The 5 Best Drive-In Movie Theaters in and Around NYC

Social distancing is easy when you never leave your car!

I don't know about you, but I'm getting a little sick of watching movies on the couch in my cramped New York apartment.

Sure, I don't have to wear pants and I can online shop at the same time, but there's something about the immersive experience of a movie theater that just can't be replicated. From the smell of the popcorn to the massive screen, watching a film in a shared environment just makes the experience a little more special. Unfortunately, thanks to COVID-19, it'll likely be sometime before we can safely bump elbows with a stranger while watching the latest release on a big screen.

The good news is that people are getting creative—and a little retro—in order to fill the space left behind by movie theaters. Enter: the drive-in movie experience. You've probably seen them in old movies, and maybe you've even been to one of the few that remain in operation; now prepare to start seeing a lot more of them. Since you stay in your car for the entirety of the movie, the likelihood of COVID-19 transmission is low, but you still get that cinematic experience you're craving.

As a bonus, the drive-in theaters around NYC offer state of the art technology to make your experience all the better. According to Thrillist, "Drive-in movie theaters have high-quality sound and film equipment, electric car charging stations, flash-frozen ice cream orbs dubbed the ice cream of the future, and other modern amenities our parents couldn't have dreamed of."

Bel Air Diner/Drive-In

You don't even have to venture outside of the range of the subway to partake in this drive-in experience. The diner has been in operation since 1965, but they've recently converted their large parking lot into a drive-in theater. You can order the diner's delicious food straight to your car and pretend you're living in bygone days when the word "corona" just meant the beer brand. Find the full schedule of events here.

Location: Queens

Skyline Drive-In

Skyline drive-in

The only drive-in theater with a Manhattan skyline view, this option is a little pricier at $55 per car, but if you bring enough friends along the cost is pretty manageable. They show a wide array of films from Iron Man to Chicago, and the view really is unbeatable. Even better, you don't even have to leave Brooklyn to take in the show! Buy tickets here.

Location: Greenpoint, Brooklyn

Yankee Stadium

Yankee stadium is turning it's massive parking lot into a drive-in theatre all through July! You can sign up for tickets here. You'll also get more than just movies for your money, New York Drive-In will deliver fun and affordable activities, ranging from trivia nights to karaoke sing-alongs, comedy shows, live performances, dance showcases, food from NY's top food and beverage vendor.

Location: Yankees Stadium

Overlook Drive-In

Overlook Drive-In

While this drive-in is about an hour and a half outside New York, it's absolutely worth it. It's been family-owned and run since 1955 and is situated in a picturesque location in the Hudson valley. It's super affordable at just $10 a person ($7 for kids) and offers a double feature every night the show is on. Buy tickets here.

Location: Poughkeepsie, NY

Tribeca Drive-In

Tribeca drive-in

With locations at Nickerson beach and Orchard beach, this drive-in series is completely free and easy accessible! It's also a part of the Tribeca film festival, so you can be sure they'll be showing quality films. "The Tribeca Drive-In series is a tribute to movies and the shared experience of watching them, even if from our cars. In anticipation of theaters reopening imminently, we look back at what we love about the big screen experience," said Tribeca Enterprises and Tribeca Film Festival co-founder Robert De Niro in a statement.

Reserve your free tickets here.


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