There’s a reason going to the movies is the ultimate date night idea. With a good flick, delicious snacks, and your partner by your side, you’re guaranteed to have a good time. This past year, drive-in movie theaters have become the fun alternative to just Netflix and chilling at home. It gives you an excuse to get dressed up and go somewhere. Now that we’re deep into the spring season, you and your partner might want to check out some unique spring 2021 drive-in experiences across the U.S.
Drive-in theaters have become super popular throughout the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. By being able to stay in your car, you get to control your environment and feel more at ease. When previously speaking with Elite Daily about the safety of car travel amid the pandemic, Melissa Dohmen, senior communications manager at Orbitz, put it perfectly, saying, "You know [your car] hasn’t come into contact with anyone else." Even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists going to a drive-in as one of the more safe activities to do.
With that in mind, put going to the drive-in on your calendar ASAP. It’s not only a fun activity you and your partner can do, but it’s an activity that will ease yourself back into going out socially. Instead of watching another movie on the couch, watch a throwback fave under the stars. Some theaters are even showing movies that fit a cute theme like ’90s faves or post-pandemic dreams. All you need to do to join in on the fun is check out our carefully curated list of 19 drive-in experiences in the U.S. that you can experience this season.
Bel Aire Diner — Queens, NY
When the pandemic hit, the Bel Aire Diner decided to make lemonade out of lemons by turning its parking lot into a drive-in theater. Along with movies, the Bel Aire Diner also offers drive-in comedy shows and a Drag Brunch in May ($19 per car).
Drive-In At The Navy Yard — Philadelphia, PA
The Philadelphia Film Society is offering free screenings at the Navy Yard throughout the month of May, which means you can save some money and use it on snacks instead. On the lineup are some screenings of nostalgic faves like The Goonies that you can enjoy on the waterfront.
Mendon Twin Drive-In — Mendon, MA
The Mendon Twin Drive-In also offers fun events in addition to regular movie screenings. In May, the Mendon Twin has two concert events for a Grateful Dead tribute band ($60 per car) and Bon Jovi. Keep your eye on the schedule for future special events.
Mansfield Drive-In — Mansfield, CT
The Mansfield Drive-In has been around since 1954, so it definitely has a retro feel to it. This place is perfect for a date night with your bae, but it’s even better for foodies looking to try different movie snacks. On the snack bar menu, there are interesting finds like fried Oreos and clam fritters. Tickets are $9 for anyone 12 and up.
EAST SOUTH CENTRAL
Grand River Drive-In — Leeds, AL
For a full night of fun, head to the Grand River Drive-In. It has a dog park, mini-golf course, and yard games you can enjoy before the film. (Just make sure you’re following proper COVID-19 protocols by wearing your mask at all times, and social distancing.) The theater is open seven days a week, and you can purchase $8 tickets online.
The Swingin’ Midway Drive-In Theatre — Athens, TN
For a classic drive-in theater experience with modern movies like Mortal Kombat and The Little Things, check out the Swingin’ Midway Drive-In Theatre in Tennessee. The Swingin’ Midway has a tasty snack bar, and unlike some other theaters, it allows you to bring in your pup. So, it can be a fun night for your entire family for $7 per person
Jesup Drive-In Theatre — Jesup, GA
For a real blast from the past, check out the Jesup Drive-In Theatre ($5 per person). It still has a very 1950s feel to it, and actually opened up in 1948. Wearing your poodle skirt and silk scarf to a screening here will make sure you’re Insta-ready for some super cute snaps that look like real throwbacks. After all, car selfies are still a must with some drive-in movie captions.
The Stacks in Buzzard Point — Washington, D.C.
For six weeks starting April 30, the Capitol Riverfront business improvement district is hosting a movie series on Fridays featuring films inspired by people’s post-pandemic goals ($20). There’s travel represented in Moana and a house party in Booksmart. It’s a cute theme and all the funds from the screenings will be donated to different local charities.
WEST SOUTH CENTRAL
Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive-In Theatre — Austin, TX
The Blue Starlite Mini Urban Drive-In in Austin always has something unique and exciting on its schedule. The Blue Starlite also has three different locations in Texas. Check out its weekly and monthly signature series for something other than the latest movie releases like a Schools Out series that features a Grease sing-along. Tickets range from $25 for a car slot to $35 for a car slot plus concessions.
Doc’s Drive-In Theatre — Buda, TX
Harry Potter fans will definitely want to visit Doc’s Drive-In Theatre. Not only does Doc’s have a calendar full of films you’ve been dying to rewatch like Clueless, but an entire weekend of Harry Potter movies from April 30 to May 2 ($12 per car).
EAST NORTH CENTRAL
Litchfield Skyview Drive-In — Litchfield, IL
The second Sunday of every month, Litchfield Skyview Drive-In has a Throwback Sundays series, where it plays nostalgic faves. American Graffiti and Back to the Future are the two that are upcoming in May and June ($7 per person).
Harvest Moon Twin Drive-In — Gibson City, IL
The Harvest Moon Twin Drive-In has fun themed showings on its calendar. For instance, there’s a Sharknado Weekend May 7 through May 9, where the Harvest Moon Twin is going to play Twister on one screen and Jaws on the other ($8 per person).
WEST NORTH CENTRAL
Vali-Hi Drive-In — Lake Elmo, MN
If you go to the drive-in for the snacks, you’ll love Vali-Hi Drive-In’s deals. It has $1 hot dogs every night, and tickets are $10 per person.
Long Drive-In Theatre — Long Prairie, MN
Make it an all-night affair by going to the Long Drive-In Theatre. If you happen to catch a double feature ($8 per person) and are too tired to drive back home, you can stay the night ($10). It’ll be like a fun movie night and sleepover all in one.
Rock ‘N’ Roll Drive-In — Chaffee, MO
The Rock ‘N’ Roll Drive-In is not only a movie theater, but a farmers market as well. You can stop by the farmers market for fresh produce and goods like homemade jams on Saturday before you watch a double feature ($35 per car).
RMGY Studio — Denver, CO
Goats and Netflix? It may sound strange, but that’s exactly what this Goatflix and Chill event ($50) is all about. Happening throughout May, each designated parking spot at the drive-in will get its very own goat to hang out with while watching movies like Night at the Museum.
Snappy Burgers — Las Vegas, NV
Snappy Burgers is a spot you’ll definitely want to add to your to-do list next time you go to Vegas. It’s a drive-thru burger joint that plays retro TV shows all day. When you go, make sure to document the whole experience with your very own TikTok.
Rooftop Cinema Club — Santa Monica, CA
The Rooftop Cinema Club is back in LA! Over at the Santa Monica Airport, it has screenings all spring long. Rooftop Cinema Club even has a ’90s weekend planned from May 28 through May 31 with some throwbacks to your childhood like Aladdin and Scream ($36-$48 per car).
Drive-Up Movies at The Mill — The Dalles, OR
If you want to check out a movie at a truly one-of-a-kind location, stop by the Sunshine Mill Winery in The Dalles for its Drive-Up Movies at The Mill series ($20 per car). The Mill has put together a series of throwback faves you’ll want to see that are meant to bring some "normalcy" back into your life. Not only can you watch movies like Edward Scissorhands and Sandlot all through May, but if you’re not the one driving — and you’re 21+ — you can purchase some sangria to be delivered to your car.
The CDC recommends traveling only after you’re fully vaccinated and your vaccine has become fully effective. If you’re not fully vaccinated and must travel, check the CDC guidelines before you book. Check your destination’s vaccination and testing requirements before you depart.
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