The best nightlife in Universal Orlando is located in and around Universal CityWalk, a purpose-built nightlife entertainment zone in the Universal Orlando complex. Most places in CityWalk require a cover charge to enter. If you are planning a full evening of barhopping, you should consider purchasing their Part Pass – you can enjoy free access to participating venues and special drinks promotions.

    Live music is prominent at many of the venues, with musical styles covering everything from country and western to Mississippi blues. There are also a couple of nightclubs offering the latest party tunes to get you on the dancefloor. Thankfully, families aren’t left out of the Universal’s nightlife offerings, with many restaurants welcoming all ages – either until a curfew time or, in some case, all night long. 

    Hard Rock Café Orlando, like pretty much everything else in this central Florida city, goes big on just about everything, from the portions of their feel-good American food to the size of the venue. It's actually the largest Hard Rock Café in the world, with the complex comprising a restaurant/bar area and an onsite live music hall that can fit up to 3,000 people for special events.

    You can find Hard Rock Café on Universal Boulevard. There's no need to purchase a theme park day ticket to access the popular nightlife area of Universal. Charges may apply on the door for certain events, especially if there is a famous rock star booked to play.

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    Location: Universal Orlando Resort, 6050 Universal Blvd, Orlando, FL 32819, USA

    Open: Daily from 8.30 am to midnight

    Phone: +1 407-351-7625


    Once the sun sets, Universal’s CityWalk is one of the busiest places in the area – and for good reason! You can watch great live shows, listen to top musicians, enjoy a meal, shop till late, play mini-golf or simply stroll the avenue and soak up the festive experience. Located in the Universal Orlando complex, it is easy to reach and it free to enter.

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    Location: Universal Orlando Resort, 6000 Universal Blvd, Orlando, FL 32819, USA

    Open: Daily from 8 am to 2.30 am

    Phone: +1 407-363-8000


    The Blue Man Group puts on an outrageous and sensory spectacle in the heart of Universal Orlando Resort. This world-famous group of talented performers combines comedy and theatre into a rock concert and dance party. The namesake upbeat trio of multi-instrumentalists presents several episodes that often calls for your participation, and appeals to pretty much all ages.

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    Location: Universal Orlando Resort, 6000 Universal Blvd, Orlando, FL 32819, USA

    Phone: +1 407-258-3626


    The Groove is a nightclub that hosts resident DJs who are renowned artists in their own rights, including DJ PopRoXxX and M-squared. Designed in the manner of an old movie theatre, the huge space caters to those who want to dance and those who would enjoy the company of friends.

    Live dancers entertain the crowd on podiums alongside very impressive lasers and lighting. Drinks are a little pricey, but that can be expected with most late-night venues in Universal’s CityWalk. The music focuses on commercial dance, party pop and upbeat R’n’B. Located in Universal Orlando CityWalk, The Groove does have a dress code but they are pretty lenient compared to other clubs in Downtown Orlando.

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    Location: Universal Orlando Resort, 6000 Universal Blvd #7641, Orlando, FL 32819, USA

    Open: Daily from 9 pm to 2 am

    Phone: +1 407-224-3663


    Red Coconut Club

    Latino live bands, top 40 hits and a lively crowd are usually what’s in store at Red Coconut Club. Split into 2 floors, you can choose to take a seat upstairs looking out over the night scenes below, or go straight for the dancefloor.

    The décor is very 1950s in theme, but the kitsch fake palms and stars suit the relaxed mood perfectly. There is a cover charge for Red Coconut Club. If you are planning a night out to all the hotspots on CityWalk, consider purchasing a Party Pass to enjoy free entry and exclusive promos on drinks. Ladies nights take place on Thursdays.

    Location: Universal CityWalk, 6000 Universal Blvd, Orlando

    Open: Sunday–Thursday from 8 pm to 2 am, Friday–Saturday from 6 pm to 2 am

    Phone: +1 407-224-3663


    Bob Marley-A Tribute to Freedom

    Bob Marley-A Tribute to Freedom℠ is a themed restaurant and bar dedicated to the undisputed king of reggae music: Bob Marley. Not only has the venue managed to recreate the look and feel of Marley's former house, but the Jamaican theme also continues into the menu with jerk chicken, yucca fries and oxtail soup. Ladies night on Sundays mean there is no cover charge for the fairer sex – they can also enjoy drinks promotions all night.

    Every night, there is a live reggae band performing in the courtyard from 9pm. The Bob Marley Foundation collaborated with Universal to recreate an authentic layout, which is very immersive when rocking to the sounds of Bob (but slightly tempered by the souvenir shop selling T-shirts and beach towels).

    Location: 6000 Universal Blvd, Orlando, FL 32819, USA

    Open: Daily from 4 pm to 2 am

    Phone: +1 407-224-3663


    Rising Star

    Rising Star takes karaoke to a whole other level thanks to a professional band with an encyclopedic knowledge of pop, rock and country hits from the last 60 years. Singing to a large room can be a little daunting to some, but this live music joint even has backing singers to help you.

    As with most late-night bars and clubs in Universal’s CityWalk, there is a cover charge but getting up onstage is free. You simply select the song you want and wait for your turn. Note that there's a live band scheduled for Tuesdays to Saturdays, while Sunday and Monday nights host backup singers with recorded tracks.

    Location: 6000 Universal Blvd, Orlando, FL 32819, USA

    Open: Daily from 8 pm to 2 am

    Phone: +1 407-224-3663


    Margaritaville Restaurant

    Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville is a family-friendly nightlife venue with good-time vibes. Principally a restaurant serving a bar menu of burgers, popcorn shrimp and spicy nachos, all ages are allowed in Margaritaville all day long – there is no curfew.

    For mom and dad, the signature list of cocktails and live music will ensure a lively night out. The great thing about Margaritaville is that live music and shows start early, at a family-friendly time of 6pm.

    Location: 6000 Universal Studios Plaza #704, Orlando, FL 32819, USA

    Open: Sunday–Thursday from 10.30 am to midnight, Friday–Saturday from 10.30 am to 1 am

    Phone: +1 407-224-3663


    BB Kings Blues Club

    For fans of real live blues music, you can do no better than BB Kings Club. One of several branches spread across the US, you will be treated to an atmospheric night of musicians entertaining the crowd with southern blues, inspired by BB King himself. You can enjoy a full bar menu, including a Memphis-style barbeque. BB Kings Club lies south of the Universal Orlando complex at Pointe Orlando.

    Location: 9101 International Dr #2230, Orlando, FL 32819, USA

    Open: Sunday–Thursday from 4 pm to midnight, Friday–Saturday from 11 am to 1 am

    Phone: +1 407-370-4550

    Paul Smith | Compulsive Traveller

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