America's 5 Coolest Drive-Ins

The best places to show off your wheels—not to mention catch a movie in the great outdoors—are these classic open-air theaters. Just don't forget a date.

Drive-in photograph: Corbis, Movie still: Everett Collection


(Mansfield, Connecticut):__

This college town's out-of-the-way three-screen drive-in is built on 10 acres surrounded by woods and farmland. The Mansfield, which opened in 1954, once ran porn flicks in the fall to extend its viewing season. You can channel that past by bringing a blanket for some private time on the grass—or have a picnic of clam fritters and homemade birch beer.


(Concord, California):__

The East Bay outpost of this mini-chain wins style points for its vintage signage and palm-tree-laden setting. Plus, the 96-foot-wide screens make even the dullest franchise sequel a spectacle. Smuggle in a Thermos of margaritas to go with the Mexican-style concessions like churros, tacos, and burritos.


(Atlanta, Georgia):__

Tailgating is this six-screen theater's specialty. The hilltop parking lot in southeast Atlanta is frequently taken over by grillers with coolers and card tables, and hip rockabilly-styled locals—especially during the annual Labor Day weekend Drive-Invasion, which features live music, a hot-rod show, and a marathon of awesome B-movies.


(Dearborn, Michigan):__

This 1950s-era complex just outside Detroit proclaims itself the "largest drive-in in the world" thanks to its five screens and 3,000-car capacity. And if the latest summer blockbuster isn't doing it for you, look skyward: Meteor showers are common in this part of the country. Add 4 a.m. screenings to that and you have a pretty trippy (albeit BYOB) after-hours party.


(Baltimore, Maryland):__

Just east of downtown, you can experience a 6,240-square-foot screen, allegedly the biggest in the United States. Almost as remarkable is the roadside-diner-style snack bar completely frozen in time—1956, to be exact. Those in it for the long haul should look out for special dusk-till-dawn quadruple features.

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