Everyone loves a good movie, but some of us more than others. Why not enjoy cult classics and indie dramas alike in comfort, style, and prestige? There are dozens of strange, beautiful, and historic theaters in this country so here are a few prime examples of what’s out there for your next group trip.
Cinespia - Hollywood, CA
Sometimes “unique” can be used as a nicer word for “weird” or “different” as it is in the case of Hollywood’s Cinespia Theater. Where better to watch movies, though, than in the city built on film? Arrive at dusk at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery or at the historic Cinespia downtown location with beautiful Gothic architecture and dark woodwork around the vaulted ceilings and upper-level seating. Instead of a drive-in theater, Cinespia’s outdoor location is a sit-in. Bring a pillow and blanket to watch The Godfather and other movies near the celebrity tombstones of Johnny Ramone, Jayne Mansfield, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. and more. It may be a little weird but that makes it all the more memorable.
Alamo Drafthouse Cinema - Austin, TX
The Alamo Drafthouse is a unique, sometimes interactive theater devoted to movie fans. Every row of seats has it’s own bar table where you may eat, drink, and be merry but not too loudly. Talking and other noisy disruptions are not allowed at the Alamo. This is a theater for mature movie fans to let loose with film festivals, signature series, movie sing-alongs, and “quote-alongs” with films like Super Troopers, Clue, and Rocky Horror Picture Show. Chances are you've seen these movies a thousand times before, so have a beer and see it with a bunch of strangers who love repeating quotes as much as you do.
Big Picture - Seattle, WA
Show up in style and feel like a movie star walking into the luxurious Big Picture Theater in Seattle. With a 1880s French bar, fully stocked, this over-21 theater is a prime destination for group meetings and parties. Several intimate lounge areas allow you to recline in comfort before the picture begins and then you can recline with plenty of legroom in the comfortable new theater seats. A regular destination for movie stars as well as the average Joe, Big Picture Theater is a premier luxury movie-viewing destination.
TCL Chinese Theater - Los Angeles, CA
The Chinese Theater in Los Angeles may very well be described as a tourist attraction but its iconic facade and historic presence in the city of movies practically make this theater a requirement. Walk along the sidewalks imprinted with the handprints and names of your favorite stars, marvel at the magnificent Grauman’s ballroom, and then head into the luscious theater to catch an old movie or a new favorite. With premieres and events constantly taking place, the Chinese Theater is never dull and always fabulous.
Castro Theatre - San Francisco, CA / The Senator - Baltimore, MD
Some of the best theaters in the country are considered landmarks but that doesn't necessarily make them excessively good theaters. There are some, however, that go above and beyond the mark of greatness. Come by one of these landmark theaters to experience movies like never before.
Originally built in 1922, the Castro Theatre in San Francisco has been labeled a historical landmark. While the outside was designed to resemble a Mexican cathedral, the interior is both elegant and dramatic with two grand staircases, a thick red curtain, and an operational Wurlitzer organ. While you should visit just to see the theater’s antique beauty, Castro also hosts fantastic movie events like sing-alongs and other interactive film programs as well as new, popular movies.
Another beautiful example of a landmark gem is The Senator in Baltimore, Maryland. Built in 1939, The Senator still maintains its original 40-foot silver screen, art deco aesthetic, and plush decor reminiscent of the golden age of film. See your favorite movies with the theater’s special viewings or see new films daily from your own private rented booth. The Senator also hosts viewings of The Met opera’s newest productions. This is a gorgeous building with a history to match its age.
Try out an interactive film viewing, sit in the grass among celebrity tombstones, or in plush comfort as you sip down a cocktail. Get together with other movie lovers and have some fun. Whether you are in town for a birthday party, wedding, business meeting, graduation getaway, or senior group trip, a movie is never a bad idea.