A classic summer destination for families and couples alike, the drive-in theatre is a true American original.
They may not be as common as they once were, but there are still several classics that continue screening films for audiences across the United States. Here are five historical drive-ins that are worth the drive:
Bengies Drive-In Theatre (Maryland)
A Baltimore institution in operation since 1956, Bengies is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year and shows no signs of slowing down. Bengies’ 6,240-square foot movie screen (measuring 52 feet high and 120 feet wide) is the largest in the country, and ensures that there is never any “cropping” of films. With “TriPPPle features” most Friday and Saturday nights, classic cartoons, vintage trailers and “Dusk till Dawn” shows, this is a must for movie buffs. To see what is now playing, go to http://bengies.com/NowShowing.php.
Cherry Bowl Drive-In Theatre & Diner (Michigan)
Located on US Highway 31 in Honor, Michigan, the Cherry Bowl provides a true blast from the past by using the same old speakers it had when it opened in 1953. The occasional hula-hoop contests and Elvis impersonators are also decidedly retro. But the authentically old-timey feel is not the only reason to catch a flick there—the diner offers some of the best fare in the area, including Messy Marvin's chili cheese fries and Crazy Harry's Barbecue Ribs. For more information, check out http://cherrybowldrivein.com/.
Moonlite Theatre (Virginia)
Built near Abingdon, Virginia in 1949, this gem of a drive-in theater earned its spot on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007. Audiences attending today will still find the original building and remaining structures that include the 65-foot-tall screen tower and office wing, the ticket booth, the concession stand and projector booth building, and the cool retro neon sign at the edge of the highway. For show times, check out https://facebook.com/abingdonmoonlite.
Spud Drive-In Theatre (Idaho)
As you might have guessed from the name, this classic drive-in is found in the great state of Idaho. Located in a potato-farming region between the cities of Victor and Driggs, the Spud Drive-In Theatre’s distinctive entrance sign features a giant potato on the back of a 1946 Chevy flat-bed truck. Built in 1953 and briefly closed due to financial difficulties in 2011, the Spud is back and better than ever, offering up new releases, cinema classics and famous 1950s concessions. To see what’s playing, go to http://spuddrivein.com/.
Mission Tiki Drive-in Theatre (California)
Named for its location on Mission Boulevard in Montclair, California, the Mission Tiki Drive-in Theatre has been in continuous operation since 1956, though it did fall into a state of disrepair over time. Fortunately, a 2006 restoration has brought the Tiki back to life, doubling down on the theatre’s theme of mid-century exotic Americana. With a kitschy new Maui statue garden and great Mexican concession food, this is one truly unique drive-in. For movie times and information on the Mission Tiki’s weekly “Swap Meet,” go to http://missiontiki.com/.
Whether you are planning a road trip or just looking for an evening’s entertainment, there are plenty of great drive-ins all across America that are well-worth a visit.
This article is presented by Perkins Motors in Colorado Springs, Colorado.