Like most things in Minneapolis, we do movie theaters a little differently here. While there are plenty of big-name theaters to choose from for the latest releases and superhero-branded tubs of popcorn, the city’s smaller, independently owned and historic theaters offer so much more: throwback favorites, popcorn with real butter, and special events from musical sing alongs to marathons, all inside neighborhood gathering spots jam-packed with vintage character. You’ll never want to go back to the mall megaplexes again.
Searching for a truly budget-friendly movie night? Search no further than this mod theater in the Longfellow neighborhood, showing new releases, not-so-new releases, Lord of the Rings Trilogy Marathons, and holiday classics in December with proceeds going to food banks. (P.S. it’s cash only, so plan ahead) Be sure to grab some popcorn—topped with real melted butter—and don’t miss their annual Oscar-nominated short film marathon each January.
Across the Stone Arch Bridge from Downtown Minneapolis lies Saint Anthony Main Theatre, the year-round home of The Film Society of Minneapolis St. Paul showing new release films along with serious film-buff screenings, niche film festivals, and lighter events like the annual CatVideoFest. Grab $5 tickets each Tuesday, and make it a full night with dinner at the ultra-charming Aster Café before or after your show.
Lagoon Cinema shows limited release indie films (in other words, all those Oscar nominees that don’t play at the cineplex) as well as popular new releases and documentaries. The cinema is managed by Landmark Theatres, America’s largest theatre chain dedicated to exhibiting and marketing independent films.
A small, intimate nonprofit theater with just 90 seats, Trylon in the Longfellow Neighborhood is a cinephile’s paradise showing classic and international films six nights a week, primarily on Century Model SA 35mm projectors. Expect silent movies with score performed by live musicians, classic horror films around Halloween, and a lovingly curated calendar of films you just won’t see anywhere else. Local tip: Trylon is cash-only at the door, but you can buy advance tickets (without any fees!) online.
The newly renovated Parkway—which got a total facelift in 2018—hosts live events and throwback movie screenings, making it a one-stop entertainment destination in South Minneapolis. Catch documentary debuts, storytelling competitions, screenings of the original Star Wars films, local album releases, and tribute bands showcasing tunes from Neil Diamond to Queen to Pink Floyd.