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“This is what going to the movies should be” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Grand Lake Theater

Grand Lake Theater
3200 Grand Ave., Oakland, CA
510 452-3556
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Ranked #6 of 120 things to do in Oakland
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Oakland
Level Contributor
20 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“This is what going to the movies should be”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 1, 2013

If you pay to go to a movie you shouldn't have to watch advertising like on TV but even louder. The Grand Lake has none of that. If you are lucky enough to be coming to see a great film shown in the main theater, you are likely to be surrounded by a crowd with a similar appreciation for the film - whatever the genre. Come a little early to find the seat you want and to look around at the traditional theater decor. Soak it all in.

On the other hand you may be lucky enough to see a film in the little theater to the left of the main lobby. This room is decorated like a tomb from ancient Egypt - beautiful, not creepy.

Worst case, you are in one of the two theaters scrunched into the old balcony. Then, at least, you get to go up and down the grand staircase. This is an old Oakland favorite so take good care of it.

Visited August 2013
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60 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Oakland, California
Level Contributor
14 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“A treasure”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 15, 2013

The decor is fabulous. The seats are comfortable. Live concerts as well as movies are always enjoyable.

Visited December 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oakland CA
Level Contributor
8 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Politically correct and current, and more”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 31, 2013

These folks are dedicated to the Oakland community and do benefits, etc plus show first-run films in a funky, classic setting that attracts a broad range of patrons. Make sure your movie is on the main floor if you need accessibility.

Visited July 2013
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Oakland, California
Level Contributor
26 reviews
17 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Alright, Tolerable”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 31, 2013

I thought the theater was alright. It's pretty small and seems like it hasn't been renovated at all. I appreciate the old-time feel, but not the grimy feel that also came along with it. Other than that, getting seats to see the movie was no problem and the sound and everything was fine.

Visited September 2012
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Piedmont, California
Level Contributor
148 reviews
68 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 174 helpful votes
“Classic movie palace and anchor of the neighborhood”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 30, 2013

The Grand Lake Theater is the symbol of an entire Oakland neighborhood, but also is a great place to see movies. It's been there since the 1920s and has been through the ups and downs of the film industry ever since. It is a classic movie palace that, unfortunately due to the economics of that industry, has had to split the main auditorium into two screening venues (main floor and balcony), plus add two other smaller auditoriums. But its magnificent lobby is still as impressive as ever and the main floor especially is still a great place to watch a big screen film. The theater is individually owned, not part of a large chain, which partly accounts for its continued success and identification with the neighborhood. The huge marquee at the front is visible from several directions due its location at a major intersection and its closeness to the MacArthur Freeway. We love going to the movies here and also supporting a local business.

Visited March 2013
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