Theaters Offer History and Culture on the North Coast

By Emily Lindblom | Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Treat yourself to a movie or a play while taking in the cultural significance of the coast’s historic theaters. Oregon is home to more than 70 operating theaters that have been around over 50 years, and the North Coast has its own collection of them. These theaters have been an important part of the state’s cultural, social and economic history. Here’s a few you can find between Tillamook and Astoria. 

Coliseum Theatre in Tillamook

The Coliseum Theatre in Tillamook still has the original projectors, projection room, light dimmer and more from when it was built in 1923. Now it offers first-run movies and special events for birthdays and businesses. Guests can enjoy traditional movie snacks like popcorn, candy and soda, as well as local concessions  including Tillamook ice cream and cheese and Pelican Brewing Company beer. 

Bijou Theater in Lincoln City

Looking for some classic movies, new blockbusters and matinees? The Bijou Theater awaits right off of Highway 101 not much farther south along the coast in Lincoln City. Built in 1937, the Bijou Theater was originally known as the “Lakeside Theatre.” Since then, donations from members of the community have helped make the theater what it is today with a fully digital movie experience. The theater has also undergone other renovations, including an update to the marquee and new theater seats. Movie goers at the Bijou can also enjoy local craft beer and wine at the theater. Find out more online

Coaster Theatre Playhouse in Cannon Beach 

The Coaster Theatre Playhouse in Cannon Beach has been showing live performances since 1972, but the building itself dates back to the 1920s. Back then it served as a skating rink that also showed silent movies once a week until the 1950s. After a big remodel in 1972, the Coaster became the theater it is today, hosting many musicals and plays over the years. Find out more here

Liberty Theatre in Astoria

Come see a live performance at the Liberty Theatre in Astoria. Built in the Italian Renaissance architectural style in 1924 through 1925, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Buildings. The Liberty originally included a vaudeville stage, a movie theater, a radio station, a dance studio and other businesses. Now guests can come to experience music, dance and plays in a variety of performances. The most recent restoration of the building was completed in 2006, but there are more renovations planned. Among the theater’s plans is an upgrade to its stage to facilitate Broadway-style productions. The community can come to raise funds for the renovations at the 2019 Liberty Gala on November 16. For more information about the Liberty, visit its website

Columbian Theatre/Riviera in Astoria

If you’re looking for a place to catch movies after they leave the first-run theaters, come check out the Columbian Theatre. It opened in 1925 as the Riviera Theater. For decades after, it showed movies in traditional 35-mm film and only recently started showing movies with a digital projector. With pizza, local beer and wine, the Columbian’s Voodoo Room offers guests a comfortable, affordable place to eat and enjoy the movies. Guests can also grab a bite at the Columbian Cafe. To learn more, click here

Looking for more fun things to do along the coast? To find out more about theater performances, as well as live music, karaoke and trivia nights, check out our Nightlife calendar. See what kind of activities there are to do around town on our Daytime Events page.

About the Author Emily Lindblom
Emily Lindblom is passionate about telling the stories of people and places in the Pacific Northwest and loves investigating environmental issues and highlighting the wonders of the region's forests and coastline. She has a background in community reporting and a master's degree in multimedia journalism and enjoys hiking and surfing in her free time.