Things To Do

The Best Cinemas In Auckland And Where To Find Them In 2024

By Alice Rich

People have a good time at the cinema, sitting in plush red seats.

Every night can be movie night with the abundance of cinemas dotted all over Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. Don’t get us wrong, we love a night in with Netflix but it just doesn’t compare to seeing movies on the silver screen, a bucket of popcorn in hand. Each cinema has its own unique vibe providing a cracker of a day or night out, so whether you’re in the mood for blockbuster adrenaline or a cosier, intimate experience, look no further. 

Here are the best cinemas in Auckland according to Urban List.  

Event Cinemas

Queen Street, St Lukes, Albany, Westcity, Westgate, Manukau, Newmarket

Let’s start off with one we all know and love, Event Cinemas. They can be found all around Auckland but the one on Queen Street is where it’s at. They don’t joke around when it comes to movie screenings, providing a range of different experiences to make it as epic as possible.

Elevate your movie with some wine and a Kapiti cheese plate at the Gold Class theatre or get amongst the IMAX experience and watch a new blockbuster hit on the biggest cinema screen in the land.

Hoyts Cinema

Sylvia Park Shopping Centre, 286 Mount Wellington Highway, Auckland
Botany Downs, 588 Chapel Road, East Tāmaki, Auckland
Wairau Park, 15 Link Drive, Wairau Valley, Auckland

Shopping is a workout, all that cardio can get the better of you and the best way to rest those legs is at Hoyts Cinema. Get in on their Hoyts Lux experience where you can have an in-dining experience while watching the movie. If you want to just keep things casual, opt for their Xtreme screen, which (obvs) has a massive screen and killer sound system to really take your movie watching up a notch. Of course, we have to mention the ice cream which is none other than Ben & Jerry’s. Who could say no to some frosty cookie dough?

Silky Otter Cinemas

11 Richmond Road, Grey Lynn & 228 Ōrākei Road, Ōrākei, Auckland

The foyer of Silky Otter in Orakei, one of the best cinemas in Auckland.
Image credit: Silky Otter / supplied

Tucked away at the back of Ponsonby Central, Silky Otter Ponsonby is the latest addition to Tāmaki Makaurau’s cinema scene and has quickly established itself as one of the best cinemas in Auckland.

Joining the spot at Ōrākei Bay Village, Silky Otter Cinemas is a boutique experience without the steep price tag as this is luxe cinema viewing where everyone gets to lounge around in recliner chairs and enjoy chef-made snacks like mini pizzas (including a vegan Margherita), salmon cucumber cups and triple chocolate brownies. You probably never knew you wanted your popcorn cooked in extra virgin olive oil and served with truffle and parmesan but once you’ve had it, there’s no going back. 

Berkeley-HOYTS 

85 Tamaki Drive, Mission Bay, Auckland

If you like your movies served with a side of beachfront, Berkeley Mission Bay, the last bastion of the Berkeley Cinema Group, now owned by HOYTS, is the cinema for you. With just four screens this is the original boutique cinema experience with a lounge-style bar to hang out in before your movie starts and nostalgic snacks a-plenty. Think candy floss, Trumpets, Kapiti ice creams and Whittaker’s Peanut Slab as well as all your usual cinema treats. It’s all about blockbuster vibes in a boutique setting. 

Academy Cinemas

44 Lorne Street, Auckland CBD

Hidden away in an old Victorian mansion under Auckland City Library, descend a staircase to discover Academy Cinemas, a subterranean cinema that harks back to a time well before streaming services.

With charisma, charm and loads of personality, it’s got everything you want in a movie-going experience, including a film club and seriously tricky film quiz, licensed bar, and hand-rolled choc dipped Rush Munro waffle cones. Academy has two screens (the smaller of the two seats just fifteen people) and prides itself on showing Avant-garde, historically significant, boundary-breaking films that span the independent, arthouse and classic film genres.

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The Capitol Cinema

610 Dominion Road, Balmoral, Auckland

The plush purple interior of The Capitol Cinema, one of the best cinemas in Auckland.
Image credit: The Capitol Cinema / Facebook

From the outside, you wouldn’t guess the classy décor that this arthouse cinema has in store. With a Greek-style fit-out, dazzling chandeliers and spacious theatre rooms, it’s impossible to walk out of The Capitol Cinema without feeling like royalty. Kick back on their plush purple chairs and get amongst everything from indie to blockbuster hits, washing it down with your fave snack bar items and a glass of vino.

Takapuna Beachside Cinemas

34 Anzac Street, Takapuna, Auckland

Standing proud on grounds that have been cinematic for over 100 years (albeit under different names), Takapuna Beachside Cinemas is a humming blend of vintage meets new. Swing by and catch a flick, then stretch your legs taking a wander along Takapuna Beach. And if the weather gods play ball, you might even get a refreshing swim in. Magical.

Monterey Cinemas

4/2 Fencible Drive, Howick, Auckland

The OG Monterey was built in 1930 in East Auckland and is still popular today. Catch up with a friend over cake and coffee before the movie, then grab a bucket of popcorn and a glass of wine for the main event. Just when you thought things couldn’t get better, Monterey Cinemas hosts a bunch of festivals throughout the year including Disney Classics. Need we say more?

The Vic

48 Victoria Road, Devonport, Auckland

Situated in quaint little Devonport is the independently run cinema, The Vic. Not only is this theatre a place where they screen films, but it’s also a building of rich history. Established in the era of silent film back in 1912, The Vic has been going strong ever since. For a cinematic experience that begins from the moment you step into the gorgeous building, The Vic is your best pick. Do try their chocolate-dipped gelato.

The Hollywood

20 Saint Georges Road, Avondale, Auckland

Looking down at the screen from the top level at The Hollywood in Avondale.
Image credit: The Hollywood / Facebook

The epitome of cool, The Hollywood is an independent, free-spirited cinema for the love of film. Beginning its life back in 1915 as the Avondale Town Hall this cinema has screened everything from silent movies to digital projection, and it’s the only cinema that can brag it was called the “best cinema in New Zealand” by none other than Quentin Tarantino. For screenings of ‘The Room’ or ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’ accept no other. 

Lido Cinema

427 Manukau Road, Epsom, Auckland

Renowned for its exceptional and personable service, the suburban Lido is a favourite among locals. With a fully stocked snack bar of ice cream, popcorn and wine, ample street parking and a selection of critically acclaimed films, Lido Cinema should definitely be included on your next date night or day out with the crew. 

Bridgeway Cinema

122 Queen Street, Northcote, Auckland

Bridgeway Cinema has been an iconic part of North Shore history since 1927. Specialising in arthouse cinema The Bridgeway resides in a heritage building and has four screens. Originally called the ‘Onewa Picture Drome’ it was renamed to the ‘Palais’, and then ‘The King’s Theatre’ before morphing into ‘Bridgeway’ as part of a re-naming competition on the radio just after the Auckland Harbour Bridge was opened. History.

Waiheke Island Community Cinema

127-129 Ocean View Road, Oneroa

Waiheke Island has its very own cinema but Waiheke Island Community Cinema is more than just a movie theatre. It’s a symbol of teamwork and is fully funded and governed by a board of trustees and movie buff volunteers from the Waiheke community.

Screening everything from blockbuster hits to short docos about the local community, it’s a great way to wind down after a wine tour. Kick back in one of their donated couches for a cinematic experience that’s a little bit different. 

Matakana Cinemas

2 Matakana Valley Road, Matakana, Auckland

Tivoli Cinema at Matakana Cinemas, one of the best cinemas in Auckland.
Image credit: Matakana Cinemas | Facebook

A favourite day trip among Aucklanders, Matakana is renowned for its markets but also just so happens to be home to one of the best cinemas in the region. With a sophisticated interior, lay-z-boi front-row seats and welcoming hospitality, Matakana Cinemas, make for a cosy night out with all the snacks and a glass of wine or well-brewed cup of coffee. 

Cinema 3

85 Edinburgh Street, Pukekohe, Auckland

Pukekohe locals don’t need to take a long drive to get their movie night fix thanks to Cinema 3. Relaxed, clean and with tasty ice cream, it has all the essentials for a mighty fine movie-viewing experience. Cinema 3 is especially popular for its hospitality and its friendly, movie buff staff will make you want to return again and again. 

Rialto Cinemas

167/169 Broadway, Newmarket

Excitingly, Newmarket is home to not one but two of Auckland’s best cinemas. Just minutes away from Event Cinemas is Rialto, the largest arthouse cinema in Auckland. With seven stadium-style cinemas, popular Film Talk Q&A events and Kapiti cheese platters and ice cream, Rialto is a favourite among film festival stans. We love their comfy seating with practically indulgent legroom.

Reading Cinemas

Lynnmall, 2058 Great North Road, New Lynn

Located within Lynnmall is Reading Cinemas which is an absolute mega house of huge screens and booming sound systems to get the most out of your experience. The Titan XC Cinema is no joke with its world-class facilities to turn any film epic. But if you’re wanting something more intimate, Reading Cinemas also provide a luxury experience where you can dine on some high-quality eats and swirl your wine glass while watching your film of choice. Noice. 

Looking for more things to do in Tāmaki? Check out: 

Main image credit: Krists Luhaers / Unsplash

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