The country is starting to open up after months of lockdown, yet social distancing and sanitary precautions are still important as ever. And although theater chains like AMC are gearing up to return in August, taking in a drive-in movie may sound appealing, especially for families.
Drive-in movie theaters have the advantages of in-person viewing while staying in the comfort, privacy and safety of your own vehicle. Social distancing is built-in, as cars are often parked six or more feet away from each other, and proper COVID-19 protocols make it easier to have fun yet stay safe.
We’ve put together a list of old and newly converted drive-ins across the country for you to check out. Scroll through to see if there’s one near you:
A user’s guide to drive-in movie theaters: Staying safe and having fun
Price: Free, but must be secured ahead of time online.
About this drive-in: Walmart has teamed up with Tribeca Enterprises to convert 160 store parking lots into contact-free drive-in movie theaters until Oct. 21. Programming includes “Black Panther,” “The Lego Batman Movie,” “E.T.,” “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” and more, along with virtual or real-life appearances by Drew Barrymore, LeBron James and Jennifer Garner.
What you need to know before you go: In order to hear the movie audio, vehicles will need a functioning FM radio. A maximum of five guests are allowed in each vehicle and masks are required for anyone who steps out. Tickets will be scanned at arrival, which starts when gates open at 6 p.m. up until the film begins at 7:30. No late entry is allowed.
There’s never been a better time for a drive-in. 😄 Get ready for some family fun in the parking lot of 160 stores nationwide with ~free~ movies like Black Panther, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Back to the Future, and more. #WalmartDriveIn
— Walmart (@Walmart) August 5, 2020
Fingerlakes Drive-In, Auburn, New York
Price: $8 for ages 12 and up; $4 for kids ages 5 to 11; free for kids 4 and under
About this drive-in: Founded in 1947, Fingerlakes is New York’s oldest operating drive-in theater. It evokes nostalgia with its classic movie selection, such as “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”
What you need to know before you go: According to the theater’s Facebook page, guests are advised to use the bathroom at home before arriving. Face masks must be worn outside of the car, and tickets must be purchased online (customers can find links on the theater’s Facebook page) or with cash. The concession stand will also be open, but only cash will be accepted.
Bel Aire Diner, Queens, New York
Price: $32 per car
About this drive-in: This retro-style diner, which has been open since 1965, recently introduced its drive-in theater.
What you need to know before you go: Tickets can be purchased online and your ID must match the name used to book them. There is a minimum of two people per car and no outside food is allowed. Instead, you can order from Bel Aire Diner’s special menu during your viewing, and your food will be delivered directly to your car. You must remain in your vehicle unless you are using the restroom and the diner asks that you wear a mask when you leave your car.
Edmond Town Hall’s Ingersoll Auto Pop-Up Drive-In Theater, Newtown, Connecticut
Price: $10 per vehicle
About this drive-in: The pop-up drive-in theater runs a variety of family-friendly films, such as “Toy Story” and “Guardians of the Galaxy.”
What you need to know before you go: You must buy your tickets online and bring the printout with you to claim one of the 42 available spots. If you leave your car for any reason, you must wear a mask. Concession offerings are minimal (popcorn, bottled soft drinks and M&Ms) and must be ordered online in advance. Food will be delivered to cars.
Family Drive-In Theatre, Stephens City, Virginia
Price: $7 for customers 12 and up; $4 for kids under 11
About this drive-in: If you’re in the Washington, D.C., metro area, the Family Drive-In Theater in Virginia is the place to go for your drive-in outing. The business has been screening a mix of American classics, such as “Grease” and “Footloose,” along with recent award-winning films, such as “1917.”
What you need to know before you go: Drive-up admission isn’t available; all tickets must be purchased online in advance. Customers can pay a $10-per-vehicle food permit to bring in their own refreshments (alcohol is prohibited) or order food from the car via the Fan Food app. Restrooms are limited to two people at a time and are cleaned every 15 minutes.
Bengies Drive-In Theatre, Middle River, Maryland
Price: $10 for ages 11 and up; $5 for kids 5-10; ages 4 and under are free
About this drive-in: Bengies, home to what’s billed as the biggest screen in the USA, is open for its 64th season.
What you need to know before you go: Tickets are sold online to promote social distancing and there must be at least two people in the car. You’ll need to pay $15 per vehicle to bring in outside food. Masks must be worn until the vehicle is parked and anytime you are away from your car. Restrooms are operating at half-capacity and hand-sanitizing stations are positioned around the snack bar and restroom entrances.
Drive-In at Lovingston Cafe, Lovingston, Virginia
About this drive-in: Lovingston Cafe does more than sell tasty appetizers and burgers. The cafe has transformed its parking lot into a drive-in theater on Friday nights during the coronavirus pandemic, screening free black-and-white films for free. Make sure to come early, as the parking spots fill up quickly.
What you need to know before you go: Families are required to stay in their vehicles, unless using the restroom, and spaces will be limited in order to maintain social distancing.
Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, Florida
Price: Tickets for the outdoor theater start at $17 per person, while those for the drive-up theater start at $39 per vehicle.
About this drive-in: The Miami Dolphins’ stadium has turned the field into a drive-in movie theater with room for more than 200 cars. Two theaters are available: a socially distanced open-air theater and a drive-up theater. Hard Rock Stadium shows a diverse array of movies, such as “Knives Out” and “Men in Black.”
What you need to know before you go: Masks must be worn in common areas and all spots are assigned beforehand.
Carflix Cinema at Dezerland Park, North Miami, Florida
Price: $30 per car (without tax)
About this drive-in: The Florida action park is closed during the pandemic, but has introduced a drive-in theater in its parking lot. The converted drive-in has been playing newer films such as “The Lion King” on its state-of-the-art LED screen.
What you need to know before you go: Tickets will be scanned directly from the phone in order to avoid direct contact, and all employees are required to wear masks and gloves. Rope barriers are available to enforce the six-foot rule for lines at restrooms, and bathroom attendants will be cleaning and disinfecting portable single-stall restrooms. All attendees must stay in their cars aside from bathroom trips, during which time masks must be worn.
Route 66 Drive-In, Carthage, Missouri
Price: $8 for ages 13 and up; $4 for kids 6-12; ages 5 and under are free
About this drive-in: With its retro look, Route 66 Drive-In is a historic site located on the U.S. Route 66 in Jasper County, Missouri.
What you need to know before you go: You must exit your vehicle and pay cash at the gate but can also use debit cards at the concession stands. You may watch the movie from in front of your car. Social distancing rules are in effect and customers must remain six feet apart at common areas such as the concession stand. Restrooms are cleaned every 30 minutes.
Ballpark Commons’ Milky Way Drive-In, Franklin, Wisconsin
Price: $35 per vehicle
About this drive-in: This baseball stadium opened a drive-in theater in May, showing films every night on its LED screen.
What you need to know before you go: Tickets must be purchased online and there is a maximum capacity of 200 vehicles. You must watch the movie from within your vehicle. The theater asks that you wear a mask if watching the movie from an open hatch and when leaving your vehicle.The concession stand will be open but the theater encourages patrons to order food via the Toast TakeOut app and have it delivered to their cars. Restrooms are open and hand sanitizer is provided.
Sony Pictures movie lot, Culver City, California
Price: $30 per vehicle
About this drive-in: Sony Pictures has turned its Culver City studio lot into a big-screen drive-in experience. The movies begin at 8 p.m. PT and run Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays for $30 per car. Titles being screened include: “Baby Driver,” “Bad Boys for Life,” “Ghostbusters,” “Men in Black,” “Karate Kid,” “Jumanji 2,” “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” and “Spider-Man: Far From Home.” In lieu of a premiere, the upcoming rom-com “The Broken Hearts Gallery” will also show at the lot, which holds approximately 75 cars.
What you need to know before you go: No more than four people from the same household may attend per vehicle, and each guest must pass a health screening questionnaire before entering. If moviegoers step outside to use the restroom, they’re required to wear secure face coverings. No snacks are sold at the site, but food from home may be consumed in the car. Smoking and vaping is prohibited.
Mission Tiki Drive-In Theatre, Montclair, California
Price: $10 for guests 10 and up; $1 for kids 5 to 9
About this drive-in: Rap fans may recognize Mission Tiki as the setting of the music video for Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa’s “Young, Wild and Free.”
What you need to know before you go: COVID-19 protocols require guests to undergo a temperature screening, wear a mask and remain six feet apart from others whenever leaving their vehicle. Movies must be watched from within the car, though opening the cargo hatch is allowed. Outside food is permitted (except alcohol) and restrooms are cleaned hourly.
Alameda County Fairgrounds, Pleasanton, California
Price: $25 per vehicle if purchased in advance, $30 for day-of
About this drive-in: The Alameda County Fairgrounds has opened its drive-in movie theater, along with grab-and-go food trucks and drive-in concerts. Come with your family to watch classics like “The Goonies” and “Grease.”
What you need to know before you go: All you have to do is pay for is parking, and in return, you’ll receive a free movie ticket along with one free admission ticket to the 2021 Alameda County Fair. Cars are subject to search, no tailgating is allowed and if you have any car windows or doors open, you must wear a mask. No concessions are offered and since there are no trash cans available, bring a trash bag since you have to take it home with you.
Chinatown, Los Angeles, California
Price: General admission costs $115, which includes entry, dinner and a movie for two people. VIP admission is $160, which includes entry, dinner and a movie for two people, plus curated goodies and snacks, premiere parking, early entry and exit and a dedicated server.
About this drive-in: The Cinemauto drive-in event series will kick off in Los Angeles’ Chinatown neighborhood on Sept. 18 and 19. The series features screenings of multiple films, including 1997’s “Selena,” which stars Jennifer Lopez. According to its website, the event seeks to promote local businesses, foster inclusive programming and celebrate a new generation of filmmakers.
What you need to know before you go: The parking lot will open one hour before the scheduled start time, and guests are asked to arrive at least 45 minutes early. Parking spots are first-come, first-serve. Included in the price of admission are curated meal boxes, prepared by local restaurants, which are meant to be eaten inside your vehicle and will be delivered via carhop service.
The Sunshine Mill’s Drive-Up Movies at the Mill, Dalles, Oregon
Price: $15 per vehicle
About this drive-in: The Artisan Plaza and Winery will have drive-in movies for the summer with films every Friday and Saturday at 8:30 p.m.
What you need to know before you go: Each parking space will have a barrel for staff to drop off food and wine orders. Guests are advised to follow social distancing guidelines and must not leave their vehicles.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Drive-in movie theaters: A newcomer’s guide to old and new locations