Top Theaters Sacramento: Enjoy Historic Cinemas in SF


San Francisco is home to some of the oldest continuously operating movie theaters in the United States. These historic cinemas have stood the test of time, offering a unique and nostalgic movie-going experience for film enthusiasts.

Key Points

  • San Francisco boasts several iconic movie theaters dating back to the early 20th century.
  • These theaters have preserved their vintage charm while adapting to modern technology.
  • They offer a diverse range of programming, from independent and foreign films to classic cinema.

The Vogue Theater: A Presidio Heights Gem

Established in 1912, the Vogue Theater is one of San Francisco’s oldest operating cinemas, second only to the Roxie Theater in the Mission District. Originally named the Elite Theater, it underwent several name changes before becoming the Vogue in 1939. Over its century-long history, the Vogue has thrived as a venue for foreign and independent films, earning a reputation as the city’s most popular destination for Woody Allen movies.

One of the theater’s most notable achievements was its 70-week run of the cult classic “The Gods Must Be Crazy” in 1984-85, a remarkable feat for a single-screen cinema. In 2007, the San Francisco Neighborhood Theater Foundation purchased the Vogue, ensuring its continued existence, and later partnered with CinemaSF to further secure its future.

Today, the Vogue hosts an eclectic mix of first-run and classic cinema, including the annual Mostly British Film Festival. Its charming Art Deco interior and commitment to showcasing diverse films make it a beloved destination for cinephiles.

The Roxie Theater: A Mission District Icon

Established in 1909, the Roxie Theater is the oldest continuously operating cinema in San Francisco and one of the oldest in the United States. Originally a nickelodeon, the Roxie has undergone various transformations, serving as a German-language cinema, a porn theater, and a Russian-language cinema before being revived as an art and independent film house by community members in the 1970s.

The Roxie’s programming is a true celebration of independent and avant-garde cinema, featuring a diverse range of films from around the world, as well as locally produced works. The theater also hosts various film festivals and special events, making it a hub for the city’s vibrant film community.

AMC Kabuki 8: A Japantown Landmark

While not as historic as the Vogue or Roxie, the AMC Kabuki 8 in Japantown is a beloved San Francisco institution in its own right. Built in 1960, it was the first authentic Kabuki theater in America, designed in the traditional Kabuki style dating back to the 1600s.

Although the theater has changed hands and dropped its dine-in menu over the years, it remains a popular destination for catching the latest blockbusters and independent releases. With its unique architecture, full bar, and matinee pricing, the AMC Kabuki 8 offers a memorable movie-going experience in the heart of Japantown.

The Cut Outdoor Cinema: A Modern Alfresco Experience

For a more contemporary outdoor cinema experience, The Cut Outdoor Cinema at The Crossing at East Cut is a recent addition to San Francisco’s movie scene. Opened in 2022, it’s the Bay Area’s first year-round outdoor cinema, featuring a jumbo LED screen and a cozy atmosphere with bean bags, lawn chairs, and local food trucks.

The Cut Outdoor Cinema promises a unique movie-going experience, showcasing everything from cult classics to local indie films in an open-air setting. With its full bar and pour-over coffee options, it’s the perfect spot for a memorable movie night under the stars.


What makes San Francisco’s historic theaters unique?

San Francisco’s historic theaters offer a nostalgic and immersive movie-going experience, with their vintage architecture, preserved interiors, and commitment to showcasing diverse films. They provide a glimpse into the city’s rich cinematic history while adapting to modern technology and programming.

Are these theaters accessible for people with disabilities?

Most of San Francisco’s historic theaters have made efforts to improve accessibility for patrons with disabilities. It’s always advisable to check the individual theater’s website or contact them directly for specific accessibility information and accommodations.

Can I rent these theaters for private events?

Many of San Francisco’s historic theaters offer rental options for private events, such as weddings, corporate functions, or special screenings. Contact the theater directly for rental inquiries and pricing.

What types of films are typically shown at these theaters?

The programming at San Francisco’s historic theaters varies, but they generally focus on independent, foreign, and classic cinema. Some theaters, like the Roxie, specialize in avant-garde and locally produced films, while others offer a mix of first-run and repertory programming.

Are there any discounts or special offers available?

Several theaters offer discounted matinee pricing or special deals for students, seniors, and members. Check the individual theater’s website or inquire at the box office for any current promotions or discounts.

By preserving these historic movie theaters, San Francisco celebrates its rich cinematic heritage while offering film enthusiasts a unique and unforgettable movie-going experience. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, these iconic venues are a must-visit for anyone seeking to immerse themselves in the city’s vibrant film culture.

SF Citizen Team

About the author

SF Citizen is your local guide to San Francisco, leading you through the city's iconic landmarks, hidden gems, and vibrant experiences. From the historic echoes of the Gold Rush era to stunning hikes in Muir Woods and the rich culinary scene, we provide meticulously curated explorations of this dynamic city. Whether you're planning your next adventure, considering a move, or exploring from afar, SF Citizen navigates you through the diverse neighborhoods, cultural scenes, and outdoor activities, helping you discover and connect with the city's soul.