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Pilsen drive-in music box
Photograph: Kate Vogel, courtesy Music Box Theatre

Where to find drive-in movie theaters near Chicago

See a film on the big screen from inside your car at drive-in movie theaters in and around Chicago.

By Zach Long
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While many of the best movie theaters in Chicago were closed last summer, pop-up drive-in theaters throughout the city and the surrounding suburbs provided an opportunity see a movie from your car instead of your couch. Now that Chicago is working towards a full reopening, many temporary drive-ins have called it quits—but a few are sticking around to screen some of the the best movies of all time this summer. After all, there's something inherently exciting about gazing at a gigantic screen through your windshield (just make sure it's clean). Whether you want to make the trip to McHenry or see a movie in a Pilsen parking lot, here are all of the Chicago drive-in more theaters worth checking out.

Drive-in theaters near Chicago

ChiTown Movies

Taking over a parking lot outside of the ChiTown Futbol complex, ChiTown Movies brings the drive-in theater experience to Pilsen. With admission charged by the carload, groups can park and take in blockbusters of years part and concert films projected on a big screen. Tune into the film's audio via FM radio, order concessions from the ChiTown Grille (delivered to your car) and bring a face covering for trips to the indoor restrooms.

2343 South Throop St. $33 per car

Drive-in at Lincoln Yards

Programmed with the help of Lincoln Sqaure's Davis Theater, this pop-up in the future site of Lincoln Yards. Movies are projected on 30-foot inflatable screen and 10-foot spacing between cars allows for social distancing. There are also snacks and beverages available for purchase, though you'll need to bring a credit card—cash isn't accepted. Screenings are scheduled throughout the spring and a temporary closure is scheduled this summer, but the drive-in should be screening movies again before autumn arrives.

1684 N Throop St. $35 per vehicle

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McHenry Outdoor Theatre

Dating back to the 1950s, this drive-in theater has survived through the decades—long enough to become one of the few remaining places dedicated to showing movies outdoors. Gates open no later than 6:30pm each day and tickets are first come, first served, but thankfully the McHenry Outdoor Theater has room for 350 cars. Movies begin at sundown and every night is a double feature of classic films. There are concessions, restrooms and plenty of handwashing stations on-site.

1510 Chapel Hill Rd McHenry, IL. $12, seniors/children $6

Rock Island Public House

This DIY drive-in experience is relatively tiny, but all of Rock Island Public House's screenings are free—you'll just have to show up early to claim your spot. The Dinner, Drive-in and Drinks series takes place every Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening and typically showcases everything from classic horror flicks to vintage rock 'n' roll movies (often esoteric, but always entertaining). Attendees can snag drinks from the bar and food from the Butter Upon Bacon Kitchen.

13328 Olde Western Ave Blue Island, IL. Free, first come first served

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