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The Charles Theatre, often referred to as simply The Charles, is the oldest movie theatre in Baltimore. The theatre is a Beaux-Arts building designed as a streetcar barn in 1892 by Jackson C. Gott, located in what is now the Station North arts and entertainment district. The theater was renamed the Charles (for its location on Charles Street) circa 1959 and became a calendar revival house in 1979. Many of John Waters's early films premiered at this theatre; this honor has since shifted to the Senator Theatre.
In 1999, it underwent a major expansion and is now a five-screen theater, though the original main theater has been left largely intact and is still the largest theater in the complex. The Charles now serves as an arthouse multiplex, showing a variety of independent films along with some major studio prestige pictures. The main theatre hosts revival series and special screenings several times a week, as well as the occasional live concert performance. The entire theater complex served as the host of the annual Maryland Film Festival from 1999 until 2013.
The Charles sits just across the tracks of the Northeast Corridor from Penn Station, putting the theater within easy walking distance of Amtrak, MARC, and Light Rail service. Another Light Rail stop, University of Baltimore/Mt. Royal, is also close by.
The original structure, known as the Baltimore City Passenger Railway Power House and Car Barn, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1998.
Charles Theatre reviews
In the last week or so, I have seen two first-rate films at the Charles Theatre. One was a British film called, "Official Secrets." It told how a brave public servant revealed how her government lied.... more »
We drove 60 miles to see a film in this theater that was not showing anywhere near us. This was a nice old style theater. We will be back. more »
I enjoyed the theater. First time visiting - very old school feel. Clean, spacious, convenient location. The only reason I did not give it 5 stars is because of service at the concession. While we waited to enter there were 3 people behind the counter, when the mass crowd began to order snacks before the start to the screening there was only one person serving. Otherwise the three guys were very pleasant.
My friends and I love it here! Awesome food and great service. Ask for Mason he’s the best!!! Taco Tuesday doesn’t get enough credit.
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