Unique Places to Watch a Movie in Hollywood
We Hollywood citizens adore the Arclight and the TCL Chinese Theatre for a satisfying film-going experience. But did you know our neighborhood is full of unique single-screen venues for a one-of-a-kind night at the movies?
Ranging from free to premium, these eight neighborhood screens gather us around current releases, cult classics, genre favorites, and special (even historic) settings.
Frances Howard Goldwyn - Hollywood Regional Branch Library
1623 Ivar Avenue (between Hollywood Blvd and Selma Ave)
The Frank Gehry-designed Frances Howard Goldwyn library in Hollywood. (Photo by Gary Leonard)
Accessibility: wheelchair accessible
Our local library has a full calendar of events each month; storytime with the kids, Shakespeare readings for grownups, classes, workshops… and movies! They show documentaries as well as narrative features, typically on Wednesday afternoons. Check the library’s events calendar to see what’s up.
6464 Sunset Blvd (Sunset and Wilcox)
Arena Cinelounge hosts unique screenings and events. (Courtesy photo)
Tickets: $10 matinee, $16 prime
Snacks: Gourmet popcorn in 9 flavors, plus fountain drinks and candy
Accessibility: ADA compliant; headphones for the hearing impaired; some films have closed captioning (check the title page to confirm)
This boutique art house cinema spreads the love of film, presenting independent features, current mainstream releases, and hosting live events every night of the week. The Cinelounge opened in 2011 and is eager to consider new work; if you’re a filmmaker booking your own local screening, contact them through the website!
The Egyptian Theatre
6712 Hollywood Blvd (Hollywood and Las Palmas)
The Egyptian was built by showman Sid Grauman and real estate developer Charles E. Toberman, who subsequently built the nearby El Capitan Theatre and Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard. (Photo by Howard Wise)
Tickets:$12, free events
The historic Egyptian Theatre is a movie palace built in 1922 during the silent film era. The American Cinematheque now produces film events here, including in-person tributes and conversations, film retrospectives, new movie premieres, advanced screenings, and film festivals such as Beyond Fest and Noir City: Hollywood.
The Egyptian is one of only four remaining US theaters projecting 35mm (including nitrate film), 70mm, as well as DCP. Check the website for monthly $9 tours.
6838 Hollywood Blvd (at Highland)
The refurbished El Capitan Theatre features a large Wurlitzer theatre organ originally installed in San Francisco's Fox Theatre in 1929. (Photo by Gary Leonard)
Tickets: Adults $16, Kids/Seniors $13, VIP $23, group rate for 20+
Snacks: popcorn and sodas
Accessibility: Limited ADA seating; service animals allowed; listening devices, closed captioning devices and descriptive narrative devices are available at no cost and require a driver's license or credit card as security
Converted from a playhouse to a movie theater in 1941, El Capitan is one of the three theatrical and architectural legacies of Charles Toberman and Sid Grauman. Since 1991, it has showcased Disney films in an auditorium that is decorated to match, showing off props and costumes in a special display area off the lobby.
There is even a pre-show: usually a short performance or display preceding the film - in addition to the vivacious medley of Disney tunes played on the 1920’s Wurlitzer pipe organ.
1615 Vine Street (between Hollywood and Selma)
Just half a block from the intersection of Hollywood and Vine, the Montalban Theatre has survived alterations and changing times to remain at the forefront of entertainment. (Courtesy photo)
Tickets: $18 for chairs, more for love seats
Snacks: Umami burger, popcorn, plus bar and full kitchen
Accessibility: No elevators
For your open-air film enjoyment - complete with a large projection screen, noise cancelling headphones, and even blankets - the roof of The Montalbán has it covered. Curating Hollywood classics, cult favorites, select current releases, premieres and special presentations with cast and crew..
Doors open at 6, allowing film-goers to enjoy a game of giant Jenga or take selfies in the Simple Booth area. The spring season begins in April, so check back for calendar updates!
Rooftop Cinema Club
6121 Sunset Blvd (3rd floor access off El Centro Ave)
Rooftop Cinema Club's program is hand-picked with a personal touch and features everything from cult films, to classics, to new releases. (Courtesy photo)
Snacks: bottomless popcorn and movie snacks, plus full bar and food menu
Accessibility: 21+, wheelchair access from ground floor to the 3rd.
From the top of Neuehouse, the Rooftop Cinema Club offers curated classics, cult films, new releases, and special events involving games, prizes, talent Q&As, sing-alongs and premieres. Seating includes wireless headphones, adjustable deckchairs with pillows (for one or for two), and blankets. Check the calendar for upcoming shows!
6360 Sunset Blvd, on Sunset between Ivar and Vine
The Cinerama Dome was declared a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument in 1998. (Courtesy photo)
Snacks: Arclight concessions and full bar
Accessibility: Wheelchair seating with seats for both companions using wheelchairs and companions not using wheelchairs; accessible paths of travel and comfortable space in rest rooms, restaurants, and cafés; assistive listening headsets and closed-caption devices for all digital movies with closed captioning available; headsets and caption devices are available upon request at the box office and ticket-taker stand for each theater
The Dome's unique size and shape seats 800 and presents distinct technical differences from the newer ArcLight Hollywood black-box auditoriums, with 44 surround speakers and a deeply curved, 126 degree screen to get the action as close to viewers as possible. Cinematic historians will appreciate the three restored Cinerama projectors, and the Dome can still play 3-strip Cinerama with 7-channel Cinerama Stereophonic, 35mm Magnetic sound.
Check the promotion page specific to the Dome in order to see what’s screening there (as opposed to the other Arclight auditoriums).
Grauman’s Chinese Theatre (NOT TCL 6)
6925 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, CA
The TCL Chinese Theatre is the most iconic movie palace in the world. (Photo by Gary Leonard)
Tickets: specify IMAX (Screen 7) - $20 Matinee / $21.75 Prime Time
Snacks: standard concessions - popcorn, hot dogs, fountain drinks
Accessibility: closed caption, audio listening devices
Since 1927, the TCL Chinese Theatre has hosted over 50 events each year: prominent red carpet movie premieres, imprint ceremonies, and film festivals in addition to screening new releases. Possibly best known for the Forecourt of the Stars, showcasing the cement hand and footprints of major movie stars across the ages, the Chinese Theatre is now the world’s largest IMAX auditorium! Check the TCL calendar for movie tickets.
VIP tours of the Chinese Theater are available daily for $18.
What about those footprints? Seeing-Stars.com keeps a calendar of the sporadically-scheduled imprint ceremonies. As of this post, Lily Tomlin is up next on April 17, 2020!
Did you learn about any movie-viewing opportunities that you hadn’t caught before? Or is there anything we missed?
With eight unique screens in town, there’s bound to be one near you; make plans to go and see a movie this weekend!
Cortney Matz is a freelance writer, musician and amateur baking enthusiast living in Hollywood. She happily blogs for Film Independent and Lunacy Productions, in addition to this fine publication.