11 Historic Theaters in the U.S. Still Showing Movies

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Netflix, Redbox, 20-screen movie theaters with state of the art equipment—gone are the days of the classic cinema. Or are they really gone? No, they aren’t. Despite many movie palaces and historic structures coming painfully close to being destroyed, advocates fought for the preservation of what are most certainly the most gorgeous movie viewing establishments in existence. Today, you can immerse yourself into the feel of seeing a film in what truly is the original environment. Sit back, grab some popcorn, and watch your favorites on these old school screens.

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Historic Park Theater - Estes Park, Colorado
Historic Park Theatre

Historic Park Theater - Estes Park, Colorado

Historic Park Theater hovers over surrounding structures, as it features a towering design that has become iconic to Estes Park. Vibes from the old days, beginning in 1913, are ever-present in the still operational theater. While it does shut down in the winter, the Historic Park Theater lights up in the warmer months, offering flicks, and grub from their quaint cafe.

Tampa Theatre - Tampa, Florida
Tampa Theatre

Tampa Theatre - Tampa, Florida

One of Florida’s most fascinating cultural attractions, Tampa Theatre was built in 1926 and displays a “bring the outdoors inside” theme. A dramatic arrangement of Mediterranean walls and backdrops are met with a mock night sky in the auditorium, creating quite the spectacular site for moviegoers.

Hollywood Theatre - Portland, Oregon
Hollywood Theatre Portland

Hollywood Theatre - Portland, Oregon

Hollywood Theatre is not in Hollywood, at least this one isn’t. It’s in Portland, Oregon, and features a castle-like exterior and moody interior. When the theater opened, it played silent movies with the audio assistance of a live orchestra, and the venue itself was the last of its kind built in the city. Support and education are provided to filmmakers, and new releases play as well. It’s Portland, so you can grab a beer on tap in the lobby before showtime.

Kentucky Theater - Lexington, Kentucky
Kentucky Theatre

Kentucky Theater - Lexington, Kentucky

Kentucky Theater is a glittering beam of joy that lights up Maine Street in Lexington. Scalloped curtains, a grand entryway and an antique snack counter take us back to the early 1900s when the establishment was freshly constructed and ready to take on the world. Locals have seen the theater endure so much, and it’s a reminder of the city’s rich past.

The Senator Theatre - Baltimore, Maryland
The Senator

The Senator Theatre - Baltimore, Maryland

The Senator Theatre began its reign of Baltimore cinema in 1939, and to this day has a strong film focus. Indie and Hollywood productions play on the updated screens at The Senator, where red velvety seats and swirly wallpaper still dominate the overall style. However, an expansion delivered more modern options for playing flicks to the highest quality available.

Loew’s Jersey Theatre - Jersey City, New Jersey
Loew’s Jersey Theatre

Loew’s Jersey Theatre - Jersey City, New Jersey

Fabulously ornate, Loew’s Jersey Theatre draws Jersey City patrons of all ages. Built in the 1920s, it has been lovingly restored, with its detailed high ceilings, sparkling chandeliers and grand staircases in tact. Like many old theaters, both live shows and classic movie nights are held at Journal Square’s most iconic building.

Plaza 1907 Cinema - Ottawa, Kansas
Plaza 1907

Plaza 1907 Cinema - Ottawa, Kansas

Plaza Cinema in Ottawa, Kansas takes the title of the oldest operating movie theater in the world. Since 1907, flicks have been projected on the big screen. So before the Titanic tragically sank, before we went to the moon, Plaza Cinema was in operation. Today both the old and new are on the schedule. Onsite is also a Movie Memorabilia Museum that houses impressive props from old films, and a local enthusiast is ready to fill your mind with loads of historic facts.

Paramount Theatre - Austin, Texas
Paramount Theatre

Paramount Theatre - Austin, Texas

Paramount Theatre is tucked along Congress Avenue in Austin, Texas. It attracts guests today, just as it did in 1915, for a variation of live performances and over 100 films screened yearly. Holding a few film festivals through the year as well, the spectacular “vaudeville house” brings the same magic to the hearts of movie enthusiasts, that it did over a century ago.

Tiger Drive-In - Tiger Georgia
Tiger Drive-in

Tiger Drive-In - Tiger Georgia

Tiger Drive-In in Tiger, Georgia (a cute little place in the north Georgia Mountains), is one of the few drive-in theaters left in Georgia, and one of the few hundred left in the world. It’s complexing that drive-ins are a rarity because there are many perks to watching a movie from your car. Sound can be picked up on the radio, the screens now have digital projections, pets can come along and you’re not sitting in a sticky seat! Grab a meal from the grill and snuggle up in the back of your truck, with some blankets.

66 Drive in Theater - Carthage, Missouri
66 Drive In

66 Drive in Theater - Carthage, Missouri

66 Drive in Theater in Carthage, Missouri is a retro throwback that offers a solid movie-going experience in a cool setting. The screen is huge, the grounds are humble, and it’s located on the iconic Route 66. Grab a snack and enjoy the nostalgia.

Egyptian Theatre - Boise, Idaho
Egyptian Theatre

Egyptian Theatre - Boise, Idaho

The Egyptian Theatre in Boise, Idaho is a historic landmark. Like other movie palaces in the U.S., this piece of the past has survived to demonstrate the beauty of former movie viewing masterpieces. The name likely gives it away, but inside is an Egyptian theme with intricate statues, wall paintings and pyramid-like materials. Aaron Paul, famed for his role in Breaking Bad, has been known to rent out the location for screenings.

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