From the granite faces in Yosemite to the sky-high peaks surrounding Lake Tahoe, the outdoors are the main reason people visit the High Sierra. But as the sun begins to set and those rare occasions when the weather isn’t very nice, the Best Movie Theatres In California High Sierra are a refreshing way for the entire family to have some fun.
Tahoe Art Haus
A movie theatre being located in an outdoor mecca like Lake Tahoe means you have to look and think differently. It can’t be just a movie and that’s it. Located in the former Cobblestone Cinema, the Tahoe Art Haus is a shining example of a unique movie going experience. First off, the lobby bar hosts nine craft beers and ciders on tap. They also serve up non-GMO popcorn popped only in coconut oil alongside a popcorn spice bar. Then the films…. in addition to major movies they also show indy films, action sports films, and even environmental movies. Tahoe Art Haus isn’t just a movie theatre but the beating heart of the entertainment world in Tahoe City.
Bishop Twin Theatre
On the eastern side of the mighty Sierra, you’ll find the cozy town of Bishop and the Bishop Twin Theatre. For nearly a century, this landmark has stood as a community center from hosting War Bond Rallies in the forties to countless films. As of 2015, the current owners and longtime residents Holly and Larry Mullanix purchased it and put in nearly $300,000 of refurbishing and enhancing the theatre. You still get the classic feeling of how the theatre was in the roaring 20’s in the lobby but with the amenities you’d want when watching films. And with all of these upgrades, you can still buy an adult ticket for only $9! Talk about an affordable family night out. As the name alludes this “twin” theatre has two separate auditoriums where they always show two first-run movies each week.
Another classic cinema theatre located in the historic downtown of Angels Camp. Within the art-deco style building, you’ll find six screens with luxurious modern seating. Expect to watch the most recent popular movies alongside small independent films as well. The Angels 6 Theatre serves up freshly popped popcorn, beer, wine, and non-alcoholic beverages that you can enjoy while watching a movie. Combine it with a stroll through the largest collection of carriages and wagons in the country inside the Angels Camp Museum and you got yourself a perfect day of indoor fun.
When the original owners shut down the theatre in 2012, local friends created a unique business plan to save their local theatre – a membership model. If 3,000 people signed up for a monthly membership, the cinema could be saved. They weren’t just able to open it but have now grossed record revenue and boosted their attendance.
Along with the popular movies available at the theatre, they’ve brought on a new experience to their building – a VR Theatre! In fact, it’s the ONLY permanent Positron Powered Virtual Reality theatre in the country. The 16 motion pods inside it are designed to give audiences a full sensory experience you won’t forget. Award-winning VR Films take you to places you probably would never experience on your own from outer space to the top of Everest. This theatre is ONLY location showing “Experience Yosemite” an adventure that allows the viewer to experience Yosemite National Park in a way never seen before. The groundbreaking film is narrated by Bryan Cranston.
Visalia Fox Theatre
The Visalia Fox Theatre looms over Main Street calling out like a beacon for a great night of entertainment. Built in 1930 as part of the Fox Theatre chain, this building has been restored back to its former glory and re-opened in 1999. When these were built, the idea was to create an atmosphere that each one was unique. The Visalia Fox emulates a temple garden in India or South Asia. You’ll find huge murals, a hand-sculpted genie, and even a ceiling with stars that flicker and glow during performances. The 1,200+ theatre hosts live performances as well as unique film experiences such as ET with a LIVE symphony playing the full score of the film in person.
Instead of beelining right to your cabin or hotel room, head to one of these fun theatres that dot the High Sierra. We guarantee they’ll paint magical memories to go along with the fun you have outside.
Author: Alex Silgalis
Alex founded Local Freshies® in 2014 to be the #1 website providing the “local scoop” on where to eat, drink & play in mountain towns throughout North America. When he’s not writing and executing marketing strategies for small businesses & agencies, he’s in search of the deepest snow in the winter and tackiest dirt in the summer.