Drive-in movie theaters made a huge comeback last year, and looks like they are here to stay for a while. (Some are even free this summer!) Lots of outdoor movies are kid-friendly, and at some, you don’t even need to have a car! Here are drive-in movie theaters in and around New York State for your Summer 2021 viewing pleasure.
Queens Drive-In From Rooftop Films at MoMI & NYSCI
The drive-ins just keep on coming this summer! Rooftop Films, in cooperation with the New York City Economic Development Corporation, The Museum of the Moving Image and the New York Hall of Science, will host a drive-in in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. Screenings featuring many of the best new independent and foreign films from 2020 will begin in August and run through October. Movies will be shown nightly, Wednesday through Sunday. Series and films include Science on Screen, sci-fi showcase See It Big!: The Future Is Now, Queens on Film, Jim Henson’s World, and a special presentation of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. Plus new and classic family films.
But it's more than just movies. You can expect a unique nighttime experience that combines movies, fun, and NYSCI's own brand of science, including pre-show experiences, live demonstrations, talks and videos, as well as an ongoing showcase of local and emerging artists. (Think do-it-yourself science tips and tricks, as well as conversations with experts to connect the nights' themes, such as horror and climate change, to moviegoers' everyday lives.
Tickets are $35/car (up to four people), with entry at 7:30 p.m., and screenings starting at 8:30. You must stay in your car during the movie. A portion of the drive-in's proceeds to go to Queens organizations that are helping the communities most afflicted by COVID-19 recover.
New York Hall of Science
47-01 111th St.
Flushing Meadows Corona Park
Rooftop Films at the Brooklyn Army Terminal
Rooftop Films is also producing a drive-in on the pier of The Brooklyn Army Terminal in Sunset Park. The films skew indie and more mature here, so your six-year-old may not be so into it, but if you've got a baby who sleeps, this could be an evening out. Masks are required outside of your car, and staff will be wearing masks as well.
Tickets are $35/car, with contactless check-in. No food or drink is for sale (this may change). No alcohol is allowed and you must wear a mask if you leave your car. Don't be late; you can't enter if you miss the COVID safety video. Parking is first-come, first served. You can read a full FAQ here.
80 58th St.
The Brooklyn Army Terminal
The new Skyline Drive-in in Greenpoint allows patrons to catch a movie and take in stunning views of Manhattan and the East River. In addition to space for cars, the Brooklyn drive-in will have pedestrian seating (socially distanced, we assume), and you can even bring your own food and drink. The Skyline Drive-in will be open Friday and Saturday nights.
Tickets: $54.99/car (max seven people)
1 Oak St.
Movie Nights at the Queens Botanical Garden
You don't even need a car for this one! Movie Nights are coming to the Queens Botanical Garden, and will kick off with a screening of Zootopia on Saturday, June 12 at 7:30 p.m., followed by Dirty Dancing on Friday, June 25. Visitors are invited to experience big screen magic with are seasonal, movie-themed food and refreshments and a hands-on craft activity or a live performance (varies based on the evening's film). You are encouraged to bring your own blankets and chairs, but no outside food or drink is permitted.
Each ticket comes with after-hours admission to the Garden, a $5 food voucher, and a complimentary craft or performance. $10 parking rate in effect. Registration and masks are required.
Tickets: $15/adults; $12/kids, free/kids under three
43-50 Main St.
Bel Aire Diner Drive-in
An early adopter of the makeshift drive-in setup, this beloved Astoria, Queens diner is coming through big time with film screenings this summer. Movies shown include The Peanuts Movie, Sing, Shreck, Edward Scissorhands and Get Out. Reservations must be made through the diner's event page, and you can keep up to date on when reservations open by following the diner's Facebook and other social media pages. Cars are $32 for two movies (an early and a late show), and you must have at least two people, but not more than five in your car. Social distancing, no-contact purchasing (via an app) for food, and mandatory mask use are in effect.
Juicy Lucy BBQ
If you like a side of brisket with your cinema, head to Staten Island's Jucy Lucy BBQ. Opening June 12, the popular Ocean Breeze restaurant makes use of its three-acre lot to show kid-friendly movies with a nostalgic bent. (Star Wars: A New Hope, Grease and Raiders of the Lost Ark are examples of titles coming to the Staten Island LED screen. (If brisket isn't your thing, don't worry, Juicy Lucy has an extensive menu of salads, burgers and sandwiches, as well as over-the-top milkshakes to satisfy your sweet tooth.
809 Father Capodanno Blvd.
1 Oak St.
Movie Lot Drive-In
This Long Island Drive-in is taking over a big parking lot at the Smith Haven Mall and showing kid-friendly favorites (Goonies, Madagascar, Toy Story 4) and oldies but goodies (Bad News Bears, Footloose, Jurassic Park). Mask-wearing is required, and bathrooms are port-a-potties on site. Tickets are $40 per car and you must purchase tickets in advance. Read full rules for attendance here.
313 Smith Haven Mall
Lake Grove, NY
Drive-in at The Gateway
The Gateway, The Performing Arts Center of Suffolk County is screening feel-good films this summer. Films include Jurassic Park, Big Night, E.T., Little Shop of Horrors and others, to be determined. Tickets are $35 per car.
215 S. County Rd.
The Hi-Way Drive-In in the Catskills near Hudson, NY, offers a whopping four screens, which it uses to show a good time mix of action, thriller, comedy and family movies. (Hello double feature of Back to the Future and Back to the Future II.) Movies are shown seven nights a week through Labor Day, and then weekends after that. Masks are required outside of cars, at restrooms and concessions. The ticket booth opens 90 minutes before showtime and it is recommended you get there early to ensure a spot, as capacity is limited to allow social distancing. You can read COVID-19 precautions here.
Tickets are $10 for ages 12 and up; $5 for kids ages three to 11, ands free for kids under three.
10699 State Route 9W
Four Brother’s Drive-In
Be forewarned: One look at Four Brother’s Drive-In in Amenia, New York, and you’ll want to hop in the car and go there. Right about now, it’s hard to imagine a more idyllic scene. Four Brother’s has been doing this drive-in thing for a while, so they are ready for you, complete with new rules for Summer 2021.
Not only is the atmosphere enchanting at Four Brother’s, the food options are great, too. Choose from an extensive menu of burgers, sandwiches, pizza and sides, as well as hard and soft ice cream with tons of toppings, shakes and lemonade and sweet desserts and coffees. They even have a treat for canine friends. They’re open seven days a week. Films screened include Dr. Dolittle, Spies in Disguise and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
All tickets are sold online in advance and must be shown for admission. If you don’t have a ticket, there is no guarantee you’re getting in. (Although there will be a waiting list, so you could get lucky if someone doesn’t show.)
Tickets: $11/adults; $6/kids
4957 Route 22
This northern Catskills drive-in was founded in 1959 and updated by new owners in 2015. Expect a feel-good mix of fun classics like E.T. and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Beetlejuice, Monty Python flicks and Penguins of Madagascar. Food and drink from local vendors is for sale, and you can even have a homemade chocolate chip cookie delivered to your car mid-way through the show. There's also a biergarten on-site.
Capacity is limited to allow social distancing, and you buy tickets online in advance. ($8/person; $24/four or more, and kids five and under are free.) Masks are required, and touchless facilities in bathrooms have been installed. You can read all precautions here.
10700 New York 32
Warwick Drive-in Theater
This family-friendly drive-in theater in the Hudson Valley shows movies on three big screens. Open nightly, it’s about a hour-and-a-half from NYC and features a park-like, grassy setting on 11 acres of farmland. Movies currently screening include Onward, Call of the Wild and Jumanji the Next Level. The Warwick Drive-in has clear COVID-19 rules and protocols regarding the use of masks and maintaining six-feet of social distance at all times. (Read them here.)
There are a limited number of tickets sold online in advance, with online ticketing opening Wednesdays at Noon; tickets are available at the box office, which opens at 7 p.m. (Arrive early for best parking.)
The Warwick Drive-in has introduced an app to make ordering food even easier. Concessions are extra classic here: hamburgers, hot dogs, nachos, fries, candy, popcorn, ice cream etc. The ads before the movies are old-school as well!
Tickets: $12/adults; $8/kids and seniors
5 Warwick Tpke.
Overlook Drive-In Theater
This Poughkeepsie-area drive-in has been family-owned since 1955, and is known for having the biggest outdoor screen in the tri-state area. (It’s six-stories high!) The Overlook Drive-In clearly states “No Mask No Entry”, and other rules (one party at a time in the restroom, social distancing while waiting to order from the snack bar) are in effect. The drive-in is playing films like Despicable Me and Mama Mia! The drive-in was converted to digital a few years ago and is dog-friendly.
Tickets: adults/$10; kids 5 to 11/$7; kids five and under/free
126 Degarmo Rd. (Between Routes 44 & 55)
The Delsea Drive-in is the only game in town (i.e., the state) in New Jersey, and its got two screens showing movies. Located in Vineland, NJ, the drive-in is very clear on social distancing rules and regulations. (Read them here.) All tickets must be purchased in advance, and you can buy tickets online here. This drive-in wins the prize for most extensive and accommodating menu, with healthy options, gluten-free and Atkins-friendly- items, as well as kid-friendly choices like PB & J, baby carrots and much more; order food online here. Current showings include Sonic the Hedgehog and Onward.
Tickets: $11.00/ages four and up; free/ages three and under
2203 South Delsea Dr.
The Mansfield Drive-in in Mansfield Center, Connecticut has been screening since 1954. It also happens to host the largest flea market in the eastern part of the state. Ticketing is exclusively online, and films skew retro, kid-friendly and fun here; Jurassic Park, entries in the Harry Potter catalog, Goonies and Pineapple Express are some examples. The snack bar is basic, but solid, and food ordering is by phone due to COVID-19 safety measures. Call 860-423-4441, order, and a staff person wearing a mask and gloves will deliver to you.
Tickets: $9/adults; $6/ages four to 11 & seniors
228 Stafford Rd.
Mansfield Center, CT