The best theatres in Los Angeles are also among the city’s most notable landmarks. The California city is widely known for its film industry, glitzy award shows and world premieres, so it’s no surprise it has an extensive collection of concert halls, movie theatres, and performing arts centres.

    Some of the best Broadway shows, orchestral concerts, and classical dances take place in Los Angeles’ historic auditoriums, many of which date back to the 1920s. This guide also lists the best places to see a film in Los Angeles. Whether you’re looking to catch a classic flick on 35 mm film or the latest blockbuster, there’s a movie theatre in the city that’ll screen a genre of your liking.

    1

    El Capitan Theatre

    Historic venue for major Hollywood movie premieres

    El Capitan Theatre is a historic cinema on Hollywood Boulevard, near the Hollywood Walk of Fame. As one of the best theatres in Los Angeles, the 1920s theatre combines special shows and performances with Hollywood nostalgia – showings are unique in that they often include a live-action portion when premiering new films.

    Any movie lover can find entertainment at El Capitan Theatre. Owned by the Walt Disney Company, you can enjoy a massive catalogue of its films as well as a wide variety of genres and showings. The design of the theatre has Spanish colonial influences, along with multiple levels of seating. Its spacious auditorium area can accommodate 1,100 people.

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    Location: 6838 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028, USA

    Phone: +1 818-845-3110

    Map

    photo by Tim Wang (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    2

    The Greek Theatre

    Outdoor amphitheatre in Griffith Park

    The Greek Theatre is a prominent outdoor amphitheatre in Griffith Park. As the name suggests, it has a performance stage modelled after a Greek temple and can accommodate up to 5,900 spectators. There's a section for premium seating, where the seats are more spaced out than the rest. They also come with barriers and tables, so you relax and enjoy food during a show.

    The Greek Theatre was opened in 1930, serving as a World War II barracks site during its early years. You'll find decades of history along with excellent shows. The location was specifically chosen for the natural acoustics provided by the park’s deep canyons.

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    Location: 2700 N Vermont Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90027, USA

    Phone: +1 844-524-7335

    Map

    photo by Glen Bowman (CC BY 2.0) modified

    3

    Orpheum Theatre

    The host of the “Last Remaining Seats” classic film series

    The Orpheum Theatre is the Los Angeles venue of the Orpheum Circuit, which is a series of vaudevilles and cinemas in the US. Established in 1926 in Downtown Los Angeles, this historical movie palace has a 2,350-seat auditorium decorated in a French Renaissance style.

    You’ll enjoy world-class performances in opulent surroundings, including crystal chandeliers, Gothic fan-vaulted columns, and pelmet draperies. The Orpheum Theatre usually hosts vaudeville and burlesque performances, as well as award shows and movie premieres throughout the year. Visit in summer to catch the Los Angeles Conservancy’s Last Remaining Seats classic film series.

    Location: 842 S Broadway, Los Angeles, CA 90014, USA

    Phone: +1 877-677-4386

    Map

    photo by Tom noll (CC0 1.0) modified

    4

    New Beverly Cinema

    Watch classic films in 35 mm format

    New Beverly Cinema is a 300-seat movie theatre owned by notable Hollywood filmmaker Quentin Tarantino. Opened in 1929, it’s one of the oldest revival houses in California. While the venue was known for showcasing erotic and European films during the 1950s, it now screens double features in 16 mm or 35 mm.

    Many of the films aired in New Beverly Cinema come from Tarantino’s personal collection. The director also often promotes his latest films at this movie theatre. Shows usually start at 7.30 pm throughout the week, with midnight screenings available on Fridays and Saturdays.

    Location: 7165 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036, USA

    Map
    5

    TCL Chinese Theatre

    An icon of old Hollywood glamour

    The TCL Chinese Theatre is one of the most popular attractions in Los Angeles. Founded in 1927, this renowned icon of old Hollywood glamour regularly hosts movie premieres, imprint ceremonies, and film festivals. It’s on Hollywood Boulevard, easily recognisable thanks to its Exotic Revival-style façade.

    Tours of the TCL Chinese Theatre take you through its opulent space, with guides sharing tales of Hollywood premieres. A must-see is the Forecourt of the Stars, a garden of cemented signatures, handprints and footprints of major celebrities from the 1920s to today. You can also check out the theatre’s IMAX auditorium, which showcases a modern IMAX Laser projection screen.

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    Location: 6925 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, CA 90028, USA

    Phone: +1 323-461-3331

    Map
    6

    Geffen Playhouse

    Enjoy a diverse range of plays by Hollywood talents

    Geffen Playhouse has been a prominent Los Angeles landmark since 1995. It was actually founded in 1929, serving as the Masonic Affiliates Club for the University of California Los Angeles. Today, the theatre offers a good mix of classic and contemporary plays as well as provocative world-premiere productions.

    Besides its main stage, the complex houses the Skirball Kenis Theater and Gil Cates Theater. You can enjoy special nights throughout the week, such as Talk Back Tuesdays, Lounge Fridays, and Wine Down Sundays. Families can enjoy kid-friendly shows on Saturday mornings. Geffen Playhouse is in Westwood Village, around 8 miles west of Hollywood Boulevard.

    Location: 10886 Le Conte Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90024, USA

    Phone: +1 310-208-5454

    Map

    photo by Minnaert (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified

    7

    Mark Taper Forum

    Award-winning theatre at the Los Angeles Music Center

    The Mark Taper Forum is an excellent venue for innovative plays in Los Angeles. This award-winning theatre is part of the Los Angeles Music Center on North Grand Avenue, between Ahmanson Theater and the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion.

    Established in 1967, this intimate venue can accommodate around 739 people. The Mark Taper Forum has a thrust stage (or platform stage), which extends into the audience on 3 sides. This gives you the chance to view a performance from various angles. Past shows at this live-production theatre include The Devils, The Shadow Box, 13, and Murderous Angels.

    Location: 135 N Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90012, USA

    Phone: +1 213-972-7211

    Map

    photo by Andreas Praefcke (CC BY 3.0) modified

    8

    Walt Disney Concert Hall

    Catch performances by the Los Angeles Philharmonic

    The Walt Disney Concert Hall is a state-of-the-art theatre within the Los Angeles Music Center. It’s the permanent venue for the Los Angeles Master Chorale and Los Angeles Philharmonic, as well as a regular host to weekend concerts and travelling orchestras.

    The REDCAT (Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater) is part of the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Dance and theatre performances, film screenings, live music, and informational talks regularly take place in this theatre. You can even check out its onsite multimedia art gallery for free rotating exhibits by new American artists. You can explore the building on a self-guided audio tour for free.

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    Location: 5905 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90036, USA

    Phone: +1 323-850-2000

    Map
    9

    Hollywood Pantages Theatre

    A historic Art Deco movie palace

    The Hollywood Pantages Theatre is an Art Deco theatre on the corner of Hollywood & Vine in Los Angeles. During the 1930s, it hosts vaudeville shows and movies, before becoming a movie theatre during the Great Depression. The movie palace even hosted the Academy Awards between 1949 and 1959.

    Today, the Hollywood Pantages Theatre is one of the city’s premier live entertainment venues. Broadway musicals like Hamilton, Disney's The Lion King, and Wicked ran at the theatre for several years. Its palatial façade has been featured in numerous TV shows, movies, and music videos.

    Location: +1 323-4681-700

    Open: 6233 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028, USA

    Map
    10

    Dolby Theatre

    Home of the Academy Awards

    The Dolby Theatre is a modern auditorium in Los Angeles’ Hollywood and Highland Center. It’s most famous for hosting the annual Academy Awards ceremony – its Art Deco columns display the names of past recipients of Best Picture awards.

    You can also enjoy the latest films in this 180,000-sq-ft complex. It has a 6-screen cineplex with 3,400 seats and 215 individually powered speakers. Films are shown using the Dolby Vision projection and Dolby Atmos sound system. The Dolby Theatre has hosted over 35 film premieres, many of which are of Paramount, Disney and Universal productions.

    Location: 6801 Hollywood Blvd, Hollywood, CA 90028, USA

    Phone: +1 323-308-6300

    Map

    photo by Adam Fagen (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    Penny Wong | Compulsive Traveler

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