The Senator (Baltimore, MD)
Credit: John E. Smith

Things haven't always been easy for this 75-year-old Art Deco movie house, which has closed its doors on more than one occasion. But The Senator still maintains much of its historic charm (including its original terrazzo floors in the lobby), and it has been cited by many individuals and organizations – including the National Trust for Historical Preservation – as the country's quintessential independent theater.

Why It Stands Out: Sure, it showcases a nice mix of smaller indie films alongside would-be blockbusters, but the spotlight often shines back on the theater itself. Baltimore natives John Waters and Barry Levinson have premiered a number of their films at the theater, and its striking Art Deco façade has been featured in films like Diner, Twelve Monkeys, and Cecil B. Demented.