Washington State’s Independent Theaters: A Guide For Movie Lovers

If you are a movie lover who enjoys watching films on the big screen, you probably know about the big theaters closest to you, but do you know where to find the best independent theaters in Washington State? Independent theaters are cinemas not owned by major chains or studios. They often show a variety of films, from foreign and indie films to old-time hits and cult classics. Independent theaters have a charm all their own, offering intimate, cozy atmospheres with special events and programs for their loyal patrons.

In this blog post, we introduce you to some of the most popular and beloved independent theaters in Washington State and provide expert tips on booking your stay near these cinematic gems.

independent theatres in washington | WAinnsiders

The Grand Cinema (Tacoma)

The Grand Cinema is Tacoma's only non-profit art-house theater. Established in 1997, the theater has four screens and showcases a diverse range of content, including new releases, documentaries, foreign films and local productions. The cinema hosts multiple film festivals annually, such as the Tacoma Film Festival, the 253 Short Film Competition and the Tacoma LGBTQ Film Festival. They also provide membership options that offer discounts on tickets and concessions and grant exclusive access to special events and screenings.

The Grand Cinema is conveniently located at 606 S Fawcett Ave, Tacoma, WA 98402. For showtimes and ticket information, please visit their website for more information.

The Pickford Film Center (Bellingham)

The Pickford Film Center is Bellingham’s premier destination for independent cinema and has been serving the community since 1998. The center has two locations: the Pickford Film Center on Bay Street, which has three screens and a café, and the Limelight Cinema on Cornwall Avenue, which has one screen and a lounge. The film center showcases a diverse selection of films, ranging from captivating dramas and delightful comedies to thought-provoking documentaries and exciting animations. Beyond regular screenings, the center organizes thrilling film series and festivals including the highly anticipated Doctober Documentary Film Festival, the Bellingham Children’s Film Festival and the Bellingham Music Film Festival. The center also offers memberships that give you discounts on tickets and concessions, as well as invitations to member-only events.

You can find the Pickford Film Center at 1318 Bay St, Bellingham, WA 98225, and the Limelight Cinema is located at 1416 Cornwall Ave, Bellingham, WA 98225. To plan your visit and secure tickets, kindly refer to their website for up-to-date showtimes and availability.

If you want to add a relaxing and rewarding road trip to your movie adventure, you might want to consider driving from Bellingham to Seattle. You can hop on I-5 S and enjoy the stunning views of Washington state along the way. You’ll see the lush green fields of the Skagit Valley, marvel at the glistening waves of the Puget Sound and gaze in awe at the majestic snow-capped peaks of the Cascade Mountains. You can also take a break at some quaint towns like Mount Vernon, Everett and Edmonds, where you can discover local culture and cuisine. 

the pickford theatre | WAinnsiders

The Rose Theatre (Port Townsend)

The Rose Theatre is a historic theater built in 1907 as a vaudeville house. The theater was renovated in 1992 and reopened as a cinema that specializes in independent and foreign films. The theater has three locations: Rose Theatre on Taylor Street, which has a balcony and a stage; Rosebud Cinema on Washington Street, which has a cozy lobby and a fireplace, and the Starlight Room on Water Street, which has a rooftop deck and a bar. 

The theater shows a range of films, from Oscar contenders and documentaries to classics and cult favorites. The theater also hosts live events such as concerts, plays, lectures and readings. Every September, the Rose Theatre will have a lot of films for you during the Port Townsend Film Festival.

The Rose Theatre is located at 235 Taylor St, Port Townsend, WA 98368. The Rosebud Cinema is located at 235 Taylor St #3A-3B, Port Townsend, WA 98368. The Starlight Room is located at 237 Taylor St #3C-3D, Port Townsend, WA 98368. You can check their website for showtimes and tickets.

The Ark Lodge Cinemas (Seattle)

The Ark Lodge Cinemas is a family-owned theater that opened in 2012 in the historic Columbia City neighborhood of Seattle. For a snug and rustic ambiance, you can immerse themselves in the Lodge Theater, adorned with antler chandeliers and resembling a cozy log cabin. Alternatively, the Dreamland Theater offers an art deco style, complete with velvet curtains. If you're in the mood for a maritime atmosphere, you can try the Majestic Bay Theater for an ambiance inspired by the sea. The theater shows a mix of mainstream and independent films, as well as special events such as trivia nights, sing-alongs and midnight movies.

The Ark Lodge Cinemas is located at 4816 Rainier Ave S, Seattle WA 98118. You can check their website for showtimes and tickets.

indie theatres in washington state

The Varsity Theatre (Seattle)

The Varsity Theatre is a landmark theater that was built in 1940 in the University District of Seattle. The theater has three movie areas and shows mostly independent films from around the world. The theater also hosts several film festivals throughout the year, such as the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF), the Seattle Jewish Film Festival (SJFF), and the Seattle Asian American Film Festival (SAAFF). The theater also offers members discounts on tickets and concessions.

The Varsity Theatre is located at 4329 University Way NE, Seattle WA 98105. You can check their website for showtimes and tickets.

The Cinerama Theatre

Don’t miss the chance to visit the Cinerama Theatre in Seattle, Washington! This historic theater is one of the few places in the world where you can watch movies in the original three-projector Cinerama format, which creates a stunning immersive experience on a 90-foot curved screen. The theater also features great sound and projection systems, comfortable leather seats and a large selection of local beers and snacks. 

The Cinerama Theatre was closed for renovations in 2020, but it will reopen later this year under the ownership of the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF). The theater is located in the heart of downtown Seattle at 2100 4th Ave, Seattle, WA 98121, near many attractions, restaurants and shops.

Once you’re finished watching movies with your family and friends at the nearby theaters, cozy up in a comfy hotel for a well-earned rest. You’ll love the variety of films, the quality of service and the warmth of hospitality. Choose from any of our Washington Inn members and book your stay today. Don’t miss this chance to enjoy a weekend of laughter, adventure and relaxation. Hurry, book your reservation now!

Tag us at @wainnsiders on Instagram! Let Washington INNSiders guide you to the perfect retreat. While we have highlighted a few great inns close to beautiful destinations, the Washington INNSiders boasts an exhaustive list of independent inns all over the state. Filter by desired characteristics to select the ideal B&B, inn, or hotel for your dream outdoor getaway. The experts behind Washington INNSiders inspect and approve all member properties, so you can confidently plan the perfect escape today.

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