Garden Grove is the fifth largest city in Orange County, best known for its annual Strawberry Festival. Within the diverse community, you can find a wide range of entertainment and activities to enjoy. This area has ample draw to host everything from ska music festivals to classic theatrical productions. Naturally, there are plenty of theaters to get your film fix in as well, with all the first-run favorites readily accessible in comfortable facilities complete with reclining chairs and assigned seating. If you’re looking for someplace to enjoy a little extra entertainment, we have several suggestions. Check out these top theaters in Garden Grove, California.
12762 Main St., Garden Grove
Historically, the Garden Grove Amphitheater would only operate one or two months out of the year, hosting a handful of events like the city’s annual Strawberry Festival and theatrical Shakespearean productions. In 2017, the amphitheater gained new life and a new moniker to go with it. The venue signed a 10-year contract with the city of Garden Grove and rebranded itself as the Garden Amp.
The revitalized Garden Amp, poised to host live music for the first time, rapidly gained interest. In 2018, it was named the Best Venue for Live Music by OC Weekly. The venue features several stunning performance spaces including a 600-seat amphitheater, a huge outdoor festival area, a small patio and stage known as the Tree House, and the compact 150-seat space known as the Locker Room. The Locker Room in particular is a brilliantly creative use of space, repurposing a temporary modular building that previously served as a dressing room for theatrical performers.
The Tree House and Locker Room are situated on opposite sides of the space, so they can host simultaneous events, maximizing the potential of this venue. The Garden Amp has hosted several touring acts and music festivals as well as local bands who are anxious to make use of the stunning new space.
The hardcore band Gorilla Biscuits from New York performed one of the most memorable concerts in the venue, with the band eventually crowded onto the drum riser and the moshing fans flooding onto the stage. The band purportedly said that the gig was in their top five of all time.
Garden Amp has a variety of live performances on its calendar for 2021 including Nothing Fest III, The Toasters, and Blitz Kid. This open-air all-ages venue provides ample versatility for events of all kinds in Garden Grove.
12852 Main St., Garden Grove
The GEM Theatre got its start in the 1920s when it served as a vaudeville house. In the 1930s, the GEM turned into a single-screen movie theater. The venue took on a new life in 1979 when it switched to hosting live theatrical performances. Today, the GEM Theatre continues to host live performances under the management of One More Productions and ownership of The City of Garden Grove. The venue holds 158 patrons and features three lobbies and two concession areas.
In 2008, a $150,000 renovation of the GEM Theatre brought the venue up to ADA code and added a reconfigured stage, new curtains, refurbished seating, and state-of-the-art lighting and sound systems.
The GEM typically hosts five or six performances each year. Previous theatrical performances have included “Bye Bye Birdie,” “Sweeny Todd,” “Music Man,” “Cabaret,” “The Producers,” “Hello Dolly!,” “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast,” “West Side Story,” and “Guys and Dolls.” The GEM also hosts the Holiday Gem each year during the holiday season. This performance takes a joyful trip through Christmas Fantasy Land and includes beloved holiday carols like “Baby It’s Cold Outside,” “Sleigh Ride,” and “Winter Wonderland.”
The GEM is the perfect place to find live theater in the Garden Grove area. All productions hold open auditions, so you can even take to the stage yourself if you want to become a unique part of the excitement that takes place in this historic theater.
Starlight West Grove Cinemas
12111 Valley View St., Garden Grove
Formerly known as 4 Star Cinemas, West Grove Cinemas offers a supremely comfortable movie-going experience. The reserved seating system allows you to select the perfect seat for your show, with luxury recliners that let you kick back just like you would at home. The 50-foot-wide auditorium and Dolby Atmos sound system deliver an immersive experience for every show. You can even reserve your tickets in advance for some of the most popular movies coming to the theater to make sure you have a chance to catch the film as soon as it opens.
Regular tickets for evening showings are $10 for adults and $7 for children ages three to 11, students, and military, police, or fire personnel. Seniors 55 and over pay just $6. Shows that start before noon are $6 for all tickets, and those starting between noon and 6:00 p.m. are just $7. For a real bargain, catch a movie any time on Tuesday and Thursday or before 6:00 p.m. on Sunday and you’ll pay just $5 a ticket.
Regal Garden Grove
9741 Chapman Ave., Garden Grove
The Regal Garden Grove was the second Orange County location for Regal when it opened in 1999. This facility boasts 16 theaters, so you’ll have plenty of movie times to choose from when you stop in. Whether you’re looking for a date night flick or afternoon of family fun, you’ll likely find what you’re after.
Assigned seating and plush reclining chairs offer a comfortable movie experience. You’ll also enjoy a wide variety of snacks, food, and beverage options at the theater like Cinnabon gooey bites, Tyson boneless chicken wings, Nathan’s corn dog nuggets, and ICEE drinks. Tickets are $10 for adults, $7 for children, and $6 for seniors. Special rewards and discounts are available for Regal Crown Club members.
Are there any other great theaters or entertainment venues in Garden Grove that you would recommend? Contact our team at Capistrano Volkswagen and let us know! We always want to have the best recommendations for our customers, so we can point them in the right direction when they drive off the lot in their new vehicles.
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