The drive-in movie theater is one of those truly iconic American creations. Though its heyday may have long since passed (this form of movie going flourished in the 1950s and 1960s), there are still several hundred open-air screens located across the U.S. If you’re looking for a retro night out, jump in your car and drive over to one of these theaters for an unforgettable evening.
The Fort Lauderdale Swap Shop, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
The Fort Lauderdale Swap Shop began life as the Thunderbird Drive-In Movie Theater back in 1963, during the peak of the medium’s popularity. These days, visitors to this Floridian outpost can catch new releases on one of its 14 screens, while a flea market tempts non-film goers.
Shankweiler’s, Orefield, Pennsylvania
Boasting the illustrious title of America’s oldest drive-in, Shankweiler’s was founded back in 1934 – not long after the movie-going experience was first pioneered. Continuously operated since then, the rural Pennsylvanian theater stays opens during the warm months.
Starlight Six Drive-In, Atlanta, Georgia
With six screens there’s always a choice of films at Atlanta’s Starlight Six Drive-In. The historic landmark, which was first opened in 1949, may be old fashioned but its digital projection system ensures high-quality screenings of movies both old and new. Did we mention you can host your own on-site barbecue?
The Warwick Drive-In, Warwick, New York
One of the reasons the drive-in theater is such a popular concept? Comfort! In your own car, you can bring along young kids, talk on the phone and snack on whatever you want – basically, everything that would get you in trouble in a traditional movie theater. At The Warwick Drive-In, the policy is even more liberal – your four-legged friends are also welcome to catch showings on one of the two screens.
A bit of an anomaly among the inclusions on this list, the Goochland Drive-In Theater was only built in 2009. Its relative infancy means the venue has a handful of modern upgrades – including digital projection and a playground for kids – while still testifying to the enduring popularity of this American tradition.
Wellfleet Drive In, Wellfleet, Massachusetts
Billed as Cape Cod’s only drive-in theater, the Wellfleet Drive In shows movies on its 100-foot-wide screen on balmy summer evenings. So, what’s the best part? For lovers of all things retro, the theater still uses its original, car-side sound systems.