Captivating cinemas hold heart of community

Portland might as well be heaven for the cinephiles, film buffs and movie geeks out there. Independent and arthouse theaters are not only popular throughout the city, they are accessible and affordable. At the following locations, you can see a vast variety of popular movies, foreign, local and independent films, and your trip to the cinema will cost you less than $20 — snacks included! 

Moreland Theater

Moreland Theater’s classic sign is a staple in the Sellwood skyline. From head to toe, the cinema stays true to a retro, locally-beloved vibe with an outdoor box office, simple concessions and a cozy interior. While you will not find enveloping, reclining, vibrating seats in this single-screen theater, their well-worn classic chairs are a comfortable treat. Moreland typically screens one newly-released film for one to two weeks, before moving on to the next big-screen blockbuster or indie darling conversation starter. While limited screening options may seem like a downfall, many neighborhood locals (like myself) find the simplicity charming and reassuring. Keep an eye on their Instagram, @morelandtheater, and their marquee to stay in the loop on current screenings. 

Visiting Moreland is reasonable at any point in the week, as tickets are $8 before 6 p.m. and $10 after. On Tuesdays, tickets are $5 all day — but be sure to arrive before showtime as lines are not uncommon, especially for popular films. It also will not break the bank to grab a snack on your way in. Popcorn is $4 – $6, soda $3 – $4. Beer is always $5.50 and it is $6.70 for a glass of wine.

Hollywood Theatre
The Hollywood Theatre is a Portland institution. Located in the historic Hollywood district, its luminous sign elicits selfies from tourists and locals alike. Film buffs of all kinds should tune into their Instagram, @hollywoodtheatr, and website to stay on top of their unique programming and film series. Cult classics and up-and-coming independent films always have a home at Hollywood, with many rare, single-day showings drawing large crowds. Their Kung Fu Theatre series, for example, screens one-of-a-kind 35-millimeter prints of martial arts films from the 1970s. Educational programming and local filmmakers also get their share of the spotlight here. 

Beyond its ornate exterior, the Hollywood Theater is a well-oiled machine. The seats are cushy and pleasantly spaced, with the perfect amount of recline. Small tables on the sides of aisles provide ample space to pick-up popcorn, beer ($6), cider ($6), and wine ($7) at the concessions stand or sidle up to the “Pie Hole,” courtesy of Sizzle Pie, for a $4-$5 slice. Student tickets are $10 and can be purchased online or at the Box Office 30 minutes before the first showing of the day. 

Clinton Street Theater

The Clinton Street Theater opened its doors in 1915, making it one of the oldest operating theaters in the United States. More than a screen and seats, the Clinton Street Theater is a Portland staple that hosts community events, educational panels, as well as live performances. History is evident in The Clinton’s timeworn carpets, and the smell of popcorn is practically embedded in the squeaky cloth seats. The Clinton has been home to Portland’s “Rocky Horror Picture Show” troupe since 1978 and has welcomed many other punk, queer and anarchist-centered medias. The deeply entrenched community appreciation is palpable. Performers and employees are comfortable and confident within these walls, and their love for the theater and its values are evident.
Tickets typically hover around $10, though longer screenings can be more expensive while many community events and screenings are free, so be sure to check their website: 

Avalon Theater

If seeing a movie is not the only thing your night has in store, Avalon is the theater for you. Part of the Portland-wide Electric Castle Wunderland chain, the Avalon Theater includes an arcade and single-screen theater showing blockbuster movies and children’s films. The culinary experience is barebones: popcorn, soda and ICEEs are available in concessions and the theater itself is as expected. Avalon is the perfect place to catch that new Disney movie you have secretly been wanting to see or experience the latest big-ticket movie in a laid-back environment. Tickets are $6 for shows before 6 p.m. and $7.75 after. On Tuesdays, you can see a film for $5 at the Avalon. Entry to the arcade is $2 for adults, with most games costing between $0.05 and $0.20 a turn.

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