The 12 Most Unique Movie Theaters in the World

Forget watching Netflix at home or going to a regular movie theatre, all around the world from the United States to Norway to the UK there are some extremely unique theatres to visit. Some take credit for being hundreds of years old while others use new technology to wow moviegoers. From an elementary school turned brewpub/theatre to an outdoor cinema set up in a cemetery; here are our top 12 choices for the most unique movie theatres in the world.

12. Kennedy School, Portland, OR

This one time elementary school has been turned into a 35-room hotel, restaurant, and movie theatre, all thanks to McMenamins, a local empire of brewpubs and entertainment venues. The movie theatre located in the school’s old auditorium is a mix of comfortable sofas, armchairs, and tables for two. It can fit up to 300 guests inside where second-run feature films are shown nightly.

Mommy matinees are shown during the day from Tuesdays to Thursday s where kids and their parents can come enjoy the first show, and it won’t matter to anyone if the wee ones fuss. Admission here is a steal, at just $4 per person and just $2 a child. There is a special theatre lounge and lobby to grab a drink and bite to eat before the show, or put in your order, as servers will come to your seat throughout the movie so you don’t have to miss a minute of it. Not surprisingly there are a number of McMenamins Craft Beers on tap here!

Via Lonely Planet

11. Colosseum Kino, Oslo, Norway

It is the largest cinema in Northern Europe and the largest THX cinema in the world and is dominating in structure due to its large spherical dome. The grey and cream dome looks more like a futuristic spaceship rather than a movie theatre but it was actually built in 1921.

Throughout its 90 year history, the Colosseum Kino has managed to keep up with technological advances such as sounds systems, and ticketing systems. In 1998 the theatre closed down for a period of time in which major interior and exterior renovations were made.

Via Cinemaholic

10. The Castro Theatre, San Francisco

Built in 1922 by pioneer San Francisco theatre entrepreneurs, this is one of the last remaining movie palaces in the nation that was built in the 1920’s that is still in operation. Both outside and it is breathtakingly gorgeous with the inside being just a touch more luxurious. Expect to see foamy balconies, wall-mounted busts of heroic figures and an auditorium that seat over 1,400 guests in a fantasy setting that is both lavish and intimate.

On either side of the screen are large organ grills, a large art deco chandelier hangs from the room and two dramatic staircases lead to the mezzanine and balcony. Showing here are foreign films, classic revivals, festivals and some of the most intense audiences in town.  In recent years the sound quality has been improved, new stage lighting was installed and larger and more comfortable seats were put on the main floor.

9. Electric Cinema, London

Visitors to the Electric Cinema in London should expect luxury service in this adults aimed hideout in the chic Notting Hill Neighborhood. It is one of the oldest working cinemas in the country, opening in 1910 and has run almost continuously since that time. The interior of the theater is made up of 65 leather armchairs with footstools and side tables, three 2-seater sofas at the rear and six double beds in the front row.

To make things even better, individual cashmere blankets are provided for guests. The bar opens 10 minutes before screening time, whereas the movie starts 30 minutes after screening time. Offering wine, beer, champagne and a variety of snacks; one must get their food and drinks ahead of time. On Monday mornings babies and their caregivers are invited to Electric Scream, a screening designed especially for them.

Via YouTube

8. Raj Mandir Cinema, Jaipur, India

It is nicknamed the “Pride of Asia” and is considered the crown jewel of India’s cinemas, and certainly lives up to its reputation. The theatre was created to make guests feel as though they were royal guests of a palace, a place full of style and elegance. Walking into this theatre is an experience unlike any other, high ceilings hung with huge chandeliers, lighting that changes from white to blue and walls covered in artistic artwork.

The seating here is divided into four sections, Pearl, Ruby, Emerald, and Diamond and once you are seated you will be faced with a huge screen covered by velvet curtains. This is such an experience that every single movie showing over the past 25 years has had a full house, now that is something to brag about. There certainly doesn’t seem to be any better place to take in the colorful sights and sounds of a Bollywood film.

7. Cine de Chef, Seoul, South Korea

This cinema gives a new meaning to “dinner and a movie” with its small luxurious theatre. Couples will begin their night by dropping their car off at the valet and taking the private elevator up to Cordon Bleu café for a quick meal before the show. Think upscale cuisine with a twist. Moviegoers are than put into a private screening room that seats just a handful of patrons.

The comfortable reclining chairs were designed by the same people who design seats for the United Arab Emirates Royalty and once you sit down you may never want to get back up. Footstools, side tables, and lamps complete the picture of this awesome yet small venue. Tickets start at just $54 per person for both dinner and a movie.

Via designseoda

6. Rooftop Cinema, Melbourne, Australia

Sitting on a rooftop bar watching a movie play on a large projection screen sounds like a dream come true. In fact, it is actually reality at the Rooftop Cinema in Melbourne Australia. Open daily from 11am-1am it is easy to grab a drink before the movie starts and hang around long after the credits roll. The rooftop cinema is open from December to April and prices start at $22 per person.

The seating up here is incredibly comfortable deck chairs and blankets are available to rent for just $5 for the course of the movie. Showings include art house films, classics, and recent releases. It is fully licensed up on this roof and moviegoers often bring up their cocktails and brews from the bar below. Enjoy the sky above you, the grass beneath you and an incredible view of the Melbourne skyline.

Via Time Out

5. Cinespia at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Los Angeles, CA

The outdoor movie screenings here are hard to beat in terms of being unique as they are held on Fairbanks Lawn, an open grassy field inside the Hollywood Forever Cemetery; yes we did just say cemetery. Moviegoers here are responsible for bringing their own low lying chairs, blankets and pillows as well as picnics, wine and beer (note that no spirits are allowed). The Forever Cemetery is the final resting place for many, including John Huston, Peter Lorre, Bugsy Siegel and more.

The showing range from comedies to horror to old school classics and tickets generally cost $10-$15. Guests arriving at the showing will walk through the beautiful and historic cemetery before plunking down in front of the screen. There are restrooms on site to use and there are no in and out privileges. If you thought that watching a scary movie in a normal cinema was scary, wait until you watch one in a cemetery.

Via Hollywood Reporter

4. Alamo Drafthouse, Austin, TX

This quirky indie movie chain was started by a husband and wife team that had no movie qualifications, other than being devoted movie fans. Striving to create the perfect viewing experience for movie lovers there are some strict rules to follow here in order for everyone to enjoy. Some of these rules include absolutely no talking, no cell-phone usage, no unaccompanied children, no babies and no ads before the movies.

What you can expect is high quality and locally sourced food and beer that are served to your seat. This movie chain also runs some incredible events across their theatres. It once showed the Lord of the Rings Trilogy where viewers were only permitted to eat when the characters ate on screen, or how about the events when they call for every viewer to dress like a certain character. Its how movie showing should be, uninterrupted, fun and enjoyable.

Via Alamo Drafthouse Cinema

3. Secret Cinema, Unknown

Once a month moviegoers can be part of a secret audience, secret location and essentially a secret world. Secret Cinema brings together film, music, art, and theatre to create a larger than life experience in abandoned spaces. This is an entirely immersive experience where audiences must dress up as the characters or of the era of the film. They also have the chance to interact with the spectators and actors while having food and drinks, living in the world of the film before setting in to watch the film.

Tickets are not cheap for the event and start around $75 Great British Pounds per adult. Viewers must register online to receive the secret email for which film will be next on the list. Although this is not a standalone theatre, the concept and the delivery of these movies is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Via Stevenfollows.com

2. Hot Tub Cinema, UK, USA, Ibiza

One way to get people talking is to combine hot tubs and movies, because who doesn’t love both! This company started by combining great films with amazing space, lots of hot tubs and incredible people. The mantra here is that they don’t want you to watch films but instead celebrate them. This means your movie experience will be unlike any other you have had before.

Moviegoers are encouraged to dress up, sing, dance, drink and play, as well as spending plenty of time in the hot tub. With movies such as Dirty Dancing, Free Willy, Back to the Future and other classics, tickets sell out fast. Whole tubs can be rented out by buying 6 tickets for a friend or you can buy a pair of tickets and make some new friends as you share a hot tub. There are personalized tub waiters for each hot tub and you can assure this may just be the best night of your life.

Via AWOL

1. Sol Cinema, South Wales

It prides itself as the world’s smallest solar movie theatre and we have to say this may, in fact, be the most unique movie theatre in the world. The Sol Cinema is actually a mobile cinema in a caravan that is powered entirely by the sun. It can accommodate up to 8 adults comfortably and the choice is yours as to which movie is playing. Inside comfortable benches and surround sounds create the perfect viewing experience.

Guests here will get the utmost luxury treatment complete with a red carpet, usherette service and popcorn to snack on. The idea behind this solar movie theatre came when they wanted to reduce their own CO2 emissions but also show what is achievable with solar power. Creating this small cinema allows hundreds of people to be entertained on a daily basis and gives something unique and incredible to both creators and viewers.

Via Digital Spy

The 8 Most Overrated/Underrated Attractions in Big Cities

Big cities are often at the top of the list for any traveler and there always seems to be a check list of “Major Attractions” that tourists are expected to experience; despite long line ups for tickets, crowds of people and more often than not disappointing results. Cities such as Paris, New York, Hollywood and London harbor less known attractions that are not only just as awesome but much less crowded and often much less expensive.

8. London, England

Overrated: London Eye
Starting off with the great city of London, England it doesn’t take a genius to identify The London Eye as one of the most significant tourist spots in the city. With its two long lines; one for tickets and one for rides it’s easy to identify this giant Ferris wheel as a tourist hot spot. Passengers travel in capsules that fit up to 25 people circling in a giant loop high above the city offering 360 degree views. It is considered one of the best places to view the city from above. The downfall to this attraction is not just the ridiculously long lines that you have to wait in but the high price of admission. Currently in early 2015 the cheapest price is $22 euro’s which gets you a standard ticket, the option for fast tracking the line will cost you a whopping $30 euro’s with no discount for children over the age of 4. The length of the ride is about 30 minutes in which you will be stuck with 20 or so strangers and depending on your luck could be good or bad.

London Eye

Underrated: Parliament Hill
The alternate to the London Eye is to head to the top of Parliament Hill for amazing views of the city. This view has the WOW-factor, the price is free and it is the perfect setting to fly a kite, have a picnic or share a romantic glass of wine with your partner. The city’s skyline is best seen on a sunny day or head to the top nearing sunset and watch as the glowing orange sun sinks slowly and the city turns into a dazzling display of lights. The best parts; no lines, no crowds of tourists and a chance to experience the view like a local.

Parliament Hill

7. Hollywood, California

Overrated: Walk of Fame
Hollywood, California; a place that is best known for anything and everything celebrity related. It’s no surprise that tourists here come to see the infamous Hollywood Walk of Fame. Instead of the star lined street you expect to see full of celebrities and hip trendy shops; visitors are hounded to buy souvenirs, take pictures with characters in costumes and give to the homeless. The garbage floats endlessly down the streets due to uncaring tourists, the crowds are thick with tourists all gasping for the chance to spot a star and the only reason you should really visit is if you have an unhealthy obsession with celebrities and “need” that picture of their star.

littleny / Shutterstock.com
littleny / Shutterstock.com

Underrated: Runyon Canyon
Instead head to Runyon Canyon where you might actually have a better chance of spotting a celebrity. Many celebs head here to walk their adorable collection of dogs, burn off some calories and grab a fabulous view of the city. With sightings including Justin Timberlake, Ryan Gosling, Jessica Biel, Mathew McConaughey and Ben Stiller this is one hot spot to not only get a great workout but to work out those eyes feasting on some major celebs. You can thank us later when Ben Affleck runs by you shirtless.

Runyon Canyon

6. Rome, Italy

Overrated: Colosseum
The Colosseum is not only a gigantic piece of Roman history but it is one impressive structure where you can imagine the battles that were won and lost by ancient gladiators. It is also extremely HOT, overcrowded and surrounded by plenty of locals looking to make a buck off the unaware tourists. Admission is expensive, the interior is HUGE and it seems to be constantly under renovation; with many areas closed off to tourists. We don’t recommend skipping this attraction entirely as the outside of the Colosseum is almost as impressive as the inside and can be seen from the street where excellent pictures can be taken.

Colosseum Rome

Underrated: Bath of Caracalla
Instead of fighting the crowds inside the Colosseum head to the Baths of Caracalla; an impressive complex of structures that were built as the second largest public bathing complex in the ancient empire. The ruins are simply magnificent and although the structure is now a modern day concert theater (which is just another reason to head here and watch an opera) the site remains true to its history offering visibly exquisite mosaics and objects that were once found here. The underground museum in the tunnels below is particularly interesting. This site is usually deserted making your time here peaceful and at a quarter of the cost; this is one underrated Roman attraction that shouldn’t be missed.

Bath of Caracalla

5. Cairo, Egypt

Overrated: Pyramids of Giza
When we say Egypt you think pyramids; let’s be honest as does everyone. Specifically we think of the pyramids of Giza; the great pyramid that is the oldest of the seven wonders of the ancient world and is still largely intact and the great sphinx. What we don’t think of is littered streets of garbage, tourist traps and never ending harassment from the hawkers that fill the area around the pyramids. A heavy use of armed guards and police seem to put a damper on the whole experience.

Pyramids of Giza

Underrated: Pyramid Fields of Dahshur
These are not the only pyramids in Egypt to discover though and just a short drive away is the Pyramid Fields of Dahshur where the pollution and crowds are much less. Still a well kept secret it seems that visitors are too focused on Giza to explore this beautiful site. The 2nd largest pyramid in Egypt; The Red Pyramid is here and visitors can climb all the way down to the bottom into the royal chambers. The Bent Pyramid and the Black Pyramid are also here and within three miles of each other. Do yourself a favor and stray from the beaten path and explore these unbelievable structures in a place where you can truly appreciate the beauty in silence.

Dahshur

4. UK

Overrated: Stonehenge
One of the most famous sites in the world, Stonehenge is the remains of a ring of standing stones set within earthworks. The mystery around how these stones came to be is what draws visitors from all over the world. Unfortunately this tourist attraction is laden with expensive souvenirs, a steep admission price and over eager crowds of tourists all trying to snap a “selfie” with the stones. The barriers that are put in place prevent visitors from touching the stones and a large amount of staff are in place to make sure everyone stays on designated paths. Although a visitors center is now up and running with a video on the history or should we say ‘story’ of this site, that cannot make up for the ulterior motives of  trying to sell anything and everything Stonehenge related; they even make you walk through the gift shop before you enter the outside stone area.

Stonehenge

Underrated: Callanish Standing Stones
As a pleasant alternative to this historical site you will want to head to the Callanish Standing Stones. Although these two attractions are quite a distance apart if you are heading to the UK for the stones we highly suggest going for the later. Not only can you get up close and personal with the Callanish Standing Stones as the crowds of tourists are not present but you can touch them and even hug them. The visitor’s center does a great job explaining the history of the stones and a small café offers local cuisine. Did we happen to mention that the admission price is free? If you are looking for history, energy and a well-preserved mystical place Callanish Standing Stones should be #1 on your list.

Callanish Standing Stones

3. Dublin, Ireland

Overrated: Guinness Storehouse
Home of the infamous Guinness Beer, the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin is one of the most widely known attractions in the city. The fabulous building and the promise of “the best Guinness you have ever had” lures visitors from all over the world. Over the years the working factory has been turned into a “Disney World” for Guinness fans with lights, lines and loud and rowdy people. The Storehouse, as it’s named now is completely self-guided and takes you through various floors that explain the history and brewing process through a series of plaques, objects and photographs. The tasting room and the gravity bar are where you will end up with your pint of Guinness, which is highly debatable as to whether it’s “the best pint ever”.

Brendan Howard / Shutterstock.com
Brendan Howard / Shutterstock.com

Underrated: Smithwick’s Experience Kilkenny
For a real working factory tour visitors will want to head to Smithwick’s Experience in Kilkenny. A historian will guide your small group (reservations encouraged) throughout the brew yard, into the actual brew rooms all the while talking about the history of this 300 year old brewery and the incredible town. The full pint that is poured with such balance and pride is a welcome treat at the end of the tour. It’s well worth the drive to the charming medieval town of Kilkenny where the passion for the beer truly shines through above all else.

Photo By: Marc O'Sullivan (Diageo) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons
Photo By: Marc O’Sullivan (Diageo) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

2. New York City

Overrated: Times Square
Times Square, either you love the thrill of the bright lights, huge billboards, numerous smells and sounds and the seemingly endless crowds of people or you hate it for the very same reasons. Crowded with throngs of tourists both day and night with a dizzying amount of lights, advertisements and costumed characters this is one of the most visited places in all of NYC; but not by the locals that is. They tend to stay away from the sewer smells that often take over, the con artists that prey on tourists and the sky high prices on everything from food to merchandise.

Underrated: Hell’s Kitchen Neighborhood
An alternative to this crazy overcrowded tourist trap is to head over to Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood; located within Midtown. Here you will find cinema worthy streetscapes, theaters, fierce independent local businesses, thriving restaurants, local hang outs and plenty of green space to explore. Whether you are on a budget or looking for fine dining this area is loaded with options so visitors can enjoy a true authentic NY experience.

ChameleonsEye / Shutterstock.com
ChameleonsEye / Shutterstock.com

1. Paris, France

Overrated: The Louvre
Imagine going to Paris and not spending a day in The Louvre where the infamous Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci is housed. Imagine not having to show up first thing in the morning because the line to get in is stretched out for miles and imagine not having to fight crowds of tourists to view the art you want. The Louvre is an incredible museum; the architecture, the works that are housed in it, we aren’t debating that. But it is often severely overcrowded, expensive to eat at and is large and has a somewhat complicated floor plan (be sure you can confidently read a map before you head here).

Tnymand / Shutterstock.com
Tnymand / Shutterstock.com

Underrated: Musee d’Orsay
For those art lovers who can’t bear the thought of visiting Paris without going to the Louvre; head to the Musee d’Orsay for a beautiful building that houses gorgeous impressionist works and will delight fans of Van Gogh and Paul Cezanne. This train station turned Museum is a little cheaper in price, much less crowded and full of art that even the less experienced art lover will recognize. The layout is simple and easy to follow with plenty of places to sit down and appreciate the art. The building in itself has an amazing history and makes this museum twice as breathtaking. If you have a chance, head outside to the terrace by the restaurant for some beautiful views.

pio3 / Shutterstock.com
pio3 / Shutterstock.com

10 Most Overrated Attractions in the World

Travel is a matter of personal taste. Where you go depends on what you like to do when you’re away from home. You might choose locations based on the nightlife, or the swimming and athletics, or the hiking trails. No matter how you choose, there are some locations that everyone brings up when they talk about travel. Among the many tourist destinations around the world, some are simply way over-hyped. Avoid these ten destinations when planning a trip, unless you want to be disappointed.

10. Las Vegas Strip

Unless you’re really into gambling, Las Vegas will be an impressive half hour and a weekend of remorse. The strip is more theme park than city, but if you stray too far in the wrong direction, you end up in a bad neighborhood. Really, the average visit is more likely to end up like The Hangover than Casino Royale.

Las Vegas Nevada

9. The London Eye

The London Eye is one of the top tourist locations in London, which is a damn shame. The city is full of fabulous attractions, from historic sites to museums to monuments. There’s no reason to visit a glitzy Ferris wheel just because it dominates the skyline. There are better monuments and better amusement parks.

The London Eye

8. Dublin’s Temple Bar

Dublin is known for its pubs, and it seems like visiting one billed as the cultural center of the city would be a great idea. Unfortunately, the culture you’ll experience in the Temple Bar is the tourist culture. There are far better pubs within walking distance with a better atmosphere and better prices.

Dublin's Temple Bar

7. The Hollywood Walk of Fame

Are you excited by handprints and sidewalks? Unless you are, the walk of fame isn’t going to excite you. It’s not exactly impressive to say you’ve walked on concrete that a celebrity had their hands in. At the same time, you’ll face crowds of tourists, the constant noise of tourist trap vendors and glimpses of the homeless just around the corner.

Hollywood Walk of Fame
nito / Shutterstock.com

6. Capri’s Blue Grotto

A natural wonder filled with shockingly blue water is amazing to see. Unfortunately, you have to skip across to Capri on overpriced boats, and that’s assuming you can even access it. Chances are good that the weather will turn foul and your chances to see the grotto are ruined.

5. Stonehenge

Stonehenge is one of those ancient wonders of the world that crop up in bad sci-fi movies and pseudo-science babble. Regardless of the actual purpose of this mysterious collection of standing rocks, it’s not very interesting to visit. You can’t access the stones themselves due to a protective fence, and nearby highways thoroughly kill the mystical ambiance.

Stonehenge

4. Loch Ness

Located in a dreary, out of the way corner of Scotland, Loch Ness has been the center of rumors about prehistoric monsters and dinosaurs for ages. Today, all you’ll see are gray skies, dull water and a load of vendors selling stuffed Nessie dolls. There are far better places to visit in Scotland than this dull narrow lake.

Loch Ness

3. Prague

Prague is known as something of a cultural center for writers, hipsters and those indie artists who can’t seem to actually reach fame. It has beautiful architecture, but so do a thousand other European cities. You don’t need to waste your time with thieves and tourists in this particular corner of the world.

Old Town Prague

2. Egyptian Pyramids

The great pyramids are massive feats of ancient engineering and construction. They’re also incredibly old and falling apart. Not only are they hardly visually impressive after their media saturation, they’re also off-limits to the public. You won’t be fighting off a mummy’s curse, but you might be caught in a political uprising.

pyramids-egypt-600x360

1. The Leaning Tower of Pisa

If you drive for a few hours, you’ll probably find a local university near your home. Chances are this university has some kind of bell tower. Does that bell tower sound like an amazing tourist attraction? If not, you probably won’t enjoy it any more if it’s tilted a few degrees and crowds of people are taking pictures pretending to push it back.

Leaning Tower of Pisa