Warwick Drive-In Theatre in Warwick, New York
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Walmart Drive-In Theaters and Other Places to Catch a Movie Outdoors

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Warwick Drive-In Theatre in Warwick, New York
Jason P./Yelp

The (Really) Big Screen

Drive-in theaters may not be as numerous as they were when car culture first took off in the 1950s, but in the age of COVID-19 and the need to be socially distant, we're lucky some are still around. In good times and bad, they provide an inimitable viewing experience for lovers of cinema, and their admission and concessions prices are usually a bargain compared with their indoor counterparts. We researched online reviews and compared rankings to find some favorites nationwide that are always a cheap way to enjoy a movie or two ... or three. And we've checked to make sure they're open during this difficult time. We've also tracked down a few new options that have been added, including the free drive-ins offered by Walmart this summer.

Related: 28 Classic Drive-In Restaurants Serving Customers During the Pandemic

walmart drive-in
Walmart

The Walmart Drive-In

Multiple locations
Yep, the same retail giant where Americans buy their groceries and just about anything else their home or life needs is offering a free pop-up drive-in movie theater experience through Oct. 21. Walmart announced earlier this summer it would be showing free movies in its supercenter parking lots starting in mid-August, and just recently it revealed the 160 locations of those theaters via a new website. Cinematic offerings include more recent films (and superhero favorites) like "Wonder Woman" and "Black Panther," but also some nostalgic hits, too, including, "Ghostbusters," "The Wizard of Oz," and "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial."

skyline drive-in
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Skyline Drive-In

New York City
It might be tough to concentrate on the big screen at this drive-in — what with the glittering Manhattan skyline distracting you off in the distance. The Skyline theater is located on the East River, and its panoramic views of the Big Apple make it a one-of-a-kind drive-in experience. There's a concession stand on-site, and movie-goers are allowed to sit outside their cars as long as they wear masks and abide by social-distancing protocols. They're also welcome to bring pets. Movies aren't always current — recent summer 2020 offerings included "Goodfellas," "Magic Mike," and "The Hangover," plus more family-friendly films like "The Secret Life of Pets" and "School of Rock." A car with up to seven passengers can get in for $55. 

West Wind Drive-In in Glendale, Arizona
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West Wind Drive-In

Glendale, Arizona
One of few remaining chains specializing in drive-in theaters, West Wind has several locations in the western United States, each offering an enormous screen with impressive digital projection — that for now must be enjoyed in a car parked 10 feet from any other where you stay at all times except for masked visits to a restroom. Guests get the best value on Tuesdays, when adult tickets cost only $5.50 per person, down from $8 on other nights. Children ages 5 to 11 always cost only $1.75.

Parma Motor-Vu in Parma, Idaho
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Parma Motor-Vu

Parma, Idaho
Things are running almost like normal at the Parma Motor-Vu, still family-owned after 67 years. It's showing weekend double features, and prices are still $8 for adults, $7 for seniors, and $3 for children 4 to 11. Admission is free for kids under 4, and dogs are welcome at screenings. There evens concessions such as popcorn and pickles for sale. But the restrooms are one person or one family at at a time.

Hi-Way Drive-in Theatre in Carsonville, Michigan
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Hi-Way Drive-In Theatre

Carsonville, Michigan
At the Hi-Way, Michigan's oldest outdoor movie venue (and about two hours from Detroit), prices have jumped to make up for it halving the number of people allowed in, ensuring everyone can keep a 6-foot distance from each other. One to three people in a car is $25; four or five is $35; and six or more is $50. Visits to the concession stands and restrooms have to be spaced out, but management has added four portable toilets.

Star Drive-In Theatre in Montrose, Colorado
Google Maps

Star Drive-In Theatre

Montrose, Colorado
Just stay 6 feet from others and stay in your car for the nightly double features except for the one person coming to pick up homemade burgers, fries, and other concessions — and you have to call a phone number when you need to use the restroom. "Please be patient with us," management says. "This is new to everyone." Admission is always free for children under 11 at the Star Drive-In. Adult admission is $8.50, and $6.50 for seniors 60 and over, but that drops to $6 for all adults on Tuesdays.

Motor Vu Theater in Erda, Utah
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Motor Vu Theater

Erda, Utah
Enjoy the films and the stars in the heavens and in your masks, please, at this drive-in not far from Great Salt Lake. But since the plastic "Bring Back Buckets" for popcorn can't be used, people who bought the buckets can score bags of popcorn for $1.50. At Motor Vu Theater, admission for a double feature on any weekend night is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors, and $3 for kids under 12.

The Spud Drive-In in Driggs, Idaho
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The Spud Drive-In

Driggs, Idaho
Near the western entrance of Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks, the Spud Drive-In is set amid a scenic rural backdrop perfect for stargazing. The theater is open Fridays and Saturdays, with employees patrolling to ensure people stay inside their cars — and bringing concessions straight to the car to keep them happy there. Admission is $9.50 per adult, $8.50 for seniors, and $6 per child ages 4 to 11. 

The Showboat Drive-In Theater in Hockley, Texas
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The Showboat Drive-In Theater

Hockley, Texas
The Showboat has reopened for Thursday and Friday double features in its rural spot on the edge of Houston's metropolitan area, though its playground remains closed. Viewers can stake out parking spots for screenings of current releases when the gates open at 6:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 7:30 p.m. the remainder of the week.

Coyote Drive-In Theater & Canteen in Fort Worth, Texas
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Coyote Drive-In Theater & Canteen

Fort Worth, Texas
The coronavirus has taken the Coyote Drive-In to single features only, and it reopened with limited capacity. With prices down from $6 for adults, $4 for kids ages 5 to 11, and free for younger children, shows are going to sell out. But the prices leave more to spend on canteen menu items ordered online, such as $5 Frito pie.

Admiral Twin Drive-In in Tulsa, Oklahoma
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Admiral Twin Drive-In

Tulsa, Oklahoma
Starting May 15 for a late seasonal start due to coronavirus restrictions, movie fans can head over to the Admiral's twin screens to watch a double feature for $7 per adult and $3 per child 11 or younger. Like most drive-ins, the theater survives on its food sales, and patrons are urged to take advantage of the Admiral snack bar's all-American grilled and fried favorites.

Town & Country Drive-In Theatre in Abilene, Texas
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Town & Country Drive-In Theatre

Abilene, Texas
Upon opening in 1956, the Town & Country Drive-In was the biggest drive-in in Texas, with a rooftop garden and a playground featuring a Ferris wheel. Today, it's impressive that it's open with double features of current releases and the occasional revival for $8 per adult and $4 per child. It's down to two screens from four, and the concession menu is limited too, missing its cheeseburgers and hot dogs, but still selling funnel cake and nachos.

Harvest Moon Twin Drive-In Movie Theatre in Gibson City, Illinois
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Harvest Moon Twin Drive-In Movie Theatre

Gibson City, Illinois
In the green plains of central Illinois, the Harvest Moon Twin is cutting its capacity to allow for social distancing, closing its common areas, and adding online concession orders. Online ticketing is charging $8 per adult and $7 for children 4 through 11 (though there's conflicting information posted by management). Bring in outside food with the purchase of a $5 permit. 

Wilderness Outdoor Movie Theater in Trenton, Georgia
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Wilderness Outdoor Movie Theater

Trenton, Georgia
With a May 29 reopening, look for double features to resume on two screens every weekend night. Look for prices of $7 per guest, but don't expect to keep using the the Wilderness' verdant lawns to enjoy this cash-only outdoor cinema experience together. Management is asking for people to use masks and even gloves when heading to the restrooms or the concessions stand (where just about everything is $5.50 or less).

Goochland Drive-In Theater in Hadensville, Virginia
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Goochland Drive-In Theater

Hadensville, Virginia
Open Thursday to Sunday, the Goochland Drive-In has changed things up, selling its tickets online for the first time (usually $8.50 per adult and $4 per child for scheduled double features), going to only half capacity (and selling out) so cars can park 12 feet apart, and installing touchless faucets and flushes in its restrooms. The snack bar is closed, like other places in the drive-in where people might gather, so for once you're invited to bring your own snacks. 

Silver Moon Drive-In Theatre
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Silver Moon Drive-In Theatre

Lakeland, Florida
Things feel almost normal at this 70-year-old drive-in, about a half-hour east of Tampa, though its first-run double features on two screens seven nights a week are now repertory classics such as "Ferris Bueller's day Off" and "Footloose" — and being watched by a 25% percent fewer cars. The snack bar, which serves classics such as pizza, corndogs, nachos, and candy, asks people to wait 6 feet apart. Finally, admission prices are tough to beat: $2 for children 4-9 and $6 for 9 and older. "You should do 'Groundhog Day,'" a customer suggests on the theater's Facebook page. "Isn’t that the movie we are living right now?"