Since the 1930s, drive-in movie theaters have been part of the American cultural landscape. Today, there are about 350 drive-ins across the country – a paltry number compared to the 4,000 that once were. The demise of the drive-in theater was mainly due to increased costs of advancing technology as well as the hike in land prices, but things are changing as a new era of moviegoers are enjoying drive-ins as never before, with first-class amenities and unique showings.
These top ten drive-in movie theaters are must-visit attractions for film buffs and anyone who likes to have some good old-fashioned fun, with all of today’s modern comforts.
This car and pedestrian-friendly spot is a favorite for nearly everyone due to its film lineup that includes oldies, classics, and new features. Dine from a food truck and grab a drink at the bar before enjoying your flick. If that is not enough, there is a vintage Ferris wheel, badminton and beach volleyball courts and everything required for a festival-like experience.
Newly opened Doc’s offers up a stellar movie-going experience along with gourmet eats like pulled pork sandwiches, shredded brisket nachos, waffles, and drinks from Mama Merlot’s bar. With two screens showing new releases and cult classics, it is easy to see why Doc’s is a hotspot for locals and neighboring Austinites.
If you like your movies with a side of quirk, The Spud is the place to be. The Spud shows first-run films and concerts and is home to a pickup truck carrying a massive potato. Those who just cannot get enough are welcome to bring their motorhome and camp out.
80s and 90s film fanatics come together at this drive-in theater that has been a go-to since 1959. As a nod to modern times and hipster culture, they serve local craft beer and locally sourced food.
Go big and go watch a movie on the largest outdoor movie screen in America, operating since 1956. Bengies’ snack bar serves favorites like burgers, donuts, and cotton candy while classic cartoons play between pictures. In-car heaters make cold Maryland winters no match for movie lovers.
Fourteen screens earn The Swap Shop the record for the most drive-in screens in the US. First-run features, midnight movies, and the largest daily flea market in the world make it well worth the visit.
Opening in 1934, Shankweiler’s is the longest operating drive-in in the US. You will feel like a kid again as you catch a new feature and indulge in treats like funnel cakes and ice cream.
The closed-down Old Hamilton Theater’s exterior wall makes the perfect movie screen for classic films that are projected from a car. Movies are free every other week and include cult classics like “Spaceballs” and “A Fish Called Wanda.”
Retro and modern all at once, Four Brothers offers moviegoers a host of amenities like mini golf, an EV charger, food trucks, a rentable airstream trailer, and locally sourced food and craft cocktails – with films nightly from spring through fall.
Camp overnight and catch a weekend film festival like “Zombie Fest” that shows your favorite cult horror flicks, or a Christmas-themed festival in July. Who needs first-run movies when you can catch “Jaws” or “Howard the Duck” instead?