We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

visiting Universal Studios, where to stay

Chico, CA
Level Contributor
722 posts
51 reviews
Save Topic
visiting Universal Studios, where to stay

My 11 years ald daughter and me (mom) will be visiting LA to see Universal Studios for the first time. We will not have a car. Would like to find a hotel either with a shuttle to Universal studios and airport or hear some transportation with easy access to universal studios and overwhelmed with info. Where would you recommend to stay? Criteria for hotel: clean and in a safe neighboorhood. If it costs < 200 (preferably <150) per night it would be great. Thank you very much

Rancho Santa...
Level Contributor
7,623 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: visiting Universal Studios, where to stay

Take a look at hotels near the Red Line subway. The subway goes from downtown to Universal Studios. Hollywood is an obvious choice because you'll find plenty of hotels which fit your budget. Personally, I think Hollywood is an unimpressive part of town for visitors. Downtown is another option. You and your daughter may find the LA Live area interesting.

I would suggest the Little Tokyo neighborhood. It is near Union Station and the Civic Center. So you could take the subway straight to Universal. There is a shuttle from the subway station up the hill to Universal. Little Tokyo is a lively neighborhood with lots of restaurants and some fun retail. I like the Miyako Hotel.

tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g32655-d223046-…

If you need access to LAX, there is an inexpensive shuttle service to and from Union Station called the LAX Flyaway Shuttle.

HTH

Los Angeles
Level Contributor
15,783 posts
58 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: visiting Universal Studios, where to stay

There are three basic choices -

a) Hollywood, from which you can reach Universal via the Red Line subway (www.metro.net) - Hollywood is good because 1) its a big public transit hub, 2) lots of hotels spanning a range of prices and 3) www.starlinetours.com is LA's biggest tour provider, and stages their tours there. Hotels there in your price range include Magic Castle Hotel, Orchid Suites, and Hollywood Celebrity Hotel. Can reach via public transit from LAX easily for about $10 per person, shared van shuttles about $16 per person (www.primetimeshuttle.com or www.supershuttle.com), or taxi about $55.

b) stay at Universal itself (Universal Hilton or Sheraton Universal, which are on-site at Universal Studios) Advantage is that you are right there, but these two hotels are probably $200 or more. Also Universal is a bit isolated from the rest of LA so hard to feel like you are really staying in an LA neighborhood while here. Probably about $75 from LAX, shared van shuttles cheaper. A little bit more of a pain to get to other parts of the city vs. Hollywood.

c) or a hotel located in one of the neighborhoods near Universal that have free shuttles to Universal. These include The Garland and the Sportsman's Lodge. Transportation from LAX about the same cost as to Universal. Likewise more difficult to get to the rest of the city without your own car.

You may also want to fly to Burbank airport (airport code BUR) - BUR is much smaller than LAX (so quicker to get in and out of) and is also closer to Hollywood and Universal than LAX, so cheaper ground transportation to those places from BUR vs. LAX.

United States
Level Contributor
2,141 posts
14 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: visiting Universal Studios, where to stay

Can you fly into Burbank airport instead of LAX? And what else are you going to be seeing/doing/visiting?

West Hollywood...
Destination Expert
for Los Angeles
Level Contributor
31,535 posts
64 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: visiting Universal Studios, where to stay

Here's a map of the popular metro area's neighborhoods that you might find helpful:

…flickr.com/2695/4304287666_3f60e03695_o.jpg

As you can see, LAX is at the 6 o'clock position and Universal is at the 12 o'clock position. It's a 45 to 60 minute (or more) drive between the two. Therefore, there are no hotels that have shuttles to both LAX and Universal.

There are, meanwhile, ways to transfer from LAX to hotels all over the metro area (for a fee). These options are described in our TOP QUESTIONS BOX at the right side of this page under 'Transferring between plane, rail, hotel or ship'. (You cannot use a mobile device when viewing this content).

Arriving into BUR (Bob Hope Airport) in Burbank -- just north of Universal (see map) -- makes a lot of sense. Southwest has hourly flights out of OAK to BUR and keep in mind that you're allowed 2 free checked bags on southwest. If you fly into BUR, you could choose a hotel that is close to both this airport and Universal -- even if you did, however, you would still have to pay to transfer to either the hotel or Universal (or both) but it would be quicker and less expensive to do so from a hotel near BUR.

Here's a map showing the two airports and universal: http://mapq.st/1h47r30

As you can see, BUR is much closer to Universal than LAX is. If you landed at BUR, here are some hotel recs:

1. The closest hotel to BUR is the 4-star Marriott -- a lovely place to stay. They have a free shuttle to/from BUR, To transfer to Universal takes a few steps but it's not a very long transfer overall. Here are the steps:

a. Walk to the corner of Thornton Av & Hollywood Way (a walk of 2 minutes)

b. Take the 222 Metro bus south to the North Hollywood red line (metro rail station) --13 minutes

c. Take the red line train 1 stop south to Universal City (4 minutes)

d. Exit the station, cross the street and wait at the tram stop for the free tram 'up the hill' to the Park.

Staying at the Marriott would be the furthest hotel from Universal and the closest to BUR but it would be, by far, the nicest. If you plan to visit other attractions in the L.A. metro area, staying at the Marriott would not be ideal as you would need to 'go past' Universal to reach most attractions. Rooms at this hotel would be at the high end of your price range.

2. The Tangerine Hotel might be your best option -- midway between BUR and Universal -- the #1-ranked hotel in Burbank here on Trip Advisor. Transferring would be as follows:

a. From/To BUR -- 3 miles (taxi fare of about $15 including tip)

b. From/To Universal -- 3 miles (taxi fare of about $15 including tip).

The transfers would be more expensive than from other local hotels but the hotel, itself is inexpensive so it evens out.

3. Best Western Media Center -- solid 3-star, not far from the Tangerine. Same transfer instructions.

If you must arrive at LAX, the closest hotels to the Park are the Sheraton and Hilton that are adjacent to the Park's entrance (3-1/2 and 4-stars). The Garland Hotel and the Sportsmen's Lodge are nearby and offer free shuttles to the Park but you'd have to pay to transfer from the airport to the hotel and back.

If you plan to visit other parts of L.A., you'd be best to stay in Hollywood. You haven't indicated your travel dates so it's hard to recommend hotels in a certain price range since prices change from season to season; they are also different for weekend stays versus weekday stays; lastly, most hotels offer discounts for stays of 3 days or more. Please provide your exact travel dates if you know them.

Chico, CA
Level Contributor
722 posts
51 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: visiting Universal Studios, where to stay

Thank you very much for all the replies, the information and all the links are very hepful! I am so grateful to you all!!

We will arrive to LA on afternoon Monday June 2 and will stay 4-7 days, depending on what else to see.

Preliminary itinerary:

1-2 days for Universal Studios, will get fast pass to save on waiting in lines,

then starline hop in hop tour for 2 dasy and during those 2 days to visit:

Griffith park observatory (3hours),

Hollywood walk of fame (1hour)

and possibly venice beach (1-2h).

Then possibly for 1 day to Long Beach.

We do not plan on going to Disney Land or Knottsberry farm or Legoland this trip (been there, but not in LA itself).

With this itinerary in mind, I understool we should stay in Hollywood.

Will fly from Chico or from Sacramento.

Questions:

If we stay in Hollywood, is Burbank airport still preferable option or LAX?

What else is must see in LA without car in addition to what I listed?

Hotels in Hollywood with easy walking distance to metro (I have back problem so prefer to limit walking to less than 3 blocks if possible)?

Is 1 day enough for Universal Studios?

Chico, CA
Level Contributor
722 posts
51 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: visiting Universal Studios, where to stay

also will visit Santa Monica the same day as Venice Beach

Chico, CA
Level Contributor
722 posts
51 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: visiting Universal Studios, where to stay

Thank you very much for all of you for answering. Would you mind to help me with those questons too:

If we stay in Hollywood, is Burbank airport still preferable option or LAX?

What else is must see in LA without car in addition to what I listed?

Hotels in Hollywood with easy walking distance to metro (I have back problem so prefer to limit walking to less than 3 blocks if possible)?

Is 1 day enough for Universal Studios?

Thank you very much

Level Contributor
20 posts
22 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: visiting Universal Studios, where to stay

Burbank airport is closer to Hollywood than LAX. It might be more expensive to fly into Burbank however since there are less flights. I'm not from the LA area, but have been planning a trip there and will be visiting next week. I'd recommend using Supper Shuttle to get to your hotel. It's a shared van service meaning you may make a few stops along the way, but it's much cheaper than taking a taxi https://www.supershuttle.com/. As far as hotels in Hollywood near the metro, I'm afraid I can't help you there. I'm staying in downtown LA at the Ritz Milner hotel which is a block away from the 7th Street/Metro Center station. Try to look for hotels near the Red Line since that is the subway which goes through Hollywood. I'd recommend searching a map of the Red Line and then using the map function in TripAdvisor's hotel search to compare which hotel's would be close to the metro. It seems like you will be hitting all of the major sights in the Hollywood area. One day should be plenty for Universal Studios. If you arrive at the time the park opens, you will easily be able to see all of the attractions in a single day. I'm speaking from my experience going to the Universal Studios theme park in Orlando which is larger. I will be visiting Universal Studios Hollywood next Thursday and can give you feedback on how much time it takes to see everything.

Chico, CA
Level Contributor
722 posts
51 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: visiting Universal Studios, where to stay

Wes-87, thank you very much! Is staying in downtown better than Holleywood? I can't figure out how to search online hotels near metro stations. Would like a clean hotel room in a safe area close to the metro.

West Hollywood...
Destination Expert
for Los Angeles
Level Contributor
31,535 posts
64 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: visiting Universal Studios, where to stay

1. BUR is the better choice. It's a tiny airport with cheap flights from SAC on southwest

2. As mentioned above, Hollywood is better for you than downtown since our downtown is at the eastern end of our city further fom Universal than Hollywood

3. Most Hollywood hotels are within a 1 to 10 minute walk fom one of the many metrorail stations. Given your travel dates and budget, you'll need to stay at a 2-star hotel. These include:

1. Days In. Hollywood/Universal Studios which is NOT near Universal but is in central Hollywood which is a short metrorail ride to the Studios

tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g32655-d77256-R…

2 Le Bon Hotel -- adjacent to the Hollywood Vine station of the red line

tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g32655-d5598088…

3. The Dixie Hollywood -- 3-star on the eastern edge central Hollywood near the Hollywood/Western metrorail station

tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g32655-d239812-…

In the nearby Beverly Grove neighborhood, a 10-minute bus ride from central Hollywood, consider the Park Plaza Lodge. Walking distance to the Grove and Farmers Market. Of these, this is where I'd stay. Info at:

tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g32655-d630945-…

The beverly laurel hotel is also near the farmers market/the grove with easy bus access to central hollywood

tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g32655-d82578-R…

Just to the north of Hollywood and Universal, in the neighborhood known as North hollywood, consider the Garland hotel -- a 3-star. This property is convenient to Universal (the hotel offers a free shuttle) but is one stop north of central Hollywood (the Universal City red line station is about 5 minutes from the hotel and the train ride into Hollywood is another 5 minutes -- plus any 'waiting time' for the train.

4. As far as 'must sees', it really depends on your interests. Our metro area has hundreds of attractions big and small. Are you accessing tripadvisor at it FULL SITE (not its mobile site)? If so, there is a green horizontal bar at the top of the page. Look for the 'things to do' link and click it. See what interests you.

5. You cant get to the observatory via the Hop on, hop off bus. Public transit is available only on weekends. Do you know how to INSTANTLY find a public transit route by providing the starting and ending points of your journey? If not, ask us

6. Use public transit to reach Santa monica and join the hop on tour THERE at 9:00 when it begins