4 Retro Drive-In Movie Theaters in Chicago and the Suburbs

Outdoor Places to Go

Introduce your family to old-school entertainment by way of drive-in movies. Drive-in movies can be a nice way to have an electronic-free evening with your family, especially on a beautiful summer night.

Drive-in movies can be as upscale or downscale as your heart desires; you have the ability to pack dinner and snacks or purchase them upon arrival. Wear your favorite pajamas and don’t forget to pack some shades, extra-comfy pillows, neck pillows, and blankets. Then, get ready for some magical movie moments under the stars!

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.

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 pack and bring your concessions or pre-order them 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, they open at 6:30pm with movies starting at 7:15pm. Concessions are available (including real buttered popcorn) and they are a cash-only venue. Their Facebook page is the place to check for the most up-to-date information for future summer 2023 announcements.

McHenry Outdoor Theater – Golden Age Cinemas

1510 N. Chapel Hill Road
Lakemoor, IL 60051

McHenry Outdoor Theater will open for the season on May 5, 2023. 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 and glow-in-the-dark knick-knacks for the littles.

49er Drive-In

675 N. Calumet Avenue
Valparaiso, IN

The 49-er and no not the football team 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 Facebook for any and all updates including when they plan to open for the season.

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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