When you take kids to the movies, it’s not a cheap outing. Movie ticket prices have skyrocketed and even a simple popcorn and soda costs about as much as a new pair of shoes. And you pay all that to stand in line for half an hour and munch stale popcorn. No fun! This hidden gem will take your family movie going from coach to first class, all for a few dollars difference.

But, I Need To Save for College
We get it, taking kids to the movies costs an arm and a leg. Since you can stream practically everything, there’s no need to ever pay for movie tickets. Why even consider taking the kids to a luxury theater, where the prices are even higher? Because it turns out, it’s totally worth it! If you’re going to splurge and see the newest kid pic before it’s streamable (and you’re going to, because they totally need to see it right now because their friends already have seen it 3 times!) spend the few extra bucks to make it an experience you’ll all really enjoy and remember. That’s where the iPic theaters come in.

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First Class Accommodations
They don’t call it “the ultimate theater experience” for nothing. Each theater feels like a movie moguls personal screening room. The theaters hold fewer seats, but the screen is still giant. Each of the Premium Plus seats is a massive reclining leather chair, waiting for you with a blanket and pillow. You have a mini table with a call button for your theater concierge, who will take your order before (or during) the movie for drinks, popcorn, pizza, dessert, food and more. Even if you order nothing, as soon as the lights dim for the movie, you are served a piping hot bag of popcorn. In a word, you feel like a star.

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So Much More than Red Vines and Stale Popcorn
In addition to regular popcorn or popcorn of the day, kids can order sliders, pizza, French fries and tater tots. Skip the watered down fountain drinks and sip on Mexican cokes, Dr. Brown’s Sodas and house-made Rhubarb Lemonade. In addition to the selection of standard movie candies, little sweet tooth possessors are sated with gourmet ice cream sandwiches, chocolate s’mores cake and fresh baked cookies. Parents can trade a hot dog for lobster roll or nosh on fish tacos or spicy tuna on crispy rice. And to drink…

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Make the Minions Bearable
If the sound of the Minions voices is nails on a blackboard to you, you’re not alone. But as many a doting parent will do, we suck up the annoyances for the pleasure of seeing the grins of delight on the faces of our offspring. You know what helps make it bearable? An excellent and varied selection of wines by the bottle and glass, craft beers on tap or by the bottle and outstanding cocktails. Sit back, sip, relax. It makes a good movie better, and a shrill cartoon tolerable.

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The Difference Between Premium and Premium Plus
Premium seats are the first two rows of the theater. They don’t recline, have blankets, waiter service or come with popcorn. They are large and comfy and you can take advantage of the same fantastic menu or food and drinks by ordering at the express counter. At $17, it’s basically paying a dollar or two above standard movie prices to be in a nice theater with access to better food. For $12 more, you get the Premium Plus seats, which come with all the amenities. While it may not be your go-to everyday theater experience, it’s a worthwhile and exciting treat for special family outings, birthdays or even date nights (you actually save a little money on sitters, because you can combine a yummy dinner and drinks with your movie, getting you home earlier!).

Two Big Thumbs Up
In a town that’s all about the movies, this luxury outing is definitely something to experience for anyone who loves to lose themselves in the cinema. We polled the kids at the screening we were at (which included a birthday party of very happy boys) and they all adored being there. “The reclining chairs are super fun and makes it feel like you’re in a jet,” “It felt like I was in a private movie room with just my friends,” and “I love having french fries at the movies,” were a few of the kid reviews.

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Parking and Paying
Two quick tips: one is that validated parking is available for $3 next door. Signs will direct you where to park. While street parking is available, it’s limited and can be hard to find depending on the time of day. As for paying for all the goodies you order before and during the show, the waiters will slip you a bill a few minutes before the end of the movie. You can pay after the lights come up.

Order everything you think you’ll want before the movie (you can even ask them to refresh your drink at the halfway point) because it does interrupt your movie watching experience to have to place a whispered order mid-movie. But if you need to do that, it sure beats running out to the concession stand!

There are two iPic Theaters in California; one in Westwood and one in Pasadena. The each theater shows 6 first run films. iPic in Westwood hosted our visit and all details are specific to that location.

iPic Theater
10840 Wilshire Blvd.
Westwood
310-307-7003
Online: ipictheaters.com

What’s your favorite movie experience in Los Angeles? We’d love to hear your secrets in the comment section!

—written by Meghan Rose, photos by Meghan Rose and iPic Theaters