Whether it’s a Broadway level production or an experimental one woman play, we are incredibly fortunate to have some of the world’s best theaters right here in our own backyard. LA offers something for everyone and the iconic Hollywood history of each theater is truly something to marvel at. We put together our love list of LA’s Most Beautiful & Historic Theaters to Visit for a night out.
Pro Tip: We recommend looking up parking fees and times before you go. There are garages near each theater that offer parking validation if you are attending a specific theater event.
Location: 6925 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood
If you want to feel like true Hollywood royalty, the TCL Chinese Theatre is your place. Since 1927, the theatre has been the go-to location for Hollywood’s prominent red carpet movie premieres (our EIC just went to one) and special events, where the biggest stars come to watch their films. The theatre’s unique feature is the Forecourt of the Stars, where cement hand and footprints of major movie stars from the past and present are preserved. These aspects make the cinema palace the most distinguished movie theater in the world. With over 50 events a year, including movie premieres, imprint ceremonies, and film festivals, the theater continues to make Hollywood history every day. We had a great time taking their VIP Tour, where you get to go behind the scenes, see costumes worn by the stars of films like Spiderman, Gone with the Wind and The Wizard of the Oz, and learn about the theater’s history and architecture. You can have your own red carpet moment while marveling at the majestic space, and get a photo of yourself on the stage. Fun Fact: The IMAX at this theater is also the world’s largest IMAX auditorium, as well as the only movie palace in California with a state-of-the-art IMAX Laser projection experience.
Location: 6233 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood
The Pantages Theatre has become one of Hollywood’s most prominent landmarks, symbolizing both the illustrious past and exciting future of the world’s entertainment hub. According to Broadway in Hollywood, the movie palace opened on June 4, 1930 with great fanfare, a celebrity crowd, and searchlights sweeping the skies. It attracted almost every celebrity in Los Angeles, and today provides us the chance to see top running shows like Les Mis, Beetlejuice, Chicago and more.
Pro Tip: If you are serious about your theater attendance and looking to treat yourself or a theater lover near you, we recommend opting for the Season Package.
Location: 842 S. Broadway , Downtown Los Angeles
If there’s one spot you have to check out a concert this summer, it’s The Orpheum. Since it’s opening in 1926 as the final home for the Orpheum vaudeville circuit in Los Angeles, The Orpheum has been a treasured part of LA’s cultural landscape. The feeling of history floats through the intricately detailed lobby and both tiers of seating from the moment you enter. While lavish and palatial, the staff at the theater is consistently friendly, warm and unpretentious. The programming team does a great job of bringing a diverse lineup to the stage, from comedy and jazz to Iggy Pop and Tori Amos. Quick shoutout as well to the Orpheum in San Francisco, another wonderful place to see a show and take in some major nostalgia.
Location: 434 W. 6th St, San Pedro
The Warner Grand Theatre is a historic movie palace located in San Pedro, California. It was built in 1931 by Warner Bros. as a flagship theater for the company’s West Coast operations. The theater was designed in the Art Deco style by architect B. Marcus Priteca, who also designed several other Warner Bros. theaters around the country. During its early years, the Warner Grand was a popular venue for movie premieres and live performances. In the 1940s and 1950s, it became known for its “CinemaScope” presentations, which were widescreen movies that filled the theater’s massive screen. After a massive renovation, the Warner Grand reopened in 1996 and has since become a popular venue for concerts, plays, and film screenings. Some of its most popular programming includes classic movies, live performances by musicians and comedians, and community events like the San Pedro International Film Festival and the Spirit of San Pedro Dia de los Muertos Festival. During the last decade, The Grand Vision Foundation worked with LA City Councilmember Joe Buscaino to secure $15 million for additional renovations which will allow the Warner Grand to cement its role as one of LA’s most historic venues and will allow it to host A-List shows and productions.
Location: 6838 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood
In 1941, the El Capitan Theatre was converted from a playhouse to a movie theatre. Searching for a theatre in Hollywood to premiere his controversial film, CITIZEN KANE, Orson Welles rented the El Capitan. On May 8, 1941, Welles’ first feature film, CITIZEN KANE, premiered at the El Capitan Theatre. Shortly thereafter, the theatre closed for a two month renovation and modernization. The theatre reopened in March 1942 as the Hollywood Paramount, a new, streamlined “art moderne” first run movie house. Meanwhile, the El Capitan name and the entire El Capitan staff moved to the nearby Hollywood Playhouse. Leading us to the present day, in 1989, the Walt Disney Company joined forces with Pacific Theatres and launched a two-year, museum quality restoration of The El Capitan. The theatre reopened its doors to the public on June 19, 1991 for the world premiere of Walt Disney Pictures’ THE ROCKETEER, the first of many Walt Disney Pictures feature films to premiere at the space. Now, you can catch Disney movies like Freaky Friday, The Parent Trap, and The Little Mermaid. We love how this theatre’s red and gold opulent feel and the ornate plasterwork makes any film seem like a true Hollywood event.
After catching a show, the next best thing is to grab a bite to eat. Check out these soul food restaurants, some are LA staples.