This gorgeous, springtime weather has got us itching to hop in the car to catch a drive-in movie

Back in 2020, when indoor movie theaters across New York State closed their doors because of the pandemic, drive-ins became a hot spot for families looking to have some fun while social distancing. Now, they’re a popular place to enjoy the nice weather while getting a feel of nostalgia... 

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If you’re lucky enough to have a drive-in theater nearby, anyway. 

Drive-in theater at night

When Sunset Drive-In in Middleport, New York closed last year, it was a sad reminder that drive-ins are few and far between in here in New York. 

History Of Drive-In Theatres In New York State

The first drive-in movie theater in New York State was the Sunrise Drive-In on Long Island. When it opened in the summer of 1938 in Valley Stream, New York, cars lined up for miles to pay 25 cents a ticket to see their favorite Hollywood stars on its huge curved screen.

Not long after, the popularity of drive-ins exploded. At their peak in the 1960s, there were about 4,000 drive-in theaters in operation across the US - over 150 in New York State alone.

Today, in 2023, the Empire state has less than 25 drive-in movie theaters left to enjoy.

Why Drive-In Movies Are The Best

Drive-ins are still awesome, even if they’re hard to find in these days.

They don’t just play the new stuff.

You can see classics you haven’t seen since you were a kid, blockbusters that are a few months old (for a lot cheaper than regular theaters), and even enjoy some quirky theme nights featuring sci-fi or horror movies. 

You get more bang for your buck at the drive-in.

Movies in an indoor theater average $12 to $15 bucks, whereas at the drive-in, you’ll pay a little less. But the big win for your wallet is that drive-ins often make it a double feature, so you’re getting two movies for the price of less than one. 

Your car is a cozy place to watch a movie.

You could argue that modern-day movie theater recliners are the most comfortable way to watch a movie these days. But those fancy chairs don’t have some of the ameneties that your car does, like heated seats, and/or air-conditioning blasting right on your face.

You can enjoy the great outdoors while still being lazy.

Gone are the days when you have to bring a parka to the movies on a hot summer day. Forget the freezing air conditioner inside the movie theater and relax with a cool evening breeze instead. 

You can save money by bringing your own food and drinks.

Okay, so we’re not sure how “ethical” this is, but drive-in movie theaters make it way too easy to sneak into your own food to save some cash. (The only exception is a bucket of buttery popcorn… it’s just better at the drive-in and worth having to vacuum your car out the next day.)

Whether you’re looking for a hint of the “good ol’ days” or a unique way to spend a warm-weather night - here are the 22 remaining drive-in theaters for your outdoor movie-viewing pleasure in New York State.

22 Drive-In Theaters Left In New York State

Whether you’re looking for a hit of nostalgia or a unique night out - here are the 22 remaining drive-in movie theatres for your outdoor movie-viewing pleasure here in New York State.

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