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Experience These 11 Most Charming drive in movie theaters in Michigan
There’s something undeniably nostalgic and enchanting about drive in movie theaters in Michigan. Visiting Michigan for its drive-in theaters offers a unique blend of entertainment and nostalgia.
I grew up in Michigan and remember seeing such favorites as E.T. in the theater. That darned alien worked his way right into my heart while I sat in the backseat of my car, eating popcorn out of a paper grocery bag!
Today Michigan still boasts some of the most renowned drive-in cinemas in America. These drive in movie theaters in Michigan provide an opportunity to enjoy current blockbusters or classic films under the stars, all from the comfort of your own car.
The experience at drive-in movie theaters in Michigan goes beyond just watching a film. It’s about creating memories with loved ones, enjoying good food, and embracing that old-school charm that only comes with a night at the drive-in!
So buckle up! We’re taking you on a tour through some of our favorite spots for cinematic magic under Michigan skies. You won’t want to miss this!
Table of Contents
Capri Drive-In Theater
In the heart of southwest Michigan is a gem that has been delighting movie-goers since 1964 – Capri Drive-In theater in Coldwater. It’s not just another drive-in theater; it’s an experience where you can enjoy your favorite movies under the starlit sky.
The venue boasts two screens and enough space to accommodate up to 900 cars comfortably. Bring your own snacks, or visit their concession stand for your favorite treats.
Come spring through fall, Capri transforms into a hub of entertainment, offering double features each evening. This means twice as much fun at one admission price. With a selection that varies from exciting action movies to sweet romantic comedies, there’s something here for everyone.
What sets Capri apart is its dedication to catering films suitable for all ages – making it not only ideal for date nights but also perfect for family-friendly summer nights at the drive-in in Michigan.
As of summer 2023, tickets are reasonably priced at $10 per adult, while children aged 5-11 get in at half-price for only $5. And children under the age of five enter for no charge.
This makes planning those extended family outings affordable without breaking the bank! But wait – there’s more! Apart from regular movie events, keep an eye out for special events like classic car shows hosted throughout the season by this iconic Michigan Drive-In.
If you’re planning a family entertainment outing but can’t bear leaving your furry friend at home alone – worry not. The Capri welcomes pets too, making it perfect for pet lovers wanting to enjoy a great place for summer drive-in nights out without any guilt.
Getty Drive-In Muskegon
Located in the picturesque city of Muskegon, Michigan, along the West lakeshore area, you’ll find the Getty Drive-In. Getty operates seasonally from spring through fall and provides an experience that beautifully blends nostalgia with modern amenities.
This drive-in theater boasts four screens showing movies from start to finish, regardless of weather conditions. This means rain or shine you’re all set for a movie night right in your car.
Make a Day of It
Because Getty is nestled near the western lakeshore, you can make a summer day of your movie experience. Start by soaking up the sun at the beach, then cozy in for an evening under starlit skies enjoying a double-feature. You can pack your own food or grab something from one of Muskegon’s local restaurants before settling down for showtime.
Last time we went we stopped at a local burger joint on our way in to get parked. My kids love burgers, and it was worth it for us to bring some outside food and then hit the concession stand before the movie began.
Budget-friendly family entertainment doesn’t get better than this. With admission fees standing at only $5 per person, Getty is a great place not just for families but also for date nights and group outings alike.
Sunset Drive-in Hartford
Experience the charm of a bygone era mixed with modern conveniences at the Sunset Drive-In in Hartford, Michigan. This drive-in theater brings you not just great movies but also an unforgettable experience under the open sky.
Sunset is pet-friendly. Management here understands how important our furry friends are to us and allows them to accompany their owners for movie nights as long as they’re leashed and well-behaved. This inclusive policy enhances the family entertainment value, making it possible for every member of your household – including those with paws – to enjoy a summer drive-in movie night together.
Tune in By Radio
In addition to being pet-friendly, another distinct advantage offered by Sunset Drive-In is its innovative use of radio transmissions for audio playback during your film. As soon as you get your vehicle parked, adjust your car’s radio system to tune into 91.1 FM. No more clunky speaker boxes hanging from your car windows here!
Besides providing clear sound quality directly inside your own car, it gives you control over volume levels which comes in handy if there are young kids sleeping in the back seats or you have someone in your car who is sensitive to loud noises.
Cherry Bowl Drive-In Theatre
If you’re seeking a unique blend of nostalgia and entertainment, look no further than the Cherry Bowl Drive-In Theatre. This gem is located in the town of Honor in Southwest Michigan and is more than just a movie venue – it’s an experience that transports visitors back to simpler times.
The Cherry Bowl understands the value of affordable family entertainment. Admission prices are designed with every age group in mind. From free entry for children under 5, discounted rates for those aged 6-12, to competitive pricing for adults and seniors – everyone can enjoy a summer drive-in night without breaking the bank.
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Have a Carload of Fun
Beyond standard admission fees, they also offer “Carload Night” specials where one price covers all passengers in your vehicle. It’s certainly an exciting deal that adds extra appeal to this great place. And hey – once you arrive, you can spread out a little in lawn chairs or on blankets near the car.
The Cherry Bowl operates seasonally from late spring until mid-fall and shows double features nightly (except Mondays), providing plenty of opportunities throughout these months for memorable movie nights amidst nature’s beauty.
In addition to films on their massive outdoor single screen, pre-show activities like mini-golf or vintage car shows often take place during weekends over the summer. These additional offerings make each visit not just about watching movies but creating lasting memories in the charming rural setting of Michigan’s countryside.
US 23 Digital Drive In Theatre Flint
Pack up your favorite snacks and prepare for a nostalgic trip down memory lane at the US 23 Digital Drive-in Theater in Flint, Michigan. This theater first opened its doors to movie lovers back in 1951 and has since upgraded with digital projectors in 2013, seamlessly blending old charm with modern tech.
This drive-in theatre is home to three large screens that run double features every night during their season from spring through fall. It’s not just about showing movies here – they also host special events like vintage car shows and Halloween “Trunk or Treat” nights, adding more fun elements to family entertainment.
Affordable Ticket Prices
The ticket prices are easy on the pocket at US 23 – $10 for adults, while children aged under twelve years are only $7 per ticket. Kids under the age of three get in for free. Cash is preferred at the box office and for purchasing snacks and drinks from the concession stand; however, tickets can also be purchased online in advance.
And what’s a good movie night out without some fresh buttery popcorn? US23 has a well-stocked concession stand that serves everything you’d need for the perfect snacking experience during your summer drive-in.
Memory Lane Drive-In Theatre
Pack your snacks and gather the family; it’s time to head out for a movie night at Memory Lane Drive-In Theater in Monroe. This Michigan drive-in theater is more than just about showing movies; it’s about creating unforgettable memories.
The ticket pricing structure here caters to all budgets – adults pay $10 per person, while seniors (60+) and children aged 6-12 get discounted rates of $7. Kids below five years enjoy free admission.
Take A Walk Down Memory Lane
This excellent pricing makes Memory Lane not only budget-friendly but also encourages gatherings that span generations – from grandparents reminiscing about their youth to grandchildren making new memories. And while we’re talking about generations, let’s talk about film classics.
Besides featuring the latest new releases on its massive outdoor screen, Memory Lane often takes you down memory lane by screening classic films. Now THAT’s how the generations share memories. I would love to take my grandkids to see a classic drive-in film and walk down memory lane.
Movies start as soon as dusk falls, but there’s more fun awaiting before showtime. The concession stand offers traditional favorites like popcorn along with local specialties, which are surefire ways to make your movie night even better.
Ford Drive-In Dearborn
Right in the heart of Michigan’s automobile mecca, you’ll find a cherished local gem – Ford Drive-In. This drive-in theater offers an authentic slice of nostalgia and is a great place for family entertainment.
Rather than charging per vehicle, Ford Drive-In operates on individual ticket sales. Adult tickets are priced at $10, while children aged 6-12 can enjoy movies from start to finish for just $4.
State of the Art Viewing
The movie night experience here goes beyond just watching films; it’s about immersing yourself in top-notch quality viewing, thanks to their state-of-the-art digital projection system. Complement this with high-quality sound delivered directly through your car’s FM radio transmission, and you’ve got a perfect evening of old-fashioned and high tech fun!
The Ford Drive-In showcases first-run movies across five screens every evening after sunset. From that drama you’ve been anticipating to the laugh-out-loud comedy or heart-pounding thriller – there’s something here for everyone.
Check the website to stay updated with their schedule or any changes due to weather conditions. Or follow the Ford Drive-In on their social media channels where they post information about upcoming shows and events frequently.
5 Mile Drive-In
For those who are heading for the Southwest part of the state, add the 5 Mile Drive-In to your list of must-see theaters. Conveniently located in Dowagiac, this theater opens Friday and Saturday nights from June through October each summer.
Visitors can enter this vintage drive-in experience by paying $30 per carload of viewers and pets. Go ahead and load up some lawn chairs to stretch out once you’ve picked your spot and get settled.
5 Mile offers one screen, just as it has since it opened in 1961. Owners have kept the theater as close to the original as possible, so look for those original details when you visit.
A Playground for the Kids
Check out the full concession stand and playground that will keep the kids busy while waiting for the movie to begin. A run on the playground is the perfect way for kids to make a new friend and burn off some extra energy before settling in for a quiet movie-viewing experience.
And like so many of the other theaters we’ve covered, you can listen from your radio in-car. Just tune in to 100.3 FM to enjoy the private sound from right inside your vehicle.
The Hi-Way Drive-in is situated in the thumb area of Michigan in Carsonville and is another vintage theater experience, open since 1948. For those who call the metro Detroit area home, this is the perfect place to get out of the busyness of the city and find some escape while enjoying a current film.
The All Weather Theater
This cool drive-in is open rain or shine seven full days a week, making it the perfect venue for a rainy night out. And keep an eye on their website because, in addition to movies, Hi-Way hosts special events and themed nights all throughout the summer season.
Admission here is also reasonable at $10 per adult ($9 for seniors and veterans), $7 for kids aged 3-12, and free for kids under three.
Summer Drive-In at USA Hockey Arena
Let’s talk about another drive-in theater located on the East side of the state. This drive-in pops up in the summer at the Hockey arena that is busy all year round hosting a variety of events.
From June through August, and sometimes into September, the arena hosts your favorite movie in drive-in format. Be sure to arrive early to get the best parking spot for your film, and be sure to plan dinner onsite at CJ’s Brewery before your first movie starts. Just be sure to save room for the concessions during the movie!
A Unique Drive In Experience
The Summer drive-in also offers a very fun and unique patio rental. Check the Summer Drive-In website for current rates and details on renting the patio for a large group viewing from the best seats in the house!
Highway 2 Community Drive-In
Finally, we cannot forget about this favorite in the Upper Peninsula. Highway 2 Community Drive-In Theatre is located a quick hour and 20-minute drive from St. Ignace. This one-screen favorite is the only drive-in theater remaining in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
Drive into History Here
Originally built in the 1950s, the theater shut down in 2001. After its illustrious near-fifty-year run, it sat vacant for almost 15 years before re-opening as a nonprofit theater run by the Upper Peninsula Film Union. Now they host free community events throughout the summer months.
And attending a movie here isn’t just about having a good time; it’s also about supporting worthy causes because this theater’s concession stand is run by other nonprofits in the area. Know that when you attend your favorite show here, you’re supporting a higher cause.
Enjoying Drive In Movie Theaters in Michigan
Today’s drive-in offers a peaceful alternative to bustling cinemas in cities all around our beautiful Michigan every summer. Bring your family and make a memory, because it’s not just about showing movies; it’s about creating lasting memories with loved ones under the starlit sky while munching on popcorn or sipping soft drinks from the snack bar.
Stretch Out Here
In contrast with indoor movie theaters where everyone is cuddled up together, watching films outdoors allows extra space between viewers for those who don’t like to be so close, and allows viewers to tune into FM radio transmission right inside their vehicles without needing any extra equipment. Close up the windows for complete privacy or leave them cracked to enjoy the sounds of evening as a backdrop.
If you like your space, you’ll enjoy the privacy that comes with the space between cars.
Amenities and Concessions
In addition to the unique movie-watching experience, drive-in theaters in Michigan often offer a range of amenities and concessions to enhance your visit. Many theaters have snack bars or concession stands where you can purchase classic favorite movie snacks like popcorn, candy, and soda. Some theaters even offer full-service restaurants or food trucks, allowing you to enjoy a meal while watching the movie.
Other amenities you may find at drive-in theaters in Michigan include playgrounds or outdoor seating areas where you can relax before or after the movie. Some theaters also host special events or themed movie nights, adding an extra element of fun to your visit. Michigan drive-in theaters provide a perfect outing for all, whether it be an intimate date night or a family gathering.
Ticketing and Pricing Structure
When it comes to ticketing and pricing, many drive-in theaters in Michigan charge per vehicle rather than per person. You can fit as many people in your car as you’d like, making it an economical choice for groups or families. Prices may vary depending on the theater and the day of the week, so it’s always a good idea to check the theater’s website or call ahead for the most up-to-date information.
To ensure you have the best possible time at our beloved Michigan drive-in theaters, here are a few tips:
- Show Up Early: This gives you ample time to secure a good spot and set up your blankets, chairs, and picnic areas if desired.
- Cash Is King: While credit cards are accepted at many of our drive-ins, cash transactions tend to be quicker during peak times.
- Pack Smartly: Include bug spray, blankets, pillows, and lawn chairs to have the most comfortable viewing experience, especially when temperatures drop. Remember to pack an FM radio, too if you’re planning not to use the car stereo, as many of our current theaters transmit sound through the radio.
- Don’t let your battery die: If you are listening through your car radio, be sure to turn your engine on periodically throughout the film to ensure that your battery doesn’t die. Playing the radio while the car is off can be a big drain.
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FAQs in Relation to Drive-In Movie Theaters in Michigan
How many drive-in theaters are left in Michigan?
Michigan currently has around eleven operational drive-in movie theaters, offering a nostalgic cinematic experience under the stars.
Does Michigan have any drive-in theaters?
Yes, Michigan is home to several drive-in theaters, including Capri Drive-In Theater, 5 Mile Drive-In Theater, and Getty Drive-In, among others.
What caused the decline of drive-in movie theaters?
The rise of home entertainment systems, real estate development pressures, and changing social habits contributed to the decline of drive-in movie theaters.
What year and where did the first drive-in theater open in Michigan?
The first known opening was Eastside Drive-In, located in Harper Woods which opened its doors back on June 26th, 1938.
Wrapping It All Up
The remaining drive in movie theaters in Michigan are a testament to the state’s rich cinematic history and culture. From Capri Drive-In Theater in Coldwater to Memory Lane Driven Theatre in Monroe, each offers a unique experience under the stars. Enjoy pet-friendly viewing while you take in a double-feature, a single showing, or even a classic film.
No matter where you find yourself in Michigan, there’s always a drive-in theater nearby ready to transport you into different worlds from your car seat. If exploring these nostalgic sites is on your bucket list, don’t hesitate!
Come join us in the Hip Grandma Life Facebook Group as we delve deeper into the charm of Michigan’s drive-ins and other Midwest adventures that await women over age 40 who want more out of life. Let’s create memories together!
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