The Magic Begins at Hilton Los Angeles Universal City

Check in and you're minutes from world-famous Universal Studios Hollywood

Photo courtesy of Hilton Los Angeles / Universal City

You’re a solid as a rock, reliable as the rain in England, and when it comes to planning your family’s magical first trip to Universal Studios Hollywood, you’re not taking any chances. You don’t care about staying in the most happening neighborhood in town, nor are you looking for unnecessary opulence—what you need is a very comfortable room, a pool, and proximity to the greatest adventure of your little ones’ lives. Thankfully, the Hilton Los Angeles / Universal City checks of all your family’s boxes.

You wake up to the view of your kids’ dreams—yes, there’s a parking lot, but just beyond it, the gleaming snow-capped spires of Hogwarts castle at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. You’ve never seen your offspring so frantic with excitement, and it takes all your parenting skills to convince them breakfast might be a necessary part of this adventure. You ferry the brood down to the international breakfast buffet at Cafe Sierra for scrambled eggs and thick bacon—along with dim sum and noodle soup.

Now you’re ready for some seriously no-holds-barred family fun. There’s a complimentary shuttle that runs every 10 minutes from the hotel to Universal Studios Hollywood. But you can also just walk to the theme park from the hotel in less than ten minutes, so you lead your cute little squad like a mother duck, single-file, toward the fun.

The World-Famous Studio Tour at Universal Studios Hollywood
The World-Famous Studio Tour at Universal Studios Hollywood  |  Photo: Yuri Hasegawa

Once you arrive at Universal Studios, your kids take the reins. The Simpsons is their favorite show, so naturally you find yourself in a motion-simulated version of Springfield which has been taken over by criminal mastermind Sideshow Bob. You sit out Revenge of the Mummy because rollercoasters aren’t your thing, but gladly undergo motion-simulated Minion training with the kids at Despicable Me Minion Mayhem. Then it’s time for the famous Studio Tour where you visit the set of Back to the Future, the Bates Motel from Psycho, and say hi to everyone’s favorite man-eater, Jaws.

By now it’s afternoon, and you’ve saved the best for last—The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, its own unique park-within-a-park. The kids lead you through its stone entry arches and together you marvel open-mouthed at the life-size version of the Hogwarts Express. Lunch is at Three Broomsticks, where a huge magical feast of roasted chicken and butterbeer awaits. Everyone gets their own wand at Ollivanders wand shop—unicorn heart string for you—and then it’s time to take the Forbidden Journey ride.

Your kids lead you deep inside the castle, along its winding corridors, where you can eavesdrop on the conversations of moving oil portraits. You confess to your eldest that you’re a little frightened and she squeezes your hand, thanking you for being the best parent ever, promising she’ll buy you a Chocolate Frog on the way out of the park. 

You walk past Universal CityWalk, the shopping and dining destination located next to Universal Studios. You contemplate sneaking back to Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville for a nightcap, but first you have to tuck in your weary family.

You're back at your cozy room at the Hilton and piled into bed together, staring at Hogwarts in the distance until everyone falls asleep. “Job well done,” you tell yourself, munching on a chocolate frog and turning on The Simpsons. You draw the curtains on the glimmering lights of Hollywood, just three miles away. There’s nowhere else in the world you’d rather be, than right here.

Hilton Los Angeles / Universal City
555 Universal Hollywood Dr, Universal City 91608
(818) 506-2500