Top 10 Reasons to Visit Universal CityWalk in Orlando

See 10 reasons you’ll want to visit Universal CityWalk the next time you visit Orlando, including electrifying entertainment, dining and more.

See 10 reasons you'll want to visit Universal CityWalk the next time you visit Orlando, including electrifying entertainment, dining and more.

By Leah Santiago

Universal CityWalk isn't just the gateway to Universal Orlando® Resort's theme parks. It's an adventure in itself, where exciting entertainment meets unforgettable cuisine with plenty of surprises along the way. Whether you're planning date night, an evening out with friends or some family fun, it's the perfect destination — and here are 10 reasons why!

Learn more: Discount Tickets to Universal Orlando Resort

1. Live Karaoke

CityWalk’s Rising Star at Universal CityWalk in Orlando
CityWalk's Rising Star at Universal CityWalk in Orlando

Step into the shoes of a headliner and perform alongside a live band and backup singers at CityWalk's Rising Star. You'll feel like an icon as you belt out your favorite songs while the crowd cheers you on. If you're more interested in the show than the spotlight, the nightly rock concert feel will keep you entertained — as will the robust selection of cocktails and other adult beverages.

Learn more: Orlando Nightlife & Entertainment

2. Innovative Dining

Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen at Universal CityWalk in Orlando
Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen at Universal CityWalk in Orlando

No matter your preferences, you'll find the perfect restaurant at CityWalk. All-American? Hard Rock Cafe, Hot Dog Hall of Fame or NBC Sports Grill & Brew. Island flavors? Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville or Bob Marley — A Tribute to Freedom. Something south of the border? Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food. A taste of Italy? VIVO Italian Kitchen. Asian? Fusion Bistro Sushi & Sake Bar.

You can also choose from several themed dining experiences that are sure to satisfy your craving for adventure and flavor, including The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Restaurant & Market, The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar and others.

Learn more: Orlando Restaurants

3. Unique Shopping

Quiet Flight Surf Shop at Universal CityWalk in Orlando (Photo by Carrie Bradley)
Quiet Flight Surf Shop at Universal CityWalk in Orlando (Photo by Carrie Bradley)

Get in some retail therapy at CityWalk's lineup of unique shops. Whether you're seeking mementos from your adventures at Universal Studios Store, clothing and gear for your inner surfer at Quiet Flight Surf Shop or The Island Clothing Co., leather goods from Fossil, or even a design to last forever at Hart & Huntington Tattoo Company, you'll find it at CityWalk.

4. Hollywood Drive-In Golf

Hollywood Drive-In Golf at Universal CityWalk in Orlando
Hollywood Drive-In Golf at Universal CityWalk in Orlando

Step into a 1950s thriller for a golf game that's out of this world! CityWalk's Hollywood Drive-In Golf invites you to giggle and scream your way through two larger-than-life mini-golf courses: The Haunting of Ghostly Greens and Invaders From Planet Putt, inspired by classic horror and sci-fi flicks, respectively. Try both courses for an exciting double feature as you encounter monsters in a haunted house, aliens from a flying saucer and even a 30-foot robot.

5. Blue Man Group

Blue Man Group at Universal CityWalk in Orlando
Blue Man Group at Universal CityWalk in Orlando

Blue has never been so exciting! Find out what captivated 35 million people and experience entertainment like no other at CityWalk's Blue Man Group at Universal Orlando Resort. This multi-sensory show immerses you in full color and sound. Be ready to dance, laugh and party as you interact with three peculiar-but-friendly hosts at this electrifying spectacular!

Learn more: Discount Tickets to Blue Man Group at Universal Orlando Resort

6. One-of-a-Kind Desserts

Voodoo Doughnut at Universal CityWalk in Orlando
Voodoo Doughnut at Universal CityWalk in Orlando

CityWalk has two venues where you can get desserts cool enough to write home about. First, Voodoo Doughnut adds a unique twist to the sugary favorites. With unusual flavors like Bacon Maple Bar, Voodoo Doll or Viscous Hibiscus, there's a taste for every daring doughnut lover.

Then, step into an age only dreamed of at the steampunk-influenced Toothsome Chocolate Emporium, where gourmet desserts compete with awe-inspiring milkshakes to satisfy your sweet tooth.

7. Complimentary Water Taxis

Free Water Taxi Rides at Universal CityWalk in Orlando
Free Water Taxi Rides at Universal CityWalk in Orlando

If you need a quiet escape from the excitement of CityWalk, take advantage of free, relaxing water taxi rides that run between the entertainment district and three of Universal's onsite hotels: 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 the parks open and continue till 2:30 a.m., all year long. Also, be sure to make the trip to Portofino Bay in time for their free, nightly Musica Della Notte opera series, which begins at sunset.

Learn more: Free Things to Do in Orlando

8. Dancing and Music

Red Coconut Club at Universal CityWalk in Orlando
Red Coconut Club at Universal CityWalk in Orlando

If you love live music, stop by Hard Rock Live, showcasing the top names in rock, pop and more, or enter the replicated house of the "King of Reggae" for tunes written and inspired by the namesake at Bob Marley — A Tribute to Freedom. You can also get your groove on — literally — at the groove, or let your dance moves heat up the night at the tropical Red Coconut Club. These and other CityWalk nightlife options stay open until 2 a.m. nightly.

9. Dinner and a Movie

See the Latest Hollywood Hits at Universal CityWalk in Orlando
See the Latest Hollywood Hits at Universal CityWalk in Orlando

CityWalk is home to the AMC Universal Cineplex 20 With IMAX, where stadium seating and high-backed chairs make it a great place to catch up on the latest Hollywood hits. For true immersion, try the IMAX Experience Theater, where state-of-the-art projection and sound systems make you feel like you're in the film.

Of course, a movie isn't complete without snacks, and this theater's options include pizza, chicken tenders, French fries and much more, plus a full liquor bar with beer and wine. Reserved seating is also available.

10. Free Admission — and Free Parking After 6 p.m.

Universal CityWalk in Orlando
Universal CityWalk in Orlando

CityWalk isn't just the place to be — it's also free thanks to complimentary admission all day, every day. After 6 p.m., parking becomes free, too, and parking fees never apply if you arrive via public transportation or stay at an onsite Universal hotel or resort. (However, free parking after 6 p.m. is not available during Universal's Halloween Horror Nights.) Take the money you save and put it toward making memories that will last forever at Universal Orlando Resort!

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