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Best Drive-In Movie Theaters In The Chicago Area

While there's something to be said for Chicago's IMAX theaters and movie venues that include food and drinks, sometimes the best trip to the movies includes some nostalgia. Drive-in movie theaters offer a glimpse into a simpler life, with the comfort and privacy of your own personal area. Whether you're taking the kids to the movies in their pajamas, bringing the family pet along for the ride or just looking for a change to the same old way of seeing a film; a drive-in movie can be just the ticket. Take advantage of the discounted prices and extra leg room by visiting some of the drive-in theaters located in and around the Chicago area. With drive-in theaters only operating during the warmer months of the year, Chicagoans know just how important it is to utilize the warm weather for some fun in the outdoors.
(Photo Credit: Cascade Drive-In's Facebook)

Cascade Drive-In
1100 E. North Ave.
West Chicago, IL 60185
(630) 231-3150

Cascade Drive-in is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays starting at 7 p.m. General admission tickets for adults is $10, children ages five through 11 are $5 and children under five are free. Sundays feature a bargain ticket price of $15 per carload upon request. The digital projection along with the stereo radio sound on 88.5 FM makes for high-quality picture and sound in the comfort of your car. There is a full service food concession and pets are welcome at no additional charge.

Route 66 Twin Drive In
(Photo Credit: Route 66 Twin Drive In's Facebook)

Route 66 Drive-In
1700 Knights Recreation Drive
Springfield, IL 62711
(217) 546-8881

General admission ticket prices are $7, children 12 and under are $4 and children under three are free of charge. There is a neighboring theme park adjacent to Route 66 Drive-In to make this venue a sought-after location for families with children. While the playground closes once the show starts, the food concession stand keeps families fed while being entertained. Instead of the same old concession stand foods offered at typical movie theaters, Route 66 Drive-In features everything from Dippin' Dots to pizza topped to order. The theater features two screens, showing all of the top movies you might expect to see at your local theater.

McHenry Outdoor Theater
1510 Chapel Hill Road
McHenry, IL 60050
(847) 362-3011

General admission ticket prices are $10, children 11 and under are $5 and senior or military are $5. Audio for the film can be heard through 89.9 FM radio station or through one of the authentic speakers that can be hung in the car window. McHenry Outdoor Theater allows for a full evening of fun, complete with an expanse of grass perfect for family fun. Patrons are encouraged to bring balls and frisbees to play before the show starts. The food concession stand offers a large variety of items, including glow bracelets and glow necklaces to keep the kids entertained.

rt. 34 drive-in
(Photo Credit: rt. 34 drive-in's Facebook group)

Route 34 Drive-In Theatre
4468 E. 12th Road
Earlville, IL 60518
(815) 246-9700

Located less than a two-hour drive from Chicago, Route 34 Drive-In Theatre will transport you back in time with the nostalgic feeling of what a drive-in movie theater should be like. Old school audio and projectile screenings combined with the newest releases found at your local movie theater makes for a great trip to the movies without ever having to leave your car. General admission ticket prices are $8 for those of 13 years of age and older, seniors are $7, children between the ages of five and 12 are $6 and children under 5 are free. It is only open on weekends and starts with the 7 p.m. show at Dusk. Make sure to bring cash when you come because no checks or credit cards are accepted.

Related: Best Parks To Walk Your Dog In Chicago

Sara Lugardo is a professional writer out of Chicago, Illinois. She has a Bachelor's in Communication and is currently working on her Master's. Her work can be found on


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