In Los Angeles, the lines between reality and fiction are always blurred. Most Angelenos will spend a portion of their days competing with A-Listers for a parking spot, rubbing shoulders with the Hollywood elite at Coachella or navigating film sets spread out on every corner. The boulevards of this city, on some level, are the birthplace of American motion pictures. So it’s only reasonable to expect top-tier places to catch a film, and these are some of the best movie theaters in Los Angeles to do that:
1. The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures
What would the premier, first-of-its-kind motion pictures museum be if it didn’t have one of the best cinemas in town? This new landmark museum, designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano, has exceeded expectations on every level. And its screening rooms are no exception. The 966-seat David Geffen Theater, covered from floor to ceiling in a red velvety material, makes for one grand and unforgettable experience where members can catch the latest flicks. Then there’s the elegant green Ted Mann accommodating films including 16mm, 35mm, and 70mm. It also has laser projection supporting Dolby Vision making the schedule of Oscar-winning films and rare historical films really come to life.
Location: 6067 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90036
2. New Beverly Cinema
When our television sets took on the form of desktops or hand-held devices, online streaming all but wiped out cinemagoing—for a while. However, nostalgia will always draw us back to the original format. Being immersed in a darkened room full of people, shuffling in their seats, gently rummaging around a popcorn box and experiencing art together, will never die. But the theater, owned by Oscar-winning director Quinten Tarantino, goes a step further when it comes to honoring cinematic history by ensuring you’ll only ever watch films in 35mm. Not much has changed since Tarantino took over (including the prices) and to add to that, you may just get to watch something from his private collection. I
If you like this cinema style, keep your eye on his latest purchase, the Vista Theatre.
Location: 7165 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles CA 90036
3. El Capitan
Speaking of nostalgia, El Capitan is the best cinema Los Angeles has to offer for any cinephile looking to relive Disney’s glory days. This opulent historic theater built in the 1920s is where you can catch the best of classics and first-run flicks from Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm Marvel hits. Prices are a little steep, but that includes a small musical show—the 2,500-pipe organ played before each show.
Location: 6838 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, CA 90028
4. TLC Chinese Theatre
Stepping into the iconic 932-seater theater may be at the top of any tourist itinerary, but the swarm of hawkers and out-of-towners posing with Hollywood handprints is all part of the charm. To add to that it boasts one of the world’s largest IMAX auditoriums and truly astounding architecture. It’s the complete Los Angeles cinema experience and in some ways, it’s a gem hiding in plain sight.
Location: 6925 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90028
5. Alamo Drafthouse
Alamo Drafthouse is a cinema chain that prides itself on being a destination for cinema lovers by cinema lovers—and the passion is evident in the quality of curation and experience. Movies, booze, food and zero-tolerance for texting and chattering? This is cinema heaven.
Location: 700 W 7th St Ste. U240, Los Angeles, CA 90017, United States
6. Nuart Theatre
Nuart Theatre is less of a cinema and more of a thriving entertainment and cultural hub for the film industry and film buffs. If Indie and art house rarities are your things, then welcome to your happy place.
Location: 11272 Santa Monica Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90025
7. Los Feliz Theatre
Step through its historic Art Deco doors and be transported straight to the Golden Age of show business. Vintage Cinemas brings you the very best of a bygone era combined with the seamless integration of modern innovation. It’s another brilliant project by American Cinematheque that has brought Los Feliz 3 back to life with a brilliant selection of films.
Location: 1822 N Vermont AveLos Angeles, CA 90027
8. Aero Theatre
This single-screen Streamline Moderne-styled theatre, designed by architect R.M. Woolpert, opened doors in 1940 and simply exudes old-world glamor and charm. American Cinematheque programs the films at this movie house and features everything from restorations and historical classics to retrospectives.
Location: 1822 N Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027
9. IPIC Westwood
IPIC is probably the most luxe cinema in Los Angeles. If plush leather recliners, top-shelf alcohol and fine dining in the dark sound like your ideal way to watch a film, this is the spot. It’s what you’d imagine a private cinema in a Beverly Hills mansion to be like.
Location: 10840 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles 90024
Of course, few movie theaters in Los Angeles are yet to reopen, so keep an eye on this list for updates.