The Best Drive-In Theaters Near Cincinnati

Drive-in theaters may have hit a peak in the 1950s but when you combine the need to socially distance with the era of “what’s old is new again”, drive-in movie theaters are making a real comeback.

It’s hard to beat this outdoor theater option when it comes to family entertainment for a great price. Not only is the drive-in movie a great deal, it’s also the perfect socially distanced way to see a new flick.

Popcorn in concession stand container with a theater ticket

Pack up the car and enjoy a drive-in movie this summer! Take your pick of movies as we have four spots for drive-in theaters to choose from, all located within about an hour from Cincinnati, Ohio.

Starlite Drive-In

Located in Amelia, Ohio, this drive-in theater has been in business since 1947! Pull up to your spot, tune into 90.7 FM, and enjoy back-to-back movies on their giant screen (digital projection). You can bring your own chairs or a blanket to sit outside as long as you stay in front of your car.

Opening for the 2020 Season: May 1, 2020.

Showtimes: Starlite Drive-In is open Friday through Sunday. The box office opens at 6:30pm. The first movie starts at 8:45pm.

Check out this week’s movies: Starlite Drive-In

Concessions: You can now order concessions online. The Concession Building is closed but they will take your order online OR at the window (in person). Online orders can be picked up at the east entrance. On site orders are to be placed and picked up at the west entrance. Patrons need to wear a mask and stay 6′ apart while waiting in line.

Can I bring my own food? There is a $5 food permit (per car) for bringing in food and drinks from elsewhere. At the bottom of the permit, you receive a $1.00 discount on the purchase of a Large Hot-Buttered Popcorn at the Snack Bar. To redeem, just show your same day permit to a cashier. 

Restrooms: They do have restrooms. No more than 2 people can use the restroom at any time. All patrons are expected to wear a mask and maintain 6′ from one another while waiting in line. Restrooms will be closed periodically to allow for cleaning and sanitizing.

How they’re adapting for 2020: They ask that you maintain social distancing. They are implementing online ordering for both your tickets and concession. The playground is closed. Check for updates here.

Holiday Auto Theatre, credit to their Facebook page

Holiday Auto Theatre

Located in Hamilton, Ohio, this drive-in theatre has been in business for 70+ years. You can listen to their digital features on 90.7 FM. You can bring your own chairs or a blanket to sit outside as long as you stay in front of your car.

Opening for the 2020 Season: May 1, 2020.

Showtimes: Holiday Auto Theatre is open Friday through Sunday. Box office opens at 7:30pm. It looks as though movies start around 8:45pm.

Check out this week’s movies: Holiday Auto Theatre

Concessions: The concession stand is now one-way only. Hand sanitizer will be available and bathrooms are open (see notes below). They have installed plexiglass and additional barriers in concession to ensure social distancing.  An updated menu is on their website on the SNACK BAR tab. 

Can I bring my own food? The purchase of a $5 Food Permit is required when bringing outside food into the theatre. With that, you can receive a $2 discount on a purchase of $10 or more at the Refreshment Center (good for the same day as permit purchase).

Restrooms: Social distancing queues are in place for restrooms, including portable restrooms. Only two at a time allowed in the main building restrooms.  The middle stalls in the women’s and men’s rooms have been closed to ensure social distancing.  Restrooms will be temporary closed often for sanitizing.

How they’re adapting for 2020: Only one car is permitted between poles. Capacity is reduced. They strongly suggest wearing masks when you’re outside of your vehicle. Social distancing queues are in place for concessions and restrooms (see above). Check for updates here.

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Dixie Twin Drive-In Theater

Located just north of Dayton, Ohio and very close to I-75, this drive-in theatre has 2 screens, each with its own digital projector. They feature “first run” movies and play 2 movies per screen, per night.

Opening for the 2020 Season: May 12, 2020

Showtimes: “The Dixie” Theatre starts and ends their season with being open on Fridays and Saturdays. During most of the summer, they are open 6 nights a week (closed Mondays). Be sure to double-check their opening times for 2020. Movies start at dark.

Check out this week’s movies: Dixie Twin Drive-In

Concessions: There’s a full Concession Stand of food, drinks, treats, snacks, and meals for you and your family to enjoy

Can I bring my own food? Yes, but they prefer that you don’t. Most of the ticket sales go back to the movie houses – so their concession sales are very important to keep the theater running.

Restrooms: there’s no mention of restrooms on their site but surely they have some, right?

How they’re adapting for 2020: They state: “Some of the precautions we are taking for visitors include, 6 foot markers for the concession stand, and bathrooms. We encourage face coverings, staying a 6 foot distance apart, and the practice of handwashing/sanitizing can help to slow the spread of COVID-19….Our employees are also required to wear face coverings, wash hands frequently, and are also following the 6 foot distance while working in the ticket booth, and concession stand.”

Bel Air Drive-In

Located in Versailles, Indiana, this drive-in theatre has been in business for 60+ years. They plan to open for the season over Memorial Day weekend. All movies are digital.

Opening for the 2020 Season: May 22

Showtimes: Bel Air Drive-In is open on Fridays and Saturdays only; the first movie starts at dusk, around 7:45pm; ticket booth opens at 6:45pm

Check out this week’s movies: Bel Air Drive-In

Concessions: You have two options for ordering. Option 1: Order and pay through FanFood app; this is strongly encouraged. Once you are notified your order is complete, you will pick up at the FanFood pick-up table at the concession stand’s back door. Option 2: Order in the concession stand. No more than two patrons in concession stand at a time. Up to 10 may wait outside, maintaining 6ft. distance from one another. Please send only one family member in to order for your group and review the menu in the brochure for efficiency. 

How they’re adapting for 2020: Max capacity during this time will be 169 cars. Patrons are expected to park cars 6 ft. away from the next car. You may sit inside, behind, or in front of your car; however, your car members must distance 6 ft. from other patrons. No more than 2 patrons are permitted at a time in restrooms. All patrons must maintain a minimum of 6 ft. distance from one another while in line.