- Aurora (Kane County) Illinois
Hi Lite 30 Drive-in: 630-898-5888
located on Montgomery Road @ Hill Avenue
Having opened a couple of years after the end of the
Second World War, just before the boom years for
America's outdoor theatres, the Thirty is the oldest
of Illinois' Drive-ins that remain in operation (1947).
For several years, it was also a "MoPed" -- one of
several venues across America where a motorcar
cinema and a pedestrian's cinema share the same
property .. although, contrary to late 20th Century
tendencies, the hardtop went dark and the ozoner
remained lit. Among other changes that the Thirty
has seen in its 55 years ... Drive-in speakers have
been replaced by a local vicinity radio broadcast
of the movies' soundtrack (101.5 FM). Clever use
is still made of their speaker poles however, with
some of them being painted yellow as indications
of where the heavy metal and vans should park as
a courtesy - to avoid blocking anyone's view of the
picture show. The Thirty's massive lot is capable
of hosting nearly a thousand cars, although they
cut-off at around 800 cars on the busiest nites to
leave a little breathing space. And reminiscent
of the Drive-in's glory days, it is still very typical
to see the early arrivals with a soccer ball or a
frisbee, playing on the grass up in front of the
big screen. The Hi-Lite 30 Drive-in's season runs
from April thru October; on wknds only during the
spring and fall; 7 nites during peak summer season;
screening double features. Admission: $5.50 adults;
kids under 12 admitted free. Find it right off Rte.30
- Belleville (St. Clair County) Illinois
Skyview Drive-in: 618-233-4400
located at 5700 North Belt West
Double features on each of 2 screens.
Admission: $6 adults, and two children
of ages 12 or under are admitted in free
with each paying adult (add'l children, per
adult, charged $2 each); gates open 7pm.
- Bluffs (Scott County) Illinois
located at 303 South Bluffs Street
- Breese (Clinton County) Illinois
located on Route 50
- Chicago (Cook County) Illinois
located at 2800 West Columbus Avenue
- Cicero (Cook County) Illinois
aka: Loew's Cineplex Bel-Air Drive-in
3101 S. Cicero Avenue at 31st Street
Originally opened in 1949, the Bel-Air had evolved
over the years into a 3-screen venue; each of them
usually hosting a double feature on the same ticket,
with a capacity for a thousand cars throughout. Until
its closing in 1999, the Bel-Air was unique among the
surviving American drive-ins by the fact that two movies
would be broadcast simultaneously on 1 of it's 2 towers,
which was a two-sided screen, back to back. The facility
remains, and therefore - conceivably, it might be revived.
- Clinton (DeWitt County) Illinois
Clinton Drive-in Theatre:
formerly located on Route 54 East
- Dixon (Lee County) Illinois
Midway Drive-in: 815-625-4099
located 10 mins north of Interstate 88 on
Prairieville Road, between Sterling & Dixon
2002 notches the 48th season for the Midway, an
old fashioned single screen venue. The update on
the audio - going from pole speakers to FM radio -
may depreciate the Nostalgic value for some, but
there are compensating factors, including one of
the few remaining traditional playgrounds for the
wee folk. Admission: $6 age12up; 11&under free.
- Earlville (La Salle County) Illinois
34 Drive-in: 815-246-9700
located on Old Route 34
This classic single screen Drive-in has been in the same
family (handed down from father to son) since 1954 .. and
from the projection room behind to the scenes to its full
complement of traditional Drive-in speakers outside, little
has changed here since the heyday of the American Drive-in.
Open seasonally, April thru October, screening double features
on weekends only. Admission: $6 adults; $5 seniors; $3 ages 6-12.
- Galva (Henry County) Illinois
Galva AutoVue Drive-in:
Illinois will be inheriting another Drive-in this year,
which is being constructed from the ground up ..
on a 5.3 acre site near Galva's Jr/Sr High School:
a twin-screen with a capacity for up to 250 cars;
expected to be opening in June of Season 2003.
photo: Jim Miller
- Gibson City (Ford County) Illinois
Harvest Moon Drive-in: 217-784-8770
(or toll-free: 877-546-6843) Route 47 South
located at 1123 South Sangamon (Old Rte.34)
Originally a solo screen when it opened back in '54,
the Harvest Moon is presently a twin, open seasonally,
April thru September. Audio: FM stereo radio broadcast.
During June and July open 6 nites (closed on Thursdays).
Admission: $5 per person (children 5&under are free).
- Grayslake (Lake County) Illinois
Grayslake Outdoor Theatre:
formerly located on Route 120 East
- Herrin (Williamson County) Illinois
The Egyptian Drive-in:
located on Route 148 South, adjacent to
the Williamson County Airport
- Joliet (Will County) Illinois
located off Route 6, at 1800 Maple Road
Large solo screen, with a capacity for over
500 cars, open seasonally, April thru October,
on weekends only. Audio: FM radio broadcast,
and some traditional Drive-in speakers as well.
* Not confirmed to be operating for Season 2003.
photo: Justin West
- Litchfield (Montgomery County) Illinois
Skyview Drive-in: 217-324-4451
located on Route 66 North
Well-maintained Drive-in with a solo screen
which has passed the half-century mark, lit
since 1950. The Skyview is open seasonally,
April thru October. Audio: FM radio broadcast,
as well as some traditional Drive-in speakers.
Admission: $1 per person for ages 7 and up;
Thurs: $3/carload - any number of passengers.
- McHenry (McHenry County) Illinois
McHenry Indoor/Outdoor Theatre: 815-385-0144
located at 1510 North Chapel Hill Road
(½ mile north of Route 120)
Solo screen lit with double features, seasonally,
May thru September. Parking policy implemented
here to assure unobstructed views of the screen:
bigger vehicles should park adjacent to red poles;
the conventional cars park next to the silver poles.
Admission: $5 for ages 12&up; under age 11 free.
- Monee (Will County) Illinois
Cicero Twin Drive-in: 708-712-7469
located at 23500 South Cicero
(1.5 miles south of Highway 30)
The Cicero is a deuce that came up late in the deck -
opening in 1969, about a decade after the peak of
America's Drive-in boom. Audio for the soundtrack
is provided by local FM radio broadcast. Plan on
arriving here early; especially on the weekends -
if you don't want to be disappointed (there's also a
discount for very early arrivals on Friday/Saturday).
Double features of first-run films are presented on
each of their 2 screens. Admission: $6 for ages 12UP
(free admission for children under 12 .. with an adult);
FRI/SAT: reduced admission of $5 if you're IN by 7:30
- Newton (Jasper County) Illinois
Fairview Drive-in: 618-455-3100
located on Route 33, 5 mi east of town
The most rural of Illinois' remaining outdoor cinemas
is located in southern Illinois, about 220 miles south of
Chicago, and 60 miles south of Terre Haute, Indiana .. this
single (72' x 36') screen venue that opened amidst cornfields
in 1953, was purchased forty years later by its current owner.
The Fairview is open 4 nites of the week: Fri/Sat/Sun/Mon;
seasonally, April 1st - Sept 30th; screening double features
for 1 low ticket price. Audio is provided primarily by local
(88.5 FM) radio broadcast; some traditional speakers remain.
Admission: $4 adults; $2 children aged 3-12; free under 3 yrs.
- Prairieville (Lee County) Illinois
see: Dixon, Illinois
- Springfield (Sangamon County) Illinois
Route 66 Drive-in: 217-546-8881
located adjacent to Knight's Action Park, at
1700 Recreation Drive (1 block south of I-72);
* If you're in Springfield, you can go straight out on the
Old Chatham Road; they're on the left as you cross I-72.
Originally, the Green Meadows Drive-in Theatre, when it first
opened in 1978, this deuce in central Illinois was lit for only
4 years before closing in 1982. It then remained 'dark' for two
decades by the time that the Knight family (the owner's of an
adjacent theme park attraction) had acquired and restored it.
Re-christened The Route 66 Drive-in, after the historic "Mother"
road which passes a few blocks to the south, 1 of its 2 screens
was re-lit on May 24th (2002), with a special screening for the
Drive-in's grand reopening - Grease and Hollywood Knights
(they're considering lighting the Drive-in's other screen in 2003).
And speaking of Hollywood Knights, the Knight family has gone to
considerable effort and expense in not simply re-opening the old
Drive-in, but in making many improvements, yet while still trying to
maintain and preserve the character of the former Green Meadows.
Everything old is new again- minus classic car window speakers
(movie audio being provided by local FM (89.1) radio broadcasting).
The Route 66 is screening double features 7 nites from Memorial Day
weekend thru Labor Day, and then weekends only September/October.
Admission: $5 (ages 13&up); $2 for ages 12&under; age 3&under free.
- Summer Hill (Pike County) Illinois
Clark 54 Twin Pike Drive-in: 217-285-2805
located out on Highway 54 West
It'd been almost fifty years since this Ozoner came
down the pike (and it looked it). Or, the polite way to
describe this particularly forlorn Dr'in woulda been
to call it: "quite inherently rustic" .. a look that just
begged for some southwestern Last Outpost locale.
Nevertheless, from our POV, any Drive-in is better
than none .. even if the Clark 54, which opened-up on
the 4th of July (1952) wasn't settin-off fireworks in any
beauty pageant. But it managed to hang-on somehow,
on the weekends anyway, mid-April through Labor Day
(ample proof that Drive-in fans would be appreciative
enough to just find one, to make certain allowances).
FLASH-FORWARD: in the spring of 2001, THE CLARK 54
was acquired by new owners who are clearly committed
to improving and preserving this old Ozoner, and they
have finally given the 54 a well-deserved makeover!
- West Chicago (DuPage County) Illinois
Cascade Drive-in Theatre: 630-231-3150
located 1.5mi east of Route 59 on 64 ("North Avenue")
This is the largest outdoor cinema within the state of Illinois -
with a capacity for 1200 cars. More interesting from our POV
is the fact that the Cascade has consistently generated more
eMail and positive comments than any other Illinois Drive-in.
Lit-up seasonally from April thru October since 1952, Cascade
screens double features of first-run films 7 nites a week, and
provides a choice of traditional Drive-in speakers or FM radio
for the movies' soundtrack. Admission: $6 adults; $1 children.
- Wheeling (Cook County) Illinois
Twin Drive-in Theatre:
formerly located at 1010 South Milwaukee Avenue