The drive-in movie theater is a relic of a bygone era in America. While there were once thousands scattered across the country, these theaters are now few and far between. In fact, there are just four remaining in the DFW area. But as the pandemic forces us to reimagine the ways we entertain ourselves, the outdoor movie theater is having a major renaissance. While there are only a handful of permanent drive-in theaters in Dallas, the newfound demand for cinema al fresco has prompted a trend of drive-in pop-ups and outdoor movie nights.
A little more than half an hour from downtown Dallas, you’ll find plenty of old school charm at Ennis’ Galaxy Drive-In Movie Theatre. The outdoor movie venue is now open seven days a week for your social distancing entertainment needs, though there are some new rules in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Nowadays, patrons must remain in their vehicles throughout the film–no lawn chairs, picnic blankets, playing frisbee, or mingling with other groups. Restrooms are available for emergency use. Outside food is temporarily permittedd, and the snack bar is also in service. The theater is currently showing single features only. Tickets are $8 for adults and $4 for kids. Find showtimes here.
This unique outdoor theater in the heart of downtown Fort Worth shows a mix of new releases and older films, and even hosts a concert from time to time. Refreshments, including beer and wine, are available through the snack stand, but no outside food is allowed. You can choose between watching from inside your car or setting up a chair or blanket in front of your vehicle. Pets on leashes are allowed. Here are the upcoming films.
Disclaimer: Brazos Drive-In is not technically in DFW. It’s an hour and a half away from Dallas in Granbury. The family-owned and operated theater has been around since 1952, though, so it’s earned a spot on this list. Brazos Drive-In is open Friday and Saturday nights with double features, and Sunday nights with single features. Find showtimes and more info here.
Fun Movie Grill
Earlier this summer, Irving’s Fun Movie Grill, a movie theater that shows both Hollywood and Bollywood features, transformed its parking lot into a distance-friendly drive-in theater complete with carhop service. The outdoor theater is open every night with one screening at 9 p.m. You’ll be assigned a parking spot and must watch the film from inside your car–no blankets or chairs allowed. Find upcoming screenings here.
Priding itself as the world’s first post-pandemic drive-in concert, film, and vaudeville experience, Car-Baret was created in Dallas in April and quickly became a hit. The series includes a mix of live entertainment and classic films. There was recently a screening of Yellow Submarine with a performance by a Beatles cover band, for instance. There aren’t currently any upcoming events, but keep an eye on the website for announcements.
Texas Theatre Sunset Drive-In
In addition to providing a bounty of virtual programming, the historic Texas Theatre has responded to the pandemic by converting one of its parking lots into a classic drive-in theater. The drive-in hosts an eclectic mix of cult favorites and lesser known films every weekend, and tickets sell out quick. See the schedule here.
Dallas International Film Festival Drive-In Series
Dallas International Film Festival teamed up with Four Corners Brewing Co. this summer to bring cinema lovers a safe way to go to the movies during the coronavirus pandemic. After the festival was canceled in April, the organization decided to supplement with virtual programming and a new drive-in series. The events are announced on DIFF’s Facebook page; the next drive-in screening will be Raiders of the Lost Ark on Wednesday night.
Jasper’s Uptown has Backyard Cinema Nights every Thursday evening. The restaurant has turned its parking lot into an amphitheater where guests can sit, watch a film, and enjoy an outdoor meal (full menu available). The next movie will be Airplane on July 30. Buy tickets here.
In Addison, Ida Claire is turning its patio into an outdoor theater every Thursday. You can expect nostalgic, classic films, movie theater-inspired snacks, and drink specials. Admission is free for the films, but reservations are strongly encouraged.