South Dakota Drive-In Theaters

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For a trip back in time, consider visiting one of the seven best South Dakota drive-in movie theaters. The state's best drive-ins are open seasonally, showing brand-new films in an old-timey setting.
Are you interested in spending an evening at a South Dakota drive-in movie theater? The car insurance comparison and broker app Jerry has put together this guide to the best drive-in theaters in the Mount Rushmore State.
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Pheasant City Drive-In Theatre

Address: 17230 US-281, Redfield, SD 57469
Schedule: Open seasonally, spring through fall
Ticket prices: $7 general admission (cash and checks only), free for kids 11 and under
Pet-friendly? Yes, but they must be leashed
Number of screens: 1
The Pheasant City Drive-In Theatre has been welcoming movie-goers since 1953 when it was known as the Sioux Drive-In. The drive-in's current owners, Dave and Stacey Marlow, purchased the theater in 2014 and converted it to digital. Its first digital screening was of The Amazing Spiderman 2.
Find this theater a mile north of Redfield along Highway 281. Located about 40 minutes from Aberdeen, the theater features South Dakota's first and only drive-in laser projector. Guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets for a comfy experience.

Movies

The theater plays films after dusk from spring to fall. You can usually catch new releases at Pheasant City, though the theater sometimes plays older classics. When Pheasant City is open for the season, you can check its Facebook page to see what's playing.
Attendees should note that coolers aren't allowed. Remember to dim your lights when entering the lot, and do not brake while parked. If you bring chairs and blankets, set them up either in front of or behind your car—not to the side.

How to hear the movie

Tune your radio to 90.3 FM.

Snacks

Enjoy a stocked concession stand at the Pheasant City Drive-In. Popular items include nachos, hot dogs, pizza, large dill pickles, and ice cream.
Pro Tip You’ll need cash or checks for Pheasant City's ticket booth, but you can pay with your credit card (Visa, Mastercard, or Discover) at the concession stand.

Pheasant Drive-In 

Address: 1600 20th Street West, Mobridge, SD 57601
Schedule: Open seasonally, May through September
Ticket prices: $5 general admission (cash only), free for kids 12 and under
Number of screens: 1
Although it sounds similar to the drive-in theater in Redfield, the Pheasant Drive-In is located in Mobridge, along the banks of the Missouri River. It was originally built in 1953, but it moved to its current location in 1960. In 2014, this drive-in adopted a digital projector.
Besides showing movies, the Pheasant Drive-In sometimes hosts special events like concerts.

Movies

The Pheasant Drive-In typically plays the newest blockbusters, and there are occasionally double features. You can find out what’s playing by checking the Facebook page or calling the theater and listening to the automated message.

How to hear the movie

There are a limited number of speakers available, so you’ll have to arrive early in order to park next to one. Otherwise, you can listen to the movie by tuning your radio to 105.5 FM or 530 AM.

Snacks

The concession stand sells popcorn, candy, snow cones, and even homemade barbecue.
Pro Tip Don’t forget to bring repellant to keep away the bugs!

Midway Drive-In

Address: 19808 Rainbow Ranch Pl, Miller, SD 57362
Schedule: Open seasonally, spring through fall
Ticket prices: $8 general admission, free for kids 12 and under (with adult supervision)
Number of screens: 1
The family-owned and operated Midway Drive-In first came on the scene in 1963, and it's been screening films every summer since. Five years after the theater's opening, winds from a summer storm blew down Midway's screen. However, the screen was quickly rebuilt, and the drive-in has persisted.
Midway Drive-In got its name because the theater is located "midway" between Miller and St. Lawrence, South Dakota. During its operating season, you can count on Midway to play movies in just about any weather except tornadoes.

Movies

Midway typically plays new releases. You can stay up to date on what's screening via the theater's Facebook page.
The concession stand opens at 8 p.m., but the movie's start time varies each night. Several factors contribute to the varying start times, including weather, the number of cars still entering the theater, and the darkness level of the film’s opening scene. 
As a rule, however, expect the movie to start half an hour after sunset.

How to hear the movie

You will need an FM radio to hear the movie at Midway Drive-In.

Snacks

Expect all the basics from Midway's concessions: barbecue, pizza, nachos, and hot pretzels. If you have a sweet tooth, you can choose from a selection of candies and ice creams. The concession stand serves Coca-Cola products as well.

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FAQs

Seven drive-ins are operational in South Dakota: Pheasant City Drive-In, Winner Drive-In Theater, Roy's Black Hills Twins Drive-In, Midway Drive-In, Starlite Drive-In Theatre, Pheasant Drive-In, and Hilltop Drive-Inn Theatre.
Most modern movie releases require digital equipment for screening, and many drive-in theaters in the U.S. closed because they could not afford to purchase this equipment.
Not necessarily, but you probably shouldn't leave your car running during the movie. This wastes gas and can be inconsiderate to other drive-in guests. If you're worried about your car's battery dying while its FM radio is playing with the engine off, consider bringing a portable radio instead.

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