Start your Los Angeles area historic theatre explorations by heading to one of these major sections: Downtown | North of Downtown + East L.A. | San Fernando Valley | Glendale | Pasadena | San Gabriel Valley, Pomona and Whittier | South, South Central and Southeast | Hollywood | Westside | Westwood and Brentwood | Along the Coast | Long Beach | [more] L.A. Movie Palaces |
To see what's recently been added to the mix visit the Theatres in Movies site and the Los Angeles Theatres Facebook page.

L.A. Theatre Tours and Upcoming Events

Recurring theatre tours:

Alex Theatre
216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale
The theatre generally offers a tour once a month showing off both the 1925 vintage house as well as the wonders of the newly expanded stage facilities, seen here in a view on their website. They're free but you need to reserve -- the group each time is limited to 20. Their web site has a backstage tour page about the event.

Check upcoming tour dates on their website's calendar page
See the Alex Theatre pages here on this site for lots more about the theatre.

Egyptian Theatre 
6712 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood

The American Cinematheque offers tours of Sid Grauman's first Hollywood movie palace, opened in 1922. See the Egyptian pages here on this site for more about the theatre.

Usually it's one Saturday each month at 10:30 am. You get a docent-led tour going backstage, into the dressing rooms, the "singer's boxes," and more.

Tickets are $7 for students and seniors,  $9 general admission. Reservations are not required.  Check the Egyptian Theatre calendar for dates.

El Capitan Theatre
6838 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood 

You can now get a tour any day at this classic 1926 legitimate theatre turned movie palace. See the El Capitan pages here on this site for more about the theatre. There's a 30 minute tour at 8:30 am any morning ($15) that gets you into backstage areas as well as the auditorium, lobby, and a look at the Wurlitzer.

Or a 15 minute led "express" tour ($5) offered throughout the day that just gets you a history discussion and a walk through of
lobby and lower lounge areas. Reservations are not required.  Call 1-800-DISEY6 for details or see the El Capitan website for the latest updates. There's a tour information flyer on their site, also available as a larger format tour info pdf.


Grauman's Chinese Theatre
6925 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood

Sid Grauman's Chinese Theatre is a Meyer and Holler design from 1927. See the pages about the Chinese here on this site for more about the theatre. They offer tours throughout the day, every day.

You get a chat with a guide, spend some time in the lobby looking at exhibits and then wander down the side aisles of the auditorium and peek in (if a show is on). Or if your tour time hits an intermission, you get more of an auditorium tour. The Chinese Theatre website has a page on tour information.

L.A. County Music Center
Grand Ave., Downtown

Free tours of Disney Hall, the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the Mark Taper Forum and the Ahmanson Theatre are offered Tuesday through Saturday by The Symphonians, a Music Center volunteer group. How much of each venue you see changes daily depending on production schedules. No reservations are necessary.

Tours begin at 10:15 and 12:30 starting in the lobby of Disney Hall. Details are on a Symphonians Tours page on the Music Center website. In addition, Disney Hall offers their own tours. See the Music Center pages on Disney Hall guided tours and Disney Hall self-guided tours.

One Saturday each November the organization Grand Ave. Arts hosts an "all access" open house. In addition to tours of the four main theatres similar to the ones offered throughout the year, L.A. Opera hosts a more detailed backstage tour of the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. The festivities usually include other events at Colburn School, MOCA, the Broad and the Library as well. See the Grand Ave. Arts website for details.

Pantages / Warner
7th & Hill Streets, Downtown

The Warner Theatre is open weekdays for a walk-through anytime. It's a design of B. Marcus Priteca and opened in 1920 as a venue for the Pantages vaudeville circuit. Warner Bros. acquired the theatre in 1929.  It's now a jewelry mart on the main floor but most of the decor is intact. Cost: free. Just walk in either the front door (there's not much left of the lobby) or use the stage door on 7th St.

Check out the pages about the Warner Downtown here on this site for more photos and history.

Pasadena Playhouse
39 S. El Molino Ave. Pasadena

The Playhouse doesn't have a regular tour schedule but will be happy to arrange one for individuals or groups. The tour can be customized depending on your particular interests. See the Visit page on the Pasadena Playhouse website for contact information.

For more information about the building, and many photos, see the Pasadena Playhouse page here on this site. The theatre opened in 1925.

San Gabriel Mission Playhouse
320 S. Mission Dr., San Gabriel

The theatre doesn't offer regularly scheduled tours but will be happy to arrange a tour if you have a group of 5 or more. Details as well as a request form are on the theatre website's Playhouse Tour page. The 1,143 seat theatre is now used for movies, concerts, and various legit theatre offerings. It opened in 1927 as a home for an elaborate show about the founding of California's missions.

See the San Gabriel Mission Playhouse page here on this site for more data and many photos of the theatre.

Occasional Events:

 Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation

The Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation offers "all-about" tours of historic theatres as well as providing logistical support for other events in various venues.  Their tours offer a chance to explore the non-public areas of many of the theatres.

Information about upcoming tours appears on the LAHTF website. Also keep up to date with the LAHTF Facebook page.

Los Angeles Conservancy

The L.A. Conservancy offers walking tours of the Broadway theatre district every Saturday morning. Depending on schedules, the tour may include visits inside one or more of the theatres. There are also other tours of various historic Los Angeles neighborhoods.

The Conservancy's "Last Remaining Seats" series of screenings in historic theatres every June offers another chance to see the buildings. There are occasionally other special screenings and events.

Theatres running classic films:

Aero Theatre  Santa Monica   event schedule

Alex Theatre  Glendale  theatre website | alex film society site

Arclight Cinemas Hollywood and other locations  theatre website

Bing Theatre/LACMA  Wilshire Blvd.  film program overview | schedule listings

Cinespia - Hollywood Forever Cemetery + screenings in downtown theatres   website

Linwood Dunn Theatre - AMPAS  1313 Vine St. Hollywood  AMPAS website | event calendar

Egyptian Theatre  6712 Hollywood Blvd.   American Cinematheque website | event schedule

Samuel Goldwyn Theatre - AMPAS  8949 Wilshire Blvd. Beverly Hills  AMPAS website | event calendar

L.A. Conservancy - A June series in classic theatres   website | "Last Remaining Seats"

New Beverly Cinema 7165 Beverly Blvd.  theatre website

USC Department of Cinematic Arts  events schedule

Billy Wilder Theatre / Hammer Museum  10899 Wilshire Blvd. Westwood  Hammer Museum events | UCLA Film Archive events

Film festivals:

AFI Fest -  Every November at the Chinese and Roosevelt hotel.  website | venue info 

Cinecon Classic Film Festival  - Every Labor Day weekend at the Egyptian.  website | on Facebook

COLCOA French Film Festival  ("City of light / City of Angels") - April/May in Hollywood.    website

Downtown LA Film Festival  In October at Regal L.A. Live and other venues.  website

Noir City - An annual festival at the Egyptian sponsored by the the theatre and Film Noir Los Angeles. Egyptian website | Film Noir Facebook page |  

LA Film Festival / Film Independent -  In June at the Arclight.  organization website | LA Film Festival

Los Angeles Italia - A free festival of the latest Italian releases at the Chinese 6. It's held during the week leading up to the Oscars. website

TCM Classic Film Festival - In April at the Chinese, Egyptian and other venues.  website

Film awards programs: 

Academy Awards / Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences - February  AMPAS website

Golden Globes / Hollywood Foreign Press Association - January  organization website

Film Independent Spirit Awards - February  organization website

Blogs and sites about the movies:

Awards Daily

Big Screen Biz - forums and advice for theatre owners

Boxoffice - the consummate trade magazine since 1920

The Carpetbagger - awards season dispatches from the New York Times

Critic Wire

Deadline Hollywood

Jim Hill Media - entertainment news with a focus on Disney

Hollywood Reporter

Lee's Movie Info - trailers, release dates, grosses and more

Leonard Maltin

Los Angeles Times - entertainment news -

Movie City News - "Hollywood's Homepage"

MovieWeb - trailers and news

New York Times - arts section

New York Times - movie section

The New Yorker - culture section

Observations on Film Art - David Boardwell

Variety - film news, reviews and more

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