How and where to take baby to the movie theater

Baby-friendly movie theaters? Yes, please.

Baby Pictures movie at Showcase Cinemas in Perrysburg, OH | The Blade/Dave Zapotosky

We sure love our DVRs and streaming but refuse to give up on going to the movie theater. Did you know some theaters also have special showings for new parents? These showings have different names in different cities, but the idea that yours will not (most likely) be the loudest baby in the movie theater is the common thread.

I thought I was pretty magical when I sat in a movie theater while doing my first in public breastfeeding (without crying!) when Julian was 5 weeks old. (This mistakenly led Heather, my 19-weeks pregnant escort, to believe that nursing is easy.) Both of our firstborns were frequent attendees of “Baby Brigade” during their first year.

Stroller matinees are a good early outing for freaked-out new parents. Crying is totally allowed.

This is your ninth weekly rookie mom challenge. Even if you cannot find a mom and baby movie in your area, consider taking a risk on a morning matinee showing. Heather and I brought baby Milo to Knocked Up while I was super pregnant with Scarlett. We saw the first show of the day and only one other person was in the theater. Milo stayed in his car seat for much of the movie and when he got sick of that, Heather held him up on her lap facing the movie. The volume at the theater is much louder than any grunting or fussing that tiny babies do.

All that being said, you have to use your judgment; clean up after yourself. Some theaters have started to scale back on baby showings in favor of laxer all-ages shows. We’ve rounded up the mommy-baby movies we could find below.


West Coast baby-friendly movie theaters:

  • Portland, Oregon’s hip Kennedy School Movie Theater invites moms and babies to the first showing on Tuesdays and Thursdays for Mommy Matinee.
  • In Seattle, WA, the Varsity Theater has a soundproof “crying room” in the rear of one of the theaters, so parents can watch without disturbing other movie-goers.
  • San Diego, bring your baby to the movies at the Angelika Film Center  on Wednesdays at 11 am for Crybaby Matinee or Reading Cinemas Town Square and Gaslamp on Thursdays at 11.
  • In LA, Monday Morning Mommy Movies are shown weekly at 11:00 am at the Grove, Culver City, Glendale, and Northridge.
  • Also in Southern California, Mommy Movie Mondays are at the Krikorian chain in Monrovia, Buena Park, Downey, Redlands, and San Clemente
  • In the San Francisco Bay Area, try The New Parkway in Oakland for “Baby Brigade” showings.
  • Camera Cinemas in Campbell, CA has stopped its Diaper Days and Diaper Date Nights for new parents who want to see movies but may resume again in the Fall of 2017 when the new Pruneyard Dine-in Cinema opens.
  • In Sonoma County, CA, the Reading Cinemas Rohnert Park offers Cry Baby Matinees once a week, probably.

East Coast baby-friendly movie theaters

  • In NYC, City Cinemas on E. 86th invites babies on Wednesdays.
  • AFI Silver Theatre, Silver Spring, MD welcomes parents to “Silver Babies,” with shows one Friday morning a month.
  • In Fairfax, VA, the Mosaic offers Cry Baby Matinees on Mondays at 11 am
  • Washington DCs Angelika Film Center hosts Cry Baby Matinees on Wednesdays around noon.
  • In Philadelphia, Wednesdays at the Roxy include Baby on Board movies.
  • In Arlington, MA, the Capitol Theatre features a baby-friendly movie every Monday afternoon. Get ice cream right next door. Salem, MA hosts movies Monday mornings for mamas and babies at Cinema Salem. Brookline‘s Coolidge Corner Theater hosts special bi-monthly, baby-friendly screenings

Even more baby-friendly movie theaters:

  • Dallas -The Angelika invites parents to bring babies to the movies on Tuesday AND Wednesdays afternoons.
  • Plano, Texas –The Angelika presents Cry Baby Matinee on Thursday afternoons
  • New Orleans, the Broad Theater offers BYOB (Bring your own baby!) on Thursdays at 11ish.
  • Hawaii, Maui’s Ka’ahumanu theater hosts crybaby movies for baby owners, and so do many other locations in the Consolidated Theater chain: Ward; Mililani; Pearlridge; Kapolei; Kahala Theatre; Koko Marina; Ko’olau.
  • Cinemark Theatres used to have a thriving Mommy & Me show, but that seems to be on hiatus for now (you never know when a theater owner will have a baby and it will all seem like a good idea again)
  • Village Cinemas in Australia offers many baby-friendly movie showings.
  • O, Canada, I didn’t forget you! Here’s a huge list of theaters with “Stars and Strollers” programs in Canada, listed by province.

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