Sometimes it feels like drive-in movies are a thing of the past. Well, some old ones are still hanging on, while some new "pop-up" drive-ins have appeared. Showing first-runs and classics, we have 12 drive-in movie theaters around Wisconsin to check out while social distancing at the same time.
Each drive-in has their own COVID-19-related rules, and each have different offerings for concessions. Some are cash only; some encourage you to use credit cards only, and apps to order food and drink. Here, we sort them all out and show you drive-in options from Chetek in the North Woods to pop-ups in the Milwaukee area.
Here are some examples, below the interactive map:
Skyway Drive-In Theater, Fish Creek
3475 State Highway 42, Fish Creek, (920) 854-9938
Heading to Door County? The Skyway, right along good ol' Highway 42, is Door County's classic drive-in. It opened back in 1950 and has hung on ever since, keeping up the quality and offering FM radio for audio reception as well as some remaining classic speakers for your car in the first few rows. Pets are welcome, as long as they behave - but I suspect that goes for humans, too. Tickets are $9 for people 12 and up, $5 for kids ages 5-11. Bring cash (they don't take cards, either) for the movies and the concession stand, where they offer all the basics along with some fun stuff like foot-long hot dogs and ice cream novelties. Starting this Friday (June 12th), they'll be open nightly. This weekend, it's a double-whammy of Steven Spielberg, with "E.T." kicking things off at 9pm and "Jaws" chomping up the screen starting just after 11pm.
Field of Scenes Outdoor Theater, Freedom
N3712 Wisconsin Highway 55, Freedom, (920) 489-3600
Big on puns but believing if they built it, they would come, Field of Scenes opened in 2003 right along Highway 55 in Freedom, just north of Kaukauna and I-41. and having opened in 2003, Field of Scenes features two screens and double features; tickets are $8 for adults and $4 for kids 11 and under. There has been a $20 carry-in fee since they weren't selling concessions due to COVID-19, but you were able to carry in (almost) whatever you wanted. However, the concession stand has partially reopened, so that mandatory fee has been dropped. There's been some question as to whether people can still pay the $20 fee and bring in a bunch of their own food and drink; we scanned their Facebook page and at last check we don't know for sure. Also, while their COVID-19 rules currently bar you from enjoying these amenities, Field of Scenes normally also offers two playgrounds, a basketball court and a volleyball court to keep kids occupied before the movies start.
This weekend Field of Scenes features Trolls World Tour followed by Jumanji: The Next Level on Screen 1, and Spies in Disguise followed by The Call of the Wild on Screen 2.
Goetz' Sky-Vu Drive-In, Monroe
N1936 Wisconsin Highway 69, Monroe, (608) 325-4545
Just south of Monroe on Highway 69, you'll find the Sky-Vu, a sister theater for the Goetz in downtown Monroe. The Sky-Vu has weathered all kinds of conditions since 1954 and is about to kick off its 66th season. They've been fully digital since 2012, the concession stand is open, and they're welcoming cash-paying guests - they don't take cards either - starting Friday night, June 12th. They bill themselves as "where the stars come to play at night" and the season kicks off with a GREAT double feature going back to the 80s: Raiders of the Lost Ark at 9pm, followed by Beverly Hills Cop around 11pm. Gates open at 7:15 Friday and Saturday night, 7:45pm on Sunday night.
Highway 18 Outdoor Theater, Jefferson
W6423 US Highway 18 (and Highway 89), Jefferson, (920) 674-6700
Billing itself as "Wisconsin's First Digital Cinema Drive-In," the Highway 18 technically opened for the season on Wednesday, June 10th but the weather didn't cooperate. The weather should cooperate through the weekend, and the Highway 18 Outdoor is offering two-for-one movie nights for $10 for adults, $6 for children ages 5-11 and $8 for seniors over 65 along with duty military personnel. Unlike several of these drive-ins, the Highway 18 Outdoor does accept credit cards. No checks... but who writes checks now?
Admission to the grounds begins at 6:30pm Fridays and Saturdays, 8pm Sundays through Thursdays. For audio, you have the choice of the old-school speakers or listening on a low power FM station. The neon retro sign beckons you in, right along U.S. 18 and Highway 89, just west of Highway 26 bypass of Jefferson. The movies this weekend are Trolls World Tour and The Monster of Phantom Lake. Upcoming films in later weeks/weekends include Grease, The Warriors, Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Up In Smoke, the Bad News Bears, Saturday Night Fever, Chicken Run, Psycho, Mulan, Back to the Future, American Graffiti, and Animal House. They do have some specific COVID-19 policies, see them on their website.
Duck Pond Drive-In, Madison
2920 N. Sherman Avenue, Madison, (608) 246-4277
While Warner Park in Madison - famously known as the "Duck Pond" - sits empty due to the Madison Mallards of the Northwoods League not playing any games, it serves instead as a "pop-up" drive-in for the Madison area. At the Duck Pond Drive-In, you can $25 per car for one or two people total, $40 per car for three people or more. The movies are shown on a large digital screen inside the ballpark.
Friday night, they're showing Space Jam for the early movie - starting around 6pm - and Raiders of the Lost Ark for the late feature, which begins around 8:45pm.
Saturday, they have three shows: Kung Fu Panda at 3pm, Ferris Bueller's Day Off at 6pm, and at 8:45pm, none other than The Rocky Horror Picture Show; we're guessing you won't be allowed to throw toast around, but who knows.
Sunday features Grease, showtime at 6pm. In every case, the gates open about an hour before the movie's start time.
You'll find Warner Park just off Highway 113 on the north side of Madison.
The Milky Way Drive-In, Franklin
7035 S. Ballpark Drive., Franklin, (414) 529-7676
Just off Highway 36 in the southern Milwaukee suburb of Franklin, The Milky Way is a "pop-up" drive-in, showing movies in the parking lot of the stadium where the relatively new Northwoods League baseball team, the Milwaukee Milkmen, play. this new drive-in hotspot costs $35 per vehicle per movie, bring however many people you want in the vehicle. Carhops can deiver food and beverages from the food trucks around, as well as the concession stands that would normally serve baseball fans. An app will allow you to order food and drinks, as well as listen to the movie's audio (outdoor speakers and an FM station option also provide the sound.)
Movie-wise, the options are vast: Jurassic Park, Missing Link, The Goonies, How to Train Your Dragon, The Cabin in the Woods, Joker, Mamma Mia!, School of Rock and more are all available over the course of this weekend; additional selections will follow.
Movies should continue at The Milky Way through Labor Day weekend.
Marcus Majestic Parking Lot Cinema
Marcus Majestic in Brookfield, 770 Springdale Rd., Waukesha, (262) 798-4099
Okay, it doesn't call itself a "drive-in," but it IS a pop-up drive-in, similar in concept to the Milky Way. These are movies shown outside the Marcus Majestic movie theater in Waukesha, which has pivoted to showing movies outside while the cinema inside remains closed. Dubbed "parking lot cinema," the big screen outside offers double features that begin with the first film around sundown - they ask that you arrive 45 minutes prior to the first movie starts. Audio is provided via FM radio and an app offers online ordering for concessions and snacks. Tickets are also online-only and cost $30 per carload on weekends, $25 on weekdays.
From Friday, June 12th through Thursday, June 18th, Parking Lot Cinema will be showing the double feature of The Goonies followed by Twister. The lot, which is located right off Moreland Blvd near U.S. 18 and in full view of I-94 by the Goerkes Corners interchange in Waukesha, opens at 7pm.