Where to Find the Last 4 Retro Drive-In Movie Theaters Near Chicago

Outdoor Places to Go

Currently, there are only about 300 drive-in movie theaters still in operation in the United States. Give your family a feeling of nostalgia and make awesome memories by supporting a local drive-in theater. This unique experience is such a great evening activity with your family, especially on a beautiful summer night.

Drive-in movies can be as upscale or downscale as your heart desires. You might pack dinner or your favorite snacks, comfy pillows and blankets, and sunglasses if the movie starts before sunset. Many locations have snacks onsite for purchase, and some do not allow outside snacks or beverages. We also love when we can include our furry friends in the fun; dogs are welcome at all of the locations listed below.

Be sure to pay attention to our revised list. Unfortunately, it’s a tad short as some of our spots have permanently closed their doors. Let’s support these local businesses and help them keep going!

ChiTown Movies

2343 S. Throop Street
Chicago, IL 60608

Chi-Town Movies is a city summer pastime. There is almost always a family-appropriate movie featured so this venue works great for families in and around the city. Feel free to pre-order food and snacks online and have them brought to your car just in time for the movie. 

Route 34 Drive-In

4468 E. 12th Road – Old Route 34
Earlville, IL 60518

Typically open April through October. Concessions are available (including real buttered popcorn) and they are a cash-only venue.

McHenry Outdoor Theater – Golden Age Cinemas

1510 N. Chapel Hill Road
Lakemoor, IL 60051

McHenry Outdoor Theater is open for the 2024 season! Because they alternate between family-friendly and not-so-kid-friendly movies, it’s best to check their website prior to making the drive. McHenry sells concessions like Rita’s Italian Ice, Heady Cup Roasters, other snacks and full meals. They also offer fun glow-in-the-dark knick-knacks for the littles.

49er Drive-In

675 N. Calumet Avenue
Valparaiso, IN

The 49er is located in Indiana. It’s perfect if you’re up for driving or planning to spend the weekend in Indiana. They are a cash-only venue, but they do have an ATM on site inside of the concession area. Children 4 years old and younger get in free. They tend to update their Facebook page more than their website, so check there for more details.

For more inspiration, check out Kidlist’s outdoor fun page. You’ll find all kinds of things to do with the kids all summer long!

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