Pickwick Theatre – Park Ridge, Illinois - Atlas Obscura
Free iron-on Atlas Obscura badge when you preorder our new kids’ book. Shop now.

Park Ridge, Illinois

Pickwick Theatre

A towering Art Deco movie palace made to look like a Mayan temple. 

This grand Art Deco theater rises high above the streets of a Chicago suburb. Its stately 100-foot tower makes the building look more like a temple than a cinema. In fact, that’s exactly the point.

The main auditorium of the spectacular Pickwick Theatre was designed to resemble a Mayan temple. The interior ceiling is adorned with bright geometric patterns and additional Mayan-inspired designs climb the walls.

The movie palace is one of the many exotically inspired theaters to pop up within the United States in the 1920s and ‘30s. Unlike many of the other extravagant Art Deco theaters, this one managed to survive to this day.

It could originally pack 1,400 people into the beautifully decorated walls of its main auditorium, though recent renovations have reduced its capacity. Despite the slight downsize, the theater is still going strong: It continues to show films and also hosts live shows.

The impressive building has gone beyond just showing films and has even gotten a bit of screen time itself. Its front tower made a cameo in the opening credits of the show Siskel & Ebert & the Movies.