The 10 Best Historic Theaters in Florida!

Modern movie houses have nothing on the spectacular historic theatres in Florida. Walking into a theater that housed hundreds of films and performances over a century ago is nothing short of a step through time, especially the ones where the community proactively preserved the building and its interior. Given Florida’s rich and lengthy history, it’s no wonder that some of the most iconic theaters of decades ago still stand in all their glory today. Take a trip down memory lane at these 10 best historic theaters in Florida.

1. Polk Theater, Lakeland, FL

This former 1920s movie palace and vaudeville roadstop is still one of the most cutting edge theaters in Florida. Modeled after the stylings of the Italian renaissance, this building was a magical wonder inside and out. Famous faces were known to frequent the stage, including Tom Mix, Elvis Presley, and Gene Autry. The theater underwent a major renovation in 1999 and continues to delight guests with its famed architectural style and quality performing arts.

A post shared by Chase Wagner (@chasejwagner) on

2. Florida Theater, Jacksonville, FL

This historic theater opened its doors in 1927 and remains one of the top historic theaters in the country. At the time of its opening, this theater was the largest in Florida. Today, you can still catch a dance or musical performance in its auditorium—check their website for upcoming shows.

3. The Ringling Historic Asolo Theater, Sarasota, FL

Even the name brings back a deluge of memories from the period of its inception. With roots dating all the way back to the 15th century, this classic beauty is known for its ornate decor. Throughout time, the theater has undergone multiple extensive renovations and is admired by fans today.

4. Tampa Theater, Tampa, FL

The majestic marquee is the main giveaway that this place is truly something special. The Tampa Theater was built in 1926 as one of the most grandiose movie houses in the country. The inside of theater is reminiscent of a Mediterranean garden complete with statues and flora. During its premiere days, a movie cost just 25 cents. Today, the movie house still features a magnificent Wurlitzer organ and offers movies and shows throughout the year.

A post shared by John Ceballos (@whatjohngrams) on

5. Olympia Theater, Miami, FL

Not much has changed in this theater since Moorish architecture and twinkling ceiling that other visitors have admired for decades. Parts of the theater have been restored, and ongoing efforts continue to retain its splendor.

6. Arcade Theater, Fort Myers, FL

Repertory theater is still alive and thriving at historic Arcade theater in Fort Myers. With its own repertory company making regular appearances, they’re keeping alive one of the most popular forms of theater of the past century. The Arcade has been fully restored but retains much of its historical significance.

7. Marion Theater, Ocala, FL

A lot has changed in 70 years, but Marion Theater has kept up with the times without sacrificing its original elegance. This time-tested theater still boasts its rounded Art Deco marquee and entry doors while showing modern movies that cost quite a bit more than they did in the 1940s. This theater also serves beer and wine to complete your experience.

8. Seminole Theater, Homestead, FL

The Seminole Theater name has existed since 1919, but the theater itself is much older than that. Having first started as the Airdome Theater in Miami, the theater was dismantled in 1916 and moved to Homestead, where it was reconstructed and received a new name - the Homestead Movie Garden. The theater changed its name to Seminole Theater, and eventually was relocated to a new theater building in 1921. It burned to the ground in 1940, but was rebuilt on the spot and still delights guests with performances to this day.

9. Cinematique, Daytona Beach, FL

As the only art house cinema in the city, Cinematique is truly one of its kind. This single-screen theater delivers an epic viewing experience complete with couches, padded chairs, and director seats. Featuring the best in independent and foreign films, every experience here is unique and memorable.

10. The Peabody Auditorium, Daytona Beach, FL

Having opened in 1949, the Peabody Auditorium doesn’t have as much history as the other theaters on this list, but what it lacks in tenure it more than makes up for in features and ambiance. This venue has hosted an A-list of performers, including Elvis, Red Skelton, Liza Minelli, and even modern acts like Jerry Seinfeld and David Copperfield. The impressive 2,500+ seat space continues to be an important part of the performing arts community in the city, offering performances throughout the year.

A post shared by Nic Nelson (@_nicnelson_) on

Florida Search
View more Florida Theaters and Playhouses.
Visit a Theater or Playhouse Near You
Find Theaters and Playhouses Near You
838 North Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL
Mission Statement: The Players Theatre is dedicated to presenting a diverse and entertaining slate of high quality, volunteer driven theatrical e... Read More
777 North Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL
To present a broad spectrum of the world's finest performing artists in order to meet the diverse cultural needs of all of Southwest Florida's resi... Read More
140 West Tampa Avenue, Venice, FL
Mission Statement : Making a dramatic impact on all stages of life We exist to celebrate and nurture creative expression, to foster human communi... Read More
401 South West Second Street, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Mission:The mission of the Museum of Discovery and Science is to provide experiential pathways to lifelong learning in science for children and adu... Read More
3101 North Federal Highway 6th Floor, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Muvico Theaters was founded in 1984 with the acquisition of a three screen theater in Coral Springs, Florida. From 1985 to 1995, Muvico purchased o... Read More
201 South West Fifth Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL
The Broward Center for the Performing Arts invites you to discover something new to love about the arts. A comprehensive regional arts & entert... Read More
121 South Florida Avenue, Lakeland, FL
The Historic Polk Theatre presents live performances and films year round. The theatre is also available to rent for business meetings, theatrical ... Read More
9501 US Highway 441, Leesburg, FL
PALS - Performing Arts of Lake and Sumter counties, is a non-profit organization dedicated to seeking community support and funding to construct a ... Read More
1700 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach, FL
History: On a perfect South Florida day in 1964, the Great One, Jackie Gleason, gifted comedian and actor, said "Miami Beach audiences are the gre... Read More
160 Alexandria Boulevard, Oviedo, FL
University Performing Arts Centre Proudly Offers - A professional background of experienced teaching - Current trends in dance and modern teachi... Read More
1010 North Macinnes, Tampa, FL
About us: The Straz Center inspires audiences and artists to dream and discover, to create and celebrate.  Located on the bank of the histor... Read More
4419 North Hubert Avenue, Tampa, FL
About Us:The Gorilla Theatre was established 20 years ago by husband and wife, Aubrey Hampton and Susan Hussey. Both playwrights, the loving couple... Read More
711 North Franklin Street, Tampa, FL
A catapult for the imagination since 1926, the Tampa Theatre is a symbol of our city's glorious past and bright future. Tampa Theatre is a fiercely... Read More
319 Duval Street, Key West, FL
About Us: The Red Barn Theatre has become a cultural cornerstone for the Key West community while building a national reputation for creating BIG t... Read More
18 N Krome Ave., Homestead, FL
The Seminole Cultural Arts Theatre, was incorporated in April 1997 to respond to the City of Homestead's Request for Proposal (RFP) and selected by... Read More
221 North Beach Street, Daytona Beach, FL
About us: Since 1977, Seaside Music Theater has been bringing the best in professional musical theater to Central Florida and has become an int... Read More
399 North US 1, Ormond Beach, FL
About Us: The Ormond Beach Performing Arts Center is a 23,000+ square foot theatre that seats 600 patrons in a stadium-styled setting. The venue h... Read More
124 North Florida Avenue, DeLand, FL
Sands Theater Center Mission StatementThe purpose of Sands Theater Center, Inc. is to provide quality entertainment and cultural enrichment for the... Read More
84721 Overseas Highway, Islamorada, FL
History: Theater of the Sea is one of the oldest marine mammal facilities in the world and is rich in Florida Keys history. The lagoon, original... Read More
5901 College Road, Key West, FL
About Us   The Performing Arts Centers for Key West (PACKW) was organized in 2002 to save the Tennessee Williams Theatre from permanent closur... Read More
Show More
Select a Florida town to find
the Best Things-To-Do and Places To Go around you
Gilchrist County
Lafayette County