Universal Studios Hollywood#24 in Best Things To Do in Los Angeles
One of the most popular attractions in the Los Angeles area, Universal Studios Hollywood features rides and amusements based on some of the most popular scenes and characters from film and television. You can take the famous tram tour past the creepy Bates Motel from "Psycho" and get caught up in a high speed chase with the "Fast & Furious" cast. Kids can shake hands with cartoon favorites like SpongeBob SquarePants and Scooby-Doo. Of course, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is another huge hit, as is Jurassic World – The Ride. If thrills are your thing, there are plenty of hair-raising coasters and rides. On Transformers: The Ride-3D, riders join Optimus Prime in his battle against the Decepticons; meanwhile, youngsters will love the 3D ride Despicable Me Minion Mayhem (complete with a Minion dance party).
Universal Studios welcomes hoards of tourists each day; to forgo the long waits, travelers suggest purchasing the Express pass (formerly Front of the Line passes), which cost $179 to $279 each, online. This brings up another pain point: the price. At $109 to $129 for one-day general admission for adults and $103 to $123 for little ones ages 3 to 9 (when purchased online), a family excursion to Universal Studios doesn't come cheap, something some visitors find off-putting.
Universal Studios Hollywood is located in Universal City, just northwest of Hollywood and the Hollywood Bowl. Driving is the easiest way to get there, and on-site parking is available for $10 to $50 per vehicle, depending on what time of day you visit and where you park. The Metro's Red Line also stops by the property at Universal City/Studio City station. The amusement park is open daily; hours most days are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., though the park offers extended hours during weekends and peak seasons. Facilities found inside include restrooms, food and beverage concessions, gift shops and the WaterWorld stage. For more information on attractions, tickets and opening times, consult the Universal Studios Hollywood website.
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#1 Griffith Observatory and Griffith Park
Griffith Observatory sits on the south face of Mount Hollywood and overlooks the Los Angeles basin. Its location gives visitors impressive views of the surrounding area, which many rave about. But there's more than just a pretty photo-op here. The observatory hosts fascinating exhibitions and features a top-notch planetarium.
Most recent visitors cited the beautiful setting as Griffith Observatory's main draw, though the free entry was certainly a bonus. However, you will have to pay between $3 and $7 to see the planetarium shows. Griffith Observatory is open from noon to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, with extended hours on weekends. Free but limited parking is available along the winding roads leading up to the property, or visitors can park in the small lot by the observatory for $10 per hour. A gift shop and cafe can be found on-site as well. For more information, check out Griffith Observatory's website.
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