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Historic Movie Theatres

The State Theatre, an Art Deco masterpiece in downtown Traverse City, dates back to the silent film era. Reopened in 2007 after an extensive restoration that enhanced its elegant features from the '50s and '60s, added new projection and sound equipment, new seats, a new lobby, new carpeting, and a glow-in-the-dark "starry night" ceiling. Today it is the headquarters of the Traverse City Film Festival.

Another Film Festival venue is Bijou by the Bay, an intimate art house theater in Clinch Park on Traverse City's waterfront, in a handsome brick building that was once a city museum.    

Just down the road in the village of Honor, the Cherry Bowl Drive-In is one of America's last remaining drive-in theatres.  In continuous use since 1953, the Cherry Bowl still runs a traditional program of double-feature films with cartoon and such touches as a 1950s-style miniature golf course.

The Bay Theatre in Suttons Bay has been in existence since 1946, when it was installed in a former livery stable, and still has the original hardwood floor and body-form seats. But its state-of-the-art sound system and 16mm and 35mm film projection make it a favorite venue for commercial and art films. North of Traverse City, the Elk Rapids Cinema, built in 1940, is another Art Deco gem. Recently renovated, it has restored its original blacklighted ceiling and walls.

First-run movies are usually found at Traverse City's two multiplex theatres, the Carmike Horizon 10 Cinemas, with 10 screens, located on US 31 south, and the Carmike Grand Traverse 9, a nine-screen complex in the Grand Traverse Mall.