The Guide to Pittsburgh Drive-In Movies
Drive-in movie theaters are a classic American tradition. In seasonal places like Pittsburgh, we count on these summer openings–the ice cream shops, the pools, the parks–to feel a rush of nostalgia for all the long, hot days of the past. Drive-in theaters are no exception, reaching their peak popularity in the 1950s/60s.
The first drive-in theater was patented in 1933 by Richard M. Hollingshead, Jr. after a series of experiments in outdoor theater, such as nailing screens to trees and figuring out the right angles and methods for the projector to sit in relation to the screen. As the film industry grew, so did drive-in theaters. They evolved throughout the 1970s, but declined in popularity with the dawn of VHS technology in the 1980s.
Still, drive-in theaters evoke memories for many. They still exist if you can drive away from city lights to an open field with a screen while you park and relax for a while in the pseudo-privacy of your car. You can bring snacks or buy your own, gather your favorite blankets, and snuggle up with friends, family, or the hot date you’ve been waiting for. We gathered up some of the best drive-in theaters for Drive-In Movie Day, a national holiday which falls on June 6. Start your summer off with some good old-fashioned fun at one of these spots.
Advertised as the closest drive-in theater to Downtown, Twin Hi-Way is located in Robinson Township. It’s open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday in 2014. The movie schedule is available on their website.
Dependable Drive-In is located in Moon Township near the airport, so it’s a close enough getaway from the city sounds. You can find information about their showings online, as well as rules and procedures for attending.
A little further away, Evergreen is located out in Mt. Pleasant, PA. They have weekend hours and announced that this year, they’ve gone digital. This drive-in is well maintained and fairly modern after over 60 years of business, so it may be worth the hike.
Also open for the weekends, Riverside Drive-In is located in Vandergrift, about 45 minutes north of Pittsburgh. They play some older classics on certain weekends, which really ramps up the nostalgia for a fun summer night.
If you drive a little bit north to Butler, PA, you can spend some time at Pioneer Drive-In. They play new blockbusters and, beginning on May 23, are open daily. You can also check out their concession stand, advertised to have classic 50s drive-in food.