Events

Drive-In Movie Theaters Within Two Hours of NYC

Just pull in, and pull out your popcorn.

Becky's Drive-In Movie Theater
Becky's Drive-In Movie Theater | Discover Lehigh Valley/Flickr
Becky's Drive-In Movie Theater | Discover Lehigh Valley/Flickr

There’s nothing quite as nostalgic as a drive-in movie theater. Back in the day, you’d pull into a grassy lawn, park your ‘57 Chevy Bel Air convertible, and, if you were lucky enough to have an in-car radio at the time, hurry to dial into the movie audio’s radio frequency.

But these days, the experience has been ratcheted a notch. Drive-in movie theaters have high-quality sound and film equipment, electric car charging stations, flash-frozen ice cream orbs dubbed the ice cream of the future, and other modern amenities our parents couldn’t have dreamed of.

Technological upgrades and all, drive-in movie theaters still feel like a throwback to the past (even to months ago when going to a cineplex was still a thing). And in COVID times where it feels like there are very limited options to safely venture out of the house, there’s been a resurgence of analog activities -- and going to the drive-in has to be one of the coolest (even Yankee Stadium is converting to one this summer).

Many drive-ins have been given the green light to reopen for the summer season with some new guidelines in place. And other newly converted spots give you something to fill your sparse weekend agenda with. So if you’re a lucky New Yorker with a car, we’ve rounded up several drive-in theaters within two hours of the city so you can put those wheels to good use. And for any of us who prefer to keep it more local, there are some pop-up theaters within the five boroughs you can check out, too.

Bel Aire Diner

Astoria
As a Queens staple since 1965, it only makes sense that this retro diner would lean in to the drive-in movie theater trend. The restaurant recently converted its parking lot into a 40-car theater and you can order menu items like golden grilled cheese sandwiches and charred burgers from your car and servers will bring the food to you just like at an old-school carhop. Buy tickets and view the upcoming movie schedule on Bel Aire Diner’s website.
Distance from NYC: Minutes! It’s in Queens.

Uptown Drive-In

The Bronx
A pop-up drive-in theater is also coming to the Bronx. Dubbed Uptown Drive-In, this festival-like event will be held in the parking lot outside of Yankees Stadium every weekend starting in July. The event will feature a traditional drive-in movie or a live concert featuring local artists, plus there will be carside dinners and other activities. Tickets and more information have not yet been released, but you can sign up for updates and join the waiting list here.
Distance from NYC: Minutes! It’s in The Bronx.

Fair Oaks Drive-In Theatre

Middletown, New York
This twin-screen venue north of the city in Middletown can hold up to 800 cars and is now open for the summer season. The theater shows double features on two different screens each night, so unlike at some other theaters, you have options. Tickets are $20 per car.
Distance from NYC: About an hour and a half

Warwick Drive-In

Warwick, New York
This 70-year-old, three-screen theater in Warwick, New York, near the New Jersey border, is now open with double features every night of the week. With three screens each playing a different movie duo, your options here rival what’s left unwatched on your Netflix queue. Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for children and seniors.
Distance from NYC: About an hour and a half

Overlook Drive-In

Poughkeepsie, New York
Overlook Drive-In is a family-owned theater in Poughkeepsie and this Hudson River Valley destination can accommodate up to 750 cars at once for its double-feature shows. The theater touts its six-story screen as the largest in the tri-state area, so no need to get there early for a front-row parking spot. Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for children.
Distance from NYC: About an hour and a half

Four Brothers Drive-In Theatre

Amenia, New York
Located in Dutchess County and perhaps the most modernized of area theaters, Four Brothers is like the Mall of America of drive-ins. Where most just have a radio frequency and simple concession stand, Four Brothers has electric car charging stations, a giant fire pit and lawn games, a park where dogs can run around, and an app where you can order food for delivery to your car. Many of these amenities have been put on hold to comply with social distancing, but you can still enjoy two movies each night at this state of the art theater. Tickets are $11 for adults and $6 for children.
Distance from NYC: About two hours

Shankweiler’s Drive-In

Orefield, Pennsylvania
Opened in 1934, Pennsylvania’s Shankweiler’s is America’s oldest drive-in and will reopen on May 29 with a schedule of double features. The drive-in also has an old-school snack bar with classic movie theater snacks like popcorn topped with locally-made Keller’s Butter and assorted candy. Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for children.
Distance from NYC: About two hours

The Mahoning Drive-In Theater

Lehighton, Pennsylvania
While most theaters have converted to digital, you can get an authentic experience watching movies in original 35mm film at The Mahoning Drive-In Theater in Lehighton, Pennsylvania. The theater will reopen for its 71st season on June 5, and tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for children.
Distance from NYC: About two hours

Becky’s Drive-In Theatre

Walnutport, Pennsylvania
Still run by the family that built the theater nearly five decades ago, Becky’s Drive-In Theatre in Pennsylvania is the real deal. The start time for movies is usually at dusk, and you can check their website a few days in advance to get exact showtimes. You’ll have a choice between two sets of double features playing on different screens, and tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for children.
Distance from NYC: About two hours

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Liz Provencher is an editorial assistant at Thrillist. You can talk to her at lprovencher@thrillist.com or follow her on Twitter and Instagram.