When is Universal Studios Hollywood least crowded?

Known as “The Entertainment Capital of L.A.,” Universal Studios Hollywood is the very first Universal Studios theme park and is located less than an hour from Disneyland. The park is still a working movie studio, and features many rides, shows, and attractions from the big screen.

Universal Studios attracts millions of visitors each year, making it one of the most popular destinations in all of Southern California, but when is the best time to go? Let’s take a look at what kind of crowds to expect throughout the year.

January

New Year’s Day – The holiday season crowds are still around for the first week of the New Year. The off season (and shorter lines) doesn’t usually begin until after the first weekend of the month.

MLK Weekend – Weekdays and weekends after the first week of January are traditionally manageable, but it does get busier for MLK Weekend. Plan on that Saturday, Sunday, and Monday (MLK Day) to be crowded.

February

Presidents Day Weekend – The off season continues into February, with light crowds on weekdays and manageable weekends. Presidents Day Weekend, however, attracts big crowds.

March – April

Spring Break – Aim for going early in March if you can. The Spring Break crowds start to pick up by the end of the month as schools get out of session, peaking on the week before Easter and the week of Easter.

May

Weekdays – Crowds aren’t too bad at Universal in most of May. Saturdays are still busy, but weekdays and Sundays tend to be manageable.

Memorial Day Weekend – The three-day weekend marks the start of the summer season as more schools get out of session. Plan on that Saturday, Sunday, and Monday to be crowded. The weekdays after Memorial Day are manageable.

June

Summer Season – For shorter wait times in June, try to go on weekdays early in the month. Weekends in all of June are crowded, and weekdays are packed as well by the last week of the month.

July

4th of July Weekend – Universal Studios is typically very crowded for the 4th of July. Try to arrive early.

The summer season is in full swing by July, and most days are very busy. Avoid the weekends if you can. Weekdays (Monday – Thursday) are your best bets for lighter crowds.

August

Summer Season – The summer season crowds are still out in early August, but start to die down on weekdays by the last two weeks of the month. Saturdays and Sundays are still crowded.

September

Labor Day Weekend – The summer crowds are back for the three-day weekend. Be prepared for that Saturday, Sunday, and Monday to be busy.

Weekdays – The summer season crowds are gone completely after Labor Day, with manageable weekdays. Saturdays are most crowded.

October

Halloween Horror Nights – The annual Halloween event is wildly popular and starts in late September through the first weekend of November. Shorter hours mean manageable crowds during the day, especially on weekdays. For lighter crowds on Halloween Horror Nights, go in September or early October. It traditionally gets very crowded on the last weeks of October around Halloween, especially on Saturdays.

November

Veterans Day Weekend – Weekends in November are traditionally busy, including the holiday weekend. Crowds are usually light on weekdays.

Thanksgiving Weekend – Universal Studios gets crowds for the extended weekend starting on Thanksgiving Day through Sunday.

December

Grinchmas – Grinchmas takes over Universal for the holiday season in December. Expect weekends to be busy, while crowds are manageable on weekdays for most of the month. The holiday crowds peak at the end of December, so be prepared for some of the biggest crowds of the year on the week of Christmas (including Christmas Eve and Christmas Day) through the end of the year (New Year’s Eve).

For crowd predictions of upcoming dates, as well as historical crowd ratings, check out the Universal Studios Hollywood Crowd Calendar.

For live crowd updates and conditions at the park, check out the Universal Studios Hollywood Crowd Tracker.

When do you think is the best time of the year to go to Universal Studios Hollywood? How crowded was it when you visited? Got any crowd tips?

Be sure to let us know in the comments below!


Front of Line Guide

Image: billyv

  • Giles Mansell

    Hi guys,
    Greetings from London. We plan to stop by on our honeymoon on Fri 9 sept. Just want to check a FOL is not neccesary??

  • Robert

    I don’t think Front of Line will be necessary. That’s after the summer season, so it’s usually manageable again.

  • Rae Holmes

    I wanted to go on a weekend day during April but by the look of the calendar that’s not such a great idea. How does Friday, April 15th look? I will have to take that day off but it will be worth it if it’s going to be a huge difference then going on Saturday.

  • Sebastian Lopez

    I have my passes for myself and two brother to go to the grand opening of the wizarding world of harry potter, but i don’t know how to plan, can’t find any info online. How early should I arrive if I want to be one of the first people in line and avoid the massive waits.

  • Robert

    I would get there by 6am. Early Entry starts at 7am, so there will probably be a line to get in well before then.

  • Robert

    Sorry, I missed your comment! Friday should definitely be more manageable since Harry Potter is expected to be make the weekends very crowded. If you get Front of Line though, you shouldn’t have to worry about the long lines on the weekends.

  • udpumpkin

    It seems that it is tough to predict attendance with Harry Potter opening. We are going on the Monday or Tuesday after the opening and debating the value of FOL. Think Harry Potter keeps attendance high into the weekdays?

  • Robert

    Yeah, I’m not sure exactly how bad it will be on the weekdays after Harry Potter World opens. The Spring Break season will be over by then, so I’m thinking it won’t be too crazy (maybe 30min waits and 60min for the Harry Potter attractions.

  • Sebastian Lopez

    I was thinking the same, Thanks though !! 🙂 ,

    on a side note, since this is the first time using the pass will I be able to activate it early, or have to wait until the official park opening before I am allowed in

  • udpumpkin

    Thanks. That week is Spring Break for our kids but they are at the very end of the season. We can upgrade regular tickets to FOL at the park? That perhaps would be the best plan. Thanks again.