Calling All Movie Buffs: It’s Showtime!
Written By: Melissa Mitchell 8 Must-Visit Indie Movie Theaters
Remember when going to a movie was viewed as a luxurious privilege? When weekdays were spent daydreaming of the grand debut on the big screen Friday night, and popcorn and soda were the stuff weekends were made of? With the invention of smart TVs, in-home 3D and the convenience of watching movies in the comfort of your own home, blockbuster megaplexes are leaving something to be desired of late. However, these eight California theaters are taking viewing pleasure to the next level with much more than a large screen and blockbuster hit. From foreign films to shadow cast showings to live performances, these theaters are anything but ordinary. The unique atmosphere, one-of-a-kind performances and reasonable prices (yes!) will make your night out at the movies worth the trip!
Don’t let the modest front fool you; there are wonders to behold inside this exceptional venue. Founded in 2007, this nonprofit movie lovers organization puts the emphasis on film back into the theaters. Among their lineup of atypical showings and series, Cinefamily often couples their films with a variety of enhancements. Whether it be special guests, live performances or parties, Cinefamily strives to create a truly unique night out that can be enjoyed with the community. Like what Cinefamily has to offer (we’re sure you will!)? Make a donation to keep the theater up and running and earn the right to watch some free flicks!
611 N Fairfax Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90036
When you think of stadium seating and cold beers on tap, does the movie theater first come to mind? Well, Downtown Independent has combined those indulgences into one incredible movie-house destination. This trendy arena offers a plethora of viewing pleasures in an upscale, edgy atmosphere. The seemingly endless list of films, comedy, screenings and festivals will make you a frequent visitor to Downtown Independent. Also, don’t miss out on the weekly free events that this theater has to offer!
251 S Main St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Looking for the perfect cinema to bring the kiddos? The New Beverly Cinema offers weekend matinees with the little ones in mind! Matinee prices for both children and adults are $6 which include admission, free child-sized popcorn, as well as a prize raffle. Talk about a fun way to spend the afternoon with the family without breaking the bank! New Bev also shows an array of adult showings, both current and classical. Visit this Cinema on an evening in January to see an extended 187-minute roadshow version of Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful 8 in 35mm.
7165 W Beverly Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Playhouse 7 is one of eight Laemmle theaters located throughout California. Neither overwhelming in size nor grandeur, Playhouse 7 appeals to the everyday movie-goer who is looking for your not-so-everyday film experience. From foreign language documentaries to American independent films, Playhouse 7’s lineup is nothing short of unique. In addition to typical viewings, Laemmle’s lineup includes sing-along programs, operas and ballet recitals.
673 E Colorado Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91101
The Frida Cinema, named after painter Frida Kahlo, exudes an arthouse feel. Upon entry, you’ll find a modestly sized aperture with concessions and colorful art lining the walls. A haven for indie films and documentaries, the Frida provides the opportunity to enjoy wonderful works that you wouldn’t typically catch on the big screen. Looking for some live entertainment? The Frida has had live performances such as the Vagina Monologues and a shadow casted Rocky Horror Picture Show. Be sure to check their website for upcoming events! With only two viewing rooms, this theater offers a smaller, more intimate feel than your traditional blockbuster megaplexes.
305 E 4th St
Santa Ana, CA 92701
Being the only single screen theater in Orange County, the Art Theatre of Long Beach is a novelty in its own right. Recently renovated in 2008 by its current owners, the Art Theatre of Long Beach was restored using the 1934 blueprints, therefore retaining that original charm! Art Theatre is conveniently located amid a spattering of restaurants and shops dubbed Retro Row by the locals. Movie-goers often begin or end their viewing experience at Art Du Vin, a trendy wine bar which is attached to the theatre. From Q&A sessions with directors and filmmakers to live musical performances, Art Theatre offers a variety of entertainment outside of the traditional film box.
2025 E 4th St
Long Beach, CA 90814
This quaint, single screen theater has been up and running since 1945. Located in the heart of Kensington, Ken Cinema shows a variety of restored classics in addition to indie and foreign films, thus appealing to an array of moviegoers. Be sure to check out their website for a list of upcoming screenings and special events!
4016 Adams Ave
San Diego, CA 92116
La Paloma Theatre has been a cornerstone of Encinitas since 1928. One of the oldest remaining theaters in the area, La Paloma’s architecture and grandeur is worth viewing. Offering a mix of both blockbuster and independent films, you’ll find a variety of listings at this vintage spot. Located conveniently near the Encinitas Coaster station allows you to step off the train and into this yesteryear atmosphere. Stop for a pint next door at the D Street Bar before you indulge in some visual delights at La Paloma.
471 S Coast Hwy
Encinitas, CA 92024
L I G H T S /// Camera, Action: These 8 SoCal Movie Theaters Are Just the Right Amount of Indie.