Universal Orlando Resort

Getting to Know Universal – CityWalk Orlando

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Whether you are a long-time Walt Disney World guest looking to switch theme parks on your next trip or visiting Orlando for the first time, planning a visit to Universal Orlando Resort raises many questions. Today we will cover Universal Orlando’s CityWalk, where it is located, what it offers, and compare and contrast it with Disney Springs at Walt Disney World

(Article updated May 7, 2024)

What is CityWalk?

CityWalk is Universal Orlando’s dining, shopping, and entertainment district. It is comprised of 11 full-service restaurants, over a dozen counter service restaurants and snack stands, half a dozen shops, live entertainment, theaters, and clubs.

Where is CityWalk?

citywalk map
CityWalk is located in the heart of Universal Orlando.

CityWalk is sandwiched between Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure theme parks. All guests must pass through CityWalk when arriving and leaving the two theme parks. CityWalk is accessible by walking paths, boats, and buses from Universal Orlando hotels.

How Does CityWalk Compare to Disney Springs?

At first glance, both seem similar but there are two big differences between them: size and location.

Disney Springs layout (left) and CityWalk Orlando (right). CityWalk can fit into the upper left most part of Disney Springs, The Marketplace.

Disney Springs is a sprawling 120 acres over three districts while CityWalk is a compact 30 acres, roughly the same size as Disney Springs Marketplace District. This means fewer shops, restaurants, entertainment, and people can fit in there. Example: CityWalk has 11 full-service restaurants while Disney Springs features 21 options. Shopping is more prominent at Disney Springs with dozens of shops while CityWalk mostly features gift shops for the parks and restaurants.

Second, Disney Springs is not centrally located and requires a car, bus, or boat ride after a day in the parks. Compare this to CityWalk which is located immediately outside of the two theme parks and within walking distance from the hotels. This makes CityWalk a great place to escape the theme parks during the afternoon and to grab a quick bite to eat.

Both CityWalk and Disney Springs offer live street entertainment and movie theaters, and have a signature stage show One aspect CityWalk beats Disney Springs is nightlife by featuring several clubs, a live-band karaoke bar, and a large live concert venue.

CityWalk Establishments

This list is accurate as of January 2021. Offerings frequently change; check TouringPlans’ page or Universal’s CityWalk website for the most accurate list.

Table Service Restaurants

Quick Service Restaurants

Food Carts & Snacks


  • Hard Rock Shop (Rock inspired merchandise)
  • Hart & Huntington Tattoo Shop (Tattoos and tattoo merchandise)
  • Toothsome Chocolate Emporium (to-go candies and treats)
  • Universal Studios Store (Theme park merchandise)

Entertainment and Clubs


Photograph copyright Universal Orlando.

Our readers rate Cowfish, Hard Rock Cafe, Vivo Italian Kitchen, and Bigfire as the best table service restaurants in CityWalk Orlando. Breadbox and Red Oven get thumbs up for their quick service options. Sorry Jimmy, but Margaritaville is rated the lowest at CityWalk and the Hot Dog Hall of Fame is the lowest-rated quick-service restaurant.

TouringPlans Tips

  • Make dining reservations at least 24 hours before your visit.
  • Staying at a Premier Resort? You get priority walk-up access to dining at select restaurants in CityWalk.
  • Avoid the crowds and dine at the earliest lunch or dinner seatings at restaurants.

Do you have questions about Universal Orlando Resort? Leave your questions and comments below!

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Joseph Matt

Joe covers theme parks through the lens of his quality engineering day job. He has over five years of writing experience at Touring Plans and has gone on dozens of trips to Orlando over his life. When not at amusement parks you can find Joe at breweries, enjoying live theater, playing video games, and cooking.

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