Tips for Attending a Drive-In Movie With Your Family

Note: Drive-in movie theaters may be closed or have certain regulations in 2020 due to COVID-19. Please check with your local drive-in movie theater with more information.


Have you been to a drive-in movie with your family yet? If you haven’t added this to your summer bucket list, you’re missing out on some affordable family fun. Plus, you can actually watch new releases!


But to be honest, the main reason for going to the drive-in is the nostalgic atmosphere and the novelty of it. Enjoying the summer night under the stars with loved ones is quite a memorable experience. An experience you should try at least try once a summer. If you haven’t been to the drive-in theaters in years, or ever, take note of these handy tips. You can thank me later.


Pack the kids in PJs.


The drive-in theaters show a double feature, so you will have a late night. I always wear my glasses so I don’t have to worry about my contacts drying out.


Bring chairs.


Sometimes watching from the back seat isn’t feasible (especially with little ones). Bring a few chairs and set up in front of your vehicle. I’ve even seen pickup trucks set up an inflatable mattress in the back. Genius!


Pack blankets and pillows.


You can bet that the temperatures always drop. If you’re sitting outside, you’ll be happy to be warm and cozy. It does get chilly when the sun goes down, and if you’re situating yourself outside, some jackets are a must!


The early bird gets the worm.


Or, in this case, a prime viewing spot. Try to be there when the theater opens.


Forget eating dinner at home.


Bring dinner with you. We always order a pizza for carry out then eat it in the car.


Stock up on snacks.


Don’t forget to visit the concession stand for snacks. Visiting the concession stand is what supports the businesses. We always get popcorn and ice cream.


Bring a battery-operated radio.


Some drive-in theaters also have radios you can attach to your car window, or you can tune in to the specific radio station.


Don’t wait until intermission.


Grab your snacks or go potty before intermission to avoid lines.


Bring something to play with.


After eating, you’ll probably have some time to kill. Bring a ball or Frisbee to play with. The drive-in has a grassy area where people can play.


Pack a flashlight.


Need a potty break while the movie’s playing? It will be pitch black, so bring a flashlight to help guide you to the bathrooms.


Pets are welcome.


The whole family is invited and that includes your furry friends. Just make sure they are leashed at all times and, of course, clean up after them.


Movies play rain or shine.


Rainy day? No worries, the show must go on. We’ve gone when it was thundering and lightning and it was quite a memorable experience. Plus, we had the BEST spot!


Where to Go


McHenry Outdoor Theater


1510 Chapel Hill Road, McHenry


Cost: $12.00 adults, $6.00 children (ages 11 and under); $6 seniors and current/former members of the U.S.military. Children 3 and under free.


Good to know:


    • On Tuesdays, you can pack everyone in your car for $12 total/car.


    • Credit cards accepted.


    • Box office opens at 6:30 p.m.



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This story originally published on July 9, 2018. It has been updated with the most recent information. 


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