Let’s be real: Sometimes we need a vacation from our vacation. The sightseeing, the near-constant eating out, hopping from one form of transportation to the next — it’s all fun but it can be exhausting. What better way to take a breather than to sit in a dark room munching on a hilariously large bucket of popcorn and watching a quality flick?
Seeing a movie in a different city is the move. Fortunately there are several movie theaters in Detroit to choose from, from super fancy cinema complexes to smaller and more historic venues that showcase indie and art house films. The following is a comprehensive list of some of the coolest places to see a movie in the Detroit area.
The Best Movie Theaters in Metro Detroit
If you want something that feels low-key yet classy, the Maple Theater is the perfect option for hard to find indie films. Look out for special film screenings showing classics, art house, foreign and cult films as well. This theater understands the importance of restoring classic and overlooked cinema, so if you’re a movie buff it is absolutely worth checking out.
The Redford Theatre originally opened in 1928, and has been continuously operated in the city of Detroit ever since. Known for it’s historic organ that is still located in the theater, many films will be accompanied by a live organ performance before and during movies. For a great price, catch classics like Sixteen Candles and Young Frankenstein, as well as film series for true movie fans. Think classic cartoons, silent films, and holiday mystery movies.
Emagine Theaters is a Midwestern chain showing the biggest movies on giant screens, with comfy lounge chairs and an array of concession and dining options. They have locations in Royal Oak, Birmingham, Rochester Hills and Canton, but if you want to see a movie on the biggest screen in Michigan, check out the Novi location. Emagine definitely buys into the experiential model of movie-going, so it is a bit of an indulgence, but no worries — tickets are not outrageously expensive and a matinee is affordable.
For the real nostalgia heads, this $1.50 theater (yes, you read that correctly) is an absolute must. Grab your $1.50 movie ticket from the box office outside and then walk into the retro lobby, all ‘80s colors, bright tile and neon lights. All of the theaters have digital screens and sound, and they typically show films that left theaters a couple months before, so it truly is the best place to see something you might regret missing — a second chance theater of sorts! It really is an iconic theater in the Detroit area, one of the last of its kind, so it’s totally worth going to both save a couple bucks and have a memorable experience.
This is a fun little art house cinema located inside of a former school in Midtown Detroit. The theaters are non-traditional, often with varied seating like cushioned chairs and couches. Seeing a movie here sort of feels like getting a group of friends together and setting up a projector, even more so during their Rocky Horror Picture Show screenings around Halloween. The main theater has a big enough screen and great picture, and the concessions offer bottled soda, delicious popcorn and candy. Visit here to see some of the best indie and foreign movies of the moment and then take a walk through Midtown and reminisce.
Landmark Theaters is a nationwide movie theater company showing some of the most acclaimed and popular indie and foreign films in the industry. The Main Art Theater is, funnily enough, located right in front of Emagine Royal Oak off of Main Street, creating a little movie mecca right on Main St. The Main Art Theater has a classic vibe, with red curtains and floor lights lining the lobby and theaters. The coolest aspect of this venue is its commitment to midnight screenings of cult and classic films every Friday and Saturday night. You can check out the scheduled showings on their website and of course they always advertise on the classic marquee.
Perfect for those wistful, hot summer nights. The Ford Drive-In off of Ford Road in Dearborn holds five giant outdoor screens, double features for the price of one ticket, and excellent concessions, picture quality, and sound. There’s something magical about watching a movie on a screen in the open air with the endless dome of night sky above you — it’s pure fun.
People often forget that the DIA not only offers some of the best and most impressive exhibits, but it also houses a historic theater that shows classic and modern films regularly. The gorgeous two-tiered theater with gold trim and intricate designs is located off of John R. Road, but you can make your way to the theater from the main entrance of the DIA as well. The theater’s schedule of showings is decided way in advance, so be sure to check their website to see if anything catches your interest. The selections are often unexpected and culturally significant, so if you want to watch something more challenging, this would be the place to do it. The balcony level of the theater offers a café with baked goods, locally produced soups, and wine and beer an hour before the show starts.
Giant Screen Experience at The Henry Ford
Watch the best stories of America’s past, present and future ever told in state-of-the-art 4K digital format at The Henry Ford. Complete with incredible sound and seating. Check out The Henry Ford’s website for times and ticket information.