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What to Know Before Visiting Universal CityWalk

The Encore Resort Blog
April 24, 2024
April 24, 2024

The “Epicenter of Awesome,” Universal CityWalk, which is adjacent to Universal Parks & Resorts (opens in a new tab), is a hub of activity where you will find fun and trendy places to shop and dine, set your sights on unique architecture, enjoy year-round activities, entertainment and nightlife, street performers, theater, live music and more!

Buzzing with activity, morning, noon and night, Universal CityWalk is also the place to be after the theme parks close for the day. And as Orlando locals, we’ve got the inside scoop for you on everything you need to know for a great time.

Get Your Dine On at CityWalk

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Delicious food, tantalizing drinks and state-of-the-art venues will beckon as you visit Universal CityWalk. Here are our top picks:

  • Pat O’Brien’s: Serving up Cajun favorites and dueling pianos, Pat O’Brien’s is the place to be! Don’t leave without trying their infamous Hurricane cocktail… but maybe just stick to one – they are potent!
  • Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville: One thing you can always count on… shrimp on the grill and margaritas in the blender. And fantastic music.
  • Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food: Dine on authentic Mexican street fare, take a selfie as it’s the perfect spot for a photo op, and live it up with Antojitos live mariachi band.
  • Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen: An eatery, drinkery and confectionery … dine on rich, indulgent plates from Chicken Bourguignon to Apple Pie Crepes. A 19th-century Steampunk-themed restaurant, make sure to ask them if Professor Doctor Penelope Tibeaux-Tinker Toothsome is around! Try her milkshake!
  • NBC Sports Grill & Brew: Approximately 100 high-definition screens immerse you in a stream of sports coverage as you drink and dine.
  • Bubba Gump Shrimp Co: Enjoy a host of Southern favorites, from award-winning baby back ribs to fried chicken, fresh fish dishes and homemade desserts.
  • Bob Marley–A Tribute to Freedom: Jamaican-influenced delights like Oxtail Stew, Sun is Shining Grilled Chicken and a Taste of Jamaica appetizer platter are fan favorites. Note – call ahead to make sure they are open to the public on the day you’re planning to dine. They close for private events.
  • Bigfire: A unique dining experience for all tastes, whether you prefer steak, fish, or something else. Enjoy dishes infused with the distinct flavors of being cooked over several types of wood, which impart a smoky richness to each dish. Smoky cocktails and tableside s’mores round out the fire-themed food excursion.
  • Moe’s Southwest Grill: Enjoy a limitless assortment of meats, toppings, and sauces for burritos, tacos, salads, nachos, burrito bowls, and quesadillas. Of course, chips and salsa are a crowd favorite for any day’s sustenance.
  • Voodoo Doughnut: A well-known for its huge, tasty donuts that double as culinary art, attracting a loyal following. The trademark Voodoo Doll donut is a must-try, as is the Universal Orangesicle, a delight unique to this place. Both are delicious and provide an energy boost at any time of day. There’s also a wonderful assortment of vegan options, such as the popular Voodoo Doll, which is a yeast donut filled with raspberry jam, covered in chocolate icing, and topped with a pretzel stick.

CityWalk Exquisite Entertainment

While you’re enjoying all that CityWalk has to offer – don’t forget that you are at a Universal-themed park, which is basically English for “movies and entertainment.” While it’s hard to narrow down the favorites, our top picks include:

  • Universal Cinemark: Catch the newest releases on 20 big screens with state-of-the-art projection and sound systems that put on an incredible show. Each theater comes with all-stadium seating and high-backed rocking chairs.
  • Hollywood Drive-In Golf: Combining 1950s sci-fi horror flick with miniature golf is a recipe for fun and success! Choose between two interactive 18-hole mini-golf courses: The Haunting of Ghostly Greens and Invaders from Planet Putt.
  • Red Coconut Club: Think vintage Vegas nightclub. This lavish ultra-lounge is Cuban flair meets Tiki chic. Explore two levels of music and dancing. Known for their signature martinis, specialty drinks, extensive wine list and VIP table service.
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  • Rising Star Karaoke: Grab the mic and belt it out at this karaoke club. Sing alone or share the love with talented backup singers and a live band (in the evenings from Tuesday through Saturday). On Sunday and Monday evenings, sing along to recorded tracks.
  • Universal’s Great Movie Escape: Dive into cinematic realms with Universal’s Great Movie Escape, a one-of-a-kind experience that combines puzzle solving with the thrill of the movies. Created exclusively by Universal, this immersive and interactive experience puts you directly into the heart of your favorite films, testing your wits and nerve in an incredible adventure.

CityWalk Shopping

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Shopping in Universal CityWalk becomes an adventure thanks to the broad selection of stores. There’s something for everyone at the massive Universal Studios Store.

  • Universal Studios Store: If you are looking for the perfect keepsake then this is the perfect location for all things Universal Orlando, with memorabilia and clothes as well as a wide range of other great finds.
  • Quiet Flight Surf Shop: This business has one of the most iconic photo locations in CityWalk in addition to a wide assortment of surf, skate, and beach items including bikinis, skateboards, and surfboards. Swing by to get ready, then take a photo with the enormous wave backdrop to give a glimpse of the excitement with your loved ones.
  • Rock Shop: Located next to the Hard Rock Café, provides a variety of music-themed clothes and collectibles set against a backdrop of historic music artifacts. The beautiful art piece above is a standout, enticing real music fans to linger and examine the collection.

CityWalk Tips & Tricks

You want to get the most out of your Universal CityWalk experience… and you can easily do that with these insider tips and tricks:

  • Make reservations or dine at off-peak hours. This will make sure you have less wait time and more fun time! This goes for reservations, too.
  • Try something new: Yep, there’s a Cold Stone Creamery and a Burger King at Universal CityWalk… stop at your local chains when you’re home so you can try something new while you’re here
  • Seeing a show? Plan accordingly. Make extra time for dining around your event – especially if you did not make reservations.
  • Discounts! Are you an Annual Pass holder? Have it at the ready and ask where you can use it for discounts. Many shops, restaurants and attractions offer special pricing for pass holders. The more you use it, the more those discounts add up.
  • Bring sunscreen! Yes, you’ll be in and out of shops and attractions, but this is Florida and you will burn, even in January.
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Max Luna drawing a picture of his teddy bear

Book Your Vacation Home Accommodations

No matter when you hit the streets of Universal CityWalk, the sun will probably be shining. Even in the winter, Florida temperatures can reach into the 80s or higher. After your action-packed day at CityWalk, come home to Encore Resort at Reunion.

Our guard-gated community features luxurious, beautifully decorated 4- to 13-bedroom vacation homes with backyard pools, washer/dryer units, and fully equipped kitchens, plus our resort-style amenities, including our Water Park and complimentary theme park shuttle. Each of our homes offer ample room for you to socialize or relax and unwind – not to mention, the perfect place to plan the week’s activities.

Book (opens in a new tab) your next fun-filled Orlando vacation at Encore Resort.

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