Aaron Widmar
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What Items Should I Bring to a Drive-in Movie Theater?

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What should you bring when you visit your local drive-in theater for movie night?
Photo: Michele Hassinger via Wikimedia/CC BY-SA 3.0

Whether you want to get some fresh air outdoors, practice social distancing, or relive the 1950s, attending a drive-in movie theater is a great way to spend an evening with your family. There’s probably a local venue near you that’s showing films this summer. And if you plan on attending, make sure you bring these items with you so you’re prepared for a cinematic evening under the stars.

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Photo: The News Wheel

Portable radio

Drive-in movies don’t blare the movie’s audio track over gigantic speakers that you can hear while you’re shut inside your car. To hear the movie, you have to tune in to a specific radio station frequency. Unless you plan on draining your car’s battery by using the in-vehicle sound system all evening, make sure you bring a large, portable, battery-powered radio so you can hear the sound wherever you’re sitting. So dust off that boom box you haven’t used in a decade!

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Photo: The News Wheel

Pillows and blankets

A benefit of attending a drive-in theater is being able to wear your pajamas and cuddle up during the movie in the comfort and privacy of your personal vehicle. Bring everyone’s pillows and blankets to make sure you’re warm and comfy — especially if you’re attending a double-feature.

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Photo: The News Wheel


If your car doesn’t offer a good view of the massive screen from the back seat, you may wind up deciding to sit outside for better visibility. Bring lawn chairs that you can set up in front of your vehicle so you don’t have to sit on the ground.

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Personal health items

You don’t want to get sick going to a drive-in movie, so make sure you bring insect repellent for the light-attracted mosquitoes, hand sanitizer if you go the bathroom or concessions stand, and a box of tissues.

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Photo: The News Wheel

Extra snacks and water

Some drive-in theaters have concessions so you can purchase pizza slices or popcorn, but you may prefer to bring your own food to eat — especially if you’re trying to eat healthy or have a special diet. Bring water bottles so you don’t have to find a drinking fountain. Some theaters even allow alcohol, but make sure you read their guidelines first and have a designated driver on-hand.

Support a drive-in movie theater near you this year and enjoy a night where you can let your kids make noise during a movie without getting judgmental glares from other attendees.