Bitter cold. Snow. Rain. Hail. Maybe all in the same day. We know what’s coming, Chicago. As winter approaches, field trips out of the house are a must to curb cabin fever. How about spending a cozy afternoon in front of the big screen? Treating your brood to a flick can be a regular event with these theaters that go easy on the wallet.

photo: courtesy of annca via pixabay

Ogden 6

Why We Dig Them: Matinee Prices All Day, Every Day

Want a matinee price with the luxury of showing up at your convenience? Ogden 6 has kept their prices down so you can enjoy a $4 movie all day, every day.  Another $2 and you can really “Wow!” the kids with a 3D experience.  If you’re unsure if your tot is ready for the movies, test the waters here, as their policy offers a full refund within the first 30 minutes for any reason.

$4, $6/3-D experience
1227 E. Ogden Ave.

studio movie grillphoto: Studio Movie Grill

Studio Movie Grill

Why We Dig Them: In-Movie Food/Drink Service, Loads of Personal Space & Reserved Seating

This place makes going to the movies easy-peasy. Reserve your seats online and stroll in right as the flick starts – no worries about little ones getting restless while the previews roll. They offer families two different options to enjoy the movie-going experience at throwback pricing. Cartoons are no longer just for Saturday mornings in your living room. The Toons! series brings hour-long, direct-to-DVD cartoon movies to the big screen every Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 11 a.m.  If throwback family movies are more your thing, check out Family Rewind, retro family series and think about how fun it’ll be to introduce your kids to PG greats like Back to the Future II, Hook and Home Alone.

$3 for Toons! and Family Rewind tickets
301 Rice Lake Square

Regal Webster Place 11

Why We Dig Them: Reserved Showtimes that Cater to Parents and Reclining Seats Perfect for Nursing Moms

Have a new baby or chatty toddler at home and can’t recall the last time you saw a non-animated movie on the big screen?  Show up any Tuesday to the first showing and enjoy a kid-friendly environment.  Sit amongst other parents and tiny tots and relax, worrying not if your babe lets out some sqwaks or cries. Nursing? No problem!  These seats offer a recline feature and will make you forget you’re not in your own living room.  You might just wind up sitting next to your new best mom-friend!  Better yet, this weekly invitation overlaps with Regal’s low price of $5.79 tickets and $2 popcorn on Tuesdays!

Note:  Daytime street parking CAN be found, or choose the covered parking lot for $5 with validation. 

$5.79 Tuesdays, first moving screening
1471 W. Webster Ave.
Lincoln Park

tivoli-theaterphoto: Tivoli Theater

Tivoli Theater

Why We Dig Them: The Nostalgic Experience

Show the family what a classic movie theater experience once was at this historic landmark built in 1928 as one of the nation’s first theaters for “talkies”.  Admission price is only $5 all day, but the nostalgic experience is priceless.  Note that this small venue has limited showtimes and only features one second-run film at a time.

5021 Highland Ave.
Downers Grove

Cinemark Century Theaters

Why We Dig Them:  Discount Tuesdays and Throwback Disney Flicks

Take your bunch to see a first-run flick that the kids are excited about at a price that can’t be beat.  Find your nearest Cinemark theater to take advantage of a discounted ticket price all day on Tuesdays for $5.75.  Bloomingdale and Woodridge locations also feature a child and senior price of $4.50 every day. Be sure to check ahead as some exclusions may apply.

Have a Disney superfan in the house? Cinemark Seven Bridges is showing throwback Disney movies daily until October 22.  Introduce your kids to favorites like Toy Story, Wall-E and The Rescuers for just $5.

$5.75 all day on Tuesdays; $5 Disney throwbacks

Century Stratford Square
804 Stratford Square

Century 12/CineArts6
1715 Maple Ave.
Evanston, IL 60201

Cinemark @ Seven Bridges
6500 Rte. 53


Cascade Drive-Inphoto: Cascade Drive-In

Cascade Drive-In

Why We Dig Them: Movies Under the Stars and a Chance to Kick it Old School

Here’s one that not only offers throwback pricing, because you pay by the carload on Sundays, but a throwback experience. One by one, drive-in theaters have disappeared in favor of their theater-style competitors. Cascade is still around, offering blockbuster double features under the stars. It’s not often parents have a chance to blow their kids’ minds, but you’ll do just that when you park the car in front of the nation’s largest outdoor movie screen and offer them a dose of yesteryear. Bring your own food and charcoal to cook on one of the grills in the picnic area. Cascade operates March through November.

Box office opens at 7:00pm
$10/adults; $5/ages 5-11; free for ages 5 & under; $14/carloads on Sundays
1100 E. North Ave.
West Chicago

Worth Noting

Have a child who enjoys films but finds the theater environment over-stimulating?  Many theaters have begun “Sensory Friendly” screenings to meet the needs of all families.  AMC Theater locations offer four showings per month on every 2nd and 4th Tuesday and Saturday at 10 a.m.  Lights are kept up and sound is kept down, while children are free to walk, talk, dance or sing throughout the film.  Be sure to check your local theater for details.


Share in the Comments below if you have a favorite theater for cheap movie dates. 

—Nicole Morris