The Most Incredible Movie Theater in Every State (We’re Big Fans of #43)

Join us on a visual odyssey to the quintessential movie house in your home state.

Sitting at the cinema
Updated May 28, 2024
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From retro drive-ins to century-old theaters, there are some incredible places around the country to catch a flick.

Whether you’re looking for the latest mass releases or indies or hoping for a special screening of a classic, each famed theater has a bit of its own charm and history.

So step up your travel game this year and check out some of the most iconic movie theaters in each state.

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Alabama: The Alabama Theatre (Birmingham)

filins/Adobe projectionist at work in the room

Built in 1927, the Alabama Theater was originally just a “movie palace.”

After a change in ownership and some stunning restorations, it’s now home to many events, including live music, shows, and classic film screenings.

Alaska: Bear Tooth Theatrepub (Anchorage)

Zoriana/Adobe kids enjoying a movie at the cinema

Eat, drink, and watch movies. Bear Tooth Theaterpub in Anchorage offers a full menu of food and drinks so you can chow down (and drink up) while you catch a film.

There’s also a balcony seating area where the under-21 crowd can enjoy booze-free dining.

Arizona: West Wind (Glendale)

Svitlana/Adobe watching a movie in an open air

There’s nothing quite like a drive-in movie. Visitors to West Wind Glendale can check out the latest releases, hit the snack bar, and get cozy in their cars.

The theater sends the sound right to their car stereos or portable FM players.

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Arkansas: Ron Robinson Theater (Little Rock)

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The Ron Robinson Theater is part of the Central Arkansas Library System (CALS) and hosts programs of all sorts.

Enjoy live theater, music, lectures, readings, and a great selection of classic films and documentaries.

California: TCL Chinese Theatre (Los Angeles)

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One of the most iconic movie theaters in the world, TCL Chinese Theatre hosts glamorous events, like Hollywood movie premieres, film festivals, and more.

The Chinese Theater has been a staple in the area since opening its doors in 1927. It’s also home to the world’s largest IMAX auditorium.

Colorado: Landmark Mayan Theater (Denver)

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Built in 1930, the Landmark Mayan Theater is located in Denver’s lively Baker District and is the premiere location for independent films and foreign language cinema.

Visitors can enjoy films on three screens as well as a cafe and seating area upstairs.

Connecticut: Avon Theater Film Center (Stamford)

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The beautiful Avon Theater is known for its selection of independent, art, foreign, and classic films.

The famed Stamford Theater also hosts many other events, such as panel discussions with filmmakers and actors, moderated talks with film experts, and more.

Delaware: Penn Cinema Riverfront IMAX (Wilmington)

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Visitors can prepare for a luxurious movie-going experience at Penn Cinema Riverfront IMAX, where the latest releases are played in decked-out IMAX theaters

Guests can also enjoy a cocktail along with their popcorn, candy, and other theater snacks.

Florida: Tampa Theatre (Tampa)

bernardbodo/Adobe granddaughter in movie theater

Built in 1926, the Tampa Theatre has quite a rich history.

Having just escaped being demolished in the 1970s, the stunning theater lives on and is now host to hundreds of events each year, including a full schedule of new releases and classic film screenings.

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Georgia: Plaza Theatre (Atlanta)

serhiibobyk/Adobe watching a movie at the cinema

The Plaza Theatre in Atlanta has had many ups and downs since opening its doors in 1939, but it’s still going strong.

After several recent upgrades, it now offers a packed schedule of classic, arthouse, and indie films and special events like the Atlanta Film Festival.

Hawaii: Palace Theater (Hilo)

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The historic Palace Theater in Hilo has been a staple in the local community since it opened its doors back in 1925.

Visitors can enjoy screenings of all sorts (from documentaries and arthouse to Oscar-winning films) as well as live theater, music, and more.

Idaho: The Egyptian Theatre (Boise

auremar/aDOBE admittance ticket in cinema lobby

The Egyptian Theatre is one of Boise’s most-loved historical landmarks for its stunning architectural design, stacked schedule of great films (including many beloved classics), and calendar of events — like live music, comedy, and more.

Illinois: Music Box Theatre (Chicago

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Opening its doors just before the Great Depression in 1929, the Music Box Theatre has become a legend in and of itself.

It’s known for showing legendary films, including independent, foreign, cult classics, and more.

Indiana: The Historic Artcraft Theatre (Franklin)

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A registered Historic Place by the state of Indiana, this stunning Art Deco movie house has entertained locals since it opened its doors as a silent movie theater in 1922, and visitors can still check out the classics today.

Iowa: The Varsity Cinema (Des Moines)

Tyler Olson/Adobe woman buying movie tickets

The Varsity prides itself on being Des Moines' go-to theater for film lovers of all sorts.

They offer a stacked screening schedule featuring new releases, arthouse films, international titles, classics, and family films, in addition to hosting special community events.

Kansas: Starlite Drive-In (Wichita)

Omnia Omnibus Media/Adobe Drive in movie theater at sunset

Starlite Drive-In in Wichita screens both classic fan favorites and new releases and even offers a bargain season pass.

Movie-goers can pay a flat fee for the season and bring a whole carload of friends anytime they want to hit up the drive-in.

Kentucky: The Kentucky Theatre (Lexington)

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The stunning and historic Kentucky Theatre prides itself on its eclectic mix of screenings that can keep the whole community entertained — from independent films to midnight “Rocky Horror” screenings to special holiday features.

Louisiana: Prytania Theatre (New Orleans)

bernardbodo/Adobe senior man standing in movie theater lounge holding popcorn and drink

There are actually two Prytania Theatres in the Big Easy — the 100+-year-old single-screen theater in Uptown and a nine-screen, fully stacked cinema located in the French Quarter.

You can catch both classics and major new releases at both.

Maine: Criterion Theatre (Bar Harbor)

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Bar Harbor’s Criterion Theatre first opened back in 1932.

Despite going through many different owners, closures, and renovations in the years since, the theater is still home to a great selection of films, live performances, and community events.

Maryland: The Senator Theatre (Baltimore)

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The Senator in Baltimore may be over 80 years old, but with a recent expansion and major renovations, it's as stunning as ever.

Visitors can find a fantastic selection of new releases and classics playing in its screening rooms.

Massachusetts: Coolidge Corner Theatre (Brookline)

serhiibobyk/Adobe girl sipping her drink in cinema

The Coolidge Theatre was originally a church but was transformed into a stunning Art Deco movie palace in 1933 and has remained open ever since.

These days, guests can still find a great selection of films, including documentaries, international and independent films, and more.

Michigan: Michigan Theater (Ann Arbor)

tirachard/Adobe girl laughing while watching film

Initially opened in 1928 as a vaudeville and movie house, the Michigan Theater has had many lives over the past century,

Today, visitors can catch a great selection of films on one of its four screens while basking in the stunning Art Deco allure of the original.

Minnesota: Riverview Theater (Minneapolis)

Hugo/Adobe popcorn bucket in a retro cinema

The Riverview Theater prides itself on its 1950s-style vibes and decor.

Visitors can still expect to enjoy the latest Hollywood blockbusters, independent films, and plenty of classics in their cozy auditorium.

Mississippi: Elkin Theatre (Aberdeen)

Zoriana/Adobe kids enjoying at the cinema

The historic Elkin Theatre opened in downtown Aberdeen in 1937 and has quite a decorated history.

Dozens of local families came together to buy it and save it from destruction back in the 1980s. Today, it’s still a great place to catch a cheap flick.

Missouri: Regnier Extreme Screen Theatre (Kansas City)

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You won’t find a bigger screen than this one in the area. The Regnier Extreme Screen Theatre, located within Union Station, measures a whopping 80 by 53 feet.

Visitors come from far and wide to screen classics, educational films, and more.

Montana: The Roxy Theater (Missoula)

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In addition to daily screenings of new releases, classics, and independent and foreign films.

The Roxy Theater in Missoula is also home to incredible events year-round, like the Montana Film Festival, Camp Horror, and the International Wildlife Film Festival.

Nebraska: Film Streams' Dundee Theater (Omaha)

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Film Streams’ Dundee Theater is the longest continually running cinema in Omaha and includes two screens: the historic 300-seat Peggy Payne Theater, which streams new releases, and a mini Linder Microcinema, where you can catch art house films or take courses.

Nevada: Brenden Theatres at the Palms (Las Vegas)

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In typical Vegas fashion, Brenden Theatres at the Palms offers an over-the-top movie-going experience.

This includes shockingly massive screens and a full bar featuring movie-themed cocktails to an incredible graffiti art exhibit (inside the theater).

New Hampshire: Red River Theatres (Concord)

olegganko/Adobe kids with popcorn at cinema

A stunning arthouse cinema, Red River Theatres is aptly named after the 1948 John Wayne Western “Red River,” a film about undertaking a nearly impossible quest.

Since opening in 2007, the theatre has served as an ideal spot to catch new releases and classics alike.

New Jersey: The ShowRoom Cinema (Asbury Park)

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Located in Asbury Park’s blossoming downtown, the ShowRoom is dedicated to bringing high-quality films, new releases, classics, and live performances to the area.

While the theater did shut down briefly during the pandemic, it’s back in action with the same lofty ambitions.

New Mexico: The Silco Theater (Silver City)

Zoran Zeremski/Adobe laughing while watching movie

The Silco Theater is now 100 years old.

The beautifully restored Art Deco cinema, which opened in 1923, offers an eclectic selection of new releases and classics — as well as concerts and other community events.

New York: IFC Center (New York City)

Drobot Dean/Adobe happy friends sitting in cinema

Whether you’re looking for classics, seasonal favorites, short films, or a fascinating documentary, IFC Center in the West Village probably has it on deck soon.

The theater, located in one of the city’s most vibrant neighborhoods, was formerly known as the Waverly Theater.

North Carolina: Carolina Theatre (Durham)

serperm73/Adobe family sitting in a movie theater

Originally opened in 1926, the Carolina Theater is home to a huge number of eclectic events — from live music and dance to comedy and lively discussions — as well as a wide range of new releases and classic films.

North Dakota: Fargo Theatre (Fargo)

Andrey Lapshin/Adobe spectators at a theater performance

The Fargo Theatre opened its doors in 1926 as a cinema and vaudeville theatre.

Since then, it has been beautifully restored and serves as a prime destination for catching the top independent and foreign films and many other events like concerts and comedy.

Ohio: The Neon (Dayton)

Scott Griessel/Adobe scared people tossing popcorn

The Neon has undergone several changes in ownership and renovations since it opened in the 1980s.

Today, visitors can find a delightful arthouse cinema with a wide selection of new releases, classics, educational films, and more.

Oklahoma: The Circle Cinema (Tulsa)

Susan Vineyard/Adobe oldest movie theatre

Circle Cinema is Tulsa’s oldest movie theater, having first opened back in 1928.

To this day, the iconic theater offers an eclectic mix of new releases, independent and foreign films, documentaries, classics, and even silent films accompanied by a restored pipe organ.

Oregon: Hollywood Theatre (Portland)

Tetiana/Adobe watching cinema premiere

The Hollywood Theatre is a Portland landmark known for supporting local filmmakers and an eclectic mix of classic and contemporary films.

It also offers much-loved and interesting film series — like Queer Horror, Kung Fu Theater, and more.

Pennsylvania: Bryn Mawr Film Institute (Bryn Mawr)

nyul/Adobe people sitting at movie theater

Just outside of Philadelphia, the Bryn Mawr Film Institute has created a beloved film community where thousands of visitors and members pop by each year to check out a wide range of screenings — from indies and international to alternative films and classics.

Rhode Island: Avon Cinema (Providence)

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A stunning Art Deco theater, Avon Cinema has been a staple in the Providence area since it opened in the 1930s. It’s known as the go-to spot for indie lovers looking for a cozy, retro vibe.

South Carolina: Terrace Theater (Charleston)

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An award-winning independent theater where guests can enjoy beer, wine, and snacks while taking in the best new releases, it’s not surprising that Terrace Theater is a top choice among locals and visitors to the Charleston area alike.

South Dakota: State Theatre (Sioux Falls)

bernardbodo/Adobe couple watching sad movie

Originally built in 1926 as a stunning movie palace showcasing silent film and vaudeville, the State Theatre in Sioux Falls has endured many trials and tribulations.

Today, it stands as a local favorite place to catch classics, new releases, and more.

Tennessee: Franklin Theatre (Franklin)

Niks Ads/Adobe young couple watching movie

This classic movie house opened in 1937 and was a much-loved entertainment destination for decades before closing in 2007.

Fortunately, it was rescued and restored to all its former glory and now offers a stacked events calendar of fascinating films and live music.

Texas: Alamo Drafthouse (Austin)

Drazen/Adobe young woman eats popcorn

Catching a film at an Alamo Drafthouse is not your typical movie experience; it’s more like an incredible movie, dining and drinking experience rolled into one.

The Alamo Drafthouse started in Austin but has now expanded to have theaters across the U.S.

Utah: Broadway Centre Cinemas (Salt Lake City)

LoloStock/Adobe woman eating popcorn in movie theater

Operated by the Salt Lake Film Society, Broadway Centre Cinemas is a lively and thriving movie house that is known to screen new releases.

You can also catch an eclectic mix of indie films, documentaries, classics, and short films.

Vermont: Merrill's Roxy Cinemas (Burlington)

hamara/Adobe barbie movie in astana cinema

Since opening its doors in 2003, Merrill’s Roxy Cinemas has become a staple in downtown Burlington.

They specialize in featuring smaller, thought-provoking films but also screen all the major new releases.

Virginia: Byrd Theatre (Richmond)

Restuccia Giancarlo/Adobe empty red armchairs of a theater ready for a show

For over 90 years, the Byrd Theatre in Richmond has been a staple and a stunning backdrop to catch a great film.

After going largely unaltered in appearance since its debut, it’s both a state and national historic landmark.

Washington: The Rose Theatre (Port Townsend)

Syda Productions/Adobe happy friends watching movie in theater

The Rose Theatre has lived many lives. Originally opened in 1907, it transitioned from a vaudeville playhouse to a live stage, a silent film theater, and a junk store.

Now, restored and renovated, it’s once again an ideal place to catch a flick.

West Virginia: La Belle Theater (South Charleston)

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The La Belle Theater functioned as a movie house throughout much of the 20th century before being converted into a church.

Now, it’s been converted back, restored, and is a great place to catch a classic film for cheap (sometimes, for free!)

Wisconsin: Oriental Theatre (Milwaukee)

InfiniteStudio/Adobe watching a movie and eating popcorn

The Oriental Theatre was designed to look like a “temple of Oriental art” back in 1927.

It’s carried on through many changes and upgrades yet continues to live on as the go-to entertainment hub in the area, including being the anchor theater for the Milwaukee Film Festival.

Wyoming: MovieWorks Cinema (Jackson Hole)

Tyler Olson/Adobe woman checking tickets of family at cinema

Visitors to Jackson Hole can enjoy the best new releases in luxurious comfort at MovieWorks Cinema.

It’s an independently-owned theater that also has plenty to offer by way of snacks and refreshments — including beer, wine, and boozy slushies.

Bottom line

nyul/Adobe Multiple people watching a movie in a theater

Catching a film is a great way to spend an afternoon for cheap (especially if you can catch a matinee) while traveling or if you want to keep more cash in your wallet in your home state.

Many of the iconic theaters on this list also offer free events — including film screenings.

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Laura Gesualdi-Gilmore

Laura Gesualdi-Gilmore is a seasoned freelance writer who also teaches writing courses at Rutgers University. She's based in Jersey City and enjoys travel, live music and, of course, spending quality time with her pup.