The Movie Waffler Stunning Silver Screens: 4 Best Theaters in America | The Movie Waffler

Stunning Silver Screens: 4 Best Theaters in America

Acclaimed actor, director, and producer Roman Polanski once said, "Cinema should make you forget you are sitting in a theater." What Mr. Polanski didn't account for, though, are theaters so spectacular that you won't want to forget them. The four theaters on this list have different claims to fame, but the common denominator is this -- each will leave you with an experience that is at least as immersive and delightful as the cinema itself.

The Alamo Drafthouse, Austin, Texas
On the one hand, The Alamo Drafthouse exudes laid-back quirkiness, with its unusual film picks and creatively themed movie nights. For example, the theater shows only obscure, bizarre films on Weird Wednesdays, and invites viewers to sing along with their favorite musicals on Sing-Along nights. With weekly opportunities for patrons to show their own films, the theater is also an ardent supporter of Austin's renowned arts scene, which is one of the many reasons the city is widely considered one of the best places to live.
On the other hand, the Drafthouse has also earned a reputation for taking movie etiquette very seriously. The theater strictly enforces rules such as no children under six, no unaccompanied children, no texting, and no talking. Patrons who can behave themselves will enjoy seat-side food and drink service, including "Cinema Cocktails."

Grauman's Chinese Theatre, Hollywood, California
For an authentic Hollywood experience, Grauman's Chinese Theatre (renamed Mann's Chinese in the 1970s and TCL Chinese in 2013) is the only way to go. So much more than a mere theater, Grauman's remains a Hollywood icon, having hosted myriad movie premieres and the Academy Awards three times. If you plan on seeing a movie here, make a night of it. Before the show, walk through cinematic history on the Hollywood Walk of Fame outside the theater. Afterwards, stop by the nearby Dolby Theatre, current home of the Oscars.

AMC Loews Uptown, Washington, D.C.
In a world dominated by homogenized, popcorn-hawking theaters without souls, the AMC Lowes Uptown is a breath of fresh, yet nostalgic air. Using the word "theater" to describe The Uptown is borderline blasphemy, as it is actually a "movie palace" that opened in 1936. The Uptown has a single screen, which is 70 feet wide and 40 feet high. Lovers longing for a cinematic tryst will appreciate the fairly secluded balcony area, ideal for canoodling viewers.

The Castro, San Francisco, California
The Castro Theatre is steeped in cultural history. First opened in 1922, the theatre seats 1,400 -- 800 on the first level and 600 in the balcony. You'll want to arrive a little before showtime to hear the pre-show concerts that feature the "Mighty Wurlitzer" pipe organ, which also accompanies silent films. The Castro hosts a variety of unique events, including indie film festivals, drag shows, and musical sing-alongs.

When anyone with a phone, tablet, video game console, or smart TV can stream almost any movie to a device at any time, you have to wonder if movie theaters will even be around in another 10 years. No one can answer that question definitively, but we'd bet that people will always be willing to forsake their iPads for unforgettable venues like these four.