Over 4,000 drive-in theaters used to dot the rural fields and city lots of this country, but today there are just few more than 300. But like the 300 Spartans, these drive-in theaters are putting up one heck of a fight for their sacred spots of land. During the summer (and sometimes year-round) these faithful drive-ins light up the screens so we can enjoy movies in our cars or under the stars, just as we have for the past 50+ years.
Galaxy Drive-In shows all the latest releases (even in 3D-- how cool is that?) in a picture-perfect retro atmosphere. They're open every night, 365 days a year, so you can experience the magic of a night at the drive-in pretty much whenever. Also... they serve Dippin' Dots. You're all welcome.
The entrance may look retro, but the Coyote is actually a new drive-in theater. It’s got great local food, plenty of booze, and even hitching posts if you’re coming from the Ft. Worth stockyards. In Fort Worth, the drive-in theater is the hip place for young people once again.
Does it get any more retro American than a drive-in on Route 66 with a beautiful neon sign? We didn’t think so either. It’s an old-fashioned kind of place with plenty of room for tossing a football before the big feature show.
The Harvest Moon is where old-school meets new school. Even their sign is one part old neon, one part modern digital. They also have a wind-powered electrical system.
Once on the main route between Chicago & Detroit, the Capri still draws a crowd of travelers and locals alike with excellently maintained facilities and one of the largest screen towers still in use. The classic 50s vibe is still alive and well at the Capri.
Seems fitting the world’s largest drive-in would be just outside Motor City. Ford Drive-In boasts a 3,000 car capacity and retains some of that vintage cool you’d hope for at a Detroit area drive-in.
With six screens and a hilltop parking lot this drive-in isn’t just about the movies, it’s about the tailgating! Bring your grill, corn hole sets, and coolers for a drive-in experience like no other. We suggest hitting the place up over Labor Day weekend when they have live music, a car show, and crappy B-movies.
For a different take on the classic drive-in experience, book a room at the Best Western Movie Manor. It's next to the Star Drive-In, and almost every room has a clear view of the screen (literally from your bed!), along with speakers in the room, which you can leave off if you'd rather sleep through the movie. Plus, some of the rooms have themes, (I suggest the Brad Pitt room) which adds to the experience.
There are three things that make Bengies awesome: its 50s style snack bar, its ridiculously large screen, and its fantastic retro road sign. What’s not to love about that?
Built in 1949, closed in 1987, and reopened in 2004, the Delsea Drive-In is the only drive-in in the entire state of New Jersey. It prides itself on its healthier food options, so don't feel like you have to bring in your own snacks if you're not in the mood for popcorn and hot dogs!
The movies aren’t the only attraction at this rural outdoor theater… Arrive early with the kids for pony rides or swing by during one of the many events such as car shows and haunted hayrides at this local hang-out.
Four Brothers Drive-In is a little different in that it just recently opened, so it may not have been around for generations, but it's still worth checking out. They offer everything you would expect from a classic drive-in: double features of first run movies seven days a week during the spring through the fall (and sometimes even the occasional Thursday night triple feature!), and a playground and concession stand with classic snacks, but it's the details here that really count: the all-American, custom-made furniture, signs, and art, the art deco-inspired mural made by a beloved local artist, the Polaroid guest book, even the fact that they'll help you clean your windshield and deliver your snacks to you via carhop all make Four Brothers the kind of place you want to visit regularly.
But don't be fooled by the sexy, retro vibes... this place is tricked out with every modern convenience you could ever need. They have an app you can download that will keep you up-to-date on what movies they're showing each week, they're the only drive-in theater were you can charge up an electric vehicle while you watch movies, their projector is a state-of-the-art piece of equipment, and you can even order food from the snack shack online-- they make a conscious effort to serve homemade and locally-source standards, like ice cream and burgers, as well as modern favorites, like Greek yogurt! Basically, they combine the best parts of a classic drive-in with modern amenities and a passion for the experience... what's not to love?
Out in the sticks sits the Mansfield Drive-In. Open since 1954, the place used to run some dirty movies in the fall to keep money coming past the summer season. Today the mood is less triple-X, but there’s plenty of fun to be had. The drive-in also features a flea market during the day, something many drive-ins do to keep the doors open-- show your support!
There's really nothing that can compare to a night at the drive-in. Whether you're going with a group of friends, on a cute date, or you're introducing the tradition to your kids, it's an experience that's totally magical!