We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

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

Grand Lake Theater
Ranked #16 of 120 things to do in Oakland
Attraction details
Level Contributor
52 reviews
36 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“This is what going to the movies should be”
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
Thank ktgOakland
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

78 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Oakland, California
Level Contributor
15 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“A treasure”
Reviewed August 15, 2013

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

Visited December 2012
Thank boy1duh
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”
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
Thank JesseaOaklandCA
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oakland, California
Level Contributor
30 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Alright, Tolerable”
Reviewed July 30, 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
Thank Victoria C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Piedmont, California
Level Contributor
284 reviews
140 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 248 helpful votes
“Classic movie palace and anchor of the neighborhood”
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
1 Thank mrancer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Travelers who viewed Grand Lake Theater also viewed


Been to Grand Lake Theater? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing