Violet Crown Cinema

434 W 2nd Street, Austin, TX 78701
(512) 495-9600


Violet Crown Cinema opened in downtown Austin in the summer of 2011. The movie theater has four screens, all with digital projection -- the largest one seats 50. The programming is primarily independent, arthouse and foreign-language films. Your ticket gets you a reserved seat and four hours of free parking in a garage adjacent to the theater. This is an excellent venue for a movie-and-dinner evening downtown, but you can also have drinks, snacks or a light meal at the theater.

Although Violet Crown serves food, it's a different system than Alamo Drafthouse. You arrive at the theater early, sit at the bar or in one of the lounge areas, and place your order there. You can bring your food and drinks into the theater -- the seats have little pull-out tables that might remind you of school desks.

Pros: Seats are reserved. There's no extra charge for buying tickets online, either. And that four-hour validated parking downtown is a blessing. If you are here for a film festival, many of these amenities don't apply; however, you still can order food here and enjoy the very comfortable seats. The first row of each theater has big lounge chairs that make up for sitting so close to the screen.

Cons: The theaters are small, so order your tickets online well in advance, or get here early if you're seeing a festival film.

Screens and Capacity: Six screens of varying sizes, none of which seats more than 50. The capacity of all four screens combined is about 180, and SXSW 2015 uses all four screens for each screening time at ths venue.

Parking: Park in the AMLI garage on San Antonio, around the corner from the front of the theater. Get your parking ticket validated, and you can enjoy four hours of parking. Please note that the parking deal does not apply for SXSW filmgoers.

Distance: Violet Crown is in the Second Street district of downtown Austin. It's a little further from Austin Convention Center than Paramount or Ritz. However, you can walk to Rollins/Long Center and Topfer Theater/Zach Scott from here much more easily than any downtown venue.

For SXSW 2015, the Film Fest Flyer shuttle stops a few blocks away, on Second Street at Congress Ave.

On-site dining options: Violet Crown has two types of food/beverage options. At the snack bar, you can walk up and buy popcorn, soft drinks, cake balls and other treats. The bar and cafe, where you can order from the lounge areas, offers a full cocktail bar and menu items such as a cheese plate, salad, pizza and hot dogs.

Nearby dining options: The Second Street area of downtown is known mostly for its upscale bars and restaurants, but there are some affordable options. Jo's Hot Coffee, a couple of blocks down Second Street toward Congress, has sandwiches and salads (and some good vegetarian options). Lambert's, across the street, has a very affordable weekday happy-hour menu (Jette recommends the chickpea appetizer.)

[Photo credit: "Violet Crown Cinema" by Jodi Bart of Tasty Touring. Found on Flickr, used under Creative Commons license.]

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