Seattle has really stepped up its movie theater game. From electric-powered reclining chairs and seat-side service, to family-friendly fests and $1 screenings, going to the movies isn’t just reserved for date nights anymore. If you’re ready to graduate your brood from Netflix and Prime Video to a full-fledged movie theater experience, we’ve put together a list of the city’s best movie theaters that cater to families. Read on!
photo: Andrew Reed via Flickr
IMAX Theaters at Pacific Science Center
Don’t feel guilty about skipping the exhibits at the Pacific Science Center and just visiting to catch a movie at their theater featuring a screen that’s six-stories high. It can be a little daunting for little ones to climb the super steep stairs to find a seat, but once you’re settled in and the movie begins, they’ll relax pretty quickly. The Pacific Science Center has two state-of-the-art IMAX theaters that show both educational documentaries and popular new release films–usually a mix of the two are playing at any given time. Be sure to check their website for details on current shows and even purchase tickets in advance.
Pacific Science Center
200 Second Ave. N.
Seattle, WA 98109
Lincoln Square Cinemas’ Mommy & Me Movies
Located at The Bellevue Collection, parents on the Eastside love Mommy & Me movies at Lincoln Square Cinemas. (Despite its name, dads are invited too!) Starting at 10 a.m., the theater offers three different movies that allow moms and dads to enjoy first-run movies without worrying that their infant or young child will be disturbing anyone else. Psst…many of these movies are not kid-friendly, but your one-year-old probably won’t be paying attention anyway. Strollers are accepted and encouraged, the lighting is set at half level so you can attend to your little one while you watch and the volume is set lower as well. The movies vary from week to week, so check their website or call to find out what is playing this week. Movies prices are set at matinee prices (currently $9.50/ticket) and often, the theater will offer concession delivery right to your seat (depending on that day’s staffing.)
Lincoln Square Cinemas
700 Bellevue Way N.E.
Bellevue, WA 98004
photo: Kristina Moy
Central Cinema Cartoon Happy Hour
Every Thursday from 5 p.m.-7 p.m., Central Cinema offers a free classic cartoon “happy hour” appropriate for the whole family. To sweeten the offer even more, Central Cinema also offers food and beverage specials during this time. “Expose your kids to all the ‘splats’ and ‘konks’ you remember while relaxing with a cold one,” says the theater. Central Cinema also offers a variety of family-friendly films each month and delish concessions like freshly-made pizzas, salads and sandwiches.
1411 21st Ave.
Seattle, WA 98122
AMC Sensory-Friendly Movies
Partnering with the Autism Society, AMC offers unique movie showings where they turn the lights up, and turn the sound down, so you can get up, dance, walk, shout or sing! The Sensory-Friendly and Family-Friendly Film program is available on the second and fourth Saturday of every month. Please check your local theater listings for specific showtimes. Find an AMC Theatre here.
Cheap Summer Movies
Two local theater chains offer special discounts on kid-friendly movies all summer long. Regal Cineama offers its super-popular Summer Movie Express and Cinemark offers its Summer Movie Clubhouse. Many of these movies are just $1 and often come with concession specials. The only downside? You have to wait until summer to take advantage!
photo: Bay Area International Children’s Film Festival
Family Film Festivals to Put on Your Radar
Each year, Seattle plays host to two awesome film fests. In late January, the Northwest Film Forum hosts the Children’s Film Festival Seattle, the largest and most respected film festival on the West Coast dedicated to children and their families. During the two-week extravaganza, you and your crew can see more than 146 short and feature films that represent more than 39 countries and languages and participate in workshops, pre-and post-film discussions, special events and encounters with filmmakers. Then in May, the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) features over 400 features, short films and documentaries that have been scooped up from all other world along with a special group of films called Films4Families, perfect for all ages. Tickets usually go on sale months before the festivals start and feature Early Bird specials. Check their websites for show times, ticket prices and more info.
—Jeffrey Totey and Katie Kavulla