Going to the movies is this strangely intimate and exciting experience that is shared with others, mostly strangers. Even though times have changed and new platforms have become accessible to the average man, sitting in a dark room in front of the large screen, eating popcorn, gasping and laughing in unison with other audience members, continues to be an enthralling experience for people across the globe. Particularly in Austin, there are plenty cinemas and movie theaters, old and new, that defy the seeming competition with streaming services and continue to offer its viewers amazing movie-watching experiences.
From historic theaters like The Paramount to modern ground-breaking cinemas like Flix Brewhouse, these cinemas in Austin are the movie buff’s playground, preserving cinema and movie theater culture. Next time you’re planning to watch a movie, head to one of these five movie theaters to get transported to other worlds, free from your everyday stress.
1. Alamo Drafthouse Mueller
Alamo Drafthouse currently has five locations in Austin and many more across the nation, but Mueller is definitely our favorite. This is not your traditional cinema. It’s a movie lover’s wonderland, offering everything from new releases and classic blockbusters to artsy indie films.
What’s more, you can have a cold pint, with 30 beers on tap, or enjoy a delicious meal prepared by the movie theater’s chefs while watching your flick pick, all in one seat. Favorites include the “Royale with Cheese” Burger, their pizzas and chocolate chip cookies. However, their chefs sometimes create movie-themed menus, so keep an eye out for their next Beer Dinner! If you’re looking for something a bit more social, attend one of their movie parties, brunch screenings and cosplays, because why not?!
🎬 1911 Aldrich Street
2. AFS Cinema
If not the best cinema in Austin, The Austin Film Society (AFS) Cinema definitely is a worthy contender. Founded by Texas’ own Richard Linklater in 1985, the AFS is a non-profit art house theater that screens national and international independent films and documentaries.
The movie theater is also known for its special series covering art movements in international cinema and director retrospectives, all the while offering draft beer, craft cocktails, imported wines, popcorn and salty and sweet treats. It also hosts other cultural events like intimate Candlelight concerts. If you’re looking to expand your cinematic knowledge or you’re a growing filmmaker, a visit to the AFS should be the first item on your to-do list.
🎬 6259 Middle Fiskville Road
3. The Paramount Theatre
The historic Paramount Theatre was built in 1915 in Neoclassical style architecture and first bore the name “The Majestic”. It has hosted many vaudeville performers, musicians and actors, including the Marx Brothers, Ana Pavlova, Harry Houdini, Katherine Hepburn and Miles Davis.
In the 1930s the theater started to screen Paramount Pictures movies and was renamed to “Paramount”. Nevertheless, in the 1960s following the protests for theatre desegregation, and most families moving to the suburbs, the theater was left neglected and losing its prior grandeur, making way for B-list artists to show their movies—ironically, many have become cult classics.
Today, the four-story theater boasts a new historically-accurate blade sign for its facade and continues to host live theater events and to screen movie classics every week. They offer Assistive Listening Devices (ALD) that can be picked up prior to show time, and sign language interpreters are also available for each screening upon request. The Paramount still has its old charm and glitz, so make sure to add a show or a movie screening at the Paramount to your plans.
🎬 713 Congress Avenue
4. Violet Crown Cinema
The name pays homage to vibrant Austin, they screen a variety of film genres and the prices are pretty great. So, adding Violet Crown Cinema to the best-cinemas-in-Austin list is really a no-brainer. The movie theater’s focus lies on preserving cinema and bringing magical films to the screen for the community. In addition, they often partner up with local vendors and non-profits.
From new releases to timeless classics and everything in between, Violet Crown Cinema offers a myriad of options to choose from. Pop in the cinema’s bar after a showing for a drink or two, or order one of its mouth-watering pizzas and sandwiches for the perfect end to a marvelous evening.
🎬 434 West 2nd Street
5. Flix Brewhouse, Round Rock
Created in 2011, the founders of Flix Brewhouse found a way to combine the typical movie-going experience, with luxury recliners, top-quality food and lots and lots of craft beer. With screenings starting early in the morning till late at night, the modern cinema screens new releases and old film favorites for all ages. They offer great food, with menus inspired by whatever movie they’re screening, so it’s a great plan for the whole family.
🎬 2200 S I-35 Frontage Rd B1, Round Rock