Illinois Drive-In Movie Theaters

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Illinois residents can enjoy the outdoor moviegoing experience at one of the 11 drive-in theaters remaining in the state. They offer a mix of new releases and classic movies and some offer double features.  
Illinois isn’t exactly known for its drive-in movie theaters, but that doesn’t mean you can’t spend a warm summer night watching a movie from the comfort of your car. Find which drive-in is closest to you with this helpful guide from car insurance comparison and broker app Jerry
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Route 34 Drive-In Theater

Address: 4469 E 12th Rd, Earlville
Schedule: Opens at 6:30  and show starts at 7:15. Opened April through October. 
Ticket prices: $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, $7 for children 
Number of screens: 1
Pet-friendly? Yes
Route 34 Drive-In Theater offers all grass ramps and cartoons and previews before the features begin. There is only one screen, which is closed from November to March. 

Movies

Route 34 Drive-In Theater typically plays new releases. They have double features with a short intermission. If you aren’t into the first movie, you can play a game of pool or enjoy food cooked to order from their menu. 
Trucks and SUVs should consider parking near the back of the lot as to not block the view of moviegoers parked behind them. 
You are not permitted to bring outside alcohol or glass bottles. Anyone found in possession of these items will be removed from the theater without a refund. All underage drinking will be reported.

How to hear the movie

Tune into 87.9FM on your car radio to listen to the movie. If your car doesn’t have an FM option, or you don’t want to drain the battery, you can bring a portable stereo with speakers

Snacks

Route 34 Drive-In Theater tries to make everything cooked to order. You can enjoy a tub of popcorn with real butter, many of your favorite classic movie snacks, or other food items that they sell. 
Outside food of any kind is prohibited.
Pro tip This drive-in theater is cash only—no credit cards or debit cards. Make sure you bring enough cash in case you want that extra soda or get hungry during the second movie of the double feature. 
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Harvest Moon Drive-In Theater

Address: 1175 South Sangamon Avenue, Gibson City, Illinois 60936
Schedule: Only open on Fridays and Saturdays. All movies begin at dusk once it is dark enough to see them. Rain or shine.
Ticket prices: $8 for 12 and older, $7 for ages 4-11, children under 4 are free
Number of screens: 2
Pet-friendly? Yes, but animals must be on a leash and you are required to clean up after them
Opening in 1954, the Harvest Moon Twin Drive-in has been in operation for 68 years. Founders Clifford and Joyce Orr are somewhat credited with starting the tradition of watching outdoor movies in Illinois. 
While this drive-in has experienced closures over the decades (and was almost demolished), it has been able to withstand the changing industry from multiplexes and video stores to streaming services.
In 2020, Harvest Moon switched gears to offer events services for graduations, religious services, weddings, private events, and corporate events. To offset the delay of many new releases, the theater staff programmed screenings of fan favorites and some classics. They even hosted several live concerts.

Movies

Harvest Moon plays a mix of new releases and older movies. They sometimes play double features with an intermission. The intermission may be canceled if the weather is bad.
Movies play in all weather conditions, including rain, storms, and snow. Icy roads, heavy snow, and severe weather are the only conditions that would warrant the cancellation of a screening. 

How to hear the movie

You can listen to the movie via an FM radio in your car. If you are concerned about draining your car battery, you can bring a battery-powered, portable FM radio. There is no smartphone or tablet app unless the device has an FM antenna. 

Snacks

Harvest Moon now allows moviegoers to grill on theater property. They ask anyone looking to grill or bring their own food to purchase a food permit. The price for a food permit depends on what event you are attending (movie, double feature, concert, etc.). Grilling may be prohibited for safety reasons, mainly if it’s too windy or if a fire warning is issued.

Drive N Theatre 

Address: 16045 IL-33, Newton, IL 62448
Schedule: Operates seasonally from April to September, Fridays and Saturdays only (rain or shine)
Ticket prices: $8 for 13 and up, $5 for 4-12 years, 3 years old and under are free
Number of screens: 1
Pet-friendly? Yes, but they must be kept on a leash and cleaned up after
This drive-in theater opened in 1953 in a cornfield as the Fairview Drive-in. It had one screen and could hold 250 cars. Enhancements were made in 2015, including a digital cinema projector and new concessions.
The Fairview Drive-in, now the Drive ‘N Theater, was once considered to be the most remote drive-in movie theater in Illinois.

Movies

The Drive N Theater has one screen. They play both new releases and older popular movies as either single or double features.
Last season, some of the movies included No Time to Die, Beetlejuice, Jungle Cruise, Black Widow, Halloween Kills, Cruella, and The Wizard of Oz, to name a few. They even do fun interactive things like having someone dressed as Michael Myers appear at a screening for Halloween Kills. 
Trucks, SUVs, and hatchback vehicles must park on the end rows or in the back rows. Don’t forget that headlights must be turned off the entire time. 

How to hear the movie

All you need is an FM radio tuned to 88.7. 
If your car battery dies, visit the concession stand and they will assist you with their portable jumper cables.

Snacks

The new concession building offers an expanded menu. They also operate a grill every Friday and Saturday. 
You must buy a food permit if you want to bring in your own food and drinks. They do accept credit cards (processing fees will apply to every transaction).
They do not serve alcohol. If you are of legal age, you are allowed to bring your own alcohol. Remember, this is a drive-in, so drink responsibility 

How to find affordable car insurance

During the next slow part of the movie you’re watching—c’mon every movie has them—review your car insurance rate to make sure you’re not overpaying (here’s a hint: you probably are).
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FAQs

As of 2022, there are 11 operating drive-in movie theaters throughout Illinois.
No. What you can do is run your car for a few minutes after you park. This will make sure that the battery has enough power to last for the whole movie. If your battery dies, a fellow moviegoer or the theatre staff can help you jumpstart it.
Most drive-in theaters continue to show movies in the rain. The only exception is if the weather is severe. Always confirm that a theatre is open by checking their website or calling before you leave.

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