Top Independent Movie Theaters In The Philadelphia Area

July 30, 2012 6:00 AM

(credit: Thinkstock)

Everyone loves a blockbuster now and again, but sometimes you want to get something more out of your movie theater experience. Maybe you want to enter a historic building in which you can imagine theatergoers of yesteryear sitting in precisely the same spot. Or maybe you want to go to see independent or foreign films that will expand your mind. Maybe you’d like to take it one step further and attend a local independent film festival. If this describes you, read on, because Philly-area independent theaters have a lot to offer.
hiway Top Independent Movie Theaters In The Philadelphia Area

(credit: Hiway Theatre/Facebook)

Hiway Theatre
212 Old York Road
Jenkintown, PA 19046
(215) 886-9800

The one-room Hiway Theatre was built in 1913 and is now run as a non-profit by a group of citizens who are dedicated to preserving this landmark. While the theater is historic, it underwent a complete renovation in 2007 and is therefore as comfortable as any megaplex. Moreover, the Hiway has a number of special events each month that aren’t to be missed, including its film discussion group, children’s matinee series and moms’ movie matinees for parents with children under 18 months old. The staff is friendly, the concession prices are low and you can contribute to the continuation of a piece of history. What could be better than that?

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brynmawrfilminstitute Top Independent Movie Theaters In The Philadelphia Area

(credit: Bryn Mawr Film Institute)

Bryn Mawr Film Institute
824 W Lancaster Ave
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010
(610) 527-9898

The Bryn Mawr Film Institute (BMFI) is another grand old theater that was built in 1926 but is now operated by a community non-profit. BMFI’s schedule is anchored by two first-run films, but also includes independent and foreign films and cultural presentations such as simulcast opera or theater. BMFI also has fun screenings of older movies like “Tootsie,” “Caddyshack” and “Xanadu” as well as sing-alongs of favorite musicals. If that isn’t enough to draw you in, BMFI hosts educational programs including seminars on film appreciation, screenwriting and other film topics. If you’ve never made it to BMFI, you should get off the couch and have a great evening out.

amblertheater Top Independent Movie Theaters In The Philadelphia Area

(credit: Ambler Theater/Facebook)

The Ambler Theater
108 E Butler Ave
Ambler, PA 19002
(215) 345-7855

The Ambler Theater is another non-profit historical theater in a cute suburban town just outside of Philadelphia. Its beautiful Spanish Colonial style is the centerpiece of Ambler’s downtown. Built in 1928 but renovated in 2007, the Ambler Theater combines all that is great about both old and new. The Theater holds a number of special events, including screenings of classic films, Saturday Kids Matinees, discussion groups, lectures and an annual Oscar party. This is a theater that cannot be missed.

princemusictheater Top Independent Movie Theaters In The Philadelphia Area

(credit: Prince Music Theater/Facebook)

Prince Music Theater
1412 Chestnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19102
(215) 569-9700

The Prince Music Theater (PMT) is a landmark in downtown Philadelphia. Many Philadelphia arts organizations use the PMT’s facilities for their events, including numerous film festivals and societies. The PMT’s film partners include the Greater Philadelphia Film Office, the Philadelphia Cinema Alliance and its Cinefest International Film Festival and the Philadelphia Film Society. If you’re looking for a cinematic event that goes beyond your typical movie-going experience, checking out one of the special events at the PMT is definitely for you.

Related: Top Historical Spots In Philadelphia

Katherine Ernst is a full-time novelist and freelance writer in Montgomery County. Follow her activity on her blog at Her work can be found at

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