Centro Estudios Latinoamericanos Rómulo Galegos (CELARG)
The ultra-trendy CELARG is the best place in Caracas to soak up the arts. This modern cultural shrine is a contemporary art exhibition center, and is complete with a bookstore, quaint café and an impressive eatery called Vizio’s. It also houses a number of art-house movies in the evening as well as regular concerts, with reasonable prices and excellent staff on hand dispensing film advice. Popular among the locals, CELARG shows a large selection of international films, and hosts contemporary world cinema festivals as well as some free weekend screenings. The venue is also home to Patana Cultural Ccs, one of our top picks for the best local bars in Caracas. La Patana Cultural is similarly a center for cultural happenings, and holds everything from poetry nights and musicals to photography exhibitions. So, if you’re seeking a first-rate cultural night in the city, CELARG should be your top choice.
Cinemateca Nacional is situated in the artsy neighborhood of Sabana Grande in Caracas. And it’s much more than its name suggests; a more apt title would be an arts and experimental film emporium. It is the main venue for the country’s national cinema program, it shows a large range of domestic and international films, and is also the host venue for a number of brand-name art exhibitions. Showing an array of Latin American, Caribbean and global filmwork, Cinemateca Nacional aims to promote material which strengthens Venezuelan social values whilst simultaneously illustrating the significance of the arts. It’s definitely worth checking the schedule to see what’s on here, but rather than Hollywood blockbusters you’re more likely to find gritty documentaries and intellectual thrillers.
Ateneo de Caracas
Another multi-purpose cultural center, Ateneo de Caracas was one of the first hubs dedicated to promoting cultural events and arts in Venezuela. From the beginning it has intended to be a venue for organizing concerts, exhibitions and lectures, and as the company has prospered, this list now includes theater productions and film screenings. The venue’s location has changed a few times, but despite moving around, the purpose and vision of the establishment has remained constant. The headquarters is now located on Avenida La Salle, and they also host a number of functions in different areas of the city aimed at stimulating an engagement between the public and the arts. Two of their most successful events are the International Theater Festival and the International Film Festival. They also play a number of thought-provoking documentaries and indie flicks throughout the year.
Cinex El Recreo
Built in 1998, the Cinex complexes are cinemas located throughout Venezuela. Although there are over 20 cinemas in the chain, one of the best among them is located in El Recreo, Caracas. It boasts over ten theater rooms complete with 3D capabilities, surround-sound and the latest film technology. The seats are ultra-modern and incredibly comfortable, and it is one of the best venues in which to entertain children in the city. Cinex Recreo shows all the box office favorites with and without subtitles, so you can stay up-to-date with the Hollywood hits even at the very tip of South America.
North of the municipal city, situated on the western edge of the Caracas Metropolitan District, the second oldest cinema in Venezuela, Teatro Ayacucho, sits happily. Originally a parish church designed by architect Alejandro Chataing, the venue ceased to operate with its intended function in December 1925 and started to show an array of locally-made films. Now the space also includes a mini-mall, and is still a popular picturehouse showcasing many movies. In the early 1990s the venue was recognized for its cultural and historic value, and was named as a national historic monument in 1994, under a wave of pro-national sentiment which was sweeping South America at the time.