Rome’s Capitol Theatre Offers More Than Just Theatre!

I recently attended a tourism marketing workshop that said the infamous phrase, “We have something for everyone” doesn’t set destinations apart any longer. This makes sense – most cities/regions can cater to people with all types of interests. But while I agree that it’s cliché, it’s hard to get away from the concept. Sometimes people walk in our office and say, “What can I do here”?! That’s a loaded question so we always ask what the person is interested in. That’s because we do have all types of places to visit… whether you enjoy beer, food, nature, the arts and just about anything in between!

broadwayutica Instagram 1954 ig 17862740161367219In terms of art, Oneida County is lucky to have a variety of theatres, museums and cultural events. One place that stands out is The Capitol Theatre in Rome. In our blog on National Travel and Tourism Week, we briefly talked about this unique theatre. From their distinctive events to stunning décor, it’s a magical place to visit. But The Capitol is more than a theatre. It’s a staple in Rome and has seen and adapted to many changes in the city and region. It’s a place we visit frequently for our annual Ambassador Tour because so many locals are unfamiliar with their offerings. Even as someone who works in tourism, I feel like I learn something new about them each time I visit. But before we dive into what they are now, let’s take a brief look at their history.

sarahfoster13 Instagram 1954 ig 1902693896018759774 13303365In December of 1928, The Capitol opened as part of the Kallet chain of movie houses, presenting first-run films until it closed in 1974. After extensive renovations, the theatre reopened in 1985 as the non-profit Capitol Civic Center, offering classic films, live theatrical performances and concerts. To this day, they remain the only building in Rome, NY constructed for the specific purpose of exhibiting motion pictures. Although the theatre received an Art Deco face-lift in 1939, the auditorium is configured exactly as it was in 1928 and much of the original décor remains. (Info taken from Wikipedia).

As someone who enjoys visiting different theatres, the Capitol has a magical (and maybe even haunted) vibe to it. There are so many old features that give you a sense of nostalgia. Guests can grab popcorn and a soda from concessions or head upstairs and check out the phonebooth. The ceiling of the theatre has deep gold and red accents with a stunning ceiling.

kimburrly.ann Instagram 1954 ig 1443283063748236070 627915116Aside from the décor, the Capitol is known for hosting unique events throughout the year. They’re an outlet to providing entertaining, cultural and educational opportunities to the community through performing and visual arts. They also cater to both adults and families. One of their major events is Capitolfest which celebrated their 17th year this past summer. Most of the films at this are shown in 33mm prints though some are presented digitally. There are also silent films, a dealer’s room, memorabilia for sale and much more! By the way, the dates for 2020 are August 14-16!

But wait… there’s more! Next door to the theatre is Cinema Capitol, a venue that offers the most independent, foreign, documentary and art house cinema in CNY. There are a few private theatres located within this complex and they show all types of films throughout the year. Many people may assume that because of their old-school style, they only show old movies. However, this past year, they hosted viewings of Game of Thrones episodes for people who didn’t have access to the show themselves.

Here are a few events that are happening over the next couple months. Please note that there are technically two locations so always check in advance (Rome Capitol and Cinema Capitol)!

Events at Cinema Capitol:


Events at Rome Capitol Theatre:


Whether you’re a visitor planning a trip to Oneida County or a local, we encourage you to check out all that The Rome Capitol Theatre has to offer. They’re a core attraction in Rome and continue to shape and mold what they offer. From films to festivals, it’s a wonderful place to visit any time of the year. Make sure to check them out and visit their Facebook pages to stay up-to-date on events!