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10 Independent Movie Theaters to Catch a Flick in the Hudson Valley

Adobe Stock / Jacob Lund

The independent movie theater scene in the Valley offers an alternative to big-box chains with must-see showings at affordable prices.


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Story Screen Theater


Story Screen’s goal is to boost a culture of film lovers in and around the City of Beacon through showings that range in genre, time period, country, and age appropriateness. Stick around for the post-show discussion to pick apart favorite scenes. The prices beat all of the name-brand chains at $10 for general admission and $8 for seniors, kids, and military. The theater is also friendly to improv shows on every second and fourth Saturday of the month.

Rosendale Theatre


The historic building in Rosendale once housed a firehouse and a performance theater named the Rosendale Casino before it was refurbished in 1949 and had its first movie showing. In 2010, the Rosendale Theatre was bought by the Rosendale Theatre Collective, upholding the promise of bringing film and performing arts to the area. The annual Woodstock Film Festival often includes showings at the Rosendale Theatre. Be sure to check out its Silent Film Sundays and the occasional live show.


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The Moviehouse


This all-digital theater shows first-run and independent films across three screens at its renovated Millerton location. Forget concession snacks; this theater has a café of its own. This theater boasts a brand-new bar and lounge upstairs. Sip craft beers, local wines, and fresh small bites for an enhanced moviegoing experience.

Downing Film Center


The Downing Film Center strives to present quality films and cinematic programming from around the world to benefit the Hudson Valley’s diverse communities. It prides itself on being a free-speech theater with no censorship or endorsements. Make sure to get there early because this theater only has 55 seats. Stop at the concession stand along the way to grab fresh popcorn, traditional movie candy varieties, and Zora Dora frozen treats when in season.

Historic Paramount Theatre


While this theater often gives its stage to up-and-coming acts, classical performances, dance recitals, fundraisers, and receptions, it still makes room for movie showings. It offers an alternative film program every spring that features classic movies on select Saturday afternoons for only $6 (we can’t believe it either). The wait for the movie to start isn’t filled with the typical “please silence your phone” PSAs and other advertisements; instead enjoy the live pre-show organ ensemble. Aside from the alternative film program, this theater still offers other matinee movie showings.

Rivertown Film


With a promise to celebrate, explore, and promote the art of the motion picture, Rivertown Film and Rivertown Film Society cares about increasing community appreciation for the arts. Screenings, which happen at the Nyack Center, include documentaries and foreign and independent films.

Lafayette Theater


Lafayette Theater, named after the Revolutionary War hero Marquis de Lafayette, was originally equipped with a Muller organ for silent films and live performances during a time when tickets cost a mere twenty-five cents. Now the theater is home to a number of entertaining events throughout the year but places an emphasis on classic films, first-run films, and film festivals. Anyone who subscribes to Lafayette’s weekly email newsletter receives free popcorn; how can you beat that?


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Upstate Films

Rhinebeck, Saugerties

In May of 1972, Upstate Films opened its doors at the Woodstock location for showings of classic Hollywood and foreign films reflecting a variety of themes. In 1999, it expanded to its second theater in Rhinebeck to help push independent theater forward while mainstream movie complexes continued to grow. Its mission is to showcase documentaries and social realities to help educate those in the area. There are a number of special events, series, and guest speakers that are worth seeing. The Woodstock location has closed, but Upstate plans to add a Saugerties theater to its repertoire.

The Madison Theatre

Albany and Hudson

Dine-in theaters aren’t only in lower New York anymore. The Madison Theatre brings to upstate New York a unique experience of in-seat ordering. The menu includes popcorn boxes, custom candy boxes, salads, burgers, pizza, wings, and desserts as yummy as waffles and ice cream. Another option is to stick to the drink menu for a draft beer or specialty cocktail. For those who want to go outside of the box, order the maple bacon bourbon boozy shake. Back to the entertainment: $5 movie Tuesday is the way to go to see the next big flick.

Lyceum, Roosevelt, and New Paltz Cinemas

Red Hook, Hyde Park, New Paltz

These three local cinemas offer first-run films at incomparable prices to big-name theaters. Every week, the theaters give away two free tickets to one of the locations to anyone who applies. Plus, signing up for the newsletter means a free tub of popcorn. At the Lyceum location, there are six weekly winners of a free pizza from CJ’s in Rhinebeck. Talking about all these deals, discount books are also for sale and can be used at all of the locations. It would be hard not to love these three film centers.

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