studios Orlando

Plan on extending your trip to visit some other theme parks? Tripster has guides to help you explore Walt Disney World®, Disney Springs, SeaWorld® Orlando, and more. 

Have you been to Universal CityWalk recently? 

We'd love to hear some recommendations and feedback on restaurants, shops, and unique experiences. Let us know in the comments below. 


close up of Erin smiling on a sunny day

Written By Erin

Erin Poche` is a Utah-based writer and editor for Tripster and contributing writer for BeyondType1. She also writes and edits for an indie publisher of fanta ...

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