There is nothing as beautiful as seeing a movie under the stars – especially when the quality of the film and the company is just as good as it is at home or in any other theater.
Drive-in movies have atmosphere as well as digital quality, making them a great option for people who want a unique experience, great concessions as well as a cost-effective way to see the latest films. Most of Michigan’s remaining drive-in theaters offer first-run films with prices that are reasonable for a double header.
Certain movies also look best when seen on a drive-in’s wide screen. Action films with big stars look amazing when you watch the chase scenes on a screen that seems as big as the sky. Romance or comedies also are great for drive-in experiences, letting you get into the storytelling in a immersive way.
Moreover, drive-in movie theaters are great nostalgic moments for families to enjoy not only the film but the outdoors. Hanging out by your car or in the trunk is a memory that generations of kids have enjoyed since Metro Detroit started building drive-in theaters in the last 1930s through the 1950s.
Only a few “ozoners” remain, and they’re scattered around the state of Michigan. They are well worth checking out during the week if you live close by – most are open seven days a week during the warmer months – or on a long weekend trip when we start traveling again.
Hold off on visiting these for now – most are closed at the moment because of social distancing and the state’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe,” mandate. But as soon as they are able, these theaters will open again to audiences ready to enjoy a movie and some popcorn with the people (and pets) they love.
Ford-Wyoming Drive-In: This is the last remaining Metro or city-based drive-in theater in Michigan. The Dearborn classic used to be the largest in the world but is now down to five screens. The place is run by its second owner, and he’s a movie-loving theater man. They call this Detroit’s Outdoor Living Room for good reason, and there is lots to love at this ozoner.
Cherry Bowl Drive-In: Head to Honor, which is near Traverse City, for one of the purest drive-in experiences. Most of the place is still original, including the speakers, which is unusual for these kinds of theaters. All of the films are family friendly and there is a min-golf course, which kids will love.
Hi-Way Drive-In: This is Michigan’s oldest drive-in theater in terms of age, but it doesn’t show it. This single-screen drive-in is located in rural Carsonville, which is a short drive from the tri-county area. They also have a great concession stand, so come hungry.
U.S. 23 Digital Drive-In Theater: This Flint drive-in theater is a classic with all of the modern updates audiences expect. There are double features here as well and it is easy to find for families and groups of all sizes.
Capri Drive-In: This Coldwater classic is a beautiful rural ozoner where families throughout the years have enjoyed movies together. You always get two movies for the price of one, and it has a family atmosphere.