Los Angeles was built for speed, but definitely not for summers of global warming-induced heat. Good thing there’s air-conditioning and the old Hollywood tradition of hiding away in a dark movie theatre during the warmest of days. Sure, you could go to one of those giant, overpriced movie megaplexes or you could support a small, local theatre and have money to spare for frozen yogurt afterwards. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out some of these awesome indie movie theaters in L.A.
251 S Main St.
Los Angeles, CA, 90012
Hidden away on the border of Little Tokyo and the Arts District is a secret gem of a theatre: the Downtown Independent. Small and intimate, this theatre has undergone major renovations in the last few years which makes it perfect for indie films, both old and new. Thanks to its location, you can grab ice cream and ramen down the street and snack on some cheap popcorn while at a film opening. They also have comedy shows, other events, a booth with adult beverages if you lean that way on a hot day and they show lots of anime films!
7165 Beverly Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA, 90036
All hail Quentin Tarantino for keeping this revival house alive and well! The New Beverly Cinema is perfect for a ‘90s indie flick. With cozy seats, a wide screen and prices almost as killer as some of Tarantino’s controversial characters, you won’t be disappointed. Most screenings are double features (that means extra time lounging in the air conditioning) and they only cost $8 for both movies. All the films are projected in 35mm contributing to the old-school movie theatre vibe and concession prices are ridiculously cheap, too. Just make sure you buy tickets ahead of time for some of the more popular double features as tickets sell out fast, especially in the summer when people are looking for a cheap and chill reprieve from the heat.
611 N Fairfax Ave.
Los Angeles, CA, 90036
Cinema buffs rejoiced when The Cinefamily took over the iconic Silent Movie Theatre that sat for years basically unused on a then quiet strip of Fairfax. Now a bustling shopping district for awesome sneakers and urban chic clothing, The Cinefamily was one of the first cultural contributions of the last decade that helped elevate a sleep few blocks. And with good reason, too. The Cinefamily doesn’t just screen amazing new, independent films that don’t make it to regular theaters. They also show old cult classics that create lines around the block with people trying to score an in to the tiny theatre. Sometimes the events even trickle over to their back patio if you’re looking for a cool summer party where you can mingle with other Cinephiles.
6712 Hollywood Blvd.
Hollywood, CA, 90028
When the weather feels like you might as well be walking through an African desert, do as the Egyptians would do and get to an air-conditioned pyramid! The Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood is tucked away off the main Boulevard in all its old school Art Deco glory. The inside is a step back into time with gold gilded décor throughout and the movies they play are perfect examples of past Hollywood cinema. Coming up next on the calendar are iconic films like Gone With The Wind, Back to the Future, and Funny Lady.
Regency Academy Theatres (also know as Academy 6)
1000 E Colorado Blvd.
Pasadena, CA, 91106
Good things come to those who wait. Low budget date night on a steamy summer’s eve? It’s totally possible here. In fact, Academy 6 caters to this with a $10 Date Night every Wednesday. This date night special is perfect for all the broke college students in the area with two tickets for $10, which also includes two popcorns and two sodas! Showing modern movies a few weeks after their debut in those huge theaters, Academy 6 lets you see both blockbusters and independent films for $3 for a regular ticket and only $2 for a matinee! Right now, they have kids movies during the day for their Summer Kids Special which means you now have somewhere budget-friendly to take those tiny terrors when running through the sprinklers loses its allure.
4473 Sunset Dr.
Los Feliz, CA, 90027
Gone are the days of single-screen vintage film houses, except for the enduring and elegant Vista Theatre in Los Feliz. Forget the movie, as going to the Vista (as the locals call it) is an experience itself. The walls are decorated with Egyptian murals and Art Deco mood lighting that takes you straight back to 1923. Meanwhile, the cushy chairs, killer air conditioning, digital projection system and sound is as modern as it gets. The outside of the theatre has all the old Hollywood charm you would expect from an iconic Hollywood theatre—handprints in the concrete from movie openings past, a bright neon sign and the Vista’s manager always dressed in a costume to represent the film! Ticket prices for the Vista aren’t what they were in the ‘20s, but they’re still very inexpensive!