Zipcar at a drive-in theater with movie popcorn
June 24, 2021

Ultimate Drive-in Movie Experience Tips and Ideas

Prepare for the Ultimate Drive-in Movie Experience 

Drive-in movie theaters used to be the coolest places to go. And after a decades-long decline in popularity, they’re making a comeback.  

That’s because drive-in movies make great date nights, family outings, or solo adventures. You can have a picnic with friends or snuggle up with your partner.  

“Is there a drive-in theater near me?” you wonder. “And how can I get the most out of my movie experience?” Well, wonder no more. Here’s how to make your trip to the drive-in theater the perfect night out. 

Find a Drive-in Theater Near You 

Drive-in theaters aren’t quite as popular as they used to be, but they’re still out there. In late 2019, there were 305 across America. Then, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and drive-in theaters became a socially distanced movie solution.  

In 2020, quite a few brand-new drive-in theaters opened — and closed locations reopened—in a drive-in resurgence.  

That means drive-in theaters within driving distance are easier than ever to find. To find your nearest drive-in location, go to and search by state, town or country; and book a Zipcar to get you there! 

Can’t find one near you? Get creative with the drive-in theater ideas below and DIY your own drive-in movie night. 

Drive-in Movie Car Setup 

These days, going to a drive-in movie is a real event. You might need to drive a couple of hours to get to your nearest location and when you get there, you’ll stay in or near your vehicle. A great drive-in experience depends on comfort, so make sure you have a few helpful accessories on hand.  

To turn your Zipcar into a DIY glamper, pack folding chairs, blankets and cushions to make snuggling easier. Don’t forget bug spray and a fan if it’s hot — and bring a flashlight in case you need to get around in the dark. A radio, a backup battery, or a USB power pack might also come in handy. Make sure to download any radio apps for drive-in movies before heading out. 

What to Bring With You to a Drive-in Movie 

Movies aren’t complete without snacks and drinks. There might be a snack stand at the theater, but if there isn’t — or if you’d rather skip the expense — you’ll need to bring your own chow. You’ll probably also need a little cash, a trash bag to make sure you leave the car clean, and a few things to do while you wait for the movie to start.  

Pre-movie game ideas include cards, frisbee, soccer, and football. You’ll also want to wear comfy clothing so that you stay snug as the night wears on. 

Drive-in Movie Tips 

First time at a drive-in movie theater? In that case, you’ll need to brush up on your outdoor drive-in etiquette before you go. Here are a few tips to keep you on the level: 

  • Don’t let your battery die: You won’t be able to leave, and you’ll make it hard for other people to leave at the end of the evening, too. 

  • Don’t leave your car running unless you need to use the air conditioning in hot weather  

  • Park at least six feet away from the nearest vehicle to give people space 

  • Listen to the movie with your smartphone or a portable radio if you’re sitting outside your vehicle 

Drive-in movies really are a treat. Pack for comfort; bring snacks, and follow the tips above and you’re bound to have a great time.