Best Drive-In Movie Theaters

Posted by Jenni Barnett on Monday, July 27th, 2020 at 9:30am.

The current need for social distancing has rekindled the nation’s love of the drive-in movie theater, and Middle Tennessee is no exception. Locals have been flocking to the nearest drive-in to experience the nostalgia and excitement of enjoying a movie from the comfort of their own vehicles. If you would like to join in on the fun this summer, read on for our local picks for the Best Drive-In Movie Theaters of Middle Tennessee!

Since the current pandemic means that no new movies are being released this year, your nearest drive-in will be showing either a classic or slightly older movie. For this reason, many drive-ins are charging by the vehicle rather than by the person, making this summer the most affordable drive-in season in recent history.

With this in mind, we would like to gently remind you that your local drive-in owner sees very little of this carload fee, which mainly covers the cost of renting the rights to the film. Because of this, it’s a great idea to purchase your refreshments from the concession stand, since these refreshments are the revenue stream that funds the continued operation of the classic drive-in you love.

We have made note of pet-friendly locations, but please be aware that your dog must remain leashed. Each location has different rules for canine companions, so check the FAQ page for a complete list of expectations.


Stardust Drive-In Theatre
Watertown, TN
stardustdrivein.com

The Stardust Drive-In is open 7 nights a week for double features under the stars. Founded in 2003, this all-digital destination will stream clear audio directly to any FM stereo. 

Located in historic Watertown, the Stardust is situated mere minutes from eight of Middle Tennessee’s cities. Surrounded on one side by the beautiful trees for which our great state is famous, this beloved drive-in allows pets to join in and enjoy warm summer nights! 

The Stardust tends to draw a crowd, so be sure to arrive an hour before dusk to secure the best parking. Admission to the Starlight Double Feature is $8.50 per adult, while children 6 – 11 are $6.50, and children under 5 are welcome for free.

Enjoy concessions like funnel cake, candy, burgers, sandwiches, fries, pizza, hot dogs, nachos, and more (or purchase an off-site food pass for $8; guests with food allergies are not exempt).

Due to the current pandemic, extensive social distancing policies are in place indefinitely. For this reason, the owners require each party to remain fully within the confines of their allotted parking and picnic space. Thank you for your help in preventing further spread of COVID-19.


 

The Moonlite Drive-In
Woodbury, TN
themoonlite.com

Owned and operated by four generations of the same family, the Moonlite was founded to create a place where the community could gather and socialize. Despite the current restrictions on physical distance, the owners of the Moonlite have adapted, and are open, as usual, Spring through Fall, Friday – Sunday nights.   

It’s clear that the Moonlite was expertly designed; fencing prevents headlights from washing out the projection, and the audio is consistently clear over the strong FM signal. Located just 19 miles east of Murfreesboro, is popular thanks to its attention to detail and beautifully dark location, so please arrive early to ensure your spot.

Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for children 5+, and no charge for children under 5.

Pets are allowed, but they must remain in the vehicle at all times. 

On-site concessions include boneless buffalo wings, nachos, burgers, fries and tater wedges, pizza, funnel cake, ice cream, popcorn, and much more! While guests are welcome to bring their birthday cakes to celebrate under the stars, all other outside food will require the purchase of an $8.00 pass.

The Moonlite has designed safety protocols to protect the staff and the community from the COVID-19 pandemic. The owners are dedicated to providing safe, fun, affordable outings for the family, rain or shine.


 

Pink Cadillac Drive-In
Centerville, TN
pinkcadillacdrive-in.com

The Pink Cadillac is proudly a throwback to a simpler time. Cash only. Tickets are $9 for adults, while kids 12 and younger are welcome free of charge. Once inside, guests are welcome to stay for a double feature.

Enjoy excellent sound on the FM band. Relax—socially distanced, please—on the manicured grass, then enjoy the clarity of digital projection with all the nostalgia of yesteryear.

At the concession stand, choose from burgers, hot dogs, nachos, chili dogs, and an array of candies. Then, make sure your lights are off and enjoy the show!

The Pink Cadillac has instated social distancing guidelines which will remain in place until the spread of COVID-19 has ceased completely. The owners and staff thank you for your help in this endeavor.


 

Swingin' Midway Drive-In
Athens, TN
swinginmidwaydrivein.com

The Swingin’ Midway Drive-In welcomes you this summer. Purchased by new owners in January 2020, this newly remodeled location offers delicious food, crystal-clear sound, and a sharp, bright, digital view.

Pets are welcome.
 
In recognition of the classic movie selections available, each vehicle will be charged a flat rate of $12. The playground will remain closed as long as the current health concerns persist, so don’t be shy about setting up a picnic at your spot to help keep the little ones entertained until the show begins.

Hit up the concessions stand for burgers, sandwiches, hot dogs, BBQ, fries (loaded, seasoned, or plain), cheese sticks, onion rings, pizza (whole or by the slice), pretzels, plenty of candies, nachos, deep-fried Oreos, frozen desserts, and of course, popcorn!

Swingin’ Midway has created site-specific COVID-19 guidelines for the safety of the staff, guests, and owners. They thank you in advance for following all posted rules while visiting this location.


Hi-Way 50 Drive-In
Lewisburg, TN
hiway50.com

Nestled amongst a lush, densely wooded backdrop, the Hi-Way 50 Drive-In is open this summer for the flat rate of $10 per car. This fun and friendly drive-in offers an intimate experience under the clear skies of Lewisburg. A nod to days gone by, the location is both a chance to experience the classic drive-in for the first time, or take a step back to days you still miss.

Concessions include handmade burgers smothered in the house’s own cheese sauce, and if you’re feeling bold, they’ll toss some bacon on top, too. Lighter fare includes a grilled chicken sandwich on a whole wheat bun, but with fries, shrimp, pizza, chicken strips, shrimp, frozen treats, popcorn, candy, and even a fried Oreo sundae on the menu, you’re sure to find a delicious way to indulge.

Hi-Way 50 Drive-In is pet-friendly.

COVID-19 guidelines will be in place indefinitely. Guests should follow all posted rules when visiting.


 

Birdsong Drive-In Theater
Camden, TN
birdsongdrivein.com

For the flat rate of $10 per car, the Birdsong Drive-In invites you to enjoy double feature classics all summer long. Cards are accepted, but cash is preferred since it helps keep costs as low as possible! 

Escape the city at this lush, forest-bound spot, where the owners want to keep the classic feel of the drive-in alive while bringing in modern amenities along with a modern menu at the café.

Pets are permitted in outdoor spaces.

Meal options include burgers, nachos, hot dogs, pizza, popcorn, pretzels, and pickles. Save room for a sweet treat, whether you prefer classic candies or frozen confections.

COVID-19 guidelines are in place indefinitely. Thank you in advance for your help in keeping Camden safe.


 

Sparta Drive-In
Sparta, TN
spartadrivein.com

The Sparta Drive-In is beloved for being spacious, clean, and meticulously run, so it’s no surprise they’re back this summer without a hitch. Tickets are $7 per person for a double feature, and vouchers for outside food are $6.

The Sparta Drive-In is pet-friendly.

Concessions include burgers, fries, chili, grilled cheese or chicken sandwiches, onion rings, nachos, pickles, popcorn, snow cones, ice cream, and more!

Covid-19 guidelines are in place. The owners thank the community for your assistance as they strive to keep the theater open through dedication to health and safety.


 

Parkway Drive-In Theatre
Maryville, TN
parkwaydrivein.com

The Parkway Drive-In is proud to be open, dedicated to safety, and still offering double features Friday – Sunday. Admission is cash only: $8 for adults, $4 for children 5 – 12, and no charge for children under 4. 

Pets are welcome.

Concessions include burgers, sandwiches, hot dogs, fries, nachos, chicken nuggets, onion rings, chili, candy, ice cream, and popcorn.

This location is beloved for its high screens, excellent sound quality, and ample space for picnicking!

The owners value community health and safety and thusly appreciate your continued support as they adhere to strict COVID-19 guidelines.


 

Malco Summer Drive-In
Memphis, TN
malco.com

Malco Summer Drive-In is part of the Memphis-based Malco Theater empire, owned and operated by the Malco family for over a century - since 1915! While the indoor theaters are closed at this time, the Memphis Malco drive-in is open, offering the summer quartet’s famous double features for $18.22/carload. Tickets must be purchased online in advance.

Concessions include traditional theater snacks only: candy, popcorn, and sweet treats all beckon. Additionally, guests are also welcome to bring their own meals if they so desire.

Digital sound will stream to your FM radio, and you’ll have twice the space in your parking spot thanks to COVID-19 guidelines.


Do you plan to head out to the drive-in this summer? Leave a comment and let us know which of these outstanding locations you’ll be exploring, or which old favorite you can’t wait to revisit! 

Stay healthy, enjoy your summer, and take time to reconnect with your community in safe, properly distanced ways.

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