When it comes to escaping the brutal Arizona heat, nothing quite beats an afternoon at the movie theater. If you're traveling to the East Valley of Phoenix—which includes Chandler, Tempe, Maricopa, and Casa Grande—you can catch a double feature during the hottest part of the day at an AMC or Harkins movie theater nearby.
If you want to avoid the crowds of movie theaters in Phoenix, but are too far away from Glendale, Scottsdale, or Mesa, you can still get out of the sun in any of these great locations, many of which feature cheaper ticketing costs than theaters in the downtown area. Oftentimes, even major Hollywood blockbusters don't sell out these community theaters, so you can also head out to the East Valley if tickets are sold out in Phoenix for the newest release.
Locations and Show Times for the East Valley
The East Valley of Phoenix has plenty of options for moviegoers, many of which are close to other attractions in the Valley of the Sun that might interest you.
Harkins Theatres is headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona, and operates over 35 theaters spread across Arizona, California, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Texas. However, while most of the theaters in the area belong to Harkins Theatres, there are a few other companies that offer unique movie-going experiences to guests of all ages.
UltraStar Cinemas, for instance, is a regional chain that offers a full bar and food services but only operates in California and Arizona. Meanwhile, the Alamo Drafthouse is a Texas-based chain with locations in over 10 states that each enforce a strict "no talking or texting" policy during screenings. You can typically rely on a good overall experience with comfortable seating, great sound systems, and state-of-the-art visual projections at both of these establishments.
However, when it comes to unique movie-going opportunities in the East Valley, the Pollack Tempe Cinemas, which ABC's "The List" once voted as one of the "Coolest Movie Theaters in America," may be your best bet—especially considering how cheap ticket prices are. This budget theater offers guest a chance to see second-run screenings of blockbuster films (and classics) for just $3.50 and also has a full concession stand of classic movie snacks like hot dogs, soda, and popcorn.
Movie Events in Phoenix
If you'd rather not just see a movie but spend the day enjoying an entire experience built around cinema, the Valley of the Sun hosts several events throughout the year honoring films and documentaries from Hollywood and independent filmmakers alike.
For instance, the West Wind Glendale 9 Drive-In in Glendale hosts a free movie night one Thursday each month while the annual Phoenix Film Festival draws thousands of film enthusiasts from around the world to the city for a week of movie showcases.
In the summer, many communities around the Valley organize free movie screenings in public parks or private establishments. Bars across the city have also taken to hosting their own movie nights during the winter months, and the Phoenix Museum of Art hosts independent film showcases throughout the year.