North America

The coolest movie theaters around the world

From Grauman's Chinese Theatre to a newly revamped Cinerama in Seattle, these 13 movie theaters around the world will make you want to leave your home theater.

  • 1. Raj Mandir Cinema, Jaipur, India

    Raj Mandir Cinema, Jaipur, India

    Alamy

    The theater nicknamed the "Pride of Asia" is the crown jewel of India’s cinemas, and there's no better place to soak in the colorful sights and sounds of Bollywood. First opened in 1976 and designed in an Art Moderne style, the seating arrangement is broken down into four classes: pearl, ruby, emerald, and diamond. And all four classes are in demand: Every single movie showing for the last 25 years has been sold out.

  • 2. Kino International, Berlin, Germany

    Kino International, Berlin, Germany

    Alamy

    The Kino International opened in East Berlin in 1963, two years after the construction of the Berlin Wall, and represented the cutting edge of cinematic technology at the time—with inclined seating, a waved ceiling, and acoustic dampening panels on the walls. The Kino remains a destination in the reunified Berlin, playing host to many film premieres and festivals.

  • 3. Alamo Drafthouse, Austin, Texas

    Alamo Drafthouse, Austin, Texas

    Erich Schlegel/Corbis

    “Cold beer, hot movies, and delicious snacks and meals” is the mantra for the Alamo Drafthouse cinemas. Husband and wife team Tim and Karrie League opened the first theater in 1997 in Austin, Texas; since then, the cinema has become a chain, with multiple locations across the country. They're sticklers for etiquette (they will kick out or ban people for cell phone use during a movie— even Madonna) and also keep things interesting by screening a little bit of everything: classic B movies, the indie du jour, even the latest superhero extravaganza.

  • 4. TCL Chinese Theatre, Los Angeles, California

    TCL Chinese Theatre, Los Angeles, California

    Della Huff / Alamy

    Officially named the TCL Chinese Theatre (the naming rights were sold in 2013), movie lovers continue to stubbornly refer to it by its original name, Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. The cinema opened in 1927 and has since hosted countless premieres, from The Wizard of Oz to Star Wars; hosted three Academy Awards ceremonies; and presides over nearly 200 celebrity concrete imprints in its forecourt.

  • 5. Film Forum, New York, New York

    Film Forum, New York, New York

    Film Forum

    This tiny non-profit cinema—the only nonprofit independent cinema in NYC—has been screening independent and foreign films for its loyal customers since 1970. Located in the heart of Greenwich Village, The Film Forum is a throwback to a New York of another era and a place that its many fans hold dear.

  • 6. Castro Theatre, San Francisco, California

    Castro Theatre, San Francisco, California

    Marcus Mok / Alamy

    The Castro is a San Francisco institution: It opened in 1922 and was designated one of the city's official historic landmarks in 1977. Its façade is an homage to the Spanish Colonial–era Mission Dolores, and its seating area provides room for 1,400 guests. The theater is no longer a ‘first-run’ venue; instead, it hosts various festivals, retrospectives, and special events.

  • 7. Electric Cinema, London, England

    Electric Cinema, London, England

    WR Publishing / Alamy

    London's Electric Cinema (not to be confused with the one in Birmingham) opened in 1910 and is one of the oldest movie theaters in the country. Now operated by the members-only Soho House (though the theater is open to the public), the plush movie theater is full of perks, like leather seats and sofas and an adjacent bar.

    Leave your home theater for one of these amazing cinemas around the world.

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