Seeing a film as a family is a cherished pastime. But most theaters cater to the likes and sensibilities of adults and forget that little ones need some lovin’ too. We discovered the best family-friendly theaters around town that get two thumbs up from both parents and kids alike. Follow us along as we review local theaters rated ‘G’ for great!
photo: Eunice L. via Yelp
El Capitan Theatre: Disney’s own El Capitan Theatre introduces your little one to the magic of movies in a kid-friendly, yet elegant setting. Dubbed “Hollywood’s First Home of Spoken Drama,” this architectural masterpiece blends a Spanish Colonial exterior with a vibrant and lavish interior. Aside from the state of the art special effects, this 1,000 seat theater offers an incredible Dolby audio system that parents will appreciate.
If your child is very young or has special needs, the Tiny Tot screenings (Tuesdays at 10 a.m.) are designed to reduce sensory overload: Lights go dim (not down), the volume lowers and all films are screened in 2D. Parents and kids will marvel at the majesty both on and off the screen at this iconic Hollywood theater.
6838 Hollywood Blvd.
photo: Joyce T. via Yelp
Vineland Drive-In Theater: Take a trip back in time and cruise over to one of LA’s best-kept secrets: the drive-in movie theater. Revel in everything retro at the Vineland Drive-In and bask in classic 50s decor. This theater is perfect for families that want to experience a movie with all the comforts of their car (and home).
Pile everyone in and stuff it to the max with your kid’s favorite snacks, blankets, and pillows. But before you get too comfortable, take a stroll past the movie merch for sale inside and grab a hot dog or something tasty from the snack bar. Movies here play rain or shine, seven nights a week, so the next time you want to get the kiddos out after a rainy day stuck in the house, you know where you’re heading!
443 N Vineland Ave.
City of Industry, CA 91746
Cinepolis Junior Theater: A movie theater and indoor playground in one? We’ve hit the mother lode at the Junior Theater located within Cinepolis which screens kids movies (Rated G and PG only) all week long. The theater boasts a play structure meant to give children (ages 3-to-12) a chance to burn off some of that boundless energy before the show and during a brief intermission.
The concept is pure genius for toddlers and other kids with a low tolerance for sitting still for extended periods of time. Equipped with two slides, a tire climber, and plastic animal sculptures, little ones can romp and roam for 20 minutes prior to the start of the film and during a 15-minute intermission. Playtime is not allowed during the movie but kids happily (and surprisingly) abide by that rule. Parents can relax in peace knowing their kids are mellowed out and ready for the main attraction.
8540 Whittier Blvd.
photo: Street Food Cinema
Street Food Cinema: Pop-up movie theaters timed perfectly with summer give LA families a chance to enjoy cinema al fresco. But at Street Food Cinema, watching a beloved movie outdoors is just one part of the family fun! Admission to this event also gets you a ticket to live music performances and lots of delicious eats via (infamous) LA food trucks. If that isn’t enough to woo parents, kiddos 5 and under are free. With 14 locations from Glendale to Malibu, there’s plenty of kid-friendly programming from now until late October; upcoming films include The Goonies, Back to the Future, E.T., The Sandlot, Space Jam, The Lion King, and Coco. Locations for each film vary, so check out the schedule for a show near you this season.
Mommy and Me Movie Matinees
photo: Pacific Theatres at the Grove via Yelp
Pacific Theaters: Hosting one of the most iconic family-friendly movie-going experiences around town, new parents who have both the time and energy to enjoy a flick so swaddle up those infants (only) and catch a current film every Mon. at 11 am at your nearest location.
During the show, everything and anything goes! No one cares about a fussy or crying baby (yours might be next) so sit back and enjoy the movies that are meant for parents. Check out their upcoming schedule for all the movies you didn’t think you would see this summer (and beyond).
Locations: The Grove, Americana at Brand, Northridge Fashion Center 10, Winnetka 21, and Lakewood Center 16.
Los Feliz 3 Cinema: Parents with children age 4 and under can take advantage of their Wed. morning “Mommy and Me” matinees that are shown at 10:30 a.m. Check their website for the full film schedule.
1822 North Vermont Ave.
Los Angeles, Ca
— Beth Shea & Janelle Conner
featured image: Slices of Light via Flickr