Regal Metropolitan 14

901 Little Texas Lane, Austin, TX 78745

Regal Westgate 11 Theatres

4477 South Lamar Blvd., Austin, TX 78745
(512) 899-2013

Westgate 11 Theatres is part of the large national Regal Cinemas chain. The theater usually shows first-run movies but in 2011, is being used as a SXSW venue for the first time. It has 11 screens, one of which will be used during SXSW. SXSW is billing Westgate and Arbor as "SXSatellite venues" that are intended to appeal to Austin festgoers (or anyone who wants to buy a ticket).

Pros: Because of its distance from downtown, this will be a very good SXSW venue for Austinites with cars, especially if you are hoping to see movies on a film pass or with individual tickets.

Cons: Traffic to/from downtown to Westgate can be very heavy during rush hour. Make sure you allow plenty of time to get here if you are traveling from the Paramount or Ritz. Audio and picture quality have been inconsistent at Westgate in the past, but we're hoping that SXSW quality control means it won't be a problem for the fest.

Screens and Capacity: Eleven screens. The theater being used for SXSW will seat 175.

Parking: Westgate has a large, ample parking lot.

Bus routes: The #338 (which requires a walk from Congress) will take you from Westgate to Alamo on South Lamar as well as downtown. For more information, visit the Capital Metro website (hint: click the Service Nearby link then select Submit). 

Distance: It's nearly a three-mile walk to Alamo on South Lamar, and more than four miles to reach downtown. If you don't have a car, then take a bus, call a cab or find a friendly Austinite to give you a lift.

Nearby dining options: Westgate is adjacent to a strip mall with good options for dinner or a snack. Hyde Park Grill has excellent brunches, lunches and dinners -- if you want to achieve near-cardiac arrest, try their Horseshoe open-faced burger. Madam Mam's, across the street, has great Thai food. Central Market, the nearby chi-chi grocery, has a cafe and a salad bar. And an Amy's Ice Creams is in the same strip mall as Central Market. If you drive down South Lamar to/from downtown, you'll find a wealth of dining possibilities from family-friendly Phil's Burgers to the small trendy Barley Swine.

Wireless: No wireless in the theater itself.

AMC Barton Creek Square

2901 Capital of Texas Highway, Austin, TX 78746

This theater is located in the Barton Creek Square Mall.

Cinemark Tinseltown 17 (South)

5501 IH-35 S, Austin, TX 7874
(512) 326-4408

The Blue Theatre

916 Springdale Road, Austin, TX 78702
(512) 684-3220

The Blue Theatre is primarily a venue for live theatrical productions. However, it occasionally hosts a screening or movie-related event.

Austin Convention Center (ACC) Vimeo Theater at SXSW

500 E. Cesar Chavez, Austin, TX 78701

Austin Convention Center

The Vimeo Theater in the Austin Convention Center (ACC) is a temporary setup on the ground floor of the convention center during the SXSW Film Festival. It's in ACC Exhibit Hall 2. During the film conference, this is the most convenient theater of the festival. During the music festival, I sometimes feel weirdly out of place here, but it's even easier to find a seat at most screenings.

Pros: ACC may be the best downtown venue for passholders or individual ticket buyers to see SXSW films. The location is unbeatable during the film conference -- you're right in the heart of the festival. The seats are on a good incline and short people should have no problem viewing the screen. And it's right on the SXSW Film Flyer shuttle route.

Cons: You don't get the movie-theater vibe that you would with other venues. Also, once the music festival starts, the area outside the theater gets even more crowded than usual, although the theater itself almost always has seats.

Screens and capacity: The Vimeo Theater holds 645, making it the second-largest SXSW film venue (after the Paramount). Lines are always indoors, which is nice on a wet day.

Parking: If you get downtown super-early, you can pay to park in the garage next to the convention center. If not, try the ACC secondary garage at Brazos and 2nd Street. Honestly, I'd recommend the Long Center and take the shuttle or walk across the bridge. (Free parking? No such animal during SXSW anymore.)

Distance: You can walk without much effort to the Paramount, Alamo Ritz and Violet Crown. and you're smack in the middle of the film conference.

Food and Beverages: Skip the convention center itself unless you're dying of hunger or in need of (not-so-terrific) coffee. Outside, you'll find affordable spots like Iron Works, PF Chang's and Mongolian BBQ. These places will be super-swamped at lunchtime, so walk a few blocks more and explore Austin's many downtown lunch options. Or you can walk over to Rainey Street and try the SouthBites food-trailer setup, which has some tasty options. (I've had people stop and give me free ice cream on that walk, so you might get lucky.)

Marchesa Hall and Theatre

6226 Middle Fiskville Road, Austin TX 78752
(512) 454-2000

Marchesa exterior and marquee

The Marchesa, near Highland Mall in central Austin, is a single-screen theater where Austin Film Society hosts most of their screenings. There's also space for other events, so you can still catch movies here while Blue Genie is going on, for example. Old-school Austinites will recognize the location as the old Lincoln Village theater. The theater shows both digital and 35mm prints. AFS has done a superb job of decorating the lobby area with movie posters and sleeves from soundtrack albums.

Pros: The location is fairly central and not difficult for most Austinites to reach. It's a nice theater experience -- not plushy and fancy, but fairly comfortable and intimate. The lobby is spacious and terrific for socializing before and after, with drinks and snacks available (fairly affordable by theater standards).

Cons: For film festivals, the one difficulty is that it's not downtown, and hard to get to without a car/taxi. The seats aren't on much of a rise so short people may want to favor the aisles (it's better than the Paramount, though, in terms of rise). You may get annoyed by the parking lot.

Screens and capacity: This single-screen theater seats 278.

Parking: Parking is free. There's a parking lot around the theater with plenty of parking, but be warned that it's tightly set up and, well, weird. Park off to the side near adjacent buildings for a little less stress.

Distance: It's about 5 miles away from downtown Austin. If you've got a bicycle, you could take MetroRail from ACC to the Highland Mall station and cycle over to the theater, but it's too far for a walk.

On-site food options: Concessions are available, including a full bar.

Nearby dining options: The best restaurant nearby may be Quality Seafood on Airport just south of Koenig. Another good nearby option is the Arpeggio Grill on Airport going toward N. Lamar.

[Photo courtesy of Austin Film Society.]

Rollins Studio Theatre, Long Center for the Performing Arts

701 West Riverside Drive, Austin TX 78704
(512) 474-5664

Long Center 7 by codexterity on Flickr

The Debra and Kevin Rollins Studio Theatre is part of the Long Center for the Performing Arts complex, and occasionally is used as a venue for special screenings and film festivals. The theater can be configured to seat from 80 to 229 people. You enter the theater from a side door right near the Long Center box office.

For film festivals, chairs are placed on risers, much like the ACC theater configuration at SXSW. The seats are fairly comfortable and have pretty good legroom. The screen is a little small, but picture and sound quality are usually good.

Pros: Close to other downtown venues and restaurants, but at enough of a distance that this venue usually has space for passholders and even ticketholders.

Cons: There are often no concessions, so if you're walking from a free parking lot or from downtown on a warm day, bring a water bottle. The Long Center parking garage is expensive for movie parking ... but reasonable for SXSW. If other events are going on at Long Center or Auditorium Shores, your free parking possibilities dwindle considerably.

Screens and Capacity: The theater usually seats about 200 people for film festivals.

Parking: You can pay to park in the Long Center garage, but alternative parking nearby isn't usually hard to find on evenings and weekends. After business hours and on weekends, the surface lot at One Texas Center (505 Barton Springs) has free parking, which is a short walk from Rollins. If you prefer a walk across the park part of the complex, there's a small free parking lot by Dougherty Arts Center (Barton Springs and Dawson), but it fills up quickly.

Distance: It's a long but manageable walk to the downtown area, which you might not want to try if you're in a hurry (stopping halfway at 2nd Street for a drink and snack is recommended). If you've got a car, this venue is pretty convenient to downtown nightlife; and if you don't, a cab shouldn't be too pricey. It's not difficult to find a cab downtown to get to Rollins, but getting a cab at Rollins is sometimes challenging.

Food and Beverages: A kiosk in the lobby sometimes offers coffee, bar drinks and a few snacks, but it's not reliably open. However, when it's closed, no one seems to notice if you sneak your own water bottle in there. If you want to stay on this side of the lake, you can have a hearty "home-cooking" meal at Threadgill's, or grab a bite at Sandy's Hamburgers, an old-fashioned burger stand that also offers delicious frozen treats. Or you can cross the river and return to downtown Austin for a wealth of restaurants, cafes and coffeeshops.

[Photo credit: "Long Center 7" by codexterity. Found on Flickr, used under Creative Commons license.]

The Hideout Theatre

617 Congress Ave., Austin TX 78701
(512) 443-3688

SXSW 2009

The Hideout is a combination coffeehouse and performance venue. The downstairs theater, located in the back of the coffeehouse, seats up to 90. Even if you aren't seeing a movie here, it's a good place for coffee-and-wireless, although the coffeehouse can get extremely busy at night and during film festivals or other events. The theater is rarely used to show movies except during film festivals.

Pros: Good coffee and other caffeinated beverages, and comfy couches in the coffeehouse area. You can sometimes get a bagel or other snack here for emergency sustenance when other nearby restaurants are closed. The theater has a cozy, intimate feeling.

Cons: The Hideout is not primarily a movie theater and they sometimes have difficulty getting their projection up to speed. The seats are not very comfortable and often a few are broken.

Parking: No Hideout-specific parking. Park on the street or in a nearby lot/garage.

Bus routes: All downtown routes, including 1L, 1M, 5, 6, 7, 9, 20, 30, 101 stop on the same block.

Distance: It's a block away from the Paramount, and also convenient to Alamo Ritz and many downtown hotels and restaurants.

On-side food and beverages: Lots of coffee drinks, frappes, tea, etc. They also have baked goods and snacks, depending on the time of day (the earlier you go, the better the selection).

Nearby dining options: Same as the Paramount.

Wireless: Free wireless right there, yay. And you can relax on a sofa with a tasty beverage while you use your laptop, if it's not too crowded.

Texas Union Theatre, The University of Texas

24th and Guadalupe St., Austin TX 78705

The Texas Union Theatre is part of the Texas Union complex at The University of Texas at Austin. It's not the most comfortable theater in town -- the legroom is tight even for short people. The Union sponsors free films for UT students, faculty and staff during the school year, and also hosts other screenings and movie-related events.

Syndicate content