Thursday, December 9, 2010

One Stop Away: Universal Studios Citywalk

This post is an extension of prior posts about activities when visiting Hollywood. With the Los Angeles Metro Subway system, Universal Studios Hollywood & CityWalk is only one stop west from the Hollywood/Highland station.

But here's the rub. The subway does not exactly stop at the entrance to Universal Studios. Upon arriving at the Universal City metro station, visitors have to cross the street to the base of Universal Hollywood Drive then wait for one of the trams for an uphill rice to CityWalk. Then of course upon leaving there is the wait for the tram which can be lengthy when there is a large exodus from the park.

Once in the park, all the trappings of this popular amusement park is yours. On a visit last year I bypassed the park and instead explored the entertainment complex called Universal Studios CityWalk. It's essence is pure diversion, a contained world of cinemas, dining, concert venue, night spots and stores filled with goods targeted towards impulsive shoppers.

Serving as an entrance plaza to the amusement park, the 23-acre CityWalk opened in 1993 and expanded in 2000. Those wanting to attend a concert by today's popular artists may want to check out the calendar for the over 6,000 seater Gibson Amphitheatre.

Visit for more info. Click here for a map. Universal Studios also includes a CityWalk at its Orlando location.

By the way those wanting to find Mercado Chocolate Loco which was featured in the Food Network's series "Unwrapped" may be disappointed to find the shop closed. It was known for retailing in Mexican confections, chocolate covered jalapenos and habanero brownies.

It's Sugar, one of the largest candy stores ever, featured on the Food Network's "Kid in a Candy Store" series is still open. Though it may appear the shop carries every candy available, the selection did not include nostalgic candies that can be found at other large candy stores such as Dylan's Candy Bar in New York City.

Bottom line is the shops and restaurants support the experience at the entertainment venues and amusement park. Without either, CityWalk becomes a minor diversion.


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