5 classic cinemas to catch a film in San Francisco

1) Castro Theatre

This theater was built in 1922 and is SF Historic Landmark #100. It’s also one of the few remaining and still operating movie palaces in the country from the 1920s. Its façade is reminiscent of a Mexican basilica. It is now owned by a large entertainment group that will host public shows in the venue.

San Francisco - Castro Theatre

2) Roxie

Opened in 1909, this intimate 300- seat theater is the oldest continuously operating cinema in the country and the second oldest in the world. It has hosted every aspect of cinema and they ‘strive to keep the weird and wonderful alive in our little corner of San Francisco’ with unique indies, short films and festivals.

neon signs of the Roxie theatre

More hidden secrets of San Francisco?

Experience San Francisco like a local: discover the city's hidden gems, handpicked by a local, in this inspiring guide. Includes interesting facts, maps & index.

Buy the book or ebook

3) Vogue Theatre

Coming in as the second oldest cinema in San Francisco, the Vogue Theatre opened in 1910. For over 100 years it has continuously hosted a run of foreign and independent films and it also happens to be the city’s most popular venue for Woody Allen films.

San Francisco - Vogue Theatre

3290 Sacramento Street

+1 415 346 2228


4) Presidio Theatre

Owner Frank Lee has always loved movies. He started working in the entertainment industry when he was just 11 years old. Later he established his own company, owning and operating three independent theaters in SF, including this one which opened in 1937. It is now a multiplex.

street front of the Presidio Theatre in SF

5) Balboa Theatre

Opened in 1926, this independent cinema shows blockbusters, indie films and special screenings. Over the years it has faced tough competition from megaplex theaters, but its owners and operators couldn’t bear the thought of another old theater closing. It is a beloved part of a community that includes small family restaurants and local businesses.

the Balboa Theatre in San Francisco

Join the community

Sign up for free to gain unlimited access to the website. Plus, you'll receive a 10% discount in our online bookshop.

Sign up