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9 Magical Things to Do at Universal Studios Hollywood at Christmas

9 Magical Things to Do at Universal Studios Hollywood at Christmas

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Are you planning a trip to Universal Studios Hollywood at Christmas? Keep scrolling for the most magical Universal Studios Hollywood Christmas activities you won’t want to miss!
This list of things to do on at Universal Studios Hollywood at Christmas was written by family travel expert Marcie Cheung and contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.

If you’re looking for a festive way to spend your holiday break, look no further! Head over to Universal Studios Hollywood at Christmas with your entire family.

There are so many amazing things to see and do at Universal Studios Hollywood this December. You won’t want to miss a minute of the fun!

I’m excited to share with you my list of the best things to do at Universal Studios Hollywood this holiday season. Be sure to check them out!

You can experience Grinchmas celebrations, see Hogwarts decorated for the holiday festivities, and enjoy tons of specialty Christmas food and drink options. It’s one of our favorite times to visit!

Make sure you purchase tickets in advance and enjoy all that Universal Studios Christmas Celebration this December!

Don’t have time to read a bunch of Universal Studios Hollywood blog posts and reviews? Here are some of our top picks for visiting Universal Studios with kids.

Where to Stay at Universal Studios Hollywood

How to Get Discount Universal Studios Hollywood Tickets

Looking for a fun Christmas vacation with the family? Check out these 9 magical things to do at Universal Studios Hollywood at Christmas!

Discount Universal Studios Hollywood Tickets

If you haven’t already gotten your theme park ticket, I highly recommend booking through Get Away Today. Not only do they usually have the best prices, but their customer service is unsurpassed.

This is who we personally go through whenever we visit SoCal.

They even have layaway plans available. Plus, they also do tickets for Disneyland and LEGOLAND California, which are some of the top things to do in Los Angeles with kids. And they have TONS of hotel/ticket packages. Check the latest rates and availability.

If you think you might want to visit more than once a year, you should check into whether or not the Universal Studios Hollywood Annual Pass is worth it for your family.

What’s the Weather Like at Universal Studios in December?

While many people (especially those in the PNW) assume that Los Angeles is warm year-round, it can actually get quite chilly in Southern California during December.

We’ve definitely needed lots of layers, especially when the sun goes down. It can be surprisingly cold.

Image of two boys wearing Harry Potter robes and scarves at Universal Studios Hollywood.
The robes and scarves were an essential layer of warmth once the sun went down! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

In fact, the temperatures in Los Angeles in December range from the upper 60s during the day to the lower 40s in the evening.

Of course, you’ll want to check the weather right before your trip if it’s unseasonably warm.

What to Wear at Universal Studios Hollywood During Christmas

Before I get into the Christmas events at Universal Studios Hollywood, I thought I’d talk about what to WEAR to get in the holiday spirit!

We ended up wearing Harry Potter-inspired “Mischief Managed” shirts paired with buffalo plaid jackets. But I was totally envious of all the cool holiday outfits we saw.

Anything Grinch-Related

The absolute BEST thing you can wear at Universal Studios Hollywood at Christmas is something featuring the Grinch! I mean, he’s the host of their holiday festivities!

Some of my top picks for kids include this kids’ Grinch holiday sweater, kids’ Merry Grinchmas t-shirts, Grinch tutu outfit for toddlers, and

For adults, you can’t go wrong with this men’s t-shirt, women’s Grinch Life sweatshirt, or women’s collegiate sweatshirt!

Harry Potter Christmas Items

Another popular theme to do is wear something Harry Potter. You can buy the famous Harry and Ron sweaters at the gift shop in the park. Or you can buy the sweatshirt versions online.

A few cute options for women include this Butterbeer & Christmas Cheer shirt or Hogwarts Christmas Shirt.

Christmas Minion Outfits

Minion items are always a hit with families! If you like to make family-coordinating shirts, try these Minion Crew Neck Sweatshirt Christmas t-shirts.

DON’T Wear Disney Christmas Shirts

Even if you’re heading to Disneyland at Christmas, make sure you do NOT wear any Disney items. It’s sort of an un-written rule not to wear something highlighting another theme park.

Plus, you’ll get lots of side-eying and possibly random comments from strangers.

Grinchmas at Universal Studios Hollywood

Okay, now that we’ve gotten all that out of the way, let’s dive into Universal Studios Grinchmas activities! Plus, we’ll talk about the yummy food you can try and post on Instagram!

Grinchmas at Universal Studios runs from November 25, 2022, to January 1, 2023. All the Grinchmas festivities are included in a regular Universal Studios Hollywood ticket; you don’t need to purchase a special event ticket.

Universal Studios Grinchmas Activities

One of the coolest Grinchmas activities is meeting the main character, The Grinch! You can also see his dog Max and other Who-ville residents. They are all available for fun photo ops, too!

There’s also a fun tree lighting ceremony that features music and a giant, 65-foot Seuss-inspired Christmas tree with hundreds of ornaments. And there’s even “snow” that falls around in the area.

Plus, you can even listen to Cindy-Lou read “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” during their daily story time for kids.

Oh, and families can write messages of holiday cheer on postcards and send them out via the Who-ville post office!

What to Eat at Universal Studios at Christmas

There are a bunch of sweet holiday treats and even hot cocoa.

Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Christmas

Holidays at Universal Studios would never be complete with the holiday cheer at Hogwarts! If you’ve read the books or seen the movies, you know Hogwarts holidays are truly spectacular.

Visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Studios Hollywood at Christmas!
How cute is this subtle holiday decor? Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

The Universal Studios Harry Potter Christmas decorations are so detailed and lovely. There’s even “snow” on the castle and rooftops and greenery in all the shops in Hogsmeade, where you can do some holiday shopping.

Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios runs from November 25, 2022 – January 1, 2023. A regular Universal Studios Hollywood ticket includes all the Christmas in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter festivities. You don’t need to purchase a special event theme park.

Special Christmas Events

During the day, check out the concerts performed by the Holiday Frog Choir. They sure bring the holiday cheer as they sing holiday songs!

The Hogwarts castle looking festive and magical at Universal Studios Hollywood at Christmas!
The crowd whipped out their phones as soon as the Hogwarts lighting ceremony started. Photo credit: Darren Cheung

There’s a really cool Hogwarts lighting event inside the Wizarding World that happens in the evening. It’s actually a laser/light show, and it’s definitely worth finding a good spot.

The shops in Hogsmeade all have cool seasonal merchandise, like personalized Christmas ornaments and notebooks. You can also check out Honeyduks for some sweet holiday treats.

All the lights, festive decor, and snow above the Hogwarts castle surely bring the magic of the holiday spirit inside the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Festive Food Options

Want to eat like Harry Potter at Christmas? The eateries in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter have lots of holiday meal options!

You’ll definitely want to hit up the Three Broomsticks if you want a full English holiday meal. It’s great if you want to taste things like Beef Wellington.

My all-time favorite thing to order at Hogwarts at Christmas is their hot Butterbeer. It’s perfect for when the sun goes down and you need to warm up a bit. In fact, I’m dreaming about it right now…

Other Fun Things to Do at Universal Studios Hollywood with Kids

Of course, there are SO many other things to do at Universal Studios Hollywood with kids beyond the Christmas festivities. Here are some of the things families should know before planning their trip.

Universal Studios Rides for Kids

While Universal Studios Hollywood has many “big” attractions, it also has plenty of kid rides for toddlers, preschoolers, and elementary school children. Of course, you’ll want to check the height requirements before standing in line.

The Secret Life of Pets ride at Universal Studios Hollywood at Christmas.
My kids LOVE the Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

Here are a few of our favorite rides to do at Universal Studios Hollywood with kids:

  • Despicable Me Minion Mayhem (40″ minimum height)
  • Flight of the Hippogriff (39″ minimum height)
  • Silly Swirly Fun Ride (this one is only for kids under 48″)
  • The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash (34″ minimum height)
  • The Simpsons Ride (40″ minimum height)

There’s also Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey that has a minimum height of 48″, BUT you can just walk through the castle and exit before the ride if you have young kids. The castle walk-through is spectacular!

Studio Tour

Don’t miss doing the 60-minute Studio Tour. It takes you around 13 city blocks of backlots, plus you’ll participate in a few attractions along the way.

We like to do the studio tour in the afternoon so our kids can sit and rest after all the walking around all morning.

Play Areas

If you’re heading to Universal Studios Hollywood with toddlers or preschoolers, you’ll probably want to plan on spending some time in the play areas. It’s a great way to get some wiggles out before standing in line for a ride.

Super Silly Fun Land is in the Upper Lot, and the whole thing is Minion-inspired. It’s basically the seaside carnival from the original movie.

The DinoPlay area in the Lower Lot is especially fun for kids who are into Jurassic Park. There’s a fossil dig site, a jungle climber, a rope plank bridge, and even a full-size T. Rex skull.

Character Meet & Greets

You’ll find lots of character meet and greets all over the park. My kids always love the Minion characters in the Upper Lot. We also saw characters from Trolls, The Simpsons, Shrek, and Scooby-Doo.

Take photos with the Gru's wacky minions at Universal Studios Hollywood at Christmas!
Who doesn’t love Minions? Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

Down in the Lower Lot, there are a few Transformers (like Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, and Megatron) that rotate throughout the day. Plus, there’s a cool Raptor Encounter.

Universal Studios Hollywood Shows

Sometimes, it’s nice to just sit down for a while and watch a show. Our family really likes the WaterWorld show because of all the cool special effects. No, our kids have never seen the movie (I barely remember it myself), but the show is pretty exciting.

You can also see pet tricks at Universal’s Animal Actors show. It’s only 20 minutes long, so it’s great for kids with short attention spans.

And there’s a Special Effects Show that is awesome for kids who want to know how movies are made.

Photo Ops

If you’re like me, you’re obsessed with taking photos of your kids with cute backdrops. Beyond all the amazing holiday decor, there are TONS of cool places to take photos of your family.

Don't forget to take photos with Weasley's flying car at Universal Studios Hollywood at Christmas!
My son geeked out when he saw the Weasley’s car! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

Where to Stay Near Universal Studios Hollywood

There are actually a few hotels within walking distance of Universal Studios Hollywood. They are all “normal” hotels, and none of them are character-themed. I just wanted to mention it because it’s unlike Disney hotels.

Sheraton Universal Hotel

This is where we usually stay because it’s just a 5-minute walk to Universal Studios Hollywood. The Sheraton Universal Hotel has outdoor pools, laundry facilities, and a hotel restaurant. But the main perk is the proximity to the park. Check the latest rates and availability.

Hilton Los Angeles/Universal City

This is another great option because it’s just a 7-minute walk to Universal Studios Hollywood. The Hilton Los Angeles/Universal City has an outdoor pool, cribs, extra beds, and a hotel restaurant. Check the latest rates and availability.

Universal Studios at Christmas FAQs

Is Universal Studios open on Christmas Day?

YES, the park is open on Christmas Day. This is usually a busy time to go, so set realistic expectations and check the park hours to plan your visit accordingly.

Can you visit Santa at Universal Studios?

Not exactly. Santa is NOT inside Universal Studios Hollywood. However, you can find him on City Walk, which is just outside the park entrance.

Holidays at Universal Studios Hollywood Wrap-Up

Hopefully, this helps you plan your trip to Universal Studios at Christmas time! It’s SUCH a fun time of year to go for the special food, photo ops, and adorable decorations!

Looking for more SoCal theme parks? Check out my guide to Super Nintendo World at Universal Studios Hollywood, tips for visiting Universal Studios Hollywood with kids, Universal Studios Hollywood vs Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, guide to LEGOLAND California, Disneyland vs LEGOLAND, and how many days to spend at Disneyland!

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