10 Drive-In Movie Theaters Where You and Your Pup Can Do Movie Night
Give your pup a taste of the good old days and take in a flick at one of these dog-friendly drive-ins.
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Alas, it’s still pretty difficult to find a movie theater in the U.S. that will allow you to come with your (non-service animal) dog. But what if you are desperate to experience the wonder of cinema with your pup? What if you just really want your favorite pooch to see Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour with you? Well, there are some great options at the drive-in.
Many drive-ins across the country will allow you to bring pets, with a few caveats. Most require leashing when not inside a vehicle, and many restrict access to areas where food is available for purchase. But that’s a small sacrifice to make when it means you can cuddle up to your baby and have a charmingly retro experience, watching a new release or a classic on the big screen from the comfort of your car.
Here’s a list of some of the coolest spots across the country. And, yes, if you’re taking your dog to the Eras tour, you better be making a friendship bracelet themed collar, or, really, what’s the point? And what better time to celebrate Taylor at the movies than now, with 1989 (Taylor’s Version) out in the world?
The Blue Starlite — with two locations in Austin, Texas — aims to keep its home city “funky,” and that includes allowing dogs who are “leashed, not barking, and friendly.” Smack dab in the middle of downtown Austin, the drive-in, which shows films on the roof of a parking garage.
Fort Worth, Texas
With a name like Coyote Drive-In, we would hope that animals are welcome — and that they are. The website even features a prominent picture of two Pomeranians having a great time. (Though, hopefully, actual coyotes stay away when dogs are on the property.) “Here at Coyote Drive-In we always welcome the furry members of your family,” their FAQ section reads. “We do ask that they are kept on a leash while outside your vehicle.”
Electric Dusk Drive-In
Electric Dusk Drive-In, which bills itself as “LA’s Longest Running Pop Up Drive-In,” features a graphic of a terrier in 3D glasses eating popcorn next to its logo. And indeed dogs are allowed at the venue, which largely screens classics and fan favorites. You can also rent it out for a private event if so inclined.
Brooklyn, New York
I speak from experience when I say that Brooklyn’s Skyline Drive is a great place to watch a film with your dog. (We saw Prince’s Purple Rain with our pup.) Their offerings include a range of options — from the latest blockbuster to old faves. The selling point here, though, in addition to the great line-up and dog friendliness, is the view of the Manhattan skyline behind the screen.
I appreciate the way the Tibbs Drive-In in Indianapolis frames their pet policy: “We love puppies. They will need to bring their responsible humans, a leash, and supplies for any cleanup needs. Only medically necessary service dogs are allowed in the concession stand.” It’s the humans that have to be responsible, not the pups.
The Ford Drive-In still bills itself as the largest drive-in in the world, so if size matters to you, it’s got that going for it. It has five screens, and doggies are allowed, as long as you clean up any poop.
Blue Fox Drive-In
Oak Harbor, Washington
The Blue Fox Drive-In in northern Washington state is open all year in any weather, which means you can catch a flick with your dog at any time. (The catch is: You can’t bring your four-legged buddy into the snack bar or the arcade.)
They do require dog leashes to be under six feet long and not retractable, and ask that your pet stays at home if they are a “barker or aggressive.”
Joy-Lan and Silver Moon Drive-Ins
Multiple locations, Florida
Both Joy-Lan and Silver Moon Drive-Ins convert into swap shops on Sundays, which is fun, but they are also pro-pets. They even both advertise “grassy areas around the theater for pet walking.” They play first run features, for example, this fall, they played both Taylor Swift and the new PAW Patrol, the latter seems even more thematically appropriate.
Four Brothers Drive-In
Amenia, New York
Four Brothers Drive-In is a funky one. It’s a drive-in, but also a camping site and a hotel, with activities including a mastodon exhibit and a mini golf course. And, yeah, it's also pet friendly. According to their website: “All are welcome to take walks with their pets, sit and enjoy our music, and relax on the green lawn. Please always have your pet on a leash for the safety of them and others, and please remember to clean up after them!” The movies include first-run fare you’d find at any multiplex.
Gorgeous destinations across the US that’ll inspire you and your bestie to get your fall on.
Now, we can only hope this becomes more of a thing in the U.S., too.
Whether you’re brunching, barhopping, or looking for a place to crash in NYC, your dog deserves to come with you. Here are all the spots ready with bowls of water, treats, ear scratches, and open-door policies for your best pal.
Your dog is your favorite person anyway — why not plan the perfect vacation with them?
Keep these tips in mind, and you and your dog or cat can have all the adventures.
Find the right choice for your whole family.
Esther Zuckerman is an entertainment journalist whose work has been published by The New York Times, Vanity Fair, The Hollywood Reporter, and Thrillist among others. She is the author of two books: Beyond the Best Dressed (2022) and A Field Guide to Internet Boyfriends (2020). She lives in New York with her Corgi mix, Daisy, who is extremely long and will beg for treats.