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13 Outdoor Movies and Drive-ins in the NYC Area

13 Outdoor Movies and Drive-ins in the NYC Area

The absence of traditional movie theaters brought back an old trend: drive ins and outdoor movies in NYC.

UPDATED Jan. 21, 2021: Outdoor movies have long been a summer passion for New Yorkers, with crowds annually flocking to places like Bryant Park and Brooklyn’s Rooftop Films. This year, however, with indoor theaters closed since March due to Coronavirus restrictions, New Yorkers are more eager than ever for outdoor (socially distanced, of course) theater. Now that Cuomo is allowing drive-ins, the options for outdoor movies are multiplying all over NYC, Long Island, New Jersey, and upstate New York: Restaurants are transforming their parking lots and drive-in relics are adding extra screens. It’s setting up to be the summer of outdoor film because, well, who doesn’t need a break from their couch? 

Tips for the Best Outdoor Movie NYC Experience

  • Bring blankets and pillows to make the car comfortable.
  • Bring your own snacks and drinks to avoid long lines or contact with others. 
  • Go early—these events will be crowded, and you want a good parking spot with a prime view. 
  • Bring something for the kids to do (books, games, drawing supplies or a screen) while you wait for the film.
  • Bring small flashlights, especially for kids, for finding the restroom after dark. 
  • Know how to turn your lights off both inside and outside the car (especially if you plan to have a door or hatch open during the film.) 

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Outdoor Movies in New York City

The Bel Aire Diner, Astoria, Queens

This beloved 55-year-old Astoria diner has transformed itself (and its parking lot) into a drive-in—and tickets are selling like crazy. Forty cars at a time are permitted and customers can order online their grilled cheese and other diner staples—which are then delivered to their cars. In addition to movies, it will also be hosting trivia nights and comedy shows. Tickets are sold on the website and you can keep up with event updates on its Instagram.

Drive-in Experience, Radial Park

Radial Park is an interactive, outdoor, theatrical experience from the safety of your car, located in Astoria, Queens.

Skyline Drive-In, Greenpoint, Brooklyn

This outdoor theater is a drive-in movie experience with a stunning view of the Manhattan skyline. Visit the Skyline Drive-In website and pick the movie you want to see and you can listen to the movie's sound through your car's stereo or via Skyline Drive-In's rentable radio. You can bring your own chair or rent one if you don't have a car. 

Movies in Your Car, Jamaica, Queens
This Black-owned, re-imaged drive-in theater is brought to you by Bounce Playground. Movies will be shown on giant inflatable, hi-def screens and sound will be played through your car radio. There are currently no scheduled screenings.

Floating Cinema

This unique cinema on the water is coming to New York on Friday, Jan. 1 for one week only. The cinema will be made up of 12-24 mini boats, each holding 8 people. Tickets will require you purchase the whole boat so the groups are of friends and family only to allow for social distancing. Movies will be a mix of golden oldies and new releases. You can sign up to be the first to hear about ticket sales.

The Queens Drive-InNew York Hall of Science, Corona

The Queens Drive-In is located at the New York Hall of Science in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, presented by Rooftop Films, Museum of the Moving Image, and NYSCI. Upcoming films include:

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Outdoor Movies on Long Island

MOVIE LOT at the Smith Haven MallLake Grove

There are currently no scheduled screenings at this time, but you can register on the drive-in's website to get announcements sent to you. 

The GatewayBellport

This drive-in movie series is projected on one of the largest screens on Long Island. Movies are shown six nights a week. Movies all begin at 9pm and it is $35 per car. The movie audio is available through FM radio. 

RELATED: Chelsea Market Opens with Outdoor Dining and Shopping

Outdoor Movies in New Jersey 

The Delsea Drive, Delsea

This popular drive-in was once the only one in New Jersey. 

Demarest Farms, Demarest

This market in Bergen County is showing movies every Wednesday through Saturday night. Concessions will be sold from a stand. 

Boxcar Movie Theater, Various locations

This outdoor movie theater also just opened with screens in Franklin Lakes, Montville, Madison, Boonton Township, and Bernardsville and is partnering with local restaurants to provide car-side delivery of dinner specials and snacks. You can sign up on the site to receive notifications of upcoming screenings.

Ramsey Theatre, Ramsey

Ramsey Theatre's drive in movies are located at the Eric S. Smith School.

Outdoor Movies in Upstate New York

Warwick Drive-In, Warwick

This upstate staple now has several screens—along with some new restrictions. Masks are required when out of the car and the snack bar only sells pre-packaged food. The New York Times wrote about its packed opening night when despite the rainstorm, attendees were thrilled to be out of their homes and saw hope for a return to normalcy.

The Four Brothers Drive-In, Amenia

Four Brothers Pizza has their own drive-in theater which now shows new releases, throwback classes and a few indie films every day of the week. “We bring people together in a responsible way where they can enjoy themselves in dim times,” says the owner John Stephanapolous. Covid19 restrictions will be observed but movie-goers will be able to order the restaurant’s pizza and Greek specials from their cars. For more showtimes visit the Four Brothers website.

Main image courtesy Skyline Drive-In NYC

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