Theatre History (Lake Theatre)

Classic Cinemas Lake Theatre is a seven screen historic theatre that serves Oak Park, River Forest, and the surrounding near west Chicago communities. The art deco building was meticulously restored to maintain its classic look while we have continued to update it with the latest technology. All auditoriums have 4K digital projection and 7.1 sound. We also host Select Pix featuring an art, documentary, foreign or classic film twice a month.


Classic Cinemas is a family-owned company that has been creating shared movie moments since 1978. We stand by the Classic Promise at all of our 14 locations. In addition to our 30 minute money-back guarantee and free refills on all sizes of popcorn, soda and ICEEs, we’re committed to providing guests with a two-hour vacation that is truly extraordinary and always classic.

Additional History


Designed by architect Thomas Lamb, famous for Madison Square Garden and establishing the look of classic movie palaces, the Lake Theatre first opened April 11, 1936. It fell into disrepair before Classic Cinemas took over in 1981. A massive renovation and restoration project took place creating additional auditoriums, but also returning the center auditorium to its original glory.


A number of decorative elements were brought in from local theatres that have been demolished including ceiling fixtures in the lobby from the Will Rogers Theatre, two plaster musician busts from the Southtown Theatre, art deco wall fixtures in Auditorium #1 from the Colonial Theatre, and 10 foot neoclassical ladies from the Marbro Theatre. Other elements were copied from originals including interior signage by the Affinity Art Glass Company and the custom carpet, which was based on a fragment of the original from 1936.


We are proud to continue to honor the theatre's historic charm while updating to the latest technology. All Classic Cinemas introduced 4K digital projection and 7.1 surround sound in 2012. 


Classic Rewards