Known as the gateway to Universal Orlando Theme Parks, Universal CityWalk is full of dining, shopping, and fun entertainment. We often visit in the evening for date nights, cocktails or to listen to live music but it’s a great area to visit anytime of the day. Whether you are making a stop after a day inside the parks or visiting for dinner and drinks, there is always something to choose from. You will find themed restaurants, bars, dance clubs, shops, outdoor entertainment, and a VERY lively environment until 2:00 am on most nights.
There is no admission to visit Universal CityWalk, but keep in mind that there is a charge for parking until 6:00 pm, and some of the nightclub and live music venues charge an admission price.
1. Hollywood Drive-In Golf
Universal CityWalk features two family-friendly themed and interactive putt-putt courses! Inspired by the 1950’s era, you can choose between The Haunting of Ghostly Greens and Invaders from Planet Putt, or play all 36 holes. With special effects and lighting, you can play during the day, evening, or late night. Hollywood Drive-In Golf is open seven days a week until 2:00 am, making it a great after-dinner activity.
2. Grab and donut AND a pic
Originating in Portland, Oregon, VooDoo Doughnuts has brought their famous spinning wheel of doughnuts and quirky, unique flavors to Central Florida. Have fun choosing from the large variety, and don’t forget to sit in the huge chair for a pic!
3. Rock out to the largest Hard Rock Cafe in the world
It’s hard to miss the huge Roman Coliseum building at CityWalk. This is where you will find the largest Hard Rock Cafe in the world. The Universal Orlando Hard Rock is a great themed restaurant for lunch, dinner, or drinks. Even if you don’t dine there, go inside and walk around to check out the cool rock memorabilia. This massive complex boasts more memorabilia than any other location in the world! Also inside you will find a Rock Shop full of merchandise and a concert hall.
4. Catch a movie at the Cinemark Theater
Catch one of the newest flicks at the Universal Cinemark theater. Renovated in 2019, the theater features upgraded seating with over-sized luxury plush recliners with extendable footrests and cup holders.
5. Have a Hurricane and listen to dueling pianos
One of our favorite CityWalk activities is located at Pat O’Brien’s. Built as a replica of the well-known New Orleans hot spot, the Orlando edition features a full dining room, multiple bars, outdoor courtyard, and dueling pianos. Grab a famous Hurricane and sing along to some great music until 2:00 am. If you’re hungry, you will find your Louisiana favorites on the menu, including beignets and po boys. We recommend our favorite, the yummy Shrimp and Grits.
6. Take a shot at Bigfire with their massive American whiskey collection
Not only does BigFire serve delicious food, but this open fire restaurant also proves that not all great whiskeys come from Scotland. Grab a seat at one of the bars and take your choice from the vast collection of whiskeys, all from America. Also, make sure that you save room for dessert. BigFire serves one the most unique desserts in CityWalk, s’mores prepared tableside!
7. Grab a footlong at the Hot Dog Hall of Fame
Hot Dog lovers, this one is for you! The open-air baseball-themed Hot Dog Hall of Fame serves up a HUGE selection of footlongs. Each is themed after an American baseball team and features a variety of toppings such as buffalo sauce, smoked bacon, and pinto beans. The Hot Dog Hall of Fame features a great outdoor seating area in the middle of CityWalk.
8. Have an over-the-top milkshake at Toothsome Chocolate Factory
You have likely seen the pics of the huge ornate milkshakes topped with cake, sprinkles, and whipped cream. These can be found at Toothsome Chocolate Factory, and you don’t even need to sit at a dining table to order one. Simply pop inside to their walk-up counter for milkshakes, ice cream, and desserts.
9. Catch a game at NBC Sports Bar & Grill
With over 100 high-definition TV’s over two stories, you will have an excellent seat for the game no matter where you sit. NBC Sports Grill & Brew is a terrific place to grab a drink or have a full dinner. Their menu is comprehensive, and the food, prepared in the large open kitchen, is delicious.
10. Fill up a 24-ounce tumbler with a frozen alcoholic concoction at Fat Tuesday’s
What’s better on a hot Florida than a delicious frozen daiquiri or margarita? At Fat Tuesday, you can find a large variety of sugary alcoholic drinks in an array of sizes, including a 24-ounce tumbler!
11. Waste away the day at Margaritaville
Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville is a great spot to lay back, enjoy a drink, and listen to music. The interior of the restaurants provides a wonderful atmosphere while the outside seating area is a great spot to people watch. If you are looking for something even more casual or a quick snack or drink, pop over to Lone Palm Airport, where you will find a full bar and tables overlooking the water.
12. See a piece of history
Many people aren’t aware but there is an actual piece of the Berlin Wall located at CityWalk close to Hard Rock Cafe.
13. Munch on tableside guacamole and listen to live Mariachi music
13. Munch on tableside guacamole and listen to live Mariachi music
It’s hard to miss the large multi-colored building when you make that left turn to head towards Islands of Adventure. This is Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food. The restaurant is huge but provides a nice themed atmosphere. A live Mariachi band takes the stage on select nights providing great free entertainment. Our favorite appetizer at Antojitos is the tableside guacamole prepared fresh right in front of you.
14. Take a boat ride
There are fantastic restaurants at CityWalk, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t additional options. Hop on the complimentary water taxi located in the center of CityWalk and visit a few of Universal Studio’s best hotels, including Sapphire Falls Resort, Royal Pacific Resort, Hard Rock Hotel, and our favorite Portofino Bay. You do not need to be staying at one of these resorts to utilize the water taxi, and you can find delicious restaurants and bars in each.
15. Get some new ink
Did spending the day in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter give you inspiration for a new tattoo? Luckily you don’t have to go far to make it a reality. One of the best tattoo studios in Orlando, Hart & Huntington, is located right in CityWalk. Full of talent, the artists at H&H pride themselves on the experience and unparalleled detail and design.
16. Go shopping!
Though shopping likely isn’t the primary reason you would visit Universal Studios, there are a few options. In addition to several small shops and kiosks, you will find a large Universal Studios store where you will find a large selection of souvenirs and merchandise from Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios parks.
Also, don’t forget the shops located in the restaurants such as Hard Rock, Margaritaville and Toothless Chocolate Factory.
17. Pretend you are a rock star…or at least have fun watching other people pretend they are rock stars
We often describe Rising Star as karaoke on steroids. This two-story karaoke club puts you on center stage with a live band and back up singers five days a week. Rising Star is much more than your typical karaoke bar! Even though we don’t dare to step on stage ourselves, we love sitting back with a drink and watching everyone else!
18. Have sushi and a burger on the same plate
The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar is as close to fusion cuisine as you can get! Here you will find innovative and unique burgers and sushi rolls such as Dougs Filet Roll, a sushi roll with seared slices of filet mignon.
If you are looking for a casual seating area or if you love people watching head up to the second story and grab an outdoor table overlooking the nightclub CityWalk area.
19. Listen to Raggae music and eat some Jamaican-influenced food
Bob Marley-A Tribute to Freedom is a true treasure in CityWalk. Modeled after Bob Marley’s Jamaican home, you will find artifacts and photos from his amazing career. Each evening you will be treated to live reggae music or a DJ and can choose from menu items such as veggie and beef patties, jerk wings, and Oxtail Stew.
20. Attempt to escape
Universal’s Great Movie Escape features escape rooms based on two legendary movies – Jurassic Park and Back to the Future. Stay tuned for more information and an opening date on this exciting addition!