Drive-in movies are making a comeback. There are few outdoor activities that allow you to follow rules of social distancing and no-contact protocol. But how about seeing a movie without ever leaving your car? If you buy your ticket beforehand online and confirm with the theater that you won't have to physically hand a ticket to or get within six feet of an attendant, drive-in movies can be contact-free. These theaters have their exact social distancing rules posted on their websites, and some have closed their concession stands entirely, while others are operating to-go-only or no-contact snack bars. These drive-in movie theaters are seeing a notable resurgence, and all of them are now open. They are operating at limited capacity to ensure social distancing and have put efforts in place to ensure safe transactions. Meet your new socially distant, zero-contact summer hobby:
Blue Starlight Drive-in, Multiple Locations, Texas and Colorado
The retro-inspired Blue Starlight Drive-in touts itself as a drive-in for the modern age, and they have three locations: Austin and Round Rock, Texas, and High Rockies, Colorado. Blue Starlight Drive-in only has room for 30 to 50 cars per night, and they have a temporary “in-car viewing only” policy, meaning cars cannot be open and there are no trunk beds currently allowed. They prefer to show “childhood favorites, drive-in classics, indie films, art house, Cult, and Gen X/Y pop culture faves.” Blue Starlight considers themselves a “boutique, mini urban drive-in,” and the space feels fabulously retro. As of now, there are no walk-ins allowed to limit on-site transactions. Tickets must be purchased online in advance, so no money exchanges hands at the theater.
Warwick Drive-in, Warwick, New York
Built by Charles Finger and George Miller, Warwick Drive-in has been open since 1950. It has three screens and the ability to host 700 cars. The Warwick is open every night this summer. While many of the spring and summer movie releases have been postponed, Warwick Drive-in will show classic old movies this spring, and perhaps even some old-school TV shows. They are operating at half capacity with at least six feet between cars and ensuring the bathrooms are regularly sanitized. Masks must be worn by patrons if they get out of their closed cars.
Paramount Drive-in, Greater Los Angeles, CA
The Paramount Drive-in has all the makings of an old Hollywood spectacle. Paramount Drive-in typically opens in tandem with Paramount Swap Meet. Paramount Drive-in is now open for the summer, though the Swap Meet remains closed. They are operating at 50% capacity to ensure nine feet of space between cars, and patrons will not be allowed to watch from outside their cars. Masks must be worn for anyone leaving their car to visit the eight-person-only restrooms and concessions will be to-go only.
The Spud Drive-in, Driggs, Idaho
The Spud Drive-in is open for the season; Teton County has approved the opening as long as the theater follows social distancing protocols. Per the theater, “That means cars will need to stay six feet apart and our diner will not be open for walk-in orders.” Guests can place canteen orders using their phones. The theater will kick off their season showing Trolls World Tour and observing practices to keep their community safe and healthy.
West Wind Drive-in, Multiple Locations, California, Arizona, Nevada
The West Wind Drive-in has been family owned and operated since its opening in 1952. It’s now the “largest drive-in theater chain in the world," with six locations around the country: Concord, MA, San Jose and Sacramento, CA, Las Vegas and Reno, NV, and Glendale, AZ. All six locations are open and showing titles like Good Boys, Dolittle, Fast & Furious, Hobbs & Shaw, Knives Out, The Joker, and IT Chapter Two this summer.
Hi-way Drive-in Theatre, Catskill, New York
Hi-way Drive-in Theatre has four screens and sits between Catskill and Coxsackie, New York. About 10 minutes from Catskill, the drive-in opened in 1951 under the Farley and Klein families ownership. Hi-way is open every night in the summer and offers double features on every screen. You can typically find a kid-friendly double feature on-screen four (right now it’s SONIC the Hedgehog and Trolls: World Tour). They recommend getting to the drive-in early because they will start turning cars away to guarantee no overcrowding. The concession stands and restrooms will be open to anyone with a face-covering who practices social distancing.
Florida Swap Shop, Florida
Florida Swap Shop is a flea market and drive-in found in Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, and Lake Worth. And the drive-in is known for showing movies every night of the year—from classics to family favorites to new flicks. While the drive-ins are now open, Fort Lauderdale and Tampa’s flea markets are only open on select days, and the Lake Worth market is still closed. The Tampa flea sells plants and fresh produce every Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
25 Drive-in, Greenwood, South Carolina
Open every Friday and Saturday night, you can take in a movie at this three-screen drive-in by purchasing a $20 food/drink permit. The permit allows entrance for one car and guests in the car to bring their own food and non-alcoholic beverages. Greenwood’s 25 Drive-in has been around since 1945, but the second and third screens were added only recently after the theater reopened under new management in 2007.