Drive-in movie theaters in the US

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If you’re looking for a retro night out, jump in your car and head over to one of these drive-in movie theaters for an unforgettable evening.

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.

Fort Lauderdale Swap Shop © David Pursehouse [http://www.flickr.com/photos/mdid/6568307541/]
Fort Lauderdale Swap Shop © David Pursehouse

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.

Drive In Sign © htwo0/iStock/Thinkstock [http://www.thinkstockphotos.co.uk/image/stock-photo-drive-in-movie-marquee-sign/146837667]
Drive In Sign © htwo0/iStock/Thinkstock

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?

Starlight Drive In © Michael Dougherty [http://www.flickr.com/photos/md888/6480220115/]
Starlight Drive In © Michael Dougherty

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.

Screen © Dale Morrow/iStock/Thinkstock [http://www.thinkstockphotos.co.uk/image/stock-photo-drive-in-movie-closed-for-winter/118982342]
Screen © Dale Morrow/iStock/Thinkstock

Goochland Drive-In Theater, Hadensville, Virginia

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.

Goochland Drive-In Theater © Goochland Drive-In Theater [No link – sent by PR]
Goochland Drive-In Theater © Goochland Drive-In Theater

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.

Wellfleet © Britta Frahm [http://www.flickr.com/photos/20918261@N00/2802697943/]
Wellfleet © Britta Frahm
(Main image: © Jim Lopes/iStock/Thinkstock) Written by insider city guide series Hg2 | A Hedonist’s guide to… whose guides cover all the best hotels, restaurants, bars, clubs, sights, shops and spas

Drive-in movie theaters in the US was last modified: June 26th, 2019 by Claire Bullen
Author: Claire Bullen (88 posts)

Globetrotter, chowhound, travel writer for Hg2 | A Hedonist’s guide to... and contributor to Cheapflights Travel Blogs.