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Drive on Up and Roll Down the Windows! 5 Old-Fashioned Drive-In Movie Theaters You Can Visit

Written by Going Places

This blog post was updated on May 31, 2023.

If you’re a drive-in movie fan, then you should know about June 6th, also known as National Drive-In Movie Day. It commemorates the opening of the first drive-in movie theater in Camden, New Jersey in 1933. With the resurgence of midcentury culture and aesthetics, drive-in movie theaters have made a major comeback over the past decade, with around 400 in the U.S. alone. Here are five drive-in theaters across the U.S. where you can celebrate this slice of American history!

66 Drive-In — Carthage, Missouri

Located along what was once the iconic Route 66, the 66 Drive-In, located in Carthage, Missouri, was restored many years ago and has enjoyed great success since then. There’s also a nearby playground and Frisbee/kickball field if your kiddos need to burn off a bit of energy before the movie starts. The drive-in is a historic outdoor cinema that was established in 1949. The drive-in theater has gone through many changes over the years, including upgrades to projection technology and the number of screens, but has retained its classic charm and nostalgic appeal. The theater typically shows double features of recently released movies during its season, which runs from spring to fall. The 66 Drive-In has been recognized by the National Register of Historic Places as a historic district due to its significance as a post-World War II drive-in theatre and has become a beloved community institution. It is known for its affordable ticket prices and family-friendly atmosphere, making it a popular destination for moviegoers in the Carthage area and beyond.

Becky’s Drive-In — Walnutport, Pennsylvania

A classic drive-in located in a field outside of town, Becky’s is known for its casual vibe, state-of-the-art sound system, and delicious concessions. Bonus: they also have pony rides for the little ones! The theater shows a variety of movies and has been a popular destination for moviegoers for many years. The theater has faced some challenges over the years, such as maintaining up-to-date projection technology and obtaining certain movies, but it has managed to remain a beloved community institution. Becky’s Drive-In also hosts special events and themed movie nights throughout the season, making it an enjoyable destination for families and movie lovers alike. In recent times, the drive-in theater has garnered attention for hosting outdoor church services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Skyline Drive-In — Barstow, California

Another drive-in with a Route 66 connection (Main Street used to be part of Route 66), Skyline is a retro gem. It’s opened year-round, catering to both locals and tourists. Skyline is a popular and well-liked drive-in movie theater. Visitors love the nostalgic atmosphere, cheap prices, and good selection of movies. It seems like a fun and unique experience to watch a movie at a drive-in theater like Skyline Drive-In.

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Mesa Drive-In — Pueblo, Colorado

Mesa Drive-In” by Michael Kilgore is licensed under CC-BY ND 2.0

The iconic Mesa Drive-In in Pueblo, Colorado has been in business since 1951. But don’t worry: it’s been conveniently refurbished since then, and today it counts with state-of-the-art projectors. It’s amazing “Mesa Menu” boasts classic concessions like popcorn and corndogs, as well as local treats like nachos and burritos.

The Mesa Drive-In Theater was established as an outdoor cinema. The drive-in theater has gone through many changes over the years, including a changing number of screens and owners. The theater has faced challenges typical of outdoor cinemas, such as weather-related issues and difficulties obtaining certain movies. Despite these challenges, the Mesa Drive-In has remained popular with moviegoers in the Pueblo area and has been a cherished community institution for generations. In recent years, the theater has come under new ownership and is being prepared for future seasons of movie screenings and community events.

Capri Drive-In — Coldwater, Michigan

Bullitt_001” is licensed under Creative Commons

This family-run drive-in has been in business for over 50 years! Located between Detroit and Chicago, the Capri has become a destination in and of itself, and partners with local motels to offer discounted movie & lodging packages. What else do you need to start planning your trip to this quintessential movie haven? The Capri Drive-In has a rich history dating back to the 1960s. The theater shows classic and modern movies to audiences in their cars. Michigan actually had 110 drive-in theaters during 1958, which was considered the peak of their popularity. The Capri Drive-In has persevered through the decades and remains a popular spot for moviegoers. In fact, it is one of the few remaining drive-in theaters in Michigan. Over the years, the theater has faced some challenges, such as obtaining certain movies and dealing with weather-related issues, but it has managed to survive and thrive as a unique and enjoyable movie experience.

Did we leave your favorite drive-in theater off our list? Tell us about it in the comments below! 

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