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An empty, dimly lit movie theater.



In these entertainment-centric times it’s more important than ever to have the kind of experience that a good movie can provide. And while technology has advanced to the point that your home theater can match, and in some cases, exceed the visual quality of a movie theatre, there is something to be said for old-school ambiance. So, if the movie going experience is as much about where you watch as what you watch, here are three of the best old movie houses in the Southwest that you can still see movies in today.

Central Theatre - Ely, Nevada

Ely's single-screen Central Theatre opened its doors in 1940 and unlike many of its old movie theatres, still shows first-runs films to this day. The single story structure has retained it’s classic Art Deco brick design as well as it’s original interior details. The Central has been on the national register of Historic Places since 2013 and is currently owned by a local Nevada couple with zero plans to shut down any time soon.

Egyptian Theatre - Park City, Utah

For history a lot closer to home, go no further than The Egyptian Theatre. The discovery of King Tut’s tomb had taken over the world’s zeitgeist and directly led to the theater’s Egyptian architecture theme. Opened in 1926, The old movie house is a love letter to the Egyptian craze of the time. Decorated with hieroglyphics, obelisk-shaped pilasters, and other exotic details, the theater was originally a movie theater and vaudeville stage. In recent history, the theatrical gem has become one of the more popular venues for the Sundance Film Festival. When not participating in one of the largest film festivals in the world, The Egyptian shows a mix of classic movies and live shows.

Historic Park Theater - Estes Park, Colorado

Historic Park Theater has the distinction of not only being the oldest movie house on this list, but also being the oldest single-house motion picture theatre in the United States that was originally built as a movie theater. Which is a long winded way of saying while there are older movie houses that began their lives as stages for live performances, Historic Park Theater has alway been and continues to be a building designed for the soul purpose for presenting motion pictures to a live audience. Built in 1913, the old house has had its fair share of bad days over the years. Wind, lightning, and flood damage has threatened to take it down in the past, but the old theater always made it through. The theater has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1984 and has had several updates over the last half-decade including a new screen, digital projector with Dolby 3D, and Dolby 5.1 surround sound system.

For more nearby adventures be sure to check out our other blog posts.