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“Perfect Jewel Box Theater”

The Stanford Theatre
Ranked #5 of 41 things to do in Palo Alto
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Reviewed March 9, 2014

If you want to see an old black and white movie in the manner of the good old days, come and see it here. The theater is lovingly restored to its hey day glamour, tickets are less than at contemporary theaters and give you access to a double header every night, but the be all and end all is the live organist who rises from the floor between shows to play an interlude of tunes between screenings. Glorious. There's a lovely balcony and a side room filled with a stunning collection of old movie posters and newspaper clippings about the theater. Oh yes, and popcorn is a dollar as is a drink, so splurge! Happy to say that it is often filled to the brim, a well loved and appreciated local gem for families, date nights, and soloists.

1  Thank leslieness
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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66 - 70 of 90 reviews

Reviewed December 30, 2013

I will happily add to the accolades for the Stanford Theater. It’s truly a special place and probably the best venue anywhere to see classic Hollywood movies (1920s to mid-1960s). The theater itself is gorgeous—built in 1925 and lovingly restored down to the last tile. They show a double feature most nights, and an organist plays the Mighty Wurlitzer before and after the 7:30 show. I recommend going 15 to 20 minutes before your movie so you can relax and listen to the organist, as they allow time for that between shows. Also, they usually organize a series of movies around a theme lasting a month or more (e.g., film noir, Hepburn, Bogart, Astaire and Rogers, Hitchcock), so if you have time for multiple visits, you can really explore that theme.

Great movies on a big screen, mohair seats, live organ music, beautiful surroundings—coming here, you can imagine a time when going out to the movies was a special event. And as other reviewers have said, because the theater is run as a nonprofit the prices are very reasonable; even the popcorn (with real butter) is only a dollar or two. Also, it’s right downtown on University Ave, where you can grab a nice dinner beforehand and a dessert or drink after. So, if you find yourself in Palo Alto, spend an evening at the Stanford! There’s no place like it.

Thank Barb M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 14, 2013

This is a very authentic theatre, even includes an organ player before the movie. The is also a museum you can visit with old movie posters. It would be nice if you could visit the museum without a movie ticket.

Thank Karen W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 27, 2013

The Stanford Theatre opened in 1925 and is dedicated to sharing movie classics with today's audiences.

I am a HUGE fan of classic movies. In fact, my favorite channel on TV is Turner Classic Movies. (Weird for a woman in her 20s, right?) So when I visited Palo Alto, I had to check out the Stanford Theatre. It's such a pleasure to view a movie the way it was intended - on the big screen accompanied by popcorn, a soda, and in the presence of other movie-goers.

I excitedly bought my ticket at the bargain price of $7. Two movies are shown per week, and you can stay for both movies. There are showings at approx 5:40, 7:30, and 9:30 on weekdays with an added matinee around 3 on the weekends. I arrived about 15 minutes before the 7:30 p.m. showing of Casablanca, and there were many others in line purchasing tickets. The snacks were very well priced. A large tub of popcorn was only $2.50! Drinks were also very well priced. They offered candies and chocolates as well. After buying snacks, we found seats inside the theater.

WHAT A TREAT! We walked in the doors and were greeted with live music from their Wurlitzer organ. The stage was covered by red curtains. Seats were cushioned and standard in a theater. The seating was arranged on a gradual incline. There was also seating upstairs.

The lights dimmed, the organist and organ descended below the stage, and the movie began. We stayed for the second movie as well. I can't wait for the next chance to go =) They have themes, and I so happened during their Best of Bogart festival. I believe they also have a Hitchcock festival each year.

Thank leilapalooza
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 29, 2013

Stanford Theater is an old, 1930s, movie house that's been completely restored by one of the Stanford family. It plays 1960s and earlier movies ... usually a double feature every night.
Even if your passion is not old films and famous movie stars, it's a trip back in time. Think of seeing "Gone with the Wind," or "Casablanca," or a Charlie Chaplin film in a theater in which it originally played. Wow!

1  Thank LouiePaloAlto
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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