The sprawling vineyards, the beautiful beaches, the excitement of Los Angeles, the sophistication of San Francisco, the laid-back surfer culture of San Diego . . . it is no wonder that Hollywood uses California so often in its movies. There are thousands of movies set in California, but here is a list of ten movies we love that are filmed in California.

1. L.A. Confidential

2. The Graduate

3. Heat

4. Boogie Nights

5. Sideways

6. Pulp Fiction

7. Crash

8. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy

9. (500) Days of Summer

10. Speed

Now that you’ve learned about some of the coolest movies made in California, it is time to find out the coolest places to watch movies! Check out our list of some of the most interesting theaters in San Diego and San Francisco.



San Diego Movie Theaters

Reading Cinemas Gaslamp
701 Fifth Avenue, Gaslamp Quarter, 619-232-0401

A beautiful theater with gorgeous floor to ceiling velvet curtains and an art deco decor. It is located on 5th Street in San Diego’s Gaslamp: catch a movie and then enjoy a night out in one of the city’s most exciting districts!


Edwards Mira Mesa IMAX
10733 Westview Parkway

An IMAX experience is unforgettable, and this theater is known as the best IMAX screen in San Diego. Although the theater staff will not release the details of the screen size, movie-lovers think that this is the largest screen in the city.


The Museum of Photographic Arts Joan and Irwin Jacobs Theater
1649 El Prado, Balboa Park

Functioning curtains . . . and the most comfortable seats in town! Add this to your list of fun things to do in Balboa Park.


Vintage Cinemas Village Theater
820 Orange Avenue, Coronado

Built in the mid-1900s, this theater was recently renovated, but it has kept its art deco charm. Catch a movie after spending a day in beautiful Coronado.


San Francisco Movie Theaters

Sundance Kabuki Theatre
1881 Post Street, San Francisco, CA 94115, (415) 929-4650

The CISL Blog has highlighted this theatre before: check out our post on this special venue and its delicious menu! It is voted the best theatre in San Francisco for a reason!


The Balboa Theatre
3630 Balboa Street, San Francisco, CA 94121, (415) 221-8184

Are you looking for a theater that offers unique, indie films? This is the place! Something cool is always playing at The Balboa Theatre.


The Castro Theatre
429 Castro Street, San Francisco, CA 94114, (415) 621-6120

This historic theater has beautiful decor and is a great place to watch vintage films. Add it to your list of creative, fun things to love about Castro.


Paramount Theater
2025 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612, (510) 465-6400

A cool theater, cocktails, and classic decor. Overall, an awesome experience, and completely worth the drive to Oakland.


Cover photo from IMDB, cinema photo from Yelp.