I know, I know, it's cold; really cold. Even though it's snowy, windy, miserable, it's the perfect weather to get off the frosty white streets of Chicago and take a seat in front of the silver screen. In this post, I'll take you through some of Chicago's best movie theaters. On top of that, I'll let you know which ones are best for different releases and experiences.
Who's up for an experience? No, not your everyday movie theater experience, but a life experience. Everyone n Chicago has to go to The Music Box Theater at least once... okay, maybe twice. This is not your normal theater, but in all honesty, maybe it should be. This classic theater, with its old and funky décor, doesn't show the movies that are in every other movie theater. Instead they play a lot of classic films, independent films, cult classics, and midnight horror flicks. Their line-ups are always changing, but they also always keep viewers favorite cult classics like The Room in the rotation. Also, be sure to catch The Rocky Horror Picture Show with real actors shadow-acting the film. Yes, that's acting out the scenes in front of the screen. Prop bags are available for purchase. Really, it doesn't get any better.
If you happen to be in the South Loop, ShowPlace ICON Theaters is the best place to see a movie, hands down. This posh and modern movie theater offers everything a movie theater should and more. ICON includes: numerous theaters, big screens, great sound, and comfy chairs. Not only does it pass the regular checklist, ShowPlace ICON has some other great amenities like VIP treatment and a bar, which are great if you are going on a date. VIP tickets are more expensive, but give you special access to theaters where you can be served food as you watch the movie. As mentioned, ICON also has a fully stocked bar that looks like it should be in the middle of River North. The bar looks faces out to a beautiful cityscape that truly lights up at night. Oh, did I mention free parking? I know, that never happens in Chicago, but it does here. Now I must mentions, even though parking is free, this theater is a little pricier, but worth it if you're trying to impress that special someone.
Now, if you're in the North Loop, I would suggest seeing your flick at the AMC River East Theater. Located in River North, this is a popular theater for many tourists when they visit Chicago because of how close many of the hotels are to AMC. This theater also passes my test for a good movie theater (again) including: numerous theaters, big screens, great sound, and again, comfy chairs. So what does this theater have that most every theater doesn't? Well, a bowling alley of course! Located on the main concourse is a high class bowling alley that I can really only describe as swanky. Like every bowling alley on the planet, there is a well stocked bar with some great choices. This makes AMC a great theater to take a date as well. So throw a couple strikes and catch a flick at AMC River East 21.
When it's time for a blockbuster, Navy Pier IMAX Theater is the place to see it. Located in the historical Navy Pier, the IMAX Theater is a top destination among Chicago movie-goers. There really isn't a more engaging experience then watching a movie on the biggest commercial screen in the world. Because of the screen size, surround sound, 3-D quality, Navy Pier's IMAX Theater is the best place to see that big, action packed blockbuster that comes out a few times every year. Also check out the show-times for the various nature documentaries that are made just for IMAX!
You know how every year during the movie awards season, you see all those foreign and independent films nominated and then you sit back and think, "Where do they even show movies like that?" Well, they're at The Landmark Theater in Lakeview. Landmark is one of the best theaters in Chicago for its amazing selection of films. They mainly show smaller budget independent films from the minor studios in Hollywood and around the world. I have seen some of my favorite films here at Landmark and it was one of the only theaters in Chicago that showed the winner of the 2012 Oscar's most coveted award, The Best Motion Picture of the Year, with the film, "The Artist." So the next time a Coen Brothers, Wes Anderson, or Spike Jonze film comes out, check to see if the Landmark has it, because chances are they do.