Best Indie Movie Theaters In Seattle

April 28, 2014 5:00 AM

(Photo Credit Thinkstock)

Just about everyone loves movies, but not all are crazy about the films shown at their local mall. For them, they are looking for something different. It’s not always easy to find a theater that shows obscure older movies, an international artsy movie or a film that is locally made, but Seattle does have them. Here are five of the best:
Sundance Cinemas
4500 9th Ave. N.E.
Seattle, WA 98105
(206) 633-0059

Seattle’s Sundance Cinemas has recently had a huge makeover and the location is stunning. Every week, Sundance presents the latest independent films as well as the popular blockbusters. The cinemas are for adults ages 21 and up only, all seats are reserved and no commercials are shown before the main attraction. Instead, shorts and features from the Sundance Channel make up the pre-show. The seating is roomy and comfortable. Outside of the theatre, you’ll find a bar and bistro with wi-fi access. The theatre does charge an amenity fee from $0-$3 per film and you’ll need to pay for parking.

SIFF Film Center
305 Harrison St.
Seattle, WA 98109
(206) 324-9996

The Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) has its own year-round theater located on the Seattle Center campus. The fairly new facility features a state-of-the-art 95-seat “jewelbox” cinema and features 2K digital projection, archival-ready 35mm print projection and Dolby surround sound. Finding cheap parking in Seattle can be tricky, but SIFF offers free parking to its patrons. Ticket pricing is comparable to other movie theaters.

Central Cinema
1411 21st Ave.
Seattle, WA 98122
(206) 328-3230

Central Cinema is unlike any theatre in Seattle in that it never shows current movies. The movies shown are different every day and there is programming for adults as well as families. Central Cinema takes pride in being Seattle’s only dine-in cinema serving up everything from appetizers to salads and burgers to pizza, and you can order throughout the movie. It features sofa seating and organic popcorn with real butter for less than other theaters. After the movie, don’t rush off. Join in for a game of scrabble in the Café Noir in the lobby.

Related: Best Spring 2014 Theater Productions in Seattle

Northwest Film Forum
1515 12th Ave.
Seattle, WA 98122
(206) 329-2629

The Northwest Film Forum not only screens over 200 independent films each year, it helps make them too. The facilities double as a theater and a classroom for those so inclined. Movies are swapped out every week and range from family fare to adults only. The facility features two cinemas showing the best American and foreign-made independent films. Tickets prices are reasonable and even more so if you become a member.

Crest Cinema Center
16505 5th Ave. N.E.
Shoreline, WA 98155
(206) 363-6339

Built in 1949, The Crest has certainly seen better days, but considering its age, it has held up very well. You can’t beat the friendly people who work there and the cheap ticket prices – just three dollars each. You could stay and watch all four movies for the price of just one elsewhere. The four-screen theater offers a great variety of Hollywood, independent and foreign movie fare. And since the theater doesn’t play first-run movies, it is also a great place to catch that movie that you meant to see but missed at your mall theater.

Related: Best Place to Read Your Book with Coffee in Seattle

Jeffrey Totey is a freelance writer living in Seattle. He has a love for the arts and is a student of pop culture. He covers stories about the performing arts, theater, museums, cultural events, movies and more in the greater Seattle area. His work can be found at

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