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17 of LA’s most glorious movie theaters

From modern multiplexes to the opulent cinemas of old

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No other city is as closely associated with the movies as Los Angeles—the epicenter of the American film industry and the site of gala premieres and award shows watched around the world. It stands to reason, then, that the city would boast some marvelous venues for taking in a matinee (or two)—and it does. This map documents some of the best places in Los Angeles to catch a film, from historic and ornate movie palaces to modern cineplexes perfect for taking in the latest blockbuster.

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1. TCL Chinese Theatre

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6801 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028
(323) 461-3331
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Master showman Sid Grauman spared no expense when constructing his one-of-a-kind Chinese Theatre in 1927, importing stone figures, bells, pagodas, and sundry Chinese artifacts to give the venue a sense of extravagant grandeur.

Today, the theatre still plays host to regular red carpet premieres, while drawing countless tourists to its famous forecourt featuring the handprints and footprints of Hollywood icons. Visitors who choose to stay for a showing might be surprised to discover the Chinese still offers a viewing experience that's hard to beat. Renovated in 2013 by new owner TCL, the main screening room now boasts a massive 94-by-46-foot screen and stadium seating, along with all the decorative flourish for which Grauman was known.

The exterior of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. There are red columns and a green thatched roof. Shutterstock

2. ArcLight Hollywood

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6360 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028
(323) 464-4226

For the past decade-and-a-half, ArcLight Hollywood has been providing a comfortable, well-organized, and expensive moviegoing experience. The state-of-the-art chain now has locations around Southern California, but the Hollywood spot is still the place to beat—if only because the experience of seeing a film in the Buckminster Fuller-inspired Cinerama Dome is so difficult to replicate anywhere else. The iconic dome was built in 1963 and was restored by ArcLight in the early 2000s.

A white-colored dome against a light blue sky. In front is a sign reading “Pacific’s Cinerama Theatre” Shutterstock

3. The Egyptian Theatre

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6712 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028
(323) 461-2020
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Sid Grauman’s first theater in Hollywood, the Egyptian, opened in 1922, just a month before the discovery of King Tut’s tomb set off an Egyptian-style craze in art and architecture nationwide (see the Vista). The theater underwent a massive renovation in 1998 and today hosts screenings of classic films and talks by prominent filmmakers and actors.

The exterior of a theatre. The facade is tan stone. There are Egyptian pharaoh heads above columns on both sides of the door. Shutterstock

4. Historic Broadway theaters

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615 S Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90014
(213) 239-0951
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Downtown Los Angeles was once home to a world-renowned row of movie palaces rivaling the great theaters and opera houses of eastern U.S. cities and beyond. Now, several of those venues have been refurbished to their historic splendor. The Los Angeles, Orpheum, Palace, Tower, United Artists (now the Theatre at the Ace Hotel), and Million Dollar theaters are grouped together here simply because films don't play there all that often. Stay alert for news about screenings, because tickets go quickly.

A theatre marquee with red, purple, blue, and green neon lights. The words on the marquee read Palace Rushmore Nov 21. Shutterstock

5. Vista Theatre

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4473 Sunset Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(323) 660-6639
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Originally called the Lou Bard Playhouse, the Vista opened in 1923 and was designed by prolific theater architect Lewis A. Smith. The charmingly incongruous building features a Spanish Revival-style exterior and an Ancient Egypt-themed interior (the Los Angeles Conservancy notes that the 1922 discovery of King Tut’s tomb might have inspired a few last minute design changes). With only one screen, the Vista's primary appeals are its historic aesthetic, comparatively low prices, and 35 mm film projector.

The upper portion of a red-orange-colored building with a green neon sign that reads “Vista” Shutterstock

6. Landmark Theatres

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10850 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90064
(310) 470-0492
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You'll find frequent guest speakers and rotating displays of costumes and movie memorabilia at this Westside destination, where movies often play weeks prior to their national release dates. There’s also an attached wine bar that guests are welcome to treat as an upscale concession stand.

7. Fox Theater, Westwood Village

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Opened in 1931, the historic Fox Theater in Westwood Village (now operated as the Regency Village Theatre) is most recognizable for its distinctive tower, built in an unusual blend of Art Deco and Spanish-revival styles. The UCLA-adjacent theatre can seat more than 1,300 in its spacious screening room and frequently hosts red carpet premiere events.

The top of a theatre which is a tower. The sign at the top reads Fox. Shutterstock

8. Nuart Theater

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11272 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90025
(310) 281-8223
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For some moviegoers, the most important question about a theater is: "Does it have weekly screenings of Rocky Horror Picture Show?" At the Nuart, the answer is yes. A magnet for film buffs, the theater dates to 1931 and has been operated by Landmark since the 1970s. Now it screens a mix of independent films and restorations of classics or overlooked features from years past.

The exterior of a theater. There is a theater marquee. The words on the sign read Nuart and John Carpenter’s The Fog.
Nuart.
Jenna Chandler

9. Lumiere Music Hall

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9036 Wilshire Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
(310) 478-3836

Beverly Hills was once home to a vibrant theater district where the city’s many celebrity residents could gather to watch themselves on the big screen (the long gone Beverly Theatre played the home movies of matinee idols on opening night). Now, the Music Hall on Wilshire Boulevard is the only theater left that regularly screens films. Operated until November by popular art house chain Laemmle, the theater is now in the hands of a dedicated group of former employees.

10. El Capitan Theatre

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6838 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028
(323) 467-7674
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The El Capitan often gets overshadowed by the Chinese Theatre across the street, but this little venue is impressive in its own right. Also opened by Sid Grauman, the theater was designed by Morgan, Walls, and Clements—the firm behind several other LA landmarks, including the Wiltern. It originally served as a live theater venue, but deserves a place on any list of historic movie theaters as the place where Citizen Kane made its world premiere in 1941.

The theater was bought and refurbished by Disney subsidiary Buena Vista Pictures Distribution in the 1990s. Its family-friendly screenings frequently include appearances by costumed characters.

An ornate marquee with a gilded frame. It reads “El Capitan.” Shutterstock

11. AMC Universal CityWalk 19 (LA)

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100 Universal City Plaza
Universal City, CA 91608
(818) 508-0711
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Universal Citywalk may be catered more for tourists than for locals, but the revamped movie theater there is as good a place as any to see the latest blockbuster. Equipped with state-of-the-art digital projectors, deafening Dolby Atmos sound systems, and pitch black theaters, it’s one of the better venues for a purely escapist moviegoing experience. It’s also surprisingly easy to get to on public transit. Just take the Red Line to the Universal City station and cross Lankershim to get on the free shuttle up to the Citywalk.

12. New Beverly Cinema

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7165 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 938-4038
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The eclectic rotation of cinema classics, under-appreciated gems, and kitschy exploitation films screened at the newly reopened New Beverly includes a steady diet of Quentin Tarantino flicks. That makes sense, as the filmmaker owns the place (and can be spotted in the audience from time to time).

The Beverly Boulevard building that houses the theater has been around since 1929, but served as a candy store, a nightclub, and a live theater venue before eventually becoming a movie house in the 1950s.

A theater marquee against a sky colored purple and orange in the sunset. The marquee reads “In 35 mm Rodriquez and Tarantino Grindhouse” Shutterstock

13. Aero Theatre

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1328 Montana Ave
Santa Monica, CA 90403
(310) 260-1528
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Operated by American Cinematheque, which also manages the Egyptian, the Aero plays a similar mix of restored classics. The theater was developed by the Douglas Aircraft Company as part of a larger commercial development built to serve employees of the company’s Santa Monica factory. It opened in 1940 and was reopened in its current form in 2005.

14. Paramount Drive-In Theater

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7770 Rosecrans Ave
Paramount, CA 90723
(562) 630-7469
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A relic of American culture at its most auto-centric, the drive-in concept is weather-dependent, relies on an inefficient sound system, and only works at night. Still, it’s hard to deny the nostalgic charm they possess.

This classic drive-in reopened 2014. The twin screen venue shows two double features every night—rain or shine—and is easily one of the most economical options for viewing first-run features in the LA area. For a more vintage feel, check out the Vineland Drive-in in City of Industry, which has been operating for more than six decades.

15. Downtown Independent

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251 S Main St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 617-1033
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For a mix of edgy avant garde films, cult classics, and festival fare, check out the Downtown Independent. Housed in an architecturally striking building in the heart of Downtown LA, the theater was constructed on the footprint of a 1920s movie house and still retains some of the older theater’s original walls.

16. Regency Academy Cinemas

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1003 E Colorado Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91106
(626) 229-9400
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LA has some great theaters, but most aren’t cheap, and sometimes it pays to wait a bit for new releases to hit this low-key second-run theater in Pasadena. Built in 1925, the Academy was designed by Vista architect Lewis A. Smith with an Egyptian theme. Remodeled several times since then, it now has a bland strip mall-style facade, but a few older details can still be spotted on the interior. Plus, the tickets are $3.50 for an evening show.

17. Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Downtown Los Angeles

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700 W 7th St Ste. U240
Los Angeles, CA 90017
(213) 217-9027
Visit Website

Texas-based movie theater chain Alamo Drafthouse opened a long-awaited Downtown LA outpost earlier this year. Already the venue is one of the very best places to do dinner and a movie at the same time. From the theater’s comfortable seats, you can place food and drink orders that waiters will unobtrusively bring to you during the film.

For those in search of a more interactive moviegoing experience, the theater also hots special screenings at which costumes and “rowdy” behavior are encouraged.

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1. TCL Chinese Theatre

6801 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028
The exterior of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. There are red columns and a green thatched roof. Shutterstock

Master showman Sid Grauman spared no expense when constructing his one-of-a-kind Chinese Theatre in 1927, importing stone figures, bells, pagodas, and sundry Chinese artifacts to give the venue a sense of extravagant grandeur.

Today, the theatre still plays host to regular red carpet premieres, while drawing countless tourists to its famous forecourt featuring the handprints and footprints of Hollywood icons. Visitors who choose to stay for a showing might be surprised to discover the Chinese still offers a viewing experience that's hard to beat. Renovated in 2013 by new owner TCL, the main screening room now boasts a massive 94-by-46-foot screen and stadium seating, along with all the decorative flourish for which Grauman was known.

6801 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028

2. ArcLight Hollywood

6360 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028
A white-colored dome against a light blue sky. In front is a sign reading “Pacific’s Cinerama Theatre” Shutterstock

For the past decade-and-a-half, ArcLight Hollywood has been providing a comfortable, well-organized, and expensive moviegoing experience. The state-of-the-art chain now has locations around Southern California, but the Hollywood spot is still the place to beat—if only because the experience of seeing a film in the Buckminster Fuller-inspired Cinerama Dome is so difficult to replicate anywhere else. The iconic dome was built in 1963 and was restored by ArcLight in the early 2000s.

6360 W Sunset Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028

3. The Egyptian Theatre

6712 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028
The exterior of a theatre. The facade is tan stone. There are Egyptian pharaoh heads above columns on both sides of the door. Shutterstock

Sid Grauman’s first theater in Hollywood, the Egyptian, opened in 1922, just a month before the discovery of King Tut’s tomb set off an Egyptian-style craze in art and architecture nationwide (see the Vista). The theater underwent a massive renovation in 1998 and today hosts screenings of classic films and talks by prominent filmmakers and actors.

6712 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028

4. Historic Broadway theaters

615 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90014
A theatre marquee with red, purple, blue, and green neon lights. The words on the marquee read Palace Rushmore Nov 21. Shutterstock

Downtown Los Angeles was once home to a world-renowned row of movie palaces rivaling the great theaters and opera houses of eastern U.S. cities and beyond. Now, several of those venues have been refurbished to their historic splendor. The Los Angeles, Orpheum, Palace, Tower, United Artists (now the Theatre at the Ace Hotel), and Million Dollar theaters are grouped together here simply because films don't play there all that often. Stay alert for news about screenings, because tickets go quickly.

615 S Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90014

5. Vista Theatre

4473 Sunset Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90027
The upper portion of a red-orange-colored building with a green neon sign that reads “Vista” Shutterstock

Originally called the Lou Bard Playhouse, the Vista opened in 1923 and was designed by prolific theater architect Lewis A. Smith. The charmingly incongruous building features a Spanish Revival-style exterior and an Ancient Egypt-themed interior (the Los Angeles Conservancy notes that the 1922 discovery of King Tut’s tomb might have inspired a few last minute design changes). With only one screen, the Vista's primary appeals are its historic aesthetic, comparatively low prices, and 35 mm film projector.

4473 Sunset Dr
Los Angeles, CA 90027

6. Landmark Theatres

10850 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90064

You'll find frequent guest speakers and rotating displays of costumes and movie memorabilia at this Westside destination, where movies often play weeks prior to their national release dates. There’s also an attached wine bar that guests are welcome to treat as an upscale concession stand.

10850 W Pico Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90064

7. Fox Theater, Westwood Village

Los Angeles, CA 90024
The top of a theatre which is a tower. The sign at the top reads Fox. Shutterstock

Opened in 1931, the historic Fox Theater in Westwood Village (now operated as the Regency Village Theatre) is most recognizable for its distinctive tower, built in an unusual blend of Art Deco and Spanish-revival styles. The UCLA-adjacent theatre can seat more than 1,300 in its spacious screening room and frequently hosts red carpet premiere events.

8. Nuart Theater

11272 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025
The exterior of a theater. There is a theater marquee. The words on the sign read Nuart and John Carpenter’s The Fog.
Nuart.
Jenna Chandler

For some moviegoers, the most important question about a theater is: "Does it have weekly screenings of Rocky Horror Picture Show?" At the Nuart, the answer is yes. A magnet for film buffs, the theater dates to 1931 and has been operated by Landmark since the 1970s. Now it screens a mix of independent films and restorations of classics or overlooked features from years past.

11272 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90025

9. Lumiere Music Hall

9036 Wilshire Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90211

Beverly Hills was once home to a vibrant theater district where the city’s many celebrity residents could gather to watch themselves on the big screen (the long gone Beverly Theatre played the home movies of matinee idols on opening night). Now, the Music Hall on Wilshire Boulevard is the only theater left that regularly screens films. Operated until November by popular art house chain Laemmle, the theater is now in the hands of a dedicated group of former employees.

9036 Wilshire Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90211

10. El Capitan Theatre

6838 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028
An ornate marquee with a gilded frame. It reads “El Capitan.” Shutterstock

The El Capitan often gets overshadowed by the Chinese Theatre across the street, but this little venue is impressive in its own right. Also opened by Sid Grauman, the theater was designed by Morgan, Walls, and Clements—the firm behind several other LA landmarks, including the Wiltern. It originally served as a live theater venue, but deserves a place on any list of historic movie theaters as the place where Citizen Kane made its world premiere in 1941.

The theater was bought and refurbished by Disney subsidiary Buena Vista Pictures Distribution in the 1990s. Its family-friendly screenings frequently include appearances by costumed characters.

6838 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028

11. AMC Universal CityWalk 19 (LA)

100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608

Universal Citywalk may be catered more for tourists than for locals, but the revamped movie theater there is as good a place as any to see the latest blockbuster. Equipped with state-of-the-art digital projectors, deafening Dolby Atmos sound systems, and pitch black theaters, it’s one of the better venues for a purely escapist moviegoing experience. It’s also surprisingly easy to get to on public transit. Just take the Red Line to the Universal City station and cross Lankershim to get on the free shuttle up to the Citywalk.

100 Universal City Plaza
Universal City, CA 91608

12. New Beverly Cinema

7165 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036
A theater marquee against a sky colored purple and orange in the sunset. The marquee reads “In 35 mm Rodriquez and Tarantino Grindhouse” Shutterstock

The eclectic rotation of cinema classics, under-appreciated gems, and kitschy exploitation films screened at the newly reopened New Beverly includes a steady diet of Quentin Tarantino flicks. That makes sense, as the filmmaker owns the place (and can be spotted in the audience from time to time).

The Beverly Boulevard building that houses the theater has been around since 1929, but served as a candy store, a nightclub, and a live theater venue before eventually becoming a movie house in the 1950s.

7165 Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036

13. Aero Theatre

1328 Montana Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90403

Operated by American Cinematheque, which also manages the Egyptian, the Aero plays a similar mix of restored classics. The theater was developed by the Douglas Aircraft Company as part of a larger commercial development built to serve employees of the company’s Santa Monica factory. It opened in 1940 and was reopened in its current form in 2005.

1328 Montana Ave
Santa Monica, CA 90403

14. Paramount Drive-In Theater

7770 Rosecrans Ave, Paramount, CA 90723

A relic of American culture at its most auto-centric, the drive-in concept is weather-dependent, relies on an inefficient sound system, and only works at night. Still, it’s hard to deny the nostalgic charm they possess.

This classic drive-in reopened 2014. The twin screen venue shows two double features every night—rain or shine—and is easily one of the most economical options for viewing first-run features in the LA area. For a more vintage feel, check out the Vineland Drive-in in City of Industry, which has been operating for more than six decades.

7770 Rosecrans Ave
Paramount, CA 90723

15. Downtown Independent

251 S Main St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

For a mix of edgy avant garde films, cult classics, and festival fare, check out the Downtown Independent. Housed in an architecturally striking building in the heart of Downtown LA, the theater was constructed on the footprint of a 1920s movie house and still retains some of the older theater’s original walls.

251 S Main St
Los Angeles, CA 90012

16. Regency Academy Cinemas

1003 E Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91106

LA has some great theaters, but most aren’t cheap, and sometimes it pays to wait a bit for new releases to hit this low-key second-run theater in Pasadena. Built in 1925, the Academy was designed by Vista architect Lewis A. Smith with an Egyptian theme. Remodeled several times since then, it now has a bland strip mall-style facade, but a few older details can still be spotted on the interior. Plus, the tickets are $3.50 for an evening show.

1003 E Colorado Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91106

17. Alamo Drafthouse Cinema Downtown Los Angeles

700 W 7th St Ste. U240, Los Angeles, CA 90017

Texas-based movie theater chain Alamo Drafthouse opened a long-awaited Downtown LA outpost earlier this year. Already the venue is one of the very best places to do dinner and a movie at the same time. From the theater’s comfortable seats, you can place food and drink orders that waiters will unobtrusively bring to you during the film.

For those in search of a more interactive moviegoing experience, the theater also hots special screenings at which costumes and “rowdy” behavior are encouraged.

700 W 7th St Ste. U240
Los Angeles, CA 90017