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21 Outdoor Movies and Drive-ins in the NYC Area

21 Outdoor Movies and Drive-ins in the NYC Area

The absence of traditional movie theaters this summer is bringing back an old trend: drive ins and outdoor movies in NYC.


Updated July 23: 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.) 

RELATED: Everything You Need to Know About Safe Summer Fun as New York Reopens

Outdoor Movies in New York City

Uptown Drive-In Experience at Yankee Stadium, The Bronx

From the folks who brought us the Bronx Night Market and the Bronx Beer Fest comes a drive-in festival with live performances, movies, and (mostly Bronx-located) food vendors which will open in parking lots around Yankee Stadium this summer. The “socially distancing playground” will feature both family-friendly brunch and date-nights. Sign up for more information and to get on a waitlist here

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

Bay Terrace Shopping Center, Bay Terrace, Queens

Bay Terrace Shopping Center is kicking off a series of drive-in movies on June 19, presented with Cord Meyer Development, the Queens Chamber of Commerce, and Movies in the Moonlight. The first screening was Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. Visit the website for updates on upcoming screenings.

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 and opens on Thursday, July 30 at York College Performing Arts Center. Movies will be shown on giant inflatable, hi-def screens and sound will be played through your car radio. There will be two showings per night, highlighting Black American films like Belly.

  • Thursday, July 30: Girl's Trip at 8pm
  • Thursday, July 30: Training Day at 11pm
  • Friday, July 31: Minions at 8pm
  • Friday, July 31: Belly at 11pm
  • Saturday, Aug. 1: Sonic the Hedgehog at 8pm
  • Saturday, Aug. 1: Harlem Nights at 11pm
  • Sunday, Aug. 2: Trolls at 8pm
  • Sunday, Aug. 2: Transformers at 11pm

 

Outdoor Movies on Long Island

Commonpoint QueensGreat Neck

With the help of its sponsor Flushing Bank, Commonpoint Queens' next Summer Drive-In Movie Night will be on Aug. 16 at Leonard's Palazzo in Great Neck. Each car will be $35 per screening ($60 for both) and tickets must be purchased in advanced and all proceeds will go towards the Commonpoint Queens Food Pantry to help provide fresh groceries and hot meals for seniors and community members in need. 

  • The Sandlot: 8:30pm, doors open at 7:30pm.
  • Grease: 11pm, doors open at 10:15pm.

Spots for both screenings are first-come-first served. Hot food that will be served includes hamburgers ($5), hot dogs ($4), hot pretzels ($3), caramel stuffed churros ($4), fresh popcorn ($3), cotton candy ($3) and drinks for sale by Leonard's Palazzo.

Coach Meeting House, Oyster Bay

This drive-in theater launched on May 16 with a sold-out showing of The Goonies. Viewers can order food from the restaurant’s full menu to be delivered to their cars. Visit the website for updates on upcoming screenings.

Thyme, Roslyn Village



Your reservation will include entry for one car and a 3-course dinner for two guests. Some upcoming screenings include Good Will Hunting, Singin' in the Rain, The Shawshank Redemption, Ratatouille, and La La Land. Visit the website for updates on upcoming screenings.

Pop Up Drive In, Sayville

In Sayville, where the hamlet's movie theater remains closed due to the pandemic, a pop-up drive-in is set to open at a still-undisclosed location.

The Great Neck Park District, Kings Point and Great Neck

This brand-new drive-in movie series will take place at either Kings Point Park (Redbrook Side) or Allenwood Park. Cars will be 10-15 feet apart and no food or beverages will be sold at the event, though restrooms will be available.

The Town of North Hempstead, Port Washington and New Hyde Park

Throughout the summer, screenings will take place on Saturdays and Sunday evenings at parks in Port Washington and New Hyde Park, where social distancing protocols will be enforced. There won’t be any food for sale, but residents are encouraged to bring their own snacks, and there will be public restrooms available. Registration for the screenings is required.

  • Saturday, July 25: Space Jam - North Hempstead Beach Park - North Lot, Port Washington

The NYCB Live, home of the Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale

Nassau Coliseum's drive-in series this summer began on May 29 with Trolls. The screenings will happen Friday (7pm), as well as Saturday and Sunday (4pm and 7pm) in the Ford parking lot on a LED wall facing Hempstead turnpike. Food trucks (Mister Softee and The Big Cheese) will provide refreshments and all guests will be asked to wear a mask when out of their cars. The lot will open 60 minutes before the film.

Patchogue Theater of the Performing Arts, Patchogue

Patchogue is also getting in on the trend. Their brand new drive-in, behind the Patchogue Theater of the Performing Arts, launched June 5th with a showing of Space Jam. They encourage everyone to bring their own food but provide Porta Potty restrooms. Find more information and upcoming schedules on their website.

MOVIE LOT at the Smith Haven MallLake Grove

MOVIE LOT is a pop-up drive-in movie experience at the Smith Haven Mall focusing on family-friendly films. Nearly 2,000 cars have attended since its launch in May.

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. The upcoming schedule is:

  • Thursday, July 23: The Incredibles
  • Friday, July 24: Jaws
  • Saturday, July 25: Jaws
  • Sunday, July 26: Jaws
  • Tuesday, July 28: Death Becomes Her
  • Wednesday, July 29: Willy Wonka 1971
  • Thursday, July 30: Grease
  • Friday, July 31: Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • Saturday, Aug. 1: Raiders of the Lost Ark
  • Sunday, August 2: Newsies
     

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. 

RELATED: Sun Exposure and Sunscreen Guide for Kids

Outdoor Movies in Westchester

Playland Amusement Park, Rye

The parking lot will be turned into a dive-in theater for two Friday evenings (July 31 and Aug. 7). Films will be for families as a way to encourage people to get out of the house. Admission is $20 per car and there will be limited capacity to maintain social distancing.

  • Friday. July 31: Aladdin. Tickets go on sale at 2pm Wednesday at this link
  • Friday, Aug. 7: Dolittle. Tickets go on sale at 2pm on Wednesday, July 29.
     

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.

Main image courtesy Skyline Drive-In NYC

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Shana Liebman

Author:

Shana Liebman is the features editor of NYMP. She’s a writer and editor who has worked for magazines including New York MagazineSalon, and Travel & Leisure—and she is the mom of two energetic little boys.

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