If you went to a drive-in movie last summer for the first time in decades — join the club. A lot of us, during those long months where multiplexes were closed, discovered the pleasures of watching movies from our cars.
Local drive-ins — both long-established businesses and recent pop-ups — had a banner year in 2020. “Our business changed tremendously,” said Dorothea Mayes, owner of the Skyline Drive-In Theater in Shelton (open since 1964). Not only did she find a much wider audience for outdoor screenings, but she had to scramble to coordinate increased demand for movies alongside requests to use the space for private rentals: parties, graduations, dance recitals, even a prom. Even now, at a time traditionally slow for drive-ins, “I’m busier than a worm on a hot rock!” she said.
Though the Skyline normally closes in late September, in 2020 it was open for Halloween — and Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Mayes said she had to install heaters at the concessions area, something not typically needed. “Normally a drive-in is a six-months-of-the-year operation, that’s the traditional way,” she said. “That is not what happened last year, and not what’s happening right now.”
Summer is still many weeks away, but local drive-ins are already open, with surely more to come as the weather gets warmer. Here’s where you can watch a movie — from a Hollywood blockbuster to an artful short film — from the driver’s seat; note that most are currently open on weekends only, and all encourage advance purchases of tickets.
In King County
Outdoor Movies at Marymoor Park
6046 W. Lake Sammamish Parkway N.E., Redmond; epiceap.com/movies-at-marymoor/. $30 per carload. Currently screening movies Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday, through June 24; titles include “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” (May 4), “Jumanji: The Next Level” (May 5), and “Zootopia” (May 6).
On the Boards
100 W. Roy St., Seattle; ontheboards.org. Tickets $20-$60. Co-presented by On the Boards and the Henry Art Gallery, this is a selection of short films from artists around the world; showing Saturdays through May 15.
Skyline Drive-In Theater
182 S.E. Brewer Road, Shelton; 360-426-4707; skylinedrive-in.com. $8 per person (12 and up).
7369 Highway 3 S.W., Bremerton; 360-698-6030; rodeodrivein.com. $10 per person ($7 ages 55 and up).
Blue Fox Drive-In Theater
1403 N. Monroe Landing Road, Oak Harbor; 360-675-5667; bluefoxdrivein.com. $7 per person (11 and up).
Wheel-In Motor Movie Drive-In
210 Theatre Road, Port Townsend; 360-385-0859; ptwheelinmotormovie.com. $9 per person.