As Americans gear up for Thanksgiving, the grandest feast of the year, I am proposing the perfect place to find some calm: be it to get away from the cold, bickering relatives, or simply to digest pumpkin pie in peace at one of my favorite pastimes: the movies.
Should you be in PDX this holiday season, you’re in for an absolute pumpkin spice treat. The city is full of ornamented theaters turned movie houses. And who doesn’t love a good indie-dysfunctional-family-Thanksgiving-comedy film? Here is your guide to the perfect big screen hideaways.
4122 NE Sandy Blvd. Portland, OR 97212
The Hollywood Theater located in Portland’s neighborhood bearing the same name was originally commissioned in 1926. Architects John Virginius Bennes and Harry A. Herzog designed it as a vaudeville and silent film theater after the Baths of Caracalla — public baths of Ancient Rome. Today, the Hollywood continues to operate as an arthouse theater (and they even have a small microcinema featuring free films at the PDX airport).
3702 SE Hawthorne Blvd. Portland, OR 97214
Nested in the hip Belmont & Hawthorne district of Portland, the Bagdad Theater stands out with its large neon lettering. The original Bagdad Theater & Pub was built in 1927. Today, you can still grab a beer on tap before your screening — whether it’s the latest film to be released or one of their throwback nights playing a classic. Bagdad was the colloquial spelling for Baghdad back in the twenties and the name refers to its classical Ottoman-esque design.
7229 NE Sandy Blvd. Portland, OR 97213
Save for the large rose at the front entrance, the Roseway Theater is not immediately impressive from the outside as many of its details from 1924 seem to have been lost with time. The allure really stands as you enter the auditorium itself. Vintage stained glass interpretations of the major production studios in early cinema such as Paramount or MGM are depicted on the wall.
Living Room Theater
341 SW 10th Ave, Portland, OR 97205
Just south of the Pearl District is the Living Room Theater. Contrary to Portland’s vintage cinema, this is a modern take on the movie-going experience. It has gourmet menus, a full bar and is committed to bringing indie movies to the screen. Portland has one of the highest movie attending populations in the country so no doubt that a modernized approach to one of America’s favorite pastimes would start here.