Movies are, for many, a way to escape the trials of everyday life, unwind, and immerse themselves entirely. They make us laugh, cry, scream, and think, and finishing a great movie can be a bittersweet experience. However, even the most avid movie watchers tend to agree — watching them on a big screen is a completely different experience than enjoying them on your phone or desktop.
And what better way to enjoy a movie than under a starry night sky? There’s a certain experience drive-in theatres provide that not much else can. They evoke a feeling of nostalgia for those that enjoyed them when they were more prevalent and the comfort of watching a movie in the open from a car for those that haven’t.
But even though they aren’t as widespread as they once were, they still live in South Dakota. Here are six of them that withstood the test of time and still operate to this day.
Founded by Harvey Fast in 1950, the drive-in is soon to turn 70. It operates from June to August, allowing visitors to enjoy a few movies each night. The owner sadly left this world in 2004, but his family is more than willing to keep his legacy running.
The screen managed to get through a tornado and has increased in size throughout its history. You can visit the drive-in at 27865 317th Ave, on the outskirts of Winner.
The huge drive-in area welcomes a crowd larger than most cinemas do. In fact, up to 350 cars can fit into the showing area. Formerly named Mobridge Drive-in, it rebranded since it had to change location due to floods from Lake Oahe.
The theater operates from May to September on weekdays and is located on the western margins of Mobridge. The exact location is 1600 20th St. W., so get there and have a blast!
The city of Gregory is home to the longest-surviving drive-in in South Dakota. Since 1946, the 240-car drive-in has been wowing its visitors with amazing movies. Hilltop can be found at 33575 Highway 18, on the western outskirts of the town, and visitors can enjoy movies from May to October.
Roy’s Black Hills Twin Drive-in
While the rest of the locations on our list are vintage, Roy’s was opened in the current century. It boasts two giant screens as well as snacks for those who enjoy them while watching movies. It opens in May and closes in September and has showings every day of the week.
It’s located in Hermosa’s edge, 18 miles away from Rapid City, and the exact address is Highway 79 at 810 Tenaya St.
While the driveway might be the smallest among the ones in South Dakota, it offers different commodities to make up for it. Its staff are extremely pleasant. Also, you can buy a season pass that you can use for the entire summer.
It operates from Monday to Friday, from May to September. It’s in the town of Miller, at 19808 Rainbow Ranch Place.
Pheasant City Drive-in
Another oldie, this drive-in opened in 1953. Since then, it has been showing movies nearly every weekend, with exceptions in special cases, of course. It has the capacity to hold 200 cars and can be found at 17230 HIghway 281.