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Best for shushers: Alamo Drafthouse, Austin, Texas (with 13 other locations across the country)
This mini chain is for serious movie buffs. Aside from regularly screening niche genres and hard-to-find indies and classics, Alamo doesn’t permit children under age 6 and adheres to an extremely strict cell-phone policy. (They will kick you out if they catch you texting.)
Glitziest: Tampa Theatre, Tampa, Florida
This 1926 theater is designed to look like a Mediterranean courtyard, replete with ornate statuary, a giant Wurlitzer organ and a ceiling full of twinkling stars. You know you’re in a movie theater, but you could swear it’s an Italian piazza. Bellissimo!
Best for couch potatoes: Studio Movie Grill, various locations
Who wants to get up for a soda in the middle of a movie? Not only can you book your seat in advance, but at any point during the film you can push a button on your armrest to order from an extensive food and drink menu. (A waiter will bring your seviche lettuce wraps and salted-caramel martini promptly.)
Campiest: The Castro Theatre, San Francisco, California
Old-school movie-viewing opulence? Yes, please. The Castro looks like an ornate Spanish cathedral and boasts fabulous (and well-attended) classic films and midnight screenings. But the highlight here is the beloved organist, who plays Judy Garland’s “San Francisco” before the start of every show.
Most like your living room: AMC Loews at West 84th Street, New York, New York
This Manhattan theater recently underwent extensive renovations and now features extra-cushy red leather reclining love seats that you can reserve in advance. Though the recliners are obviously great for canoodling, they’re also useful should you want to sneak in a little shut-eye during hour two of The Wolf of Wall Street.
Photo credit: NY Times
Most likely to bring you back to college: Kennedy School, Portland, Oregon
Grab a beer and have a seat on one of the comfy old couches in this movie theater built into an old elementary school (and featuring the menu of one of the city’s best breweries). Screenings range from newer fare to vintage nostalgia (The Princess Bride is up now), and the vibe is very Portland hipster.
Best drive-in: Shooting Star Drive-In, Escalante, Utah
Sure, drive-ins are cool, but you typically have to go home at the end of the flick, right? Not so at the Shooting Star Drive-in (slash trailer park), where you can watch the movie from a ’64 Caddy and then sleep in an Airstream trailer for an additional $150 a night.
Most relaxing: Nokia Ultra at the Paragon Cineplex, Bangkok, Thailand
OK, so you have to travel to Thailand for this one, but we really think it’s worth it. Not only does this movie theater feature motorized reclining seats and complimentary preshow drinks in the VIP lounge, but you also get a free foot massage with your ticket purchase.
Yes, we know: Netflix is the greatest thing to happen since gluten-free bread, and now we can all stay home in our sweatpants and binge-watch House of Cards without having to see other humans.
Still, don’t you sometimes just want to go to the movies?
In celebration of our favorite out-of-the-house pastime (and, oh yeah, those pesky upcoming Oscars), we’ve rounded up the coolest, most high-end and all-around most surprising movie theater experiences.
Get ready for reclining love seats, vintage Airstreams and complimentary foot massages.
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