Your search for the oldest independent movie house in Seattle is over! The Grand Illusion Cinema, opened in 1968 from a converted dentist office, is a film lovers’ institution—my favorite location to soak up foreign and small artistic films.
Located in the University District, the Grand Illusion is quirky. A small single screen, deep red velvet curtains and vintage upholstery contribute to its charming, if not slightly haunted, vibe. It also shares a bathroom with the Venezuelan restaurant next door (which, pro-tip, is the perfect place for a pre-screening meal).
However it’s Grand Illusion’s programming that makes it outstanding. From a month-long Jim Jarmusch retrospective to anniversary screenings of classic films like King Kong and Frankenstein, there are events on their calendar for every type of movie-goer.
With cheap tickets, cheaper snacks and an impressive history, Grand Illusion is a must-visit for any traveling cinema fan.