With the growth of online streaming services, movie theaters are offering new amenities and interactive experiences to encourage viewers to get off the couch. Here are some of Austin’s most innovative theaters.
The downtown outpost of the Alamo has only two screens, but each auditorium is equipped with state-of-the-art projection and sound systems. And, as with all Alamo theaters, you can order food and beverages from your seat. The theater also presents quote-alongs, themed dinners and the always hilarious Master Pancake Theater in which live performers mock the on-screen action. 320 East 6th Street, Austin; (512) 861-7020
Featuring both mainstream releases and independent films, Violet Crown is the most luxurious theater in town. The reclining seats are huge, and you get a specific seat number when you buy your ticket (online or in person). If you show up early, you can enjoy a full gourmet meal and craft cocktails in the dining area. You can also eat in the theater, but the dining room is better if you want to actually have a conversation. Unlike Alamo, there are no waiters in the theater, but each seat has a fold-out tray for drinks and food you bring in from the lounge.
Did you know that City of the Violet Crown was one of Austin’s early nicknames? 434 West 2nd Street, Austin; (512) 495-9600
While the museum is focused on Texas history, the IMAX Theater presents films on a wide range of topics. Some are educational, such as Humpback Whales 3D and National Parks Adventure 3D, but the theater also offers IMAX versions of major releases such as The Hunger Games: Mockingjay and Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens 3D. The museum’s Texas Spirit Theater also delivers realistic sound effects (wind, rain, lightning), and the seats vibrate at opportune moments to enhance the experience. The theater also now has a state-of-the-art laser system.
1800 Congress Avenue, Austin; (512) 936-4629
Almost as immersive as IMAX, XD technology truly makes movies larger than life. The screens at this Pflugerville theater stretch from floor to ceiling and wall to wall. Stadium seating ensures unobstructed views and plenty of leg room. While there is no in-theater service, you can buy food at the adjoining restaurant and bring it into the theater. 15436 FM 1825, Pflugerville; (512) 989-8535
The best theater in far south Austin, Cinemark Southpark Meadows features stadium seating and two different types of 3D projection technology (Real 3D and HFR 3D). In addition to the advanced technology, this theater earns high praise for keeping the bathrooms and the auditoriums clean even during busy times. 9900 S. IH-35 Service Road SB, Austin; (512) 291-0171
The only theater in north Austin with IMAX 3D, Regal Cinemas Gateway 16 has big reclining seats, giant screens and all the latest movies. Located near the Arboretum shopping center, the theater is close to several top-notch date-night restaurants, such as Eddie V's and Estancia Churrascaria. 9700 Stonelake Boulevard, Austin; (844)-462-7342 ext.366
Located in the Lake Travis area, the Moviehouse & Eatery is still relatively new, but it’s earning rave reviews for comfortable chairs and tasty food. Plus, each table has its own small table, so the eating experience is a little less awkward than it is on the Alamo’s shared tables. A full bar also helps keep movie fans happy. 8300 North FM 620, Building B; (512) 428-6071