Aaaah! The Sheraton Universal Hotel is the bomb. (To start from Part 1 click here). And although visitors come to the area and enter Universal CityWalk and traverse through part of it to access the theme park, this is its own awe-inspiring attraction that deserves its due time and attention! So I went back on the third day of my mini-vacation via the complimentary hotel shuttle to take it all in.
Now let me just remind you of what I said in the first part of this series: After living here (albeit 20 years ago now) for two decades, I was used to the hype, glamour and “over-the-topness” that L.A. by and large provides. Yet my exuberance for CityWalk sort of caught me off guard, slowly and steadily alluring all of my senses to dive in and sample it all.
And sample I did! My first stop, of course, was to eat (the foodie in me always comes first!) and I chose the Karl Strauss Brewing Company, which has a fantastic, sprawling tiled patio overlooking the cacophony of people and excitement below. Although known for their excellent craft beers (there are half a dozen locations dotted across California), they serve a wealth of delicious apps, salads and soups, sandwiches and main courses that aptly bring out the scintillating brew flavors.
Other dining options here include Hard Rock Café Hollywood, Jody Maroni’s Sausage Kingdom, Jillian’s, Tony Romas, The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Wasabi at CityWalk, Camacho’s Cantina, Pink’s Famous Hot Dogs, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., The Crepe Café, Samba Brazilian Steakhouse and Lounge, Tommy’s World Famous Hamburgers and Wolfgang Puck Bistro, in addition to numerous others.
Shopaholics will find loads of options from health, beauty and specialty products to toys and Hollywood memorabilia, games, novelties, accessories, footwear and apparel, candy, ice cream and more. And since California is a sports-mecca, there are local nods here with the Dodgers Clubhouse Store and The Raider Image (yes, although the silver and black moved a few hours “up the road” many years ago, the Raider Nation still reigns here).
Attractions for the entire family include Jillian’s Hi Life Lanes with rock n’ roll and virtual bowling and arcade and video games, and iFly Hollywood, a very cool skydiving adventure inside a clear vertical wind tunnel. From wee three and four-year olds to experienced skydivers and everyone in between, all will enjoy this safe, wall-to-wall airflow “ride.” And for more movie magic there’s the 19-screen Cinema Stadium AMC movie theater with seven-story IMAX Theater.
If you desire a grown-up evening out, nightlife here encompasses the Jon Lovitz Comedy Club, Infusion Lounge, Saddle Ranch Chop House, and of course the Hard Rock Café, among others, plus a bevy of special concerts and other entertainment events.
The End of a Beautiful Weekend
Wholly satisfied in every way, I bypassed the shuttle and leisurely ambled back (a hellacious but doable trek on the way up; steep but easy on the way down) to the Sheraton, grateful for the entire experience and surprisingly, day dreaming about what I would enjoy here the next time.
And you know, I would go back. L.A. is, after all, the place where dreams—at least Hollywood’s version of them—can come true. (To start from Part 1 click here).