Minnesota Drive-In Movie Theaters

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There are six drive-in movie theaters in Minnesota that open up each summer, thrilling audiences across the North Star State. One of them even lets you sleepover after the movie!
Generations of Minnesotans have taken advantage of the warmer summer months by lounging beneath the stars at a drive-in movie. Between the classic snacks, fresh air, cheap tickets, and good company, there’s nothing like watching the latest blockbuster from your car. 
Below, the car insurance comparison app Jerry has put together a guide to six Minnesota drive-in movie theaters that you should visit next summer. Grab your popcorn and settle in for what is sure to be a great experience. 

Vali-Hi Drive-In Theater

Address: 11260 Hudson Blvd N, Lake Elmo, MN 55042
Schedule: Open April to September, 7 nights a week, rain or shine
Ticket prices: $10.00 for general admission, $1.00 for kids ages 6 to 12, free for kids under 6 (cash or check only, ATM available)
Number of screens: 1
Pet-friendly?: No
Located about 20 minutes away from St. Paul, the Vali-Hi Drive-In has been popular with residents of the Twin Cities Metro area since it first opened in 1966. 

Movies

At Vali-Hi, you can watch two to three movies per night, and the first feature is typically more family-oriented. Most people park facing away from the screen so that you can watch the movie while lying down in the back of your car, truck bed, or even on the roof of your car.
During summer weekends, lines of cars regularly get backed up for miles. Vali-Hi regulars recommend arriving several hours before showtime to secure a good spot, eat, play games, and be merry. Although the sunset time changes throughout the season, the movies typically don’t start until about 9 pm, so the pre-show tailgating, grilling, and socializing are a big part of the fun.

How to hear the movie

You can listen to the movie using stereo sound, although not all parking spots offer this option. You can also tune your portable or car radio to 90.1 FM.

Snacks

The concession stand sells traditional movie snacks like popcorn and candy, but the Vali-Hi is most well-known for its $1.00 Armour hot dogs sold every night.
You can bring your own food and beverages, but deliveries from outside vendors are not allowed.

Sky-Vu Drive-In Theatre

Address: 34914 State Highway 1 West, Warren, MN 56762
Schedule: Open April through September, 7 nights a week
Ticket prices: $9.00 for general admission, $6.00 for kids over 2, free for kids under 2; $2.00 discount for Altru and Military members
Number of screens: 1
Pet-friendly?: Yes. The Sky-Vu has been known to host some unusual pets, including a kangaroo!
Located in the northwestern corner of the state, just across the border from North Dakota, the Sky-Vu Drive-In was established in the 1950s. Its current owner, Leonard Novak, has been in charge since the ‘70s. He still mans the ticket booth at the entrance, while the rest of the family helps out with the other operations.

Movies

The Sky-Vu projects two films per night, a mix of new releases and classics. Showtimes change throughout the summer as sunset gets later and later.
You can watch from your car or bring lawn chairs, blankets, or even a couch for ultimate comfort.

How to hear the movie

You’ll need access to an FM radio to hear the movie.

Snacks

Leonard’s son Steve (“The Beav”) runs the snack bar, offering popcorn, cotton candy, chili cheese dogs, and barbecue sandwiches—along with thin-crust pizza made fresh at Beaver’s Cafe in Minto, ND and is delivered to the Sky-Vu every night. 
Plus, there are free refills on slushies and pop!
Pro Tip Don’t forget to sign your name on the graffiti wall outside the snack bar.
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Verne Drive-In Theater

Address: 1607 S Kniss Ave, Luverne, MN 56156
Schedule: Open April/May through September/October, 7 nights a week, rain or shine
Ticket prices: $7.00 for general admission, free for kids under 6
Number of screens: 1
Pet-friendly?: Yes, as long as your pet is well-behaved, quiet, and on a leash.
The Verne Drive-In Theater first opened in the 1950s, when general admission tickets only cost 60 cents. Although prices have increased a bit since then, $7 tickets are still a steal for a double feature at this venue. The theater closed in 1988, reopened in 2000, and changed ownership in 2020. 

Movies

The Verne Drive-In shows two movies per night. The first one starts at dusk, which changes throughout the summer. You can find the opening times for the week posted on the theater's Facebook page
The feature films tend to be newer releases, although the Verne Drive-In also projects throwback favorites every now and then.
Smaller cars can park in the first two rows, but SUVs and trucks aren’t allowed in front of the third row. If you want to sit in the back of your car with the trunk or hatchback open, you’ll need to stay at the back of the lot, near the concession stand, so that you don’t block anyone’s view.  

How to hear the movie

Tune your car radio or boom box to 91.5 FM. You can also get a portable radio from the concession stand.

Snacks

The Verne Drive-In Theater offers a full menu of traditional movie snacks, along with pickles, pork shanks, frozen grapes, and more!

Long Drive-In Theatre

Address: 24257 Riverside Drive, Long Prairie, MN 56347
Schedule: Open summers, Friday through Sunday, rain or shine
Ticket prices: $8.00 for general admission, $4.00 for kids ages 6 to 11, free for kids under 6 (cash or check only)
Number of screens: 1
Pet-friendly?: Yes, but not in the concession line (unless it’s a service animal)
Established in 1956, the Long Drive-In Theatre is located smack-dab in the middle of Minnesota. But don’t worry about driving home late at night—at this drive-in theater, you can camp out after the movie! For an added cost, you can pitch a tent ($10.00) or park your RV ($18.00) onsite before you retire for the night.
Besides movies, the Long Drive-In also hosts concerts, Halloween celebrations, and an annual classic car cruise.

Movies

The Long Drive-In has a double feature every night, and your ticket covers admission to both movies. Be sure to arrive before nightfall to see both films.
You can watch from your car, blanket, or lawn chair. Overnight guests can also enjoy the movie from a tent or RV, although reservations will need to be made in advance via email. Camping spots tend to get booked, so you’ll want to plan accordingly.

How to hear the movie

Tune your radio to 88.5 FM to enjoy the show.

Snacks

At the Long Drive-In, you can snack on a wide variety of candy, as well as popcorn, ice cream treats, nachos, hot dogs, or even a taco in a bag—you’ll have to visit to find out what that one means!
Outside food is not allowed during regular hours.

Starlite Drive-In

Address: 28264 MN-22, Litchfield, MN 55355
Schedule: Open April through September, 7 nights a week, rain or shine
Ticket prices: $8.00 for general admission, $4.00 for kids ages 5 to 12, free for kids under 5
Number of screens: 2
Pet-friendly?: Yes, as long as they are on a leash. Pets are not allowed in the playground area, snack bar, or restrooms except for service animals.
After first opening in 1955, the Starlite Drive-In Theater experienced a couple of decades of success before closing for 16 years. In the late ‘90s, it was purchased, restored, and reopened. The current owner took over in 2015.

Movies

The Starlite features two different screens, each showing a double feature. Their programming usually includes the newest releases, with some classics sprinkled in for good measure. You will need to pick the screen you want to watch when you buy your ticket, and switching screens is prohibited.

How to hear the movie

You can hear the movie by tuning a portable radio or your car’s FM radio. Loaner radios are not available, so make sure your radio works before you arrive!

Snacks

You’ll find typical movie theater snacks for sale, including popcorn, nachos, and hot dogs. Outside food and drinks are not allowed.
Pro Tip Because the Starlite is surrounded by farmland, mosquitoes will likely be joining the audience for the feature. It’s a good idea to bring repellant or a citronella candle.

Elko Drive-In Theater

Address: 26350 France Ave, Elko New Market, MN 55020
Schedule: Open May through September, Thursday through Sunday, rain or shine
Ticket prices: $10.00 for general admission, $5.00 for kids ages 4 to 12, free for kids under 4
Number of screens: 1
Pet-friendly?: No (except for service animals)
Located about 30 minutes away from Minneapolis, the Elko Drive-In Theater is located at the Elko Speedway. It was only opened in 2014, so it’s much newer than any of the other venues on this list. 

Movies

The Elko Drive-In shows one movie per night, starting after sunset. On Saturdays, the movie starts 20 minutes after the end of the last race. 
All the latest theatrical releases are shown using digital projection.

How to hear the movie

Tune your car radio or handheld radio to 89.1 FM.

Snacks

The Elko Drive-In sells popcorn and candy, but you are allowed to bring your own food for barbecuing, picnicking, or tailgating before the movie. You can’t bring alcoholic beverages onto the site, but the concession stand sells beer and other beverages. 

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You’ll spend a lot of quality time with your car when you go to a drive-in movie. Make sure you’re taking care of your vehicle (and your wallet) by shopping for the best car insurance in Minnesota at the lowest rate using the Jerry app.
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FAQs

There are six drive-in movie theaters still operating in Minnesota as of 2021.
No, you do not have to leave the whole car on during the whole movie. If you’re listening to the movie through your car radio, let the car run for a while before you turn the engine off, which will prompt the alternator to charge up the battery. This should help prevent the battery from running out of juice during the movie.
It depends on the theater, but just about every spot on this list plays rain or shine. Of course, particularly severe weather could lead to a closure, so it’s always a good idea to call ahead if you’re unsure.

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