Universal Studios Hollywood opened its doors in July 1964 as a film studio and later became a theme park. The park covers 425 acres and is home to several attractions that pay homage to great action and fantasy films such as Harry Potter, Kung Fu Panda, Jurassic Park, and The Fast & The Furious. Located in Los Angeles County in the San Fernando Valley, it is a great place to spend time with friends and family. In this post you will also find some other theme parks in greater Los Angeles area.
Tip: If you have just arrived to LA or you have chosen to visit the “Entertainment Capital of LA” on the day of departure, find a luggage storage service nearby to stow your bags. Trust me, you do not want to bring big bags or luggage with you while exploring Universal Studios.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
How many Harry Potter fans do we have here? While not technically a theme park, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is classified as a themed space and is located inside Universal Studios. This area has adapted certain elements from the novels by J.K. Rowling and the movie series. Around every turn, you will meet heroic figures and dark villains. Mythical creatures will haunt your steps while magical spells swirl all around you. Visit Hogwarts castle and then explore the Hogsmeade shops.
Be sure to hop on a few of the exciting rides! Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey is a fantastic ride that takes you through Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and whisks you past the grounds of Hogwarts Castle while coming face-to-face with several mythical beings.
Super Silly Fun Land
Another fantastic theme park is actually a water park located inside Universal Studios. Bring your bathing suit, sunscreen, and a towel when you visit Super Silly Fun Land. Located across from Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, it’s the ideal place to dive in and cool off. The water park is Minion-inspired and has several interactive areas where you can have a blast with over 80 water features to play in. You will feel like you just stepped into the seaside carnival from Despicable Me.
Check out the Silly Swirly Fun Ride that is Minion-themed. This ride will spin and swing you around while giving you a 360-degree of the water park. Afterward, stop by the Super Silly Space Killer, a great arcade game where the kids can win cute prizes.
Located in the Los Angeles Live Steamers Railroad Museum, Boney Island is a fantastic theme park where you will see animated skeletons performing interesting tricks. They will levitate through hoops, perform rope tricks, and so much more. Maestro Maxilla, the animated skeleton, will be your host while you are at Boney Island and he will guide you through a plethora of oddities such as a flock of skeletal hummingbirds, singing shrubs, and bantering spiders. Anti-gravity water will give you a thrill and water will leap and dance from the different cauldrons when music plays.
Head to Santa Monica and visit Pacific Park, an oceanfront amusement park located on the Santa Monica Pier. Look out over the Pacific Ocean and Catalina Island while enjoying the marvelous rides or playing one of the many carnival games. The park features 12 great amusement rides including the first solar-powered Ferris wheel, the Pacific Wheel, which takes you 130 feet in the air. The West Coaster is a thrilling roller coaster that will leave you breathless.
Pacific Park is the only amusement park on the west coast located on a pier and is a wonderful place to spend a sunny afternoon. Pick up a few souvenirs at the shops before you leave. Enjoy classic California cuisine at some of the eateries on the pier.
Six Flags Magic Mountain
Head over to Valencia in Los Angeles County and visit Six Flags Magic Mountain. The 262-acre theme park was originally called Magic Mountain but was then bought by Six Flags and the name changed. The park has over 100 rides, games, shows, and attractions. Spend the day riding roller coasters and dodging Looney Tunes characters and park performers. Be sure to ride the Twisted Colossus. Your head will keep spinning after you get off the ride!
You will have a blast spending the day riding The Batman, The Viper, The Riddler, and The Goliath. All are fantastic rides that will whisk you through the air and plunge you down almost to the pavement in jaw-dropping twists and turns.
Knott’s Berry Farm
When you are visiting Universal Studios, you need to make time to fit in Buena Park and visit Knott’s Berry Farm, “California’s original theme park”. This fun attraction covers 57 acres and is one of the most visited theme parks in North America.
With about four million visitors each year, Knott’s Berry Farm can be crowded but it is worth the trip to ride a vintage wooden roller coaster. Originally a small berry farm, Knott’s Berry Farm has grown into a fantastic theme park. Enjoy stage shows and interactive experiences, play arcade games, ride rides, and dine on fried chicken and boysenberries. You will also want to check out the Old West Ghost Town while here and cool off at the Knott’s Soak City Waterpark.
Located just a short distance from Universal Studios in Stanton, California, Adventure City is a place for thrills filled with amazing rides and great games. This is one of the smallest amusement parks in California covering just over two acres. Even though it is a smaller theme park, it still sees between 200,000 and 4000,000 visitors each year. With 17 rides, attractions, and shows, this compact park is filled with great family-friendly activities.
Kiddie Rides and a petting zoo are a great draw for families with small children while the roller coasters and amusement rides are great for older kids and teens. Your family will spend an afternoon exploring all Adventure City has to offer.
Grab your family and head over to Universal City for a day of fun and then plan on spending a few more days in the area so you can check out some of the other theme parks nearby! You can also check out my post 5 things to do in Los Angeles for the weekend.