Things to do in Los Angeles

Movie Theaters in Los Angeles

Get ready for your close-up! From historic venues to modern luxury, these are the best movie theaters in Los Angeles.

There’s no place on the planet as synonymous with movie making and star power as Hollywood and the surrounding city of LA. See cinematic showpieces in the City of Angels with tickets to these iconic movie theaters in Los Angeles.

Hollywood Theaters

There are plenty of things to do in Los Angeles, but movie theaters are perhaps the most iconic. Columbia Pictures, Paramount, Warner Bros., Universal Pictures, and Walt Disney Studios are all located in Hollywood, meaning the theaters below give you a chance to see some movies a stone’s throw from where they were made. Experience film in its home.

1. TCL Chinese Theatre

On Hollywood Blvd., TCL Chinese Theatre has hosted everything from the 1977 premiere film, the original Star Wars movie, to Academy Award ceremonies. Chinese murals adorn the lobby, the ceiling is a stunningly ornate work of art, and there’s a towering Wurlitzer organ ready to honk along with a faltering soundtrack, should the occasion call for it.

But one of the biggest draws is the collection of some 200 sets of celeb handprints, footprints, and autographs that decorate the concrete area in front of the theater. Everything from Douglas Fairbanks’ digits to Daniel Radcliffe’s wand has been immortalized.

Guests can gawk at these relics as they pass by to view one of the modern-day films currently showing in the world’s largest IMAX auditorium.

Photographer: BP Miller

2. Egyptian Theatre

Become a part of Hollywood history when you make like a starlet and step foot inside the Egyptian Theatre. Since it first began welcoming La La Land’s leading lights in 1922, this theater has been an integral part of the film industry. In fact, the very first Hollywood movie premiere happened here.

From the embellished ceiling much like a pharaoh's breastplate to carved decorations hovering over the screen, every element speaks to the theater’s history and Sid Grauman's original vision.

In 2019, Netflix became the new owner, and they’ve furthered the restorations while updating the visual and audio components. As of late 2023, the Egyptian Theatre is solely focused on special showings and events. These include behind-the-scenes chats with directors and one-time showings of highly anticipated films.

3. Cinerama Dome

Cinerama Dome was a radical concept for movie theaters in Los Angeles when it opened in 1963. Pacific Theatres Inc. saw the dome as a progressive way to construct movie houses, with construction requiring half the budget and half the build time compared to conventional theaters.

The groundbreaking ceremony would’ve attracted mega paparazzi attention in today’s world. A-listers, including Spencer Tracy, Mickey Rooney, and Buddy Hackett, were all on hand.

After closing during the COVID-19 pandemic, the venue plans to reopen in 2024, alongside the Hollywood ArcLight. Local cinephiles are waiting with big bowls of popcorn to see what will be revealed.

Downtown Los Angeles Theaters

The movie theaters and comedy clubs in Los Angeles join a bustling urban area that includes Little Tokyo, Chinatown, and the Arts District. It’s the perfect spot to see and be seen as you put together an itinerary that includes a movie, music, drinks, and avant-garde dining.

4. Regal Cinemas L.A. LIVE

Regal Cinemas L.A. LIVE opened in 2009, which doesn’t give it much historical weight, but the powers that be found a way to make a splash regardless. The launch consisted of one film, Michael Jackson’s This Is It, screened in all 14 auditoriums.

It was quite the experience, thanks in no small part to stadium seating combined with Sony 4K projection and Dolby Digital audio technology that made guests feel like they were dancing back up for the King of Pop.

Regal Cinemas L.A. LIVE is also home to the first 4DX theater in the country. Action flicks and horror movies hit differently when they come with motion seats and special effects, such as wind, fog, rain, and even scent infusions, that create an immersive and possibly terrifying experience.

5. Universal Cinema AMC at CityWalk Hollywood

Seeing a movie at Universal Cinema AMC at CityWalk Hollywood is like being in a silver screen inception. You’re seeing movies in a place where movies are actually made. Not to mention all the other sights on the CityWalk. A state-of-the-art concert venue, oodles of restaurants and bars, and shops perfect for stocking up on souvenirs await.

AMC Theatres is a dream for the over-21 crowd. The Director’s Lounge includes access to a full bar, with a menu containing everything from imported beer and wine to handcrafted cocktails. Enjoy in any one of 18 deluxe auditoriums with power-reclining seats. Or see what select family-friendly or R-rated films look like in the theater’s 7-story IMAX with laser projection.

Photographer: Emanuel Ekstrom

6. Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Los Angeles

Hollywood glam may have its origins in LA, but the Alamo Drafthouse chain comes from a little further east — Austin, Texas, to be exact. Maybe it’s those down-home roots that helped shape the chain’s relaxed approach to moviegoing.

The >Alamo Drafthouse Los Angeles, like other locations, has a full-service menu that includes burgers, pizza, and just-baked chocolate chip cookies that can be delivered straight to your seat.

Oh, and did we mention the microbrews? Every Alamo location has at least 30 beers on tap, plus bottled beer, specialty cocktails, and milkshakes. Menus change with the season and for special events. Pair a holiday movie showing with a Poinsettia Cocktail, and you’ll feel like Santa has already arrived.

West Los Angeles Theaters

West LA is a fairly nebulous area that includes a patchwork of diverse neighborhoods and some of the most interesting theaters in Los Angeles.

7. Nuart Theatre

The Nuart Theatre may be a flagship location for the entire Landmark Theatre chain. But this isn't necessarily the place people come to check out blockbusters. Instead, this Santa Monica Boulevard marvel is more about art house movies, as demonstrated by the long-standing tradition of a midnight showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show every Saturday.

It’s a respectful and ingenious way to pay homage to a piece of Hollywood history. The 1920s theater only holds 303 people, which gives each showing an exclusive feel. Catch indie flicks during their first run. Watch the schedule for $5 retro. Or come by for documentary and foreign language screenings and animation festivals.

8. Los Feliz Theatre

Architect Clifford A. Balch originally designed the Los Feliz Theatre as a single-screen venue. But renovations in the 1990s turned this east-side LA spot into a triplex. The largest screen only serves 144 seats. It makes for a cozy experience, especially during a film Q&A or other special event.

If you’re out for a night on the town, come to Vermont Avenue early. Skylight Books and House of Pies are nearby and ripe for exploration, and the Dresden Lounge is a solid option for after-movie drinks.

9. New Beverly Cinema

Tarantino bought the New Beverly Cinema in 2007, but the theater dates back to the 1920s when it opened as a candy store. Then came a beer parlor, a Jewish community, and a small hiccup when the New Beverly existed as an adult theater before it became a haven for fellow film buffs.

Tarantino’s purchase was inspired by a desire for conservation. He eventually took over full programming duties, and the schedule is now a fascinating mishmash of the director’s own films, movies from his personal collection, and tributes to everything from '90s cinema to mid-century actor Ralph Meeker.

Photographer: Mike Von

10. Vista Theater

Quentin Tarantino doesn’t seem like the type to do anything by half-measures, so it’s no surprise he owns two cool movie theaters in Los Angeles. He purchased the Vista Theater in 2021, with plans to expand the historic single-screen venue by opening a cafe and mini screening room.

It’s a rebirth of sorts for an early 20th-century theater that opened with the double purpose of screening movies and showcasing vaudeville stage acts.

The then-titled Lou Bard Playhouse had 838 seats until the owners removed half to allow for better legroom — all the better for relaxing at surprise modern-day screenings attended by actors and filmmakers, such as Lupita Nyong’o, John Cho, and Anne Hathaway.

11. iPic Theaters Westwood

Put on your fancy pants and treat yourself to a premium theater experience at iPic Theaters Westwood. Instead of being a drive-in, the theater is dine-in.

You can enjoy Oscar-nominated flicks and roles inhabited by the biggest stars in Hollywood while indulging in spicy tuna on crispy rice, buttermilk fried chicken, and a slice of raspberry red velvet cake for dessert. Drinks run the gamut from wines by the glass and draft and bottled beer to mocktails.

If you prefer to dine in full lighting before or after your movie, visit The Tuck Room. The speakeasy vibes inherent in the decor flow over into the whiskey cocktails and a happy hour menu that blends finger food, such as chicken wings, with a more refined burrata and roasted pepper appetizer.

12. Billy Wilder Theater

What’s better than an entire museum dedicated to “the promise of art and ideas to illuminate our lives and build a more just world?" How about a theater that echoes that very same mission?

The Billy Wilder Theater is part of UCLA’s Hammer Museum, and the two ventures dedicate their programming to preserving cinematic history. That includes showing feature films from the last century, all in their original formats.

From silent films to cutting-edge contemporary pictures, all are given equal emphasis and exposure, thanks to Wilder’s collection of specialty screen technology.

Because this is more or less an academic theater, you won’t be eating M&Ms with your movie. The theater doesn’t allow food, but there’s a courtyard outside where you can meet your friends and dissect plot arcs over coffee and doughnuts.

Hollywood Historic Theaters

Get to know Hollywood through theaters that have all passed or are rapidly approaching their centennial birthdays. While visiting historic theaters, consider signing up to Los Angeles Tours to discover more on the city’s history.

13. El Capitan Theatre

The El Capitan Theatre is another member of the famous 1920s club, joining the Chinese and Egyptian theaters in LA. But this icon had a different start as a playhouse rather than a place to watch the newest flicks out of Hollywood. Between its launch in 1926 and its first movie showing in 1941, El Capitan hosted over 120 plays.

The interior is as grand as it comes — carved walls and ceiling, plush velvet drapes, and an intriguing mix of East Indian, English Tudor, and Italian Baroque details mixed throughout the lobby, auditorium, and facade. These original elements have withstood multiple reimaginings of the space and even an earthquake in 1994. Although, there have been updates.

A small exhibit space was added to display film props, and when Disney bought the theater in 1989, they added a soda fountain and store next door.

Speaking of Disney’s ownership, the Mouse House’s masterpieces are all that show here now. You can get early access to new Disney releases, attend associated film events, and book tickets to special events that cater directly to Disney aficionados. You don’t have to come in costume, but we bet nobody would bat an eye if you did.

Photographer: Bailey Alexander

14. Academy Museum of Motion Pictures

You may know the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences from its annual awards show, The Oscars. But in 2021, AMPAS further advanced the motion picture industry by opening the first large-scale love museum in the United States.

The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures has two exhibit areas, a studio (named after Shirley Temple) for workshops, and two theater halls. The David Geffen Theater is large and in charge, with 1,000 seats, while the Ted Mann Theater is smaller, with a 288-person capacity.

Come for film premieres. In the past, House of Gucci, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, Babylon, and Belfast have all debuted here. After, stay to experience gallery exhibits showcasing legends such as Pedro Almodovar and Oscar Micheaux and hot-button film themes, such as the #MeToo movement and climate change.

Independent and Luxury Movie Theaters in LA

You may be able to see some of these in a tour of LA, but we’ve gathered them here for you. See a different side of filmgoing through these theaters that were built outside the box and operate beyond the reach of chain empires.

15. Vidiots & The Eagle Theatre

It’s a video rental store. No, wait, it’s a theater. Actually, Vidiots is both, combining one of the last rental venues (sorry, Blockbuster) with 11,000 square feet of entertainment and educational offerings, plus concessions. It’s the connected Eagle Theatre that facilitates 35mm and DCP projection films.

There’s room for 271 people and state-of-the-art sound, which allows for everything from showings of throwback films to community events.

16. Aero Theatre

Aero Theatre is what happens when an aviation pioneer decides to build a 24-hour movie house for his workers. What was essentially a private venue in the 1940s had an incredibly long run until financial struggles forced closure in 2003.

Thank goodness the nonprofit American Cinematheque stepped in and spearheaded renovations in 2005. Now, the Max Palevsky Theatre operates at a slightly smaller capacity, but with vastly improved aesthetics and tech.

One of the biggest draws is the annual October Dusk-to-Dawn Horrorthon, which involves a marathon of horror flicks, free food, and gorey giveaways.

17. Brain Dead Studios

Hipsters and history lovers — time to relive the glory days! Brain Dead Studios is everything you’d expect from a mid-century movie house that’s been around since it was called Old Time Movies in 1942.

The vibe is all vintage charm, with an attached bookstore and garden patio cafe keeping things cute and cozy. But flashes of modernity make for a comfortable, high-quality experience as you watch old flicks and newer offerings courtesy of daily double features.

18. The Frida Cinema

The Frida Cinema is named after inspirational Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. It honors the Hispanic community around LA-adjacent Santa Ana, as well as Kahlo’s own struggle and perseverance. The theater is set up for inclusivity. An array of tech allows for showing major motion pictures to films from micro-distributors and students.

There’s even an option to play Blu-ray discs and hookup a laptop, which is probably why the theater’s calendar is a sparkling menagerie of films ranging from the obscure to the classic.

Photographer: Matt Gush

The Silver Screen Symphony: LA's Cinematic Love Affair

There’s nothing quite like going to the movies. Experiencing films in movie theaters in Los Angeles, with so many celebrities nearby, is extra special. It’s the same feeling of history and culture colliding that you encounter as one of our guests. Our shows in Los Angeles honor the long-standing company tradition of pushing imagination and creativity to the forefront.

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