3 Tips for a Great Drive-In Movie Experience During the COVID-19 Pandemic

3 Tips for a Great Drive-In Movie Experience

Original story posted August 2017 // Updated: May 21, 2020

By Sarah Scribner

During the COVID-19 pandemic and the easing of stay-at-home orders, drive-in theaters are making a welcome comeback.

Indeed, while indoor theaters may have high-definition sound and comfy reclining seats, many are still shuttered and even when they re-open, lots of families won’t want to return to sitting in an indoor theater with others in close proximity.

Safety First

Drive-in movies, however, allow families to watch movies in their own little bubbles – in their cars. And many are welcoming the opportunity to take kids to the movies and experience the nostalgia of yesteryear.

According to the Washington Post, about 300 drive-in theaters still exist in the United States. While that may not offer you a lot of options (depending on where you live), it may be worth finding the closest drive-in to you. From there, you can take a mini road trip to enjoy the movies outdoors this summer.

To help you infuse some fun into your family movie adventure, we’ve put together this guide with our top 3 tips for a great drive-in experience during the COVID-19 pandemic. Take a look and get ready to have some fun under the stars!

First: Get Ready to Hit the Road!

A drive-in movie offers up the perfect atmosphere for summertime fun with the family. All you need is a car, some snacks, pillows and blankets. Your kids will love the anticipation of watching a movie under the moon while piled into the car with their favorite snacks and pillows.  

But before you set out, make sure you explore all your drive-in theater options. You may not know this but during the coronavirus era, there are new drive-in theaters popping up around the country, such as two new drive-ins opening in Bergen County, N.J.

Still other companies are getting creative and turning their parking lots into drive-in theaters. Long-time Boston-area restaurant Kowloon, for example, plans to add a drive-in movie theater and carhop dining service to it’s large parking lot this summer. It hopes to show classic family movies like “Grease” and “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” according to

So, check your local drive-ins for opening dates and showtimes; do a basic search on Google to find out about all the drive-in theaters opening in your area; and research whether local businesses in your area are creating pop-up theaters.

In the Boston area, for example (where Pretzel Kids yoga is headquartered), you can head to Kowloon (soon, hopefully) as well as the Mendon Twin Drive-in in Mendon, Ma.

Guide to Drive-In Fun!

Now that you’ve discovered your drive-in movie options and decided where to go, it’s time to plan your own family-filled drive-in movie adventure. Here are Pretzel Kids yoga’s top 3 tips for drive-in movie fun:

1. Set Up Your Seating

One of the best parts of the drive-in movie experience is creating your own comfy seats.

Think about it this way: You can make your own comfortable seats by gathering your favorite fluffy pillows and warm blankets. If you’re a Pinterest fan, you’ve probably seen multiple photos showcasing transformed car trunks into cozy, cute seating areas.

To create your own space, lay your blankets along the bottom of the trunk and place your smaller pillows around them as a frame. Use bigger pillows as seats to be used underneath and you can now recline on the blankets, resting your back against the pillows. If other members of your family would like sit safely right outside of the car, place your favorite lawn chairs either in front of the vehicle or next to your car. Be sure to line the lawn chairs with blankets and even use pillows to relax back into the chairs.

2. Create Your Own Concessions Stand

In the wake of COVID-19, many drive-in theaters are only offering online ordering with deliveries to cars. So, it may be easier to bring your own healthy snacks. Besides, this gives you another fun family activity to prepare for the movie: Get creative in the kitchen and cook up some fun snack options from your pantry!

Arriving at the drive-in with your own concessions also means you’ll be less tempted to buy unhealthy treats. Not only that but you’ll save money as concession stands are typically expensive. For healthy snack ideas, check out Pretzel Kids yoga’s list of healthy summer snacks, including fruit kebabs, homemade granola bars, and baked sweet potato fries. Consider referring to this list when creating your snack plan and shopping from your pantry.

Trust me, homemade granola bars and nut butter balls are awesome and well-worth an hour of your time to prepare and make. Better yet, they’re salty, sweet and a much healthier alternative to buttered popcorn and candy! 

3. Pick a Feature Film to See

If you have to choose just one movie for all, choose a film that everyone will enjoy. Maybe even take a vote! But, consider this, too: The drive-in may become your go-to movie theater this summer. So why not make a list of all the movies coming out and plan to see them all? Creating a game plan is half the fun. This way everyone is excited and ready to go!

Perfect Summer Family Fun

Whether you’re at the drive-in, getting creative in the kitchen, or teaching a kids yoga class at the park, don’t leave summer behind without heading to at least one drive-in movie. And, be sure to turn to Pretzel Kids yoga for our drive-in movie guide and tips for a perfect summer evening under the moon and big screen!

Additional reporting by Robyn Parets

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